Static Electricity

How worried do I need to be about damaging IC's with static electricity?

I recently purchased a bunch of MOSFETs and ive heard they are more susceptible to damage than other components?

Do I really need an antistatic wrist strap? Or is touching something grounded occasionally while I work and not wearing things like fleece good enough?

Its a good idea to use a wrist strap. Grounding yourself from time to time will work too.

However every electronic engineer will tell you they never do anything like this and they have never had any problem.

On the other hand electronic manufactures take extensive precautions to eliminate static damage.

I second Grumpy's opinion. The Atmel processors have very good protection anyway. Mosfets are a different story. As always the question is about the payoff for the investment. Is it worth to deal with the straps for the faint possibility of saving one MOSFET? Of course production is a different story. But for prototyping I do not care. For prototyping you have to expect that parts are broken all of the time. Not only due to static electricity.

Cheers, Udo

In the late ‘80s I worked with an engineer who’d previously worked for a semiconductor manufacturer.
“Nonsense” he said, “all this ESD stuff is nonsense. All pins are now protected”, and proceeded to shuffle his synthetic soles across the carpet, and then touch the pins of a rare and very expensive processor, one of his former employers’ products.
There was a distinct “crack”.

It never worked again.
Your call. :smiley:

Thanks for the replys. Thats kinda what I was thinking, ive been tinkering around with this stuff for a couple of years and never had any problems (that wern't a result of me doing something stupid) but I thought I would ask.

@Awol: typical effect. I would never bet on it. As I said: straps are like an insurance. The question is how much damage could be done with static. For prototyping its usually only some cheap parts. In production it is a different story. Annoyed customers and repairs cost more than the broken parts. Hence in production I go for ESD protection as well.

Cheers, Udo

Good points about production and expensive parts. Currently I expect to screw up parts during prototyping so I order extras. I just wanted to make sure MOSFETs weren't as fragile as some article I read made them out to be.

I forgot to add: he now works in marketing ;D