I'm new here, and new to electronics in general. (for the most part … my [awesome] father had me building some simple Heathkit robots and panels with him when I was a kiddo, but I'm getting into it “4srs” for the first time right now.)
I've been doing a lot of research, a lot of reading, and trying to build a base of fundamentals … and meantime, before I know enough to actually start building anything, I've been putting together a simple workbench for myself with all the necessary tools. I've learned a lot, but the following still puzzles me:
How do I ESD-safe my working- / soldering-station, in general? What general advice (as well as specifics!), can you give me? (This is all especially important, as my home-lab is an extra bedroom with carpeted floors, I'm temporarily working on a folding table with horrible resin-polyethylene tops, and I live in a dry climate! I get shocked all the time, and I'm pretty sure I'll fry basically any IC I touch, if I don't get this all nailed down right from the start.)
For example, some specific questions:
To what do I connect the grounding-setup, as a whole? (The mat, or the wrist-strap, or whatever.) I've been told everything from a water-pipe (would have to run a wire to the ceiling, there's nothing down low in the room), to the center-screw of a wall-outlet (really!?) … and, practically-speaking, how do you suggest I do so? Wrap a bare/stripped copper wire around the screw, or around the pipe? Or what?
I know I should be working on an ESD-disappating mat, with an ESD-disappating wrist-strap on at all times. To what do I connect these? Do I connect them together, i.e. to a common point, as well? (From my still-fledging understanding, there should be a single shared ground amongst all points in the circuit, which I suppose includes your body if you touch a conductive part of the board, so …)
Is the “ground”, as discussed in terms of dissipating triboelectric potential / electrostatic charge, the same as the “ground” in circuits I'm working on? i.e. should I be connecting “ground” in any circuit, with a wire, to the same grounding-system we're discussing here? Or is that a separate ground? I've also got a bench power-supply with a ‘ground’ banana-socket, which I'm sure will be used for circuits, so I suppose … if the answer here is yes, I should wire that to this common-ground as well?
The bench multimeter I've acquired has a grounding screw on the back, next to the three-prong power-plug. Should that grounding-screw also be wired to the common-ground discussed here, i.e. the same as my wrist-strap? (Also, why the hell is there two grounds on that, then; one as a screw, and one as the third prong in the power-cable?)
(Edit: P.S., I'm speaking here of grounding in terms of protecting circuits sensitive components, and precise measurements, from ESD. Not of safety-related grounding involved in high-voltage or high-current applications. That's outside the scope of my goal, here.)