Quantcast Metal oxide semiconductor voltage potential of as little as 35 volts. Commonly used discrete bipolar transistors and diodes (often used in ESD-protective circuits), although less susceptible to ESD, can be damaged by voltage potentials of less than 3,000 electrostatic volts. Damage does not always result in sudden device failure but sometimes results in device degradation and early failure.">

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Metal oxide semiconductor (MOS) devices are the most susceptible to damage from ESD. For example, an MOS field-effect transistor (MOSFET) can be damaged by a static voltage potential of as little as 35 volts. Commonly used discrete bipolar transistors and diodes (often used in ESD-protective circuits), although less susceptible to ESD, can be damaged by voltage potentials of less than 3,000 electrostatic volts. Damage does not always result in sudden device failure but sometimes results in device degradation and early failure. Table 2-1 clearly shows that electrostatic voltages well in excess of 3,000 volts can be easily generated, especially under low-humidity conditions. ESD damage of ESDS parts or circuit assemblies is possible whenever two or more pins of any of these devices are electrically exposed or have low impedance paths. Similarly, an ESDS device in a printed-circuit board or even in another pcb that is electrically connected in a series can be damaged if it provides a path to ground. ESD damage can occur during the manufacture of equipment or during the servicing of the equipment. Damage can occur anytime devices or assemblies are handled, replaced, tested, or inserted into a connector.

Q.11 A MOSFET can be damaged by an electrostatic discharge at approximately what minimum potential? answer.gif (214 bytes)

ESD-sensitive devices can be grouped by their sensitivity to ESD. Semiconductors fall within the following categories:

VERY SENSITIVE DEVICES. These include MOS and CMOS devices without input diode protection circuitry on all input circuits; dielectrically isolated semiconductors with internal capacitor contacts connected to external pins; and microcircuits using N + guard-ring construction (with metalization crossing over the guard ring).

SENSITIVE DEVICES. These include all low-power Schottky-barrier and Schottky-TTL devices; all ECL devices; high input-impedance linear microcircuits; all small-signal transistors that operate at 500 MHz or higher; all discrete semiconductors that use silicon dioxide to insulate metal paths over other active areas; MOS or CMOS devices with input diode protection on all input terminals; junction field-effect transistors; and precision resistive networks.

MODERATELY SENSITIVE DEVICES. These include all microcircuits and small-signal discrete semiconductors with less than 10 watts dissipation at 25C, and thick-film resistors.

The following procedure is an example of some of the protective measures used to prevent ESD damage:

Before servicing equipment, you should be grounded to discharge any static electricity from your body. This can be accomplished with the use of a test lead (a single-wire conductor with a series resistance of 1 megohm) equipped with alligator clips on each end. After the equipment has been completely de-energized, one clip end is connected to the grounded equipment frame; the other clip end is touched with your bare hand. Figure 2-6 shows a more refined ground strap, which frees both hands for work. NOTE:

When wearing a wrist strap, you should never use ac-powered test equipment because of your increased chance of receiving an electrical shock.

Figure 2-6. - ESD wrist strap.

Equipment technical manuals and packaging material should be checked for ESD warnings and instructions. Prior to opening an electrostatic unit package of an ESDS device or assembly, clip the free end of the grounded test lead to the package. This will cause any static electricity that may have built up on the package to discharge. The other end remains connected to the equipment frame or other ESD ground. Keep the unit package grounded until the replacement device or assembly is placed in the unit package. Minimize handling of ESDS devices and assemblies. Keep replacement devices or assemblies, with their connector-shorting bars, clips, and so forth, intact in their electrostatic-free packages until needed. Place removed repairable ESDS devices or assemblies, with their connector shorting bars or clips installed, in electrostatic-free packages as soon as they are removed from the equipment. ESDS devices or assemblies should be transported and stored only in protective packaging. Always avoid unnecessary physical movement, such as scuffing the feet, when handling ESDS devices or assemblies. Such movement will generate additional charges of static electricity. When removing or replacing an ESDS device or assembly in the equipment, hold the device or assembly through the electrostatic-free wrap if possible. Otherwise, pick up the device or assembly by its body only. DO NOT TOUCH component leads, connector pins, or any other electrical connections or paths on boards, even though they are covered by conformal coating. Do not permit ESDS devices or assemblies to come in contact with clothing or other ungrounded materials that could have an electrostatic charge. The charges on a nonconducting material are not equal. A plastic storage bag may have a -10,000 volt potential one-half inch from a +15,000 volt potential, with many other such charges all over the bag. Placing a circuit card inside the bag allows the charges to equalize through the pcb conductive paths and components, thereby causing failures. Do not hand an ESDS device or assembly to another person until the device or assembly is protectively packaged. When moving an ESDS device or assembly, always touch (with your bare skin) the surface on which it rests for at least 1 second before picking it up. Before placing it on any surface, touch the surface with your free hand for at least 1 second. The bare skin contact provides a safe discharge path for electrostatic charges accumulated while you are moving around. While servicing equipment containing ESDS devices, do not handle or touch materials such as plastic, vinyl, synthetic textiles, polished wood, fiber glass, or similar items that could create static charges; or, be sure to repeat the grounding action with the bare hands after contacting these materials. These materials are prime electrostatic generators. If possible, avoid repairs that require soldering at the equipment level. Soldering irons must have heater and tip assemblies grounded to ac electrical ground. Do not use ordinary plastic solder suckers (special antistatic solder suckers are commercially available). Ground the leads of test equipment momentarily before you energize the test equipment and before you probe ESDS items.

Q.12 Why should you avoid using ac-powered test equipment when wearing a wrist strap? answer.gif (214 bytes)


Because of the reliability of semiconductor devices, servicing techniques developed for transistorized equipment differ from those used for electron-tube circuits. Electron tubes are usually considered to be the circuit component most susceptible to failure and are normally the first to be tested. Transistors, however, are capable of operating in excess of 30,000 hours at maximum ratings without appreciable degradation. They are often soldered into equipment in the same manner as resistors and capacitors. Substitution of a diode or transistor known to be in good condition is a simple method of determining the quality of a questionable semiconductor device. You should use this technique only after voltage and resistance measurements indicate that no circuit defect exists that might damage the substituted semiconductor device. If more than one defective semiconductor is present in the equipment section where trouble has been localized, substitution becomes cumbersome since several semiconductors may have to be replaced before the trouble is corrected. To determine which stages failed and which semiconductors are not defective, you must test all of the removed semiconductors. This can be accomplished by observing whether the equipment operates correctly as each of the removed semiconductor devices is reinserted into the equipment.

Q.13 Prior to substituting a diode, what measurements should you take to determine its condition? answer.gif (214 bytes)

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