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Author Topic: Attention Shippers! ESD  (Read 1476 times)
Trongersoll
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September 25, 2013, 06:06:57 PM
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ESD, ElectroStatic Discharge is a very real concern when shipping circuit boards. There are two levels of ESD packaging and both must be used and taken into account. The first is what is known as "Pink Poly". you will find pink plastic bags, bubble wrap, even foam peanuts are available in Pink Poly. Pink Poly is a plastic that does not build a Static charge. It does NOT protect the contents from ESD damage, it just does not contribute to the problem and should be used. The other is the metallic like, shiney ESD bags. These conduct Electricity and provide a uniform ground for the contents. These are a must.

When handling circuit cards you should make sure you are grounded, or at the very least touch the metal case of your computer to bleed off any static charge you may have on you. Try to only handle the cards by the edges.

The damage from ESD is usually invisible. You can't see it, but those chips on you circuit card could be damaged to the point where the don't function correctly, or at all. Personally, I have seen microscopic pictures of ESD damaged Integrated Circuits(what we all call chips). It is not a pretty sight.

For as long as I've been buying ASICminer Block Erupters, I've wondered why they come packaged in those acetate plastic bags which are a great source of Static Electricity. I put those in the garbage immediately, I don't want them anywhere near my unboxed Erupters.

The thing with ESD damage is that it isn't always immediately apparent. it just may degrade the usuable life of your product, or may cause random problems over time depending on what is damaged.

Seriously Shippers, please package your products properly!
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Carlton Banks
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September 26, 2013, 12:11:57 AM
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The thing with ESD damage is that it isn't always immediately apparent. it just may degrade the usuable life of your product, or may cause random problems over time depending on what is damaged.

This little nugget was what really got me with the ESD issue. I always assumed that if you cause damage to a part of your equipment due to ESD, then you would know right away. Either it works or it doesn't. Then, someone told me what you're referring to: latent damage.

So let's get this straight. It's invisible to the naked eye, hell, it's invisible to all but the highest resolving microscopes when you consider the fine lithography used in many components these days. So it's nigh-on impossible to know whether you've damaged something or not, precautions or not. Even if something fails, who is realistically going to dissemble all chip packages and inspect every square micrometer to prove it? And what could you even prove, exactly? That what you found was definitely the result of failing to take ESD precautions? I think not.

In a decade or so of assembling and handling computer components, it's never taken place with anything I've worked on, precautions or not. I'm not saying I know it's bullshit, but if you've ever had an ESD industry rep hit you with the soft sell at work, then you'll know something's up. The incident I'm remembering involved a rep that even claimed that his ESD shoes just so happened to be the most comfortable shoes he's ever worn. Come on now.

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Trongersoll
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September 26, 2013, 12:39:25 AM
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Believe what you will, I would prefer anything i bought not to fail because the shipper wasn't ESD aware or concerned.
Carlton Banks
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September 26, 2013, 12:29:44 PM
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Well, I don't know how much care was taken during production/assembly, but Avalon units didn't ship in ESD packaging. And they certainly worked for long enough... whether they might die as a result of this one day is anyone's guess, but they definitely took a physical battering in transit (one of mine was so squashed on the case in one corner, it looked like someone had been gnawing on it with titanium teeth). Maybe you should do a thread about adequate shock absorbing packaging also!

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Trongersoll
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September 26, 2013, 04:31:10 PM
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Well, I don't know how much care was taken during production/assembly, but Avalon units didn't ship in ESD packaging. And they certainly worked for long enough... whether they might die as a result of this one day is anyone's guess, but they definitely took a physical battering in transit (one of mine was so squashed on the case in one corner, it looked like someone had been gnawing on it with titanium teeth). Maybe you should do a thread about adequate shock absorbing packaging also!

ESD shouldn't be an issue in a machine with a case. we are talking about circuit cards.
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