How to Make an Antistatic Earth Ground Strap

Written by brad norton
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How to Make an Antistatic Earth Ground Strap
Electronics are very sensitive to electrostatic discharges from static electricity. (computer board image by Ivan Polushkin from Fotolia.com)

Static electricity damages computer hard drives, motherboards, graphics cards and memory modules. The small shock between your finger and a piece of computer hardware has the potential to make the part inoperable and void the manufacturer's warranty. Anti-static wrist bands are more than a piece of wire wrapped around your arm that conducts electricity to the ground. To help prevent electrocution, they also include a 1-megaohm resistor, allowing the static charge to go to the ground but slowing 120-volt electrocution voltage below heart-stopping rates if you touch a live wire.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • No. 24 gauge insulated copper wire
  • Electrical pliers
  • Copper bracelet
  • 1 megaohm resistor
  • Solder
  • Flux
  • Soldering iron
  • Electrical tape
  • Alligator clip

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure the distance to the grounding source from the work area using a measuring tape. Cut the copper wire to length, allowing an extra foot of length for easy movement. Strip one inch of insulation off the end of the copper wire. Wrap the wire around a conducting material, such as a copper bracelet, ensuring a tight connection. Use the flux on the wire and copper bracelet and apply the soldering iron and solder for a permanent connection to the bracelet. Use a small piece of electrical tape to cover the solder for a finished look.

  2. 2

    Cut the copper wire two inches from the bracelet and strip a 1/2 inch of insulation off the wire using the electrical pliers. Wrap the copper wire around one end of the 1-megaohm resistor. Apply flux and use the soldering iron and solder to create a tight electrical bond.

  3. 3

    Strip 1/2 inch of insulation off the remaining copper wire. Wrap the wire around the other end of the 1-megaohm resistor. Flux and solder the connection. Wrap all of the connections with electrical tape for a finished look.

  4. 4

    Strip 1/2 inch of insulation off the end of the insulated copper wire and insert the wire into the alligator clip. Crimp the end of the alligator clip for a tight electrical contact.

Tips and warnings

  • Check the length of wire to make sure it does not interfere with your movement at the work bench. While soldering the connections is not a mandatory requirement, it will make the connections tight enough to avoid being pulled apart from normal use and wear.
  • Use an open-on-fail resistor to avoid electrocution hazards. If the electronics have voltages greater than 125 volts, add additional resistors to reduce the amount of current travelling through the body to prevent death by electrocution.

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