Friday, September 2, 2011

Gear trivia for not so trivial protection

1. All the DMM probes I own have standard exposed metal rods around 2cm long. When doing hot checks on boards or high voltage AC what-have-you I always have to beware of shorting connections and even the probes and such booboos. To minimize inadvertent and unwanted contacts which could have disastrous consequences, I insulated one set of probes with heat shrink tubing, leaving only the conical tip bare. Now they're ultra safe to use.

2. I don't have a purchased ESD wrist strap. I figure I don't need one if the principle is to ground me to earth potential. What I've been using for years now is this. I have a wire that's connected to a copper stake that's been driven into the soil (earth). A 1 Mohm resistor is soldered in series. This resistor limits the current that may possibly go through you know who. At the other end of the wire is an alligator clip. Since I don't particularly like gators biting me, I wear my watch which has a metal strap to which I clip the alligator onto. When not using it on my wrist, the alligator clips onto a metal sheet I have on the bench. When I can't find my watch or am just too lazy to even put it on, I touch and wipe my hands on the sheet every so often and hope to Thor I won't zap any ICs.

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