ESD Labels Address an Important Hazard
Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) should be a concern for anyone who works with computers. ESD, or in more common terms, static shock, is virtually no danger to the human body other than the occasional sting you may feel when touching a door knob or another person. However, when it comes to computers, ESD can be deadly.
ESD is a sudden and single moment when an electric current, containing an excess electric charge, and carried on
an electrically insulated object, gains access to another object that is at a different electrical potential. For example, should you shuffle your feet on a
rug for an extended period of time, you build up a greater electrical potential than you had before. If you then reach over to a sibling, parent, or (be careful
with this one) spouse, and touch them, that person is has a great chance of getting shocked. This happens because the electrical potential that you built up was
so much greater than the other person's electrical potential, that the current attempts to transfer to the other person with enough power to cause a shock. This
example is also an example of ESD at its most dangerous to the human body, essentially nothing happens. However, should you do that same shuffling, or even for a
smaller amount of time, with your feet on a rug, and then touch certain sections on the inside of a computer, there is a very strong possibility that you will find
yourself in need of a new computer. According to writer Charles J. Brooks, the human body can build a static charge of up to 25,000 volts. A computer is already
filled with electrical currents; with that in mind, there is little chance for a computer to be able to withstand even half of those 25,000 volts because it is
already filled with its own.
ESD can harm a computer in many ways. Two of the most common ways ESD destroys computers is through heating. The
first cause of destruction is the fusing of a conductor or resistor. When an ESD is sent through a computer, there is a good chance that all of the energy will build
up at one conductor or resistor. If this occurs it is very likely that all of that energy will become extremely hot and literally melt the conductor or resistor.
If this occurs, the computer is completely destroyed just like that. The other common way for a computer to be destroyed is very similar to the first. In this case,
the energy released in the ESD builds up in a junction on the motherboard and causes it to short out, and then eventually burn or melt. These two after effect of ESD
on a computer will generally destroy a computer immediately. There are possibilities that you can get away with an outcome that is not as severe. There are times
when an ESD will damage your computer without you even knowing it. These affects are called latent defects. Sometimes the motherboard in the computer will not be
burnt, but the shock sent through it can still have many harmful affects. The computer can lose its memory, it can become erratic in its functions, sometimes it
will work, other times not. If the ESD does not destroy your computer immediately, it will cut the amount of time that it will function to a much smaller amount.
It is difficult to confirm that your computer has a defect, even if you are suspicious about it, and should you even find the defect, there is then it is likely
that the repairs will be very costly.
In order to protect your computer, or any other electrical device, from this danger, there are a short number of
precautions you can take. Aside from obeying the ESD labels,. when working on the inside of a computer, there are wristbands available that have a cord that will
touch the floor as you work. This is done in order to keep you grounded and keep your electrical potential grounded in the process. There are also floor mats and
footwear that will reduce your electrical charge. Some of the most important rules to keep the ESD at bay are to make sure that all of the cables are tightly
connected, and to remember not to use your computer during any type of electrical storm.
Electric Static Discharge is of no concern for the health of essentially every person, however, it can certainly be
damaging to the health of a person's finances. Computers are expensive, having to buy a new one, or getting an old one repaired may hurt. Computers will come with
a set of guidelines to help reduce the risk of ESD. It is smart to follow many of those guidelines in order to reduce the risk as much as possible.