Electrical Engineering Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for electronics and electrical engineering professionals, students, and enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I bought a new HDD which came packed in a gray antistatic bag.
So while i was removing the HDD inside the laptop, i kept this new one on the anti static bag, after i unpacked it.
I took care not to touch the green circuit board. I held it by its sides.
Is keeping the HDD ON THE BAG likely to cause electrostatic damage?

share|improve this question
I think you can safely claim warranty for a DOA (dead on arrival). – jippie Nov 23 '12 at 7:57
Is your new drive actually damaged? You haven't explicitly said in your question that your new drive is damaged, you merely asked if ESD damage is likely under a certain set of conditions. (That being said, several responders have assumed your new drive is damaged.) – Adam Lawrence Nov 24 '12 at 13:43

Hard disk controller boards are surprisingly resistant to ESD damage. I've handled hard disks very rougly in the past, and stored them inside bags made of polythene, nylon and various fabrics without any damage whatsoever. Obviously there's still a potential for damage (if you'll excuse the pun), but it's certainly not something that's likely to happen by just brushing your hand over the board.

That being said, the external surface of some anti-static bags - especially those used to store consumer electronics - conducts a small amount of current. If you power the drive on whilst it's sat on the bag, it might well be the equivalent of hooking up a ~10MΩ resistor between arbitrary contacts on the board. I don't see this being too much of a problem on a hard disk, since everything sits quite flush to the board and few surface contacts are likely to connect with the bag's surface, but I have seen this problem with the underside of motherboards.

Either way, it sounds like you've handled it quite safely, excluding the latter part. If the disk has failed, I'd be more likely to contribute it to a sharp shock than any electronic fault.

share|improve this answer
P.S. For those of you cringing at my mis-handling of hard disks, keep in mind that I was young, naïve and misinformed! – Polynomial Nov 23 '12 at 7:24
I am old, naïve and probably misinformed but I handle HDDs pretty harshly as well - they're designed to take the punishment, I guess. – Anindo Ghosh Nov 23 '12 at 8:21
@AnindoGhosh Indeed. They're designed to be one of the most resilient parts of the system, since they are the most important part in terms of potential cost of loss. If your CPU or motherboard dies, just buy a new one. If your hard disk dies, you can't just buy the files again. – Polynomial Nov 23 '12 at 8:23
Affordable cloud storage is beginning to sort that out too :-) – Anindo Ghosh Nov 23 '12 at 8:25
As long as you don't use a cloud provider in the US, of course. – Polynomial Nov 23 '12 at 8:28

If you take your multimeter and probe the bag, you can find out how much damage you might have done depending on the type of bag.

The silver ones - I've jammed the probes right thru and still get greater than 10MΩ, so I assumed that no damage would have occured, since I cannot comprehend how such a high resistance could damage any of the electronics.

Possibly moist air has a lower resistance.

share|improve this answer
What do i have to measure? Resistance or voltage? Exact process please if possible. I have an analog multimeter – Fasih Khatib Nov 24 '12 at 12:25
resistance of course. start by touching the surface close together, but not so close that the pins touch of course. – bobjandal Nov 24 '12 at 12:31

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.