Antistatic Precautions for Electronic Components

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Electronic equipment is very sensitive to static charges. Sellers and Buyers must make sure that components are properly handled and packaged to prevent damage and premature failure.

Static charges can, for example, build up on people when they walk on nylon carpets, move through dry air, etc. This is the type of charge which may be felt as a brief uncomfortable shock when you get out of a car and touch the car door.

Electronics are design to operate at a few volts and static charges can be hundreds or thousands of volts. While they will not kill people, the voltage levels can damage electronic circuits.
This damage may not result in immediate failure of the electronic components can still cause deterioration of the electronic components leading to premature failure.

So if such a component is not properly handled, when a buyer receives the item it may work but some months later the item fails and there is no real knowledge why the failure occurred nor any redress through warranty from the seller.

Where individual computer cards and components such as motherboards, Video cards, PCI or ISA Expansion cards, memory sticks, CPU chips, hard drives, and the like are packaged and handled, precautions need to be taken to avoid possible damage from static electricity.

Ideally anyone handling such electronic components should wear an anti-static strap connected to an earthed object like the computer case/frame. Some other precautions involve not touching the terminals and connectors such as the gold plated connections which plug into the motherboard sockets.
For packaging, antistatic bags and bubble wrap should be used.  Most antistatic bags are slightly greyish in colour and have back lines cross crossing them.  Antistatic foam is dark-grey or black in colour and anti-static bubble wrap is pink in colour.

If an items is placed in an ordinary plastic bag, a CPU has the pins pressed into ordinary white foam, or the items is wrapped in normal (clear type) bubble wrap, then there is no protection from static charges and the plastic may even promote build-up of static and cause damage.

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