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.

Continue reading “Busting Wireless ESD Wrist Straps With LTT And ElectroBOOM”

Rolex Becomes World’s Most Expensive ESD Strap

Anti-static ESD straps are de rigueur in lab settings for those working with sensitive electronics. They’re a simple protective device, and one that generally doesn’t warrant a second thought. However, [Daniel Bogdanoff] figured they could stand to be a little more fashionable, and set to work on a fancier design.

The first step was to take a look at a regular ESD strap. Typically, they consist of a band that fastens around the wearer’s wrist, with a metal stud for connecting to the earthing lead. The earthing lead contains a high resistance to limit the discharge current to avoid ugly high-energy shorts when wearing the strap.

The metal stud is attached to a replacement link on the ROLEX’s strap, making the modification neat, tidy, and reversible.

With a good understanding of the basics, [Daniel] set about modifying a CASIO calculator watch for practice. After soldering a metal stud to the watch case failed, a second attempt with conductive epoxy worked great. The watch could be connected to the earthing strap, and an ESD tester confirmed the device was doing its job.

But unfortunately, permanently modifying the borrowed ROLEX wasn’t an option. Instead, [Daniel] limited his work to a single replacement link which could be inserted into the watch band. Hooked up to an earthing strap, the luxury watch also passed a basic ESD test successfully.

[Daniel] notes that while this is a fun experiment, using properly rated safety equipment is best. Additionally, he points out that the ROLEX is likely to do worse than the CASIO for the simple fact that a metal-banded watch is more likely to cause shorts when working on electronics. Of course, if a watch isn’t your thing, consider a ring instead. Video after the break.

Continue reading “Rolex Becomes World’s Most Expensive ESD Strap”