Tutorial :Excessive static buildup [closed]



Question:

And here we go with my first not-directly-programming-related question on SO!

I seem to suffer from an excessive amount of static buildup (the electrical kind, not the type modifier). This, of course, manifests itself as getting the crap shocked out of me pretty much any time that I touch anything that even thinks it's grounded. No kidding, my days usually go like this:

Wake up, possibly get shocked hitting the snooze button. Touch the lightswitch in my bedroom, usually get shocked. Walk down the hall to my office, touch that lightswitch, get shocked. Sit down at the computer, touch the case to discharge (usually does). Walk out the door, get in the car (zap). Drive to work, get out of the car (zapped closing the door). Walk into the office, get zapped by the door frame...

It's not quite THAT bad, I suppose, but I easily get shocked 10-20 times daily, by everything from my chair to the dog to my wife (let me tell you how much she enjoys THAT). Just today, I fried my second mouse via zapping (but this time I had the replacement plan! Ha ha!). In the past, I have shorted out my cars entire electrical system simply by locking the doors. (The electric locks STILL don't work right). Of course, no one around me seems to have this issue, and it's gotten to be aggravating. I'm thinking of ditching programming and becoming a supervillan instead. (The Shocker!)

So here's my question(s):

1) What might I be doing that would cause me to build up excessive static? I realize this is a broad question, but I can't think of anything that I do that would provoke it. (I don't shuffle my feet as I walk or anything). I general, what are common causes of it?

2) Does the SO crew have any recommendations for how to manage it, ESPECIALLY around computer equipment. I suppose I could keep a static bracelet at my desk but the idea of constantly being tethered to an outlet while computing isn't really a happy thing...

Any suggestions?


Solution:1

Remember that static electricity is usually produced by certain materials rubbing together. So you might want to look at the materials of the things around you and see if less-static inducing items could be used instead.

Humidity (or lack thereof) increases static buildup. Get a humidifier at home at least.

Learn to not approach metal objects with a finger extended. Go in with your palm out, and try to get a larger surface on the object. When successful, you'll notice the shock less because it will be spread over a larger area.

You might want to try to get (or have your employer get) an ESD mat for your desk. If you have electronics work in your building, they'll already know what you are talking about. This mat (when properly grounded) turns a surface into a high-resistance ground plane. This means any time your arm is on your desk, you're grounded, which would help you greatly.


Solution:2

1) What might I be doing that would cause me to build up excessive static?

Using typical PVC office carpet or wearing lot of wool and/or Polartec.

I've been in one office with this dreadful carpet and seats with plastic wheels. The amount of static it generated was impressive.


Solution:3

Use fabric softener, avoid certain fabrics, try switching shoes, humidify the room, and stop rubbing balloons on your head.


Solution:4

Wear only natural fibres ? I got a lot of static when I wore a synthetic fleece jacket. I only wear cotton these days, and I almost never get shocked.


Solution:5

On top of the other suggestions I only mention that there are also special ESD protection chairs and shoes that help to discharge static electricity, if the floor permits it. Some specialist electronics suppliers have them.


Solution:6

Aside from getting a humidifier which was already suggested above, another suggestion is to walk barefoot when at home. If you cannot do this avoid wearing rubber sandals o shoes, wear slippers with leather soles or shoes with leather soles.

I used to work in a semi-conductor company where all employees were issued full leather slippers which they were required to use whenever they were inside the production area (were the chips are assembled).

If this is not feasible, I always try to discharge the static on my body by touching anything metallic; the PC case, the screw in the light switch, AC / Heater vents before sitting down on my computer and touching the keyboard.


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