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CAR 66 CONVERSION COURSE

MODULE 5
DIGITAL TECHNIQUES & ELECTRONIC INSTRUMENT SYSTEMS

1 ELECTROSTATIC SENSITIVE DEVICES


Static electricity is generated and stored on the surface of non-conductive materials and
discharges to the first available ground source. Items such as human hands, air, and glass
store high positive charges, whereas plastics store large charges of negative electricity.

Table 1 lists typical measured static charges for the human body.

Relative Humidity of Air


SITUATION
Low 10-20% High 65-90%
Volts Volts
Walking across a carpet 35,000 1,500
Walking over vinyl floor covering 12,000 250
Worker at bench 6,000 100
Vinyl envelopes containing work instructions 7,000 600
Polythene bag picked up from bench 20,000 1,200
Work chair padded with urethane foam 18,000 1,500

Static Charges
Table 1

1.1 HANDLING OF MICROELECTRONIC DEVICES

The voltage and current requirements for microelectronic devices are of a very low
magnitude. It is therefore necessary to observe strict precautions to avoid damage or
destruction when carrying out functional testing and fault diagnosis. There are some
devices whose circuits can, by the very nature of their construction, be damaged or
destroyed by “Static Electricity” discharges resulting simply from the manner in which they
are handled.

These device are referred to as “Electrostatic-Sensitive Devices” (ESD). The type of


devices that are most susceptible to damage by static electricity are listed in Table 2
CAR 66 CONVERSION COURSE
MODULE 5
DIGITAL TECHNIQUES & ELECTRONIC INSTRUMENT SYSTEMS

Electrostatic discharge range where


Device damage can occur (V)
Field effect transistors (MOSFET) 100 – 200
Complementary metal oxide silicon
(CMOS) 250 – 2000
Schottky diodes (TTL) 300 – 2500
Bipolar transistors 380 – 7000
Precision thin-film resistors 150 – 1000
Emitter coupled logic (ECL) 500
Silicon-controlled rectifiers (SCR) 680 - 1000

ESD Sensitivity Levels


Table 2

1.2 STATIC DAMAGE

If static discharge can be seen or felt, then it may be assumed that the potential difference
prior to discharge can be measured in thousands of volts. As Table 2 shows, this is more
than enough to cause damage to an electronic circuit. Therefore, electrostatic discharge
damage can occur even though the discharge is of insufficient strength to be felt or seen.
The low energy source that most commonly destroys ESDs is the human body which, in
conjunction with nonconductive garments and floor coverings, generates and retains static
electricity.

1.3 PRECAUTIONS

In order to adequately protect electrostatic sensitive devices, the device and everything that
it comes into contact with must be brought to ground potential by providing conducting
surfaces and discharge paths.

In avionic workshops, equipment-containing ESDs is serviced at an electrostatic-free


workstation. In general, the workstation consists of a conductive work surface which,
together with the operator and tools in use, is bonded electrically to a common ground. The
floor area in front of the workstation is also covered with conductive material and bonded to
the work surface.

The operator wears a wrist strap, which is electrically bonded to the work surface through a
resistance (1 –2 M). Under no circumstances should the operator, or anyone else, touch
the ESDs, or assemblies containing such devices, without first placing a wrist strap in direct
contact with their wrist.
CAR 66 CONVERSION COURSE
MODULE 5
DIGITAL TECHNIQUES & ELECTRONIC INSTRUMENT SYSTEMS

1.4 STORAGE AND TRANSPORTATION

Wherever there are ESDs, there will also be the problem of protecting them during
transportation and storage, and so specialised packaging is essential for individual devices,
PCB modules and the complete LRU. The packaging for devices and PCB modules takes
the form of “Bags”. These bags are made from a material which is “Quasi-conductive” (a
material whose surface or volume resistivities are too high to be conductive, but conductive
enough to “bleed off” charges in no more than a few milliseconds).

Other protective measures involve shorting the connecting leads or pins of devices by
means of wire, spring clips, metal foil or by inserting the leads or pins into a conductive
foam material. For PCB modules having edge connectors, specially formed strips called
“Shunts” are placed over the connectors to keep them all at the same potential and also
protect them against physical damage.

1.5 ON AIRCRAFT PRECAUTIONS

When replacing Line Replacement Units (LRUs), containing ESDs on aircraft, the following
safety precautions must be observed.

a). All electrical power from the system should be removed by pulling the system
circuit breaker(s).

b). If the power is not removed during LRU removal or installation, transient
voltages may cause permanent damage.

c). After the removal of an LRU from its rack, a conductive shorting dust cap
must be installed on each of its electrical connectors. Under no
circumstances must the electrical pins in the connectors be touched by hand.

d). The conductive dust caps from the unit to be installed can be use on the unit
being removed.

e). The removed unit is then transported with the conductive dust caps fitted.
CAR 66 CONVERSION COURSE
MODULE 5
DIGITAL TECHNIQUES & ELECTRONIC INSTRUMENT SYSTEMS

Aircraft are often fitted with racks containing removable circuit boards, or cards, which often
contain ESDs.

During the removal and replacement of the cards, the following procedure is to be followed:

a). The body of the operator must be grounded by using the wrist strap provided,
connected to the appropriate ground jack.

b). The card is removed using the top and bottom, or left and right, extractors on
the card. Touching the connectors, leads or edge connectors of the card must
be avoided.

c). The removed card is placed in the conductive bag, which is then secured, in
accordance with the manufacturer’s approved procedure.
Note: Should the bag need to be secured with a tie, cotton twine should be
used, since this is ‘neutral’ as far as static electricity is concerned.

d). The replacement card is then removed from its conductive bag and installed
following the precautions listed above.

1.6 LABELLING

An obviously important requirement is the identification of the packaging containing ESDs


and of any assembly, be it a PCB of an LRU, which contains ESDs. For this purpose there
are special decals. These are affixed to packaging and assemblies.

In the case where the connector pins of an LRU may be susceptible to a discharge, an
additional decal is often affixed near the connector as a warning to personnel not to touch
the connector pins.

Figure 1 shows the type of ESD symbols and labels in use today.
CAR 66 CONVERSION COURSE
MODULE 5
DIGITAL TECHNIQUES & ELECTRONIC INSTRUMENT SYSTEMS

COMMERCIAL
GOVERNMENT INTERNATIONAL
(BOEING)

CAUTION CAUTION
OBSERVE PRECAUTIONS THIS ASSEMPLY
FOR HANDLING CONTAINS
ELECTROSTATIC ELECTROSTATIC
SENSITIVE SENSITIVE
DEVICES DEVICES

STATIC STATIC
SENSITIVE SENSITIVE

ESD Labels
Figure 1
CAR 66 CONVERSION COURSE
MODULE 5
DIGITAL TECHNIQUES & ELECTRONIC INSTRUMENT SYSTEMS

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