How to Combat Electrostatic Shock

By: Jamie Wallis
A typical electrical shock does not have the potential to cause fatal damage to a human being’s nervous system. However, your computer’s hard drive is not designed to withstand electrical shocks more than 10 volts. This makes hard drives susceptible to electrostatic discharges (ESD). An ESD has been defined as a portion of an imbalanced high voltage field on a non-conductive surface of something e.g. your hand, a screwdriver or your carpet that has just moved or shifted its energies onto a non-conducive surface in a rapid and uncontrollable manner. In other words, ESD or static electrical shocks are electrical bolts of more than 20 volts where the electrons move from your power plug point to your hard drive or vice versa. ESD has the capacity to cause tremendous disk damage resulting in permanent data loss.More than 44% of data loss occurs due to ESD. Another side effect of ESD is the discarding of these old damaged hard drives. In universities and military organisations, hardware loss accounts for more than 8% of the annual loss statements. When combined, ESD usually leads to a total loss worth more than 40,000 pounds every year. Hence, it becomes very important to treat and handle hard drives with extreme caution.Common Suggestions
  • Never touch your hard drive chassis or the circuit card with a bare finger or non-insulated tool
  • Always unplug your computer from the network point on hearing a grinding noise ensuing from your computer
  • Always have a backup of all your information.

    Backups are usually made on alternative drives and disks such as floppies, CDs, DVD-RAM, tape drive systems, and cartridge-based drives such as the Iomega JAZ or Castlewood ORB.
  • Always keep your hard drive in an ESD bag until use
  • Always handle the drive with connector pins on your drive with the proper cabling ends or jumpers. It is advisable not to use a bare or wet finger including any non-insulated tools.
  • Avoid the usage of high voltage devices such as vacuum cleaners and fans near your computer. Some ESD experts suggest not placing vacuum cleaners and fans near your computer drive to prevent any electrical shocks.
  • You can prevent ESD by controlling the temperature of the room where the computer is located. It has been noticed that ESD is greatly reduced in conditions of relative humidity. However, dry conditions could spark off shocks damaging your entire network.
  • Never try to plug in a power or data cable drive in a network unless the power has been turned off
  • ESD can be prevented by wearing a wrist strap grounded to an unpainted surface on the chassis of your computer
  • In case of unavailability of a wrist strap, it is recommended to touch the unpainted surface on the chassis of your computer before handling your drive
The Portable Hard DriveIn August 2000, DataZone introduced the portable hard drive to combat ESD. This DataBook portable hard drive had entry-level capacities from 6 to 25 GB with an incredible non-operational shock specification of 10,000 G equalling a 30-inch drop onto a concrete floor. This indicated more than 2,0000G difference between the then existent desktop hard drives and the new portable hard drive. In addition, the proprietary technology of DataZone ensures that the portable hard disk drive is durable, compact and lightweight comprising of rugged periphery qualities. The portable drive is also equipped with low acoustic emission units making it usable for audio/video applications. Its interface can be described as a standard AT/IDE 36 pin connector with data and power lines/ supply included.Advantages
  • Readily available and easy to use
  • Allows flexible employment enabling work-at-home employment
  • Enables frequent data exchanges between computers through the Hot Swap software installed in these portable hard drives
  • Enables the generation of e-mail, e-fax, teleconferencing, wireless communications, mobile computers coupled with removable and transportable large capacity magnetic storage devices, reports, designs, software programsFree Web Content, video editing and graphic designs at home
  • Helps in increasing productivity allowing employees to work at their own pace
  • Saves telecommuting costs.

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