Author Topic: What is Good Microcontroller Safty?  (Read 1289 times)

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Offline R.E.G.I.S. Mark VTopic starter

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What is Good Microcontroller Safty?
« on: February 13, 2011, 02:55:09 AM »
Hi I have a simple question regarding how best to keep from frying my Microcontroller

Currently when I handle my microcontroller I make sure I am grounded and when I store the microcontroller I store it in two electrostatic protective baggies one inside of another

I have finished my first robot (body, programming, works fine, ect…) and my biggest concern is that if I mount the microcontroller in the robot and then accidently touch it with my fingers while I am ungrounded I might fry it.

I have NO formal training so I don’t even know if that is something I need to worry about or not. so any feedback as to whether that can even happen would be appreciated.

 IF I the above issue is a real threat what’s a good course of action you can suggest for mounting my microcontroller to the robot? Should I build it a little box? Can a build the box out of any plastic/nonconductive material? Or is that stupid because of something I totally don’t know about?

If you Assume I know nothing and tell me EVERYTHING about protecting my microcontroller I would be really appreciative… (example: what I can get away with and what is flat out stupid to do)

Thank you for reading my post and for your time

Offline newInRobotics

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Re: What is Good Microcontroller Safty?
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2011, 05:43:25 AM »
I don't believe that microcontrollers are so sensitive that You gave to ground Yourself in order to touch them.
There is same theory about internals of PC (desktop or laptop), always to be grounded while assembling/disassembling one, however, from my own experience with  loads of computers I can say that none of the parts where damaged by electrostatic energy while I've handled them without being grounded.
Grounding Yourself is more for Your safety, when working with power supplies that still might have charge inside. Even though it is possible for charge to travel through Your body to a sensitive internal device, it has never happened to me.
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Offline billhowl

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Re: What is Good Microcontroller Safty?
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2011, 07:36:36 AM »
A note on electrostatic discharge (ESD)
Static electricity needs two conditions to occur: friction between dissimilar materials (ie cat hair and a rubber rod - recall the demo from science class, or balloon rubbed in your hair), and insulation - the lack of a path to bleed off the charge.

It is important to take some care when working with the electronics (sensors and the micro-controllers) in order to prevent them from being damaged by ESD. Here are some recommendations:

For a hobbiest, an anti-static wrist band is an inexpensive solution to bleeding off any charge that builds up. For your safety, be sure to get a grounding strap that has resistance built in, and one with a snap connection to the grounding wire so when you forget to remove it, it doesn't rip your arm off when you walk away.

Ground yourself before touching the electronics. This can be done by touching a metal appliance which is plugged into an electrical socket.
Work in an environment where there is less chance of ESD developing, such as on a concrete floor of a garage. Avoid carpets and plastic tables When not in use, store the electronics in an ESD protective plastic bag.

Avoid chairs with plastic seats - like you sometimes find in schools. Just shifting around on those as you work can build up quite a charge. And if possible, don't put your work area on synthetic fiber carpeting.

The static charge needed to zap an electronic device, particularly IC's like the Micro-controllers, is way way less than that needed to cause an arc in the air. So avoid touching IC pins when possible.

Static damage is cumulative. Repetitive handling can eventually cause failure. And the damage won't necessarily be catastrophic failure. It might merely increase static power draw, or reduce the output drive strength, or input threshold.

I don't wear polyester or rubber soled shoes, and my workbench area isn't on carpeting. The air here is typically 50% humidity or higher. I'm careful handling parts. In these conditions, I've not had any issues with static damage.

Offline R.E.G.I.S. Mark VTopic starter

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Re: What is Good Microcontroller Safty?
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2011, 01:45:51 PM »
Hey thanks guys

the feedback was really helpful


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