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Topic: ESD Safety (Read 3 times) previous topic - next topic


If this is some sort of mission critical system, where failure would be very expensive and/or impossible to fix, then ESD protocols should be followed.

The vast majority of Arduinos will live in an ESD-unsafe (maybe even ESD-hostile) environment for the rest of their lives once they're removed from the box.  This does not appear to be a problem to date.


Tom Carpenter

How do you think ESD materials work? They are simply a conductive material on which charged electrons repulsed by all having the same charge, move away from each other which forces them onto the outside of the bag and away from the component.

If you take a microcontroller, it is not conductive, apart from the pins. This means that the ESD builds up on one or more of the pins creating a potential difference across the IC of anywhere upwards of 10kV. This can damage the IC.

If however you take an IC connected to a board with a ground plane. Where does the ESD go? Well, all the electrons can happily transfer to the ground plane which is nicely conductive and move away from each other, and critically away from the IC. This means there is no buildup of potential across the IC pins.

As a side note while that board is nicely inside its cardboard box, where does an electrostatic discharge come from? Last time I checked the box isn't particularly conductive, so it is unlikely that a discharge will jump to the box, and if it does, it will built up on the outer surface - just like an ESD bag.


Most users probably expose the board with even more ESD (laying on ungrounded tables etc).

I certainly do that. I don't use my earthed wrist strap when handling it, and coffee spillages are not unheard of.

I've not had any trouble, even with the cat pawing at it. Arduinos are impressively robust, probably due to the relatively low tech design.


never used any ESD protection....only thing I ever zapped was a basic stamp 1 clone....
I'm old and started too late with microcontrollers

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