NEVER USE “PINK” PACKING MATERIAL FOR BOARD TRANSPORT OR AS A WORK SURFACE. While many people think pink packing material is ESD safe, in most cases it easily builds up unwanted charge. Unless continuous, thorough testing is done, treat pink packing materials as charged.
CAP UNUSED EQUIPMENT INPUTS to avoid accidental ESD and physical damage. Damage often occurs by accidentally contacting equipment inputs. Capping unused inputs protects them from incidental ESD damage.
USE ESD-SAFE BAGS WHEN TRANSPORTING BOARDS. This protects boards from ESD damage while moving between ESD-safe locations.
DO NOT OVERDRIVE EQUIPMENT INPUTS. Start your testing at the least sensitive input setting and zoom in on your signal. Additionally, observe the maximum input levels for your specific equipment. The least sensitive setting is the most resilient, so starting there ensures that your inputs are at safe operating levels
After I posted this to my blog, Dave, N8SBE offered some further tips. He writes:
Grounded heel straps also help reduce static charge. Test them with a floor tester every time you put them on. The floor needs to be somewhat conductive—not metal, that’s a safety hazard—so use conductive wax on tiles, or conductive carpet to drain of electrostatic charges.
Keep materials, such as styrofoam cups, that form electrostatic charges easily away from your workspace. A styrofoam cup can generate thousands of volts.
Keep the humidity up in the workspace. That helps to keep static generation down as well.
I like to think that I follow ESD-safe procedures, but there are a couple of things here that I hadn’t thought about before. For example, I’d never really thought about discharging test equipment cables before connecting them. I think that’s a good tip
To learn more, go to https://www.keysight.com/find/PreventESD
Dan Romanchik, KB6NU, is the author of the KB6NU amateur radio blog (KB6NU.Com), the “No Nonsense” amateur radio license study guides (KB6NU.Com/study-guides/), and often appears on the ICQPodcast (icqpodcast.com). When he's not worrying about electrostatic discharge, he teaches online ham radio classes and operates CW on the HF bands.
This Day in History 1838 January 06
Samuel Morse demonstrates the telegraph On January 6, 1838, Samuel Morse’s telegraph system is demonstrated for the first time at the Speedwell Iron Works in Morristown, New Jersey. The telegraph, a device which used electric impulses to transmit encoded messages over a wire, would eventually revolutionize long-distance communication, reaching the height of its popularity in the 1920s and 1930s.
Samuel Finley Breese Morse was born April 27, 1791, in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He attended Yale University, where he was interested in art, as well as electricity, still in its infancy at the time. After college, Morse became a painter. In 1832, while sailing home from Europe, he heard about the newly discovered electromagnet and came up with an idea for an electric telegraph. He had no idea that other inventors were already at work on the concept.
Morse spent the next several years developing a prototype and took on two partners, Leonard Gale and Alfred Vail, to help him. In 1838, he demonstrated his invention using Morse code, in which dots and dashes represented letters and numbers. In 1843, Morse finally convinced a skeptical Congress to fund the construction of the first telegraph line in the United States, from Washington, D. C., to Baltimore. In May 1844, Morse sent the first official telegram over the line, with the message: “What hath God wrought!”
Over the next few years, private companies, using Morse’s patent, set up telegraph lines around the Northeast. In 1851, the New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company was founded; it would later change its name to Western Union. In 1861, Western Union finished the first transcontinental line across the United States. Five years later, the first successful permanent line across the Atlantic Ocean was constructed and by the end of the century telegraph systems were in place in Africa, Asia and Australia.
Because telegraph companies typically charged by the word, telegrams became known for their succinct prose–whether they contained happy or sad news. The word “stop,” which was free, was used in place of a period, for which there was a charge. In 1933, Western Union introduced singing telegrams. During World War II, Americans came to dread the sight of Western Union couriers because the military used telegrams to inform families about soldiers’ deaths.
Over the course of the 20th century, telegraph messages were largely replaced by cheap long-distance phone service, faxes and email. Western Union delivered its final telegram in January 2006.
Samuel Morse died wealthy and famous in New York City on April 2, 1872, at age 80.
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