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Static - all you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask

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kach22i

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Tell me all about static.................fill my head with positive and negative ions, charged metal particles and the like. This discussion should cover Vinyl records and CD's.

1. What causes it.

2. How can you prevent it.

3. Best ways to treat it once to hear, see or feel it.

I'e had one of these Zerostat guns for years, most people don't realize that the release of the trigger is as important as the depressing of the trigger.

 

Cherian

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Are you asking about ESD (electro static discharge)?
 

Rich

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You asked for it. . .

Here are the results of some quick net research:

From Wikipedia:

Static electricity is a class of phenomena involving objects with a net charge; typically referring to charged objects with voltages of sufficient magnitude to produce visible attraction, repulsion, and electrical sparks.

Static electricity can be a serious nuisance in the processing of analog recording media, because it can attract dust to sensitive materials. In the case of photography, dust accumulating on lenses and photographic plates degrades the resulting picture. Dust also permanently damages vinyl records because it can be embedded into the grooves as the stylus passes over. In both cases, several approaches exist to combat such dust deposition. Some brushes, particularly those with carbon fiber bristles, are advertised as possessing anti-static properties. Also available are handheld static guns which shoot streams of ions to discharge static on records and lenses.


From electricityforum.com:

Static electricity is an electric charge built up on persons or objects through friction. It is most familiar as an occasional annoyance in seasons of low humidity, but can be destructive and harmful in some situations. When working in direct contact with integrated cicuit electronics, or in the presence of flammable gas, care must be taken to avoid accumulating and discharging a shock.

Static electricity is electricity that does not flow in a current. It is generated by rubbing two nonmagnetic objects together. The friction between the two objects generates attraction because the substance with an excess of electrons transfers them to the positively-charged substance. Usually, substances that don't conduct current electricity (insulators) are good at holding a charge. These substances may include rubber, plastic, glass or pitch. The electrons that are transferred are stored on the surface of an object.

Putting certain materials together and then pulling them apart causes excess electrical charges to be created on their surfaces. This can be done by pushing them together and pulling them apart or by rubbing the materials together, which is the main way it is created.

Most matter is electrically neutral. That means its atoms and molecules have the same number of electrons as protons. If a material somehow obtains extra electrons and attaches them to the atom's outer orbits or shells, that material has a negative ( - ) charge. Likewise, if a material loses electrons, it has an excess of positive (+) charges. The electric field from the excess of charges then causes the electric effects of attraction, repulsion or a spark (lightning).

According to Solar System Model (or Bohr Model) of the atom, electrons are in orbits or shells around the nucleus. A maximum number of electrons are allowed in each orbit. Forces in each atom seek to reach that maximum number, such that if an element is just one electron short of the maximum amount in its outer orbit, it would try to "steal" an electron from another element that may be just starting its outer orbit. This is the basis of chemical reactions.

That force will also tend to hold two different materials together. In that situation, the force is called the adhesive molecular force. When different materials are pressed together and then pulled apart, the adhesive molecular force pulls electrons from material unto the other. This creates the phenomenon.

You can see this effect with a piece of Scotch tape or similar tape. First verify that it is not attracted to your finger. Then stick it to some surface and then pull it off. Put you finger near the tape and it will now be attracted to your finger, showing that there is an excess of charges on the tape.

Although your can create it by pressing materials together and pulling them apart, rubbing them together works even better, except in the case of something sticky like tape.

One unfortunate result from saying that rubbing materials creates this phenomenon is that most people think that friction causes the charges to build up. It is not friction that causes the spark, rather it is the adhesive forces that pull off electrons.

Dry human skin and rabbit fur have the greatest tendency to give up electrons when rubbed on something and become positively ( + ) charged. Teflon and vinyl have the greatest tendency to become negatively charged ( - ) when rubbed. If you want to create a charge, rubbing fur on teflon should give the best results.

In conclusion, static electricity occurs when there is an excess of positive (+) or negative (-) charges on an object's surface. You can create a charge by rubbing certain materials together. It is not caused by friction. The position of the material in the Triboelectric Series determines how effectively the charges will be exchanged.

For more info., check out these links:

http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/static_materials.htm

http://science.howstuffworks.com/vdg1.htm

Unlike the product in our demag thread, I think there is lots of scientific evidence of the problem presented by static electricity and vinyl records and also of the effectiveness of the Zerostat gun. I am curious whether static electricity is a big problem for CDs. Anyone have any input on this?
 

kach22i

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Rich said:
Unlike the product in our demag thread, I think there is lots of scientific evidence of the problem presented by static electricity and vinyl records and also of the effectiveness of the Zerostat gun. I am curious whether static electricity is a big problem for CDs. Anyone have any input on this?
Is there any kind of a relationship between magnetization and static electricity?

About that other question; Electrostatic discharge see the link below.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrostatic_discharge
Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is the sudden and momentary electric current that flows when an excess of electric charge, stored on an electrically insulated object, finds a path to an object at a different electrical potential (such as ground). The term is usually used in the electronics and other industries to describe momentary unwanted currents that may cause damage to electronic equipment
Sparks?

I've never seen sparks even with records clinging/sticking to their sleeves/jackets. I'm not saying it can't happen if it's dry enough outside.
 

Rich

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kach22i said:
Is there any kind of a relationship between magnetization and static electricity?
My understanding, based upon what I have read, is that there is not a direct relationship between the two. Basically, static electricity involves a collecting of excess positive or negative ions (protons or electrons, respectively) on the surface of a material which creates an electrical potential. This potential will seek to attract bodies of opposite potential and repel bodies of same potential. When two bodies of opposite potential touch, there is a discharge of some or all of the electrical potential--"static discharge."

Magnetism, on the other hand, is a force that is created by the movement of electrons within the atoms of a substance, such as a magnet or ferrous metal.

