How to deal with static sensitive devices

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When you buy some electronic devices you will see a yellow sticker which says "Static Sensitive". What does this mean?

Some electronic components are made in such a way that even tiny amounts of electricity can break them. The tiny amounts that can be generated by walking across a nylon carpet or even when wearing nylon underwear! It's all quite complicated but when the weather is dry and frosty any static electricity does not disperse through the moisture in the air but stays where it is - until it "sees" earth which could be through the electronic componenet that you just picked up!

The easiest way to stop this happening is to keep the component in its wrapping until it is needed. Then just before opening the package touch something that is at earth potential such as a kitchen sink or an electric cooker. Don't fall for the old wives tale that touching a radiator or a bathroom tap will surfice. In the past this would have been fine but these days many homes are made with plastic pipes (sometimes underneath the floorboards where you can't see) and plastic does NOT conduct electricity so the radiator is NOT earthed!

Hey, wait a minute, the part that I bought is in a plastic bag! Yes but proper seller will put them in a special kind of plastic bag that has carbon in it. This DOES conduct electricty.


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