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View Full Version : Ever broke something with your own static electricity?



scruffziller
11-14-2005, 02:40 PM
I went to turn on my LASKO fan last night. The switching mechanism inside has some circuitry of somesort because of the nature of the setup. It has simulated natural breeze control, remote control, timer etc. I touched near the button but not on the button by accident and an electrical spark jumped from my finger to the interface and turned the fan on. I thought, "wow, I turned it on with my own static hee hee!!" Then I thought, "eh well, maybe I hit the button and didn't know it." When I got up this morning, I tried turning the fan off and the switches were dead, nothing on the fan worked. Then I was hoping that the remote still would work and low and behold, it did. Thank God. I tried unplugging it and plugging it in again to see if there would be a "reboot" :D . But no luck. It turns on low when you plug it in automatically. But luckily I can control it with the remote control still. Now I just gotta make sure I have fresh batteries all the time. I am sure you guys have worse horror stories than mine, if you have them.

Deoxyribonucleic
11-14-2005, 04:39 PM
There were stories on the news a while back of people (women mostly) going to fill up their gas tanks and their static electricity sparked and started the gas and themselves on fire. They even showed a clip of it happening to someone. There are even stickers on the gas tanks at the stations that warn about static electricity. :nerv:

Myself, I've only rubbed a balloon on my head and made my hair stand up, but it didn't break :crazed:

JediTricks
11-14-2005, 04:41 PM
Static electricity can fry a circuit board pretty easily, under a microscope it can look like a city being bombed depending on what you hit. They make anti-static discharge straps for electronics workers, you clip it to a ground point right before you start working, it's kinda annoying to work with - in larger electronics facilities where they do bigger stuff like gov't work, they have even more static and larger anti-static measures. However, I've never actually destroyed anything via static electricity (that I know of :p), but I know my grandmother - who used to work in aerospace - has seen it happen a lot.



There were stories on the news a while back of people (women mostly) going to fill up their gas tanks and their static electricity sparked and started the gas and themselves on fire. They even showed a clip of it happening to someone. There are even stickers on the gas tanks at the stations that warn about static electricity. This was covered on Mythbusters a while back, originally they thought that cellphones were the cause of the problem, the electricity within them sparking gasoline fumes, but they tested it and found that it wasn't possible - yet gas stations still have no-cellphone stickers on the pumps in my area. Apparently, what happens is when you get in and out of your car while pumping gas, you build up a static charge, and then when you brush near the car while pulling out the hose it sets off a static discharge which ignites the fumes. The reason they said it was women who had it more is because women a lot more often than men get back in their cars while fueling.

Deoxyribonucleic
11-14-2005, 04:52 PM
The reason they said it was women who had it more is because women a lot more often than men get back in their cars while fueling.

Can you imagine having to be the one to do a study on that? lol

Although thinking about that I wonder what the reasons are? If I'm only filling up with 5 bucks or so, I stay outside but if I fill 'er up, I usually go into the station and get something to drink.

scruffziller
11-14-2005, 05:10 PM
I stay outside but if I fill 'er up, I usually go into the station and get something to drink. There is also signs at the gas station telling you to always stay at the pump and no topping off.

But thanx JT, that was interesting. It is amazing how certain things can happen to you that "spark" conversation that leads to learning new things.

Slicker
11-14-2005, 07:22 PM
This is weird that this happened Scruff. The field I work in with the aircraft electronics they preach to no end ESD (Electro Static Discharge) and the safety of it. We have to use ESD mats and be grounded whenever we touch any of it and I always thought it was overrated (hence why I never used any of the precautions, besides if it breaks I don't have to pay the $60,000) but now I may give a damn. Then again, maybe not.:p

bobafrett
11-14-2005, 07:30 PM
Hmmmm, I wonder if that is why my ceiling fan no longer works? Oh well, i bought a new one, just haven't had time to install it yet.

scruffziller
11-14-2005, 07:32 PM
This is weird that this happened Scruff. The field I work in with the aircraft electronics they preach to no end ESD (Electro Static Discharge) and the safety of it. We have to use ESD mats and be grounded whenever we touch any of it and I always thought it was overrated (hence why I never used any of the precautions, besides if it breaks I don't have to pay the $60,000) but now I may give a damn. Then again, maybe not.:p

Wow. :) I am glad we can use this site for all types of beneficial situations. I may have driven down the price of plane tickets.:D

Slicker
11-14-2005, 07:46 PM
I may have driven down the price of plane tickets.:DOnly if you plan on flying on an F-18.:D

Dar' Argol
11-14-2005, 09:39 PM
When I had my PS2 downstairs in the living room, I was playing . . . something one winter night. The couch we have is notrious for charging stactic electricity. I got up to get something and I stepped on my PS2 controller cord. Now I was wearing sneakers at the time mind you, but I got shocked THROUGH my sneakers by the cord. Enough to leave a red mark on my foot. I checked the cord and there were no bare wires or anything wrong with it. Went and got what I needed and I returned to my game. I un-paused the game and all of a sudden the controller goes nuts like someone is holding down the up arrow on the D-Pad. I unplugged the controller and plugged it back in and it still did the same thing. I grabbed my other controller and stuck it in and it was fine.

Later I tore apart my "freaky" controller. Apparently when I stepped on the cord, I discharged through the cord, right up to the curcitry that controlled the up arrow and fried it. There was scorch marks all around that up arrow. Kinda ticked me off cause that was the new controller I got fro X-Mas . . . :cry:

El Chuxter
11-14-2005, 11:31 PM
Here's how I know how immature I am.

When I first read this subject, my immediate thought was to post a reply that said just, "Yeah. Your mama."

scruffziller
11-15-2005, 11:08 AM
Only if you plan on flying on an F-18.:D
Okay, tax dollars.

JediTricks
11-15-2005, 06:37 PM
My maternal Grandmother and both of my Grandfathers worked for years as engineers in aerospace, and they had lots of stories of static discharges causing havoc, including a couple where the guy was shot across the room! ESD is serious business.

BTW, that ep of Mythbusters I was referring to was on this morning, how weird timing is that? One thing I had forgotten is that young people are more likely to cause it than older people because when they get in and back out of the car during fueling, they don't pull themselves out on the metal of the frame so they discharge their static on the metal of the car, older folks pull themselves out.

bobafrett
11-15-2005, 08:26 PM
I never get back into my car while fueling it, especially after seeing a news report about the static electricity possibly causing the fumes to catch fire. My ceiling fan went out early spring, but in the weeks before that my son was getting small electric charges from the chain that turned the fan on and off.