Blog Archives

Resistors in Charleswater Mat Ground Cords

Charleswater ground cords with black insulation contain a 1 megohm current limiting resistor located at the snap end / Charleswater ground cords with green and yellow striped insulation contain no resistor

Using a current limiting resistor in the ground cord is the user’s choice; however, the resistor is not for ESD control purposes. Either without resistor or with a one megohm resistor is acceptable, but most all Charleswater ground cords do contain a resistor at the snap end.

Here is advice from our industry’s standard:

“An easily accessible dedicated EBP [EPA ground bonding point] for the wrist strap shall be established adjacent to each working area, or working surface. A sufficient number of EBP shall be provided for operators and visitors.” (EN 61340-5-1 section 5.3.3)

“EPA ground cords shall be used to make electrical connections between groundable points and the EPA ground facility.” (EN 61340-5-1 section 5.3.4)

Regarding 1 megohm resistor, “A nominal 1 megohm resistor is commonly used in wrist straps and to ground work surfaces.” [EN 61340-5-2: Section 5.1.1] However, for Working Surfaces, it refers to “it is allowed, when approved by the ESD coordinator, to use surfaces which are “hard ground” i.e. less than 1 X 10^4 ohms to EPA ground.” (EN 61340-5-1 Note 6 of Table 1)

“The EPA ground facility shall be connected to EPA ground and provide a low resistance path to EPA ground (<2 ohms). When available, the mains protective earth shall be used. (EN 61340-5-1 section 5.3.2)

When an in-line resistor is used in Charleswater’s common point grounds it is isolated from the banana jacks

When an in-line resistor is used in Charleswater’s common point grounds it is isolated from the banana jacks


Enhancing Profits with Effective ESD Control

Our thanks to Conformity Magazine Published in December 2004 issue

Accurate process evaluation provides real answers

Provided by the ESD Association
by Stephen Halperin, in collaboration with Ron Gibson

“We need to spend HOW MUCH?”
Recently, a company experienced several large losses due to electrostatic discharge (ESD) and had a very unhappy customer on their hands. The manufacturing vice president now faced a substantial expenditure for new ESD loss prevention equipment. The company’s first step had been to hire an ESD consultant who recommended the purchase of several thousands of dollars in ionization equipment and monitoring instruments for several of the company’s facilities.

The troubled VP read the report several times looking for justification of the expense. However, the report did not define how the recommended equipment would meet the VP’s specific needs. Other than describing how ionization reduced electrostatic charge after it is generated and that the instruments could confirm that a discharge occurred, the report did not identify the actual cause of the process problem. No ESD measurements were described. There were no details related to cause of product loss, device sensitivity concerns, value issues, process and handling details, examination and description of existing controls, or rationale for how the recommended tools would solve the problem in question. The report was clearly based on the consultant observing the process of a single manufacturing environment. In effect, the report made a purchasing recommendation based on a “blanket” opinion, not on facts specific to the needs of the company or their customer. Such an approach typically makes a bad situation worse. While the recommended tools may have been very useful for investigating a process or for solving defined problems, they are expensive Band Aids“ when used in undefined problem situations.

Today’s electronic manufacturing environment demands that minimal ESD controls be in place to provide fundamental protection for electrostatic discharge sensitive (ESDS) devices. When basic ESD controls are employed and losses still occur, manufacturing and quality managers face more difficult problems., In assessing the problem, companies struggle with a variety of major questions concerning a specialized technology, while having minimal information and available skills. To avoid the risk of making the wrong investment decision without solving the initial problem, management needs a way to select and implement the most effective ESD controls that fit their financial situation, solve their specific problems, and provide a respectable return on their investment.

To continue reading Enhancing Profits with Effective ESD Control Click Here

ESD Control Program Considerations when Dealing with Class Zero Items

ANSI/ESD S20.20 Foreword states:

  • “This standard covers … electrical or electronic parts, assemblies and equipment susceptible to damage by electrostatic discharges greater than or equal to 100 volts Human Body Model (HBM).”
  • “When handling devices susceptible to less than 100 volts HBM, more stringent ESD Control
    Program Technical Requirements may be required, including adjustment of program Technical
    Element Recommended Ranges.”

HMB Classification Class 0 is:
Per ESD-STM5.1 Human Body Model (HBM) Table 1 Class 0 has ESD Voltage Range < 250 Volts
Basically, to control the environment to decrease the probability of ESD damage in “Class Zero”
situations, involves increasing ESD protective redundancies and periodic verifications to those ESD
Control technical elements.

