I have a large steel welding table that I have been using as a work station to solder together my own custom PCBs.

I have been using my anti-electrostatic discharge grounding bracelet and connecting the alligator clip on the lead coming from it to my welding table. I also have my MIG and TIG welders plugged into the wall but turned off, with the ground cables clamped to the welding table.

Am I right to assume that I am electrically effectively connecting my wrist to the ground of the circuit breaker panel in my workshop?

Any thoughts on this technique in general as a way to control ESD?

Any electrical schematics of a typical TIG or MIG welder, showing the grounding clamp connections?

  • 2
    You're right, you should be well and truly grounded and ESD shouldn't be a problem. Just don't try to power up any bare circuit boards on the table... – markt Feb 20 '15 at 22:41
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Yep - I think that you will not have any ESD issues with the setup that you describe.

You may want to pick up a large sheet of conductive foam to put on top of your table for when you are working on circuit boards that might short out to the table. We purchased a large package of high-resistivity conductive foam many years ago and are still using it for temporary table-top surfaces. These are 3' x 4' sheets with a smooth surface that seems to wear very well. I don't recall the exact amount of resistivity that it has but it was pretty high.

There are many grades of conductive foam available - some with low resistivity, some with high, some with a stable surface, some that starts to fall apart as soon as you look at it sideways. But if you find the right stuff, it can make your life easier.

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