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Sduru

Zybo Z7 Development Board ESD&Safety

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Hi Dear Sirs,

I will start to work with Zybo Z7 Development Board. But, I couldn't find any explanations about ESD & Safety protections and warnings for the board in the reference manual. Could you please provide it to me if there is anything special to protect the board from ESD? Because I don't wanna break the board when touching it. Thank you..

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Hi @Sduru,

We do not have any formal documentation regarding the ESD & Safety protections for the Zybo Z7 boards. In the end the best practice would be to use appropriate protection with grounding mats and wrist bands to ensure no unitentional shock is delivered to the board. The board does have over-voltage protection up to 20V on the power inputs as well as Pmod JE which has series protection resistors, but there is no specific circuitry to protect the board from stray ESD.

On anecdotal note, we have touched actively operating boards without experiencing any detriment to performance or otherwise, but if you know that you will be working in an environment where ESD will be an issue, I would recommend erring on the side of caution.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Thank you,
JColvin

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@Sduru

All electronic equipment is susceptible to ESD damage. Especially, on a board like yours with components exposed. Especially, if you are not using it in an environment where humidity is controlled. If you were working in such a controlled environment at a company, using company equipment, they would ( should ) require you to work on an ESD pad with a wrist band that has a qualified ESD to ground path to leak off ESD currents. And that's in a lab environment where the possibility of static discharge is minimal. If you are working at home and on a desk with a carpeted floor in the winter when heating is likely to make static a relatively likely possibility then I would suggest that buying a small ESD mat and ground strap is a worthwhile investment. You can damage your equipment without causing it to fail catastrophically.

Yes you can be lucky enough to ignore well established and proper electronic handling guidelines without having an issue ( or more likely not being aware that you've had an issue ) but ignoring well established and proper guidelines is just a bad idea. You can get away with a lot of risky behavior for a while but sooner or later the piper will send his bill and you will pay.

As a general rule you should never touch components on a PCB; at least without proper grounding. But even if you are very careful to move a board by the edge or shielded connectors like Ethernet RJ45 jacks that are grounded you can still zap components if you've built up enough static charge.

You've asked a very good question. I understand that there are people who will choose to ignore this advice but I've given you an answer that is consistent with professional practice. Expensive electronic development kits don't come in a anti-static bag with a seal that is supposed to break when you open it for no reason even though it cost more for the vendor to do this.

BTW ESD mats are high resistance affairs that are design to leak off static charge to a good ground ( this might not be available where you are working at home ) without endangering you to high voltage low impedance sources. Thought I'd mention this for anyone thinking that they might make their own cheap workstation....

Edited by zygot

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18 hours ago, zygot said:

@Sduru

All electronic equipment is susceptible to ESD damage. Especially, on a board like yours with components exposed. Especially, if you are not using it in an environment where humidity is controlled. If you were working in such a controlled environment at a company, using company equipment, they would ( should ) require you to work on an ESD pad with a wrist band that has a qualified ESD to ground path to leak off ESD currents. And that's in a lab environment where the possibility of static discharge is minimal. If you are working at home and on a desk with a carpeted floor in the winter when heating is likely to make static a relatively likely possibility then I would suggest that buying a small ESD mat and ground strap is a worthwhile investment. You can damage your equipment without causing it to fail catastrophically.

Yes you can be lucky enough to ignore well established and proper electronic handling guidelines without having an issue ( or more likely not being aware that you've had an issue ) but ignoring well established and proper guidelines is just a bad idea. You can get away with a lot of risky behavior for a while but sooner or later the piper will send his bill and you will pay.

As a general rule you should never touch components on a PCB; at least without proper grounding. But even if you are very careful to move a board by the edge or shielded connectors like Ethernet RJ45 jacks that are grounded you can still zap components if you've built up enough static charge.

You've asked a very good question. I understand that there are people who will choose to ignore this advice but I've given you an answer that is consistent with professional practice. Expensive electronic development kits don't come in a anti-static bag with a seal that is supposed to break when you open it for no reason even though it cost more for the vendor to do this.

BTW ESD mats are high resistance affairs that are design to leak off static charge to a good ground ( this might not be available where you are working at home ) without endangering you to high voltage low impedance sources. Thought I'd mention this for anyone thinking that they might make their own cheap workstation....

Thank you very much dear @zygot  and @JColvin  for your valuable recommendations. 

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