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Need cheap ESD Generator

Discussion in 'Electronic Equipment' started by [email protected], Jan 6, 2005.

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  1. Guest

    I am looking for information on where I can find a cheap ESD generator.
    We had one at my last company and I am having trouble finding it on
    the web. All it was was a handheld gun with a trigger that you
    squeezed a couple of times to build up a charge and then would touch
    the tip to whatever we were testing to discharge it. I don't need
    anything that tests or generates a constant charge, just a simple
    static generator. I may be using the wrong name for it, so any help
    would be appreciated. Thanks
  2. Aidan Grey

    Aidan Grey Guest

    I recall something like that to discharge static on old vinyl records.
    you tried your local stereo shops?

    Aidan Grey
  3. mike

    mike Guest

    Piezo spark lighter works fine. You get just what you asked for,
    uncontrolled spark. If you want a BIGGER uncontrolled spark, use
    a stun gun. You can add an adjustable gap to limit the voltage.

    For final testing, you're better off with a high voltage source
    and some doorknob caps and resistors (body model) on a wand.
    Charge it up and you get one controlled zap.

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  4. Guest

    Well, I really need an already built system. This is for something at
    work, so I meant cheap in as less than $100, not the $1000+ ones I've
    been able to find. If I could just remember who made the one I used at
    my last job, I'd get the same thing.
  5. Ed Price

    Ed Price Guest

    For a hundred bucks, you can't even cut a PO! Test equipment under $1000 IS
    cheap; under $100 is an eBay miracle case. A professional ESD gun will be
    "under $5k" <g>.

    Go with the BBQ igniter; even that's gonna be $10-$20. If you want a sexier
    look, then invest a couple of hours to mount it in a plastic tube. You are
    only going to be able to do roughly qualitative work with this source; if
    you need a calibrated voltage / charge / source impedance, then go with a
    professional gun.

    Remember, if you want somebody else to do the assembly / packaging work for
    you (you said you wanted an "already built system") then how little do you
    expect those "other guys" to work for? If your company can't afford to do it
    right, then YOU have to pick up the slack and contribute your time and

  6. Guest

    I don't want a system. I just want something to generate a small
    electrical charge. I don't need to have an exact voltage or anything.
    The one looks like a small probe with a button on it. You push the
    button a few times to build up a static charge and you have a small
    clip that clips onto a machine ground and you touch the probe to
    different parts of the machine and it delivers one small shock and then
    you recharge it by pushing the button a few times. ESD Gun is probably
    the wrong term, but I can't think of anything else to describe it.

    My company makes laundry conveyors for dry cleaners and we're having
    problems with static from the clothes rubbing together at one of our
    sites. And when someone touches the machine the static discharge is
    resetting our controls. I am having trouble simulating the same thing
    and want something that will just generate the small charge
    consistently and will be portable and somewhat professional looking if
    we do testing in the field. I've used it before and just can't
    remember what it was called, but I know it would be nowhere near $1000,
    namely because it was small and didnt have any extra components and
    also because my last company would be too cheap to pay for anything
    like that. I'd at least know I'm not going crazy if I saw it and it
    was more expensive than I thought, but all I can find are these
    expensive systems with these big generators. The closest thing I've
    seen is the minizap,1055,18263,00.html .
    But I don't need all the controls, just a simple charge.
  7. mike

    mike Guest

    If you're hung up on the thing you used at your last job...have you
    considered calling/visiting someone at your last job???

    Return address is VALID.
    Wanted, PCMCIA SCSI Card for HP m820 CDRW.
    FS 500MHz Tek DSOscilloscope TDS540 Make Offer
    Wanted, 12.1" LCD for Gateway Solo 5300. Samsung LT121SU-121
    Bunch of stuff For Sale and Wanted at the link below.
  8. Ed Price

    Ed Price Guest

    No, you don't really know what you need. You ask for cheap, small, simple,
    consistent, portable & professional. Duh, too many conflicting constraints!

    Also, what in the world do you mean by "generate the small charge
    consistently"? How do you know anything at all about the charge that's
    creating your field problem? What's a "small" charge to you? More
    importantly, what's a "small" charge (discharge actually) to your product?
    Do you have a decent product that's being disrupted with a uniquely large
    ESD event? Or do you have a sloppy product that fails a lot more than you
    know about? Is this a problem with only one model in one location, or do
    your customers just learn to live with your flaky design?

    Assuming that you plan to be in business for the long term, why are you so
    inclined toward product design on a shoestring? Do you treat insulation
    breakdown, EMI and mechanical safety with a similar haphazard approach? If
    somebody gets a hand sliced off due to an ESD event, your legal department
    is not going to be pleased to hear that you designed a product with no
    quantifiable safety levels. Maybe at that point, a $5k ESD tester will look
    awfully cheap.

    So, for the LAST time, get a BBQ igniter and use it on your product. It's
    better than nothing. Or build a tester, using a tiny HV supply, a capacitor,
    a resistor and a probe tip. Again, better than nothing, and it allows for a
    small amount of charge adjustment. Or rent a decent tester for a couple of
    weeks. Or buy a used ESD tester.

    BTW, consider what happens when you discharge a 150 pF capacitor, charged to
    say 15 kV, through 1500 Ohms (human body model). Ten amps is the initial
    discharge current. Now consider that the human body model may be inadequate
    for your true field conditions. Maybe the operator approaches the equipment
    and makes contact through a metal key or a metal ring or watchband. Now, you
    have a scenario with a lot less than 1500 Ohms source resistance, and a lot
    higher current.

    Don't be so fixated on "how you used to do it", instead, focus on what you
    properly should be doing. It might be interesting for you to look at the
    EN61000-x product requirements for marketing into Europe. In the USA, you
    don't have any general immunity requirements. But the EU is a whole lot more
    difficult. Perhaps you might be able to justify what your company does in
    the domestic market by highlighting what they would have to do if they
    wanted to sell in the EU.

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