Improved Grounding

  • Personnel: Decrease Wrist Strap and ESD Footwear upper limit permitted (The ESD Association has test data showing charge on a person is less as the path-to-ground resistance is less) The use of continuous monitors, smocks, use / increased use of ESD flooring, sole or full coverage foot grounders (HBM & CDM)
  • Worksurfaces: Dissipative (CDM) i.e. change < 10^9 to a requirement of 10^6 to 10^8 ohms
  • Bonded grounds – Carts, shelves, equipment
  • Conductors: Minimizing isolated conductors like devices on PC Boards (CDM)

To see examples of Wrist Straps capable of dealing with class zero environments Click Here

To see examples of Grounding Cords capable of dealing with class zero environments Click Here

Minimize Charge Generation
The best form of control is to minimize charge generation. Grounding and ionization eliminate charges once generated. Shielding protects from generated charges.

  • Personnel – Low Charging floor finish
  • Surfaces – Use of low charging (anti-static) topical treatments


  • Eliminate as best as possible all non-process necessary insulators
  • Topically treat where ever possible insulators that cannot be removed
  • Consider use of ESD Chairs or treat to reduce charge generation
  • Shield charges on clothing by using ESD Smocks

To continue reading ESD Control Program Considerations when Dealing with
Class Zero Items Click Here

Use ESD Control Products Correctly Or You Can Do More Harm Than Good

A Comprehensive Program Is Required For Effective ESD Control

With most companies pressured by global competition, effective ESD control can be a key to improving productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction. It is a pity that many companies buy ESD protective products or equipment and then misuse them, often causing more harm than good.

Electronic components that are electrostatic discharge sensitive (ESDS) must be protected throughout the entire manufacturing cycle. According to ANSI/ESD S20.20, the ESD Association’s standard for the development of an Electrostatic Discharge Control Program, safeguards are required during activities that “manufacture, process, assemble, install, package, label, service, test, inspect or otherwise handle electrical or electronic parts, assemblies and equipment susceptible to damage by electrostatic discharges.”

If ESD latent defects occur during this manufacturing and product cycle, it can be most frustrating and costly. Latent defects in components by definition will not be detected so products will pass normal inspections. ESD damage is the hidden enemy; electrostatic charges cannot be seen, typically discharges less than 3,000 volts cannot be felt, and latent defects cannot be detected through normal quality control procedures.

Manufacturing facilities should be as diligent with their ESD control program as hospital operating rooms are in implementing sterilization procedures. Damage caused by invisible and undetectable events occurs in medicine where people can experience infection or even death from viruses or bacteria. In hospitals, the defense against this invisible threat is extensive contamination control procedures including sterilization.

To learn more about correct ESD product usage Click Here

ESD Control Programme Periodic Verification

by Fred Tenzer and Gene Felder, Desco Industries, Inc.

Some practical advice for implementing
ESD control periodic checks
Want to accomplish something important? A familiar formula is write a plan, select the specifications, and then periodically test to verify that the plan is being implemented according to the test
results. This is basically the requirements of an ESD control program, per the ESD Association standard, ANSI/ESD S20.20. This important standard, entitled Development of an Electrostatic Discharge Control Program, covers the requirements necessary to design, establish, implement, and maintain an ESD control program to protect electrical or electronic parts, assemblies and equipment susceptible to ESD damage.
S20.20 is a process document, and provides ESD control plan guidance; one of its requirements is having a “compliance verification plan” as a component of the ESD control plan. Per S20.20, paragraph 6.1.3., Compliance Verification Plan:
“A Compliance Verification Plan shall be established to ensure the organization’s compliance with the requirements of the Plan. Formal audits or certifications shall be conducted in accordance with a Compliance Verification Plan that identifies the requirements to be verified, and the frequency at which those verifications must occur. Test equipment shall be selected to make measurements of appropriate properties of the technical requirements that are incorporated into the ESD program plan.”
To view more information on ESD Control Program Periodic Verification CLICK HERE

Developing an ESD Control Programme

by Ryne C. Allen and Gene Felder, Desco Industries

ESD events are the cause of maddening, difficult-to-duplicate, and intermittent product malfunctions. They consume a great deal of time, annoy all involved, and are often never resolved.

Combating the invisible enemy with an effective ESD control program can produce financial benefits. But the greatest savings come from decreasing latent defects, which are extremely difficult to detect after the component is assembled into a finished product.

Any relative contact and physical separation of materials (or flow of solids, liquids, or particle-laden gases) can generate electrostatic charges. Common sources include personnel, items made from common polymeric materials, and processing equipment. ESD can damage parts by direct contact with a charged source or by electric fields emanating from charged objects that induce a charge on ungrounded sensitive items.

To view more information on how to Develop an ESD Control Program CLICK HERE