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Are Anti-Static Devices Necessary for Small Electronics Projects?

Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is a horrible nuisance for people working on DIY electronic projects, as the static discharges can fry small computer cards, chips, or ram. Anti-static devices, which prevent the buildup of static electricity on one's body, are common ways to protect oneself against ESD. But are they necessary, especially when working on small electronics projects such as building or dismantling a desktop computer? Eio is here to shed light on this issue. Based upon our research from online forums (Forums Guru, Tom's Hardware, & iFixit), here are the two most common answers:

Anti-static devices are UNNECESSARY:

"Just exercise proper precautions."
  • Taylor: "I have been doing computer repairs for the better part of a decade, and have never used an anti-static strap / mat. I have never shorted out any of the components I was working on. If you take other necessary precautions, you can get certainly away without it. It's more a question of how comfortable you are working and how confident you are that you won't accidentally zap something."
  • goldragon_70: "As long as you periodically ground yourself while building you should be fine."
  • cmay119: "Always handle your hardware by the very edges. Even if static shock occurs, more than likely it would not hit anything vital or even do any damage if it did."

Anti-static devices are ESSENTIAL:

"Static will build up almost 100% of the time."
  • Mayer: "Getting electronics hit with ESD will drive you nuts. You can build up a static charge wearing almost anything. ESD (Electrostatic discharge) 1/10 the amount of a felt shock can destroy RAM and other electronic components."
  • Horse: "I use a wristband; it's not expensive and I thought it would be better safe than sorry. It doesn't restrict you much and provides peace of mind."
In sum, when working with static sensitive computer parts, anti-static devices are very useful because they provide both extra protection against ESD and a sense of confidence and peace-of-mind. If you have experience with these projects, exercising the necessary precautions, such as grounding yourself prior to touching the CPU parts or touching only the edges of the chips, can make anti-static devices unneeded. Then again, accidents do happen. As one online forum's respondent said, "Better safe than sorry." In the larger perspective, an anti-static device is a small price to pay to keep your more expensive computer parts safe. So check out some of Eio's more popular anti-static products:

Velleman AS5 Anti-Static Mat with Ground Cable

Velleman AS3 Anti-Static Wristband

Feel free to comment with your own advice or answer our poll!

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3 thoughts on “Are Anti-Static Devices Necessary for Small Electronics Projects?”

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  • Tracy-high tech franchise

    There are lots of anti-theft alarms now a days. With the high level of technology we are in today they already have developed locators already. It's a small kind of sticker that has some installed chip in it. Others have them installed on their own device, Like my phone, I'll know who is that someone that's been giving me anonymous phone call and if I ever loose my phone,I have a tracker in it which I can track down and find the thief.

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