Although there are some similarities between the two, I don't think there is any direct relationship.
 

MiTT

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kach22i said:
Tell me all about static.................fill my head with positive and negative ions, charged metal particles and the like. This discussion should cover Vinyl records and CD's.

1. What causes it.

2. How can you prevent it.

3. Best ways to treat it once to hear, see or feel it.

I'e had one of these Zerostat guns for years, most people don't realize that the release of the trigger is as important as the depressing of the trigger.

kach22i I have a Zerostat gun too and use it faithfully. Here in Colorado we are so dry, static electricity is almost always a problem. I have actually had arching from my finger tip to a component. I now always touch my steel equipment rack before touching any components because I have read that it can damage equipment and have seen it firsthand when I worked in the telecom industry.

For those who doubt the impact of such things, or the effectiveness of devices that can help control them I can gladly demonstrate it in my system for anyone who is ever in Denver - come on by!

And yes, the release of the trigger is as important as the pull, and you always want to use it an odd number of times so that you don't re-introduce a charge of the same (original) polarity.
 

Jeff Zaret

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Not to beat this to death but I live in the northen desert of southern California. We are always dry and typically around 10% humidity. I just installed new carpet in my house and it is a nylon based carpet. What I found out to my disbelief and dismay is that I am a wonderful capacitor when walking across the carpet to my audio equipment. In this case, I am referring to a capacitor when it is holding a charge, me! :eek:
This week early one morning while listening to music before I went to work I was lifting the arm off my turntable and the spark that jumped from my finger to the arm was considerable. I did have this problem before but I did try to grab a screwdriver that I would keep on the top to discharge me before or at best it was a minimal shock/charge. Well this did not work and my phono preamp was not happy, my CJ preamp lit up like a neon sign.:eek:
Well when I got home I put on an album (that is vinyl to you young ones :D) and the sound was muffled similarly to putting a blanket over my CLS's. I tried every trick I knew, Cd's and radio and other troubleshooting items which were considerable and nothing worked. I was convinced it was my CJ preamp and was trying to figure out which body part to sell so I could afford a new one since I figured I toasted it. The new equivelent CJ preamp is $8500.00 and I was short about $8500.00.
To make a long story short I contacted CJ and we discussed what had happened. I figured it was not my amp, since I purchased that new less than a year ago and I figured it was "beefy" enough to take a "hit". As it turns out I was wrong. The preamp was fine but my CJ amp was not. It has four fuses, two for each channel, which are on the positive and negative traces/lines of each channel. I blew the negative sides fuses on each channel. Basic electricity is current flows from negative to positive and obiviously the static charge from my finger was a greater potential than the other lines/traces in the system.

I was lucky. The CJ is a great design and the fuses worked as designed because we all know it is usually an expensive piece which protects a 10 cent fuse. So a trip to Radio Shack and $2 spent put me back in heaven. I lost sleep over this one. I know obsessive but it is me.

The reason I am stating this is ESD is real and it can affect our audio equipment. I too have a Zerostat gun and use it on my albums and yes there is static and yes it can stick to the sleeves. I hae never had that problem with CD's and although there is plastic involved on the manufacture of CD's, I do not believe the laser is affected by this. I would suggest and try the Zerostat gun on a CD and see if you hear a difference but I doubt it.

Jeff :cool:
 

Rich

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Wow. Great story Jeff. Thanks for sharing. I cannot believe you blew two fuses in your amp with a static electric discharge. That is unreal. You may want to run a wire to the center screw on an outlet to give yourself a better ground to discharge to before touching your components. I'm glad it was an easy (and cheap) fix for your amp.
 

Jeff Zaret

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Rich,
What I did was I got a grounding strap from work that is actually a fabric with copper at one end which has some kind of "sticky stuff" and that is on the back of my amp across the screw marked ground. The other end was made to wrap around a wrist with more "sticky stuff". I stuck it to the top of my audio rack which is glass. So far, I have been always touching the grounding part on the strap before touching anything else and there have been a few times where it has actually discharged from my finger. So far so g:):)d

Jeff :cool:
 

aliveatfive

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FWIW - I once fried the entire insides of a cable box from a static charge just by touching it - and this was in relatively humid New York.
 

Rich

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That sounds like a good solution for the problem, Jeff. This thread has got me thinking. . . I wonder how much voltage, amperage and wattage is delivered by a good static discharge. I would guess that the amps and watts are pretty small, but the voltage could be high. Anyone have any idea?
 

aliveatfive

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Rich said:
That sounds like a good solution for the problem, Jeff. This thread has got me thinking. . . I wonder how much voltage, amperage and wattage is delivered by a good static discharge. I would guess that the amps and watts are pretty small, but the voltage could be high. Anyone have any idea?
I may not remember correctly, but I think I once read 5-6k volts?
 

Rich

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aliveatfive said:
I may not remember correctly, but I think I once read 5-6k volts?
O.K., I found this in a webopedia article about static electricity and its ability to damage computer microchips:

Microchip damage can occur if it is exposed to static electricity as low as 10 volts, and humans are not able to perceive static electricity until it has reached about 1,500 volts. (Walking across a rug can produce a static electricity voltage of up to 12,000 volts, but static voltage is not life threatening.) So it is possible to damage a hard drive with static electricity that is not even felt by the person because it is at such a low voltage.
So there you have it, up to 12,000 volts! I read in another article that when wearing nylon clothes, the charge can reach 21,000 volts. The reason it is not life-threatening is because it is the current (amps) that kills you, and I imagine a static discharge is in the milli-amp range.
 

Jeff Zaret

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Rich,

Well I knew I was hot stuff. :D

I guess I will have to wuit wearing nylons. LOL :D

Jeff :cool:
 
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