If you work with electronic components or devices, you know how important it is to protect them from electrostatic discharge (ESD). ESD is the sudden release of electricity between two objects that have different electric potentials, such as a person and a metal surface. ESD can cause serious damage to sensitive electronic components or devices, such as microchips, circuit boards, or hard drives, by creating sparks, overheating, or short-circuiting them. ESD can also affect the performance and quality of the products, leading to product failure, customer dissatisfaction, and increased costs.
One of the most common and effective ways to prevent ESD from harming your products and your workplace is to use wrist straps. Wrist straps are a type of personnel grounding device that connects the user to the ground, and prevents any static charge from building up on the user’s body. Wrist straps consist of a wrist band, a ground cord, and a resistor. The wrist band is made of conductive material, such as rubber or fabric, that wraps around the user’s wrist and makes contact with the user’s skin. The ground cord is a coiled wire that connects the wrist band to the ground, either directly or through a wrist strap tester. The resistor is a component that limits the current flow in the ground cord, and provides a safe level of resistance for the user.
However, wrist straps are not foolproof, and they can become faulty or ineffective over time. Wrist straps can be damaged by wear and tear, improper use, or environmental factors, such as humidity or temperature. Wrist straps can also lose their conductivity or contact with the user’s skin, due to dirt, sweat, or lotion. Therefore, it is essential to test wrist straps on a regular basis, to ensure they are working properly and providing adequate ESD protection. This is where wrist strap testers come in handy.
What are wrist strap testers?
Wrist strap testers are devices that measure the resistance of the wrist strap circuit, and indicate whether the wrist strap is functioning correctly or not. Wrist strap testers can be portable, wall-mounted, or fitted to the workbench. Wrist
strap testers can have different features and functions, depending on the model and the manufacturer. Some of the common features of wrist strap testers are:
- Test button: This is a metal button that the user presses with their finger, while wearing the wrist strap. This completes the circuit and allows the tester to measure the resistance of the wrist strap, the ground cord, the resistor, and the user’s skin.
- LED lights: These are coloured lights that show the result of the test. The tester usually has three LED lights: green, red, and yellow. The green light indicates a pass, which means the wrist strap is within the acceptable resistance range. The red light indicates a fail, which means the wrist strap is either too high or too low in resistance. The yellow light indicates a low battery, which means the tester needs to be replaced or recharged.
- Buzzer: This is a sound device that emits a beep or a buzz, depending on the result of the test. The buzzer usually sounds when the test button is pressed, and stops when the test button is released. The buzzer can also sound differently for a pass or a fail, to provide an audible feedback to the user.
- Display: This is a digital or analogue screen that shows the numerical value of the resistance measured by the tester. The display can also show other information, such as the test mode, the battery level, or the calibration date.
- Kalibrálás: This is a process that ensures the accuracy and reliability of the tester. Calibration involves comparing the tester’s readings with a known standard, and adjusting the tester’s settings if necessary. Calibration should be performed by a qualified technician, and according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Calibration should also be done at regular intervals, usually once a year, or more frequently if the tester is used heavily or exposed to harsh conditions.
Why are wrist strap testers important?
Wrist strap testers are important for several reasons, such as:
- Ensuring ESD safety: Wrist strap testers ensure that wrist straps are providing adequate ESD protection, and prevent any static charge from damaging electronic components or devices. Wrist strap testers can detect any faults or defects in the wrist strap circuit, and alert the user to replace or repair the wrist strap as soon as possible. Wrist strap testers can also prevent any electric shocks or burns to the user, by limiting the current flow in the ground cord.
- Ensuring ESD compliance: Wrist strap testers also ensure that wrist straps are complying with the ESD standards and regulations that are set by various organisations, such as the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the British Standards Institution (BSI), or the Electrostatic Discharge Association (ESDA). These standards and regulations specify the requirements and guidelines for ESD control and prevention in different industries and applications. Wrist strap testers conform to the EN 61340-5-1 standard1, which is the most widely recognised and accepted standard for ESD protection.
Wrist strap testers are a vital part of ESD protection and prevention. They measure the resistance of the wrist strap circuit, and indicate whether the wrist strap is functioning correctly or not. They ensure ESD safety and compliance, and prevent any static charge from harming electronic components or devices, or the user. Therefore, wrist strap testers are essential for anyone who works with static sensitive items, whether as a manufacturer, a seller, or a buyer.