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Galvanized steel wire for static grounding?


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#1 printerandink

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 10:09 PM

Would a galvanized steel wired connected to a steel rod in the ground properly ground a person? Does the galvanization process prevent this from being useful?

(and where is that static thread anyway?)


Edited by hamluis, 21 July 2016 - 10:27 AM.
Moved from System Building to Internal Hardware - Hamluis.


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#2 DJBPace07

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 05:36 PM

Why do you need to know this? If you touch any unpainted metal surface inside the case, that should discharge static electricity. I'm not sure if the extra zinc will cause any issues...

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#3 printerandink

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 11:18 PM

I want to make sure I'm grounded, so I'm looking to ground myself very thoroughly. Too many problems can occur from a small zap that can't even be felt.

#4 Platypus

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 05:28 AM

For safety, static discharge should be through a series resistance of some megohms. Static discharge straps designed to be worn whilst working on static sensitive equipment typically incorporate a series resistance from 1MΩ to 10MΩ. Connecting yourself through a low resistance to a ground could possibly be lethal if you inadvertently contacted ground-referenced mains voltage.

It could also well make the effect of static discharge worse. If you are "hard" earthed and you touch a component inside a computer case that is not earthed and is "floating" at some uncertain static potential, you will guarantee an abrupt discharge of whatever full static potential it has. On the other hand, if you are connected to the chassis of the computer you are working on through a discharge strap, or maintaining frequent skin contact with the chassis, a "zap" is restricted to any stray difference potential that has been able to develop across the series resistor or your skin resistance. This will be far, far less than is likely to exist between a random computer and ground.

The advantage of a ground is that it is an absolutely known potential, whereas a static potential is an unknown until you discharge it. The best use for a ground is to ground the computer case, without applying any power (eg plugged into grounded outlet with mechanical mains switch turned off, or case sitting on a grounded surface). Then you know what potential the computer is at (ground potential), so anything (eg you) that is also being discharged to ground potential (through a safety resistance) will not "zap" the computer.

So, regardless of the effectiveness of a galvanized steel wire, using it to ground yourself would be a bad idea.

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#5 printerandink

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 07:12 PM

I would be hooked to it via a wrist strap. I had not realized that grounding the case was a good idea. But how does one do this if the case is not bare metal on the interior?

#6 Platypus

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:23 PM

I would be hooked to it via a wrist strap.

Ah, good. The most important thing is for you and the equipment you are working on to be held at nominally the same potential, rather than necessarily being at actual ground potential. The additional benefit of having a true ground (earth potential) reference is that it is a known quantity - otherwise with static electricity the potential of anything is unknown until you encounter it.

The requirement for anti-static protection is the same for both your personal anti-static strap connection, and any further earthing strap. With any equipment that doesn't have an obvious metal plane to ground, such as a laptop, for either to be most effective you need the connection to go to something metal that is connected to the ground plane of the motherboard. For a desktop computer, this is assumed to be the metal casing, or if the box is plastic, the metal casing of the PSU. On a laptop, something that carries a ground connection for the purpose of shielding (not signal) is suitable, eg on my HP I would clip onto the threaded securing pin on the dock expansion port.

Edited by Platypus, 16 March 2012 - 08:24 PM.

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#7 mjd420nova

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 09:36 PM

Grounding, a very important part of any digital project.  I have two grounds in use, one for an amateur radio station and the other for the house/utility power source.  The grounds are eight foot copper clad iron stake, driven into the ground for all but six inches.  The ground wire is actually two inch, flat, nickel plated copper braid that goes directly to the incoming power circuit breaker panel.  The other serves the grounds needs for the amateur radio antenna and transmission gear.  Any copper stake, three feet in the earth should suffice, or a cold water pipe works well too.  Newer homes have ALL outlets grounded and that is actually a good point for ground when working on ESD sensitive equipment.






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