If you have watched tutorials on computer assembly and fixing, you may have noticed that some of those individuals are wearing some kind of strap or bracelet on their wrist. That is not just a simple accessory meant for aesthetics- it is often an anti static wrist strap!
Static discharge is a big problem during electronics manufacturing and handling because one discharge can mess with the calibration of several sensitive components. As such, experts recommended that you employ measures to prevent static generation and promote quick and safe dissipation. One of the ways to do that is by using an anti static wrist strap.
We have a related article for you, you can read Is Anti Static Bubble Wrap Necessary? Alternatives?
But what do you do if you do not have an anti static wrist strap available at a given moment? Should you continue working and risk damaging your equipment? Or is there another way to ground yourself without anti static wrist straps? Let’s explore!
How Does an Anti Static Wrist Strap Work?
When you wear your anti static wrist strap, you will see that there is a bare metallic part. That part remains in contact with your skin and provides a path for the accumulating static charges. The strap allows the electricity to be discharged safely to the ground instead of creating a spark or damaging any of the electronic parts that you are working with.
Providing a Pathway for the Charges…
Keeping the above principle in mind, it makes sense that you will be able to ground yourself if you somehow allow the accumulating charges to dissipate in a safe manner. On the other hand, you can also reduce the risk of ESD by preventing the generation of static in the first place!
How Can I Prevent Static Generation?
Static is produced on your body when different surfaces rub against each other as you move around. The best approach to prevent the build up of static charges on yourself would be to wear clothing that is low-static in nature. For example, cotton clothing tends to produce a low level of static as opposed to materials like wool or synthetic fibres.
How to Ground Myself Without Anti Static Wrist Strap?
Grounding yourself without an anti static wrist strap is simple. Just touch a bare metal, conductive component anywhere in your house before you touch your computer chassis or electronic components. For example, you can ground yourself by touching a bare metallic screw on a light switch or power outlet. You could even ground yourself by touching the metal of your kitchen sink faucet.
Try to ground yourself in a location that is closest to your workstation. If you ground yourself too far away, you can generate a significant amount of static charge as you walk all the way back. Try not to drag your feet or move your arms too much as you are returning to your work station after grounding yourself.
How to Equalise Voltage Between Myself and the PC?
Experts also recommend that before you touch any component inside the computer, you should touch the metal chassis first. This allows the voltage between you and the computer to equalise safely instead of going through the more sensitive components that may otherwise get damaged.
While touching a metallic part around you may get the job done, there is always a little bit of doubt that can keep nagging away at your brain. So while this works in emergencies, I recommend getting an anti static wrist strap for future projects as it ensures your safety in a more objective manner.