Busting Wireless ESD Wrist Straps With LTT And ElectroBOOM

Nobody likes getting zapped from an electrostatic discharge, no matter whether you’re a fragile ASIC or a bag-of-mostly-salty-water humanoid. To prevent this, ESD wrist straps and similar are essential tools, as they prevent the build-up of a charge on your humanoid’s skin, essentially like a very large electrolyte-filled capacitor. Yet you can buy wireless ESD straps everywhere that are supposed to somehow dissipate this charge into the ether, even though this would seem to undermine the laws of physics that make capacitors work.

In a practical experimentation and assorted hijinks video collaboration by [Linus] from Linus Tech Tips and [Mehdi Sadaghdar] from ElectroBOOM put these wireless ESD straps to the test, featuring [Mehdi]’s DIY Van de Graaff generator to charge [Linus] up. What is excellently demonstrated in this video is how effective a real ESD strap is, and how the ‘wireless’ version is just a scam that does absolutely nothing to dissipate the charge, being just a waste of a 1 MOhm resistor and what could have been a real ESD strap.

Also covered in the video are what the reason for the resistor in an ESD strap is, and why metal bracelet type ESD straps are not appropriate, for very good reasons.

(Thanks to [hackbyte] for the tip)

28 thoughts on “Busting Wireless ESD Wrist Straps With LTT And ElectroBOOM

    1. Maybe that was the intended usage of the less scammy one (the one with a resistor inside), not a real wireless esd wrist strap as advertised, but some sort of gizmo that lets you discharge yourself without being zapped by touching a ground with the external metal plate of the wrist strap to get discharged trough the resistor and be ready to work with electronics.

  1. I didn’t even know wireless ESD straps was a thing that people were selling. I would think that anyone searching for an ESD strap would need to know a bit about how electricity works before coming to the conclusion that they need an ESD strap.

    Maybe this is something that is marketed to kids who are building their first PCs. But you don’t need one to build a PC, and Linus himself often handles components on camera without any protection. Granted, he is based in humid Vancouver, but for most PC builds you can just touch or grab a plugged-in PSU to discharge before handling components.

    Is it because ESD straps have fallen out of vogue with home PC builders that we’re collectively starting to forget how they work or why you would need one?

    1. I still wonder if this product is lost in translation and it’s just an ESD strap without wire, i.e. the wearer is expected to attach to a wire that’s affixed to the work station.

      1. It’s not simply a translation error. Many of the advertisements straight up tell you that a ground wire is not needed. Along with that, if you look at a picture of the wireless ones, they are missing the snap for the ground wire. These aren’t ESD bracelets that you have to order a separe ground wire for. The manufacturer sells them expressly as not needing a ground wire and not having a place to connect a ground wire.

        Pure BS.

        1. It might also be possible that in the beginning it was an honest translation error.
          Then it blew up and a pracmatic chinese guy thought “If they want it …”

          If there is demand for a Meme product, someone will sell a Meme product.
          In that case i think it is not even a scam. ^^ Same as figet spinners.

      1. Thanks for your suggestion but I like some random suggestions with my youtubes to discover new things, just not that linus guy and not so damn much of that linus guy.
        What I need is a more sophisticated add-on that figures out specific persons in the suggestions and then removes those.

        1. Doesn’t YouTube have a “don’t recommend this channel” option via the … button next to each video on the home screen? Seems like you’d just not be seeing Linus if you actually didn’t want to see him.

  2. I find my biggest need for static discharge is when I’m petting my cat. So far, the best solution is to hold the cat with one hand while petting with the other, but that method cannot always be employed.

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