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01-13-11 11:16 PM
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  1. Radius's Avatar
    (I am hoping a mod will sticky this in the tips and tricks forum)

    Many of us want to disassemble our beloved BlackBerries for one reason or another, replace a keyboard, a bezel, etc. but I have seen a lot of people complain their device just dies permanently after they are done working on it.

    So here are some tips to keep the device safe from the silent killer, electrostatic discharge, or static shocks if you like.

    Most of the time you cannot even feel the static passing between your body and an object, but it is happening all the time. Most shocks commonly sit around the 5000V - 7000V range. Sound like a lot? Nope, you can actually generate over 15, 000V on your person depending on your clothing and surroundings.

    These shocks have the potential to instantly kill a BlackBerry or any other exposed piece of electronics in your home. And as I say, you may never know it happened.

    Some useful tips to avoid this disaster:

    Clothing. Never ever wear anything that easily builds a static charge. Fleece, wool and polyester are some of the biggest offenders here.

    Never work on your device on carpet! Carpet is bad, lots of static can be generated there. The best surfaces are wood and tile, the absolute best is in fact concrete as it wicks away static charge.

    before starting, get all your tools together on the table, let's assume you're in the kitchen. Start by grounding yourself, touch a surface like the kitchen sink or exposed metal on the stove. These are grounded and will remove your static charge. Also touch any metal tools you will be using to the same surface to ground them too.

    Once you have the housing open, limit your contact with the components on the main board. As a precaution only handle them by the edges.

    By far the best thing to use is a static strap to ground you throughout the process, your local electronics supply store can sell you one pretty cheap. For home use I recommend he wrist strap that plugs into the grounding prong of a wall outlet.

    Try to keep any plastic tools that are not rated ESD safe away from the main board. Some plastic tools can very easily gain a charge and pose a threat.

    That's about it I think. Good luck and keep that 'Berry safe!
    Andy357 likes this.
    09-14-09 12:45 PM
  2. LawP's Avatar
    Very well put together post, I support this sticky.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    09-14-09 01:16 PM
  3. Wuzz Ranger's Avatar
    Nice post.....many people don't know this!
    09-14-09 02:33 PM
  4. 3CISSBB's Avatar
    The Blackberry phone and mainboard are shielded from static electricity. The only way it would be vulnerable is if it were charging through a wall charger or USB cable while doing anything to the phone as the rate of electrical current decay/discharge would be almost instantaneous and any mainboard charge would be completely dissipated; otherwise you need not worry. RIM electromagnetically shielded the interior against such a case.

    Since the phone would not be hooked up to any kind of charger during an upgrade, no-one needs to worry themselves over this.
    Last edited by 3CISSBB; 09-15-09 at 04:10 PM.
    09-15-09 03:56 PM
  5. Branta's Avatar
    Great advice from Radius. The only thing I will add is to get the ESD grounding strap, and make sure you get one with a limiting resistor for your own safety. If the wall socket gets a fault and the ground line goes live the resistor will prevent a potentially lethal mains discharge through you to real ground.
    09-15-09 05:18 PM
  6. Pete6's Avatar
    I agree with Branta. I use a resistive grounded wrist strap for this. I try to also work in bare feet.

    BlackBerrys are shielded from static electricity but once the electronics are outside the case, normal rules apply.

    Electrostatic rules differ slightly from normal electrical conductivity due to the high voltages involved and something called surface conductivity or, skin effect.

    The best way to do this is just as Radius suggest and to do as Branta suggest and use a wrist grounding strap.

    As an aside, as a very young graduate engineer I was in charge of a prototype production line that was making very early FET transistors that were particularly prone to mortality by static. I was told by my suprvisor to check wether the ladies working on the line were wearing nylon underwear. The factory ladies made total mincemeat of Pete6, then age 21 and not very experienced.

    Static is very bad indeed for electronics.
    09-15-09 05:28 PM
  7. SevereDeceit's Avatar
    Now that is a great post^^^
    09-15-09 05:31 PM
  8. Branta's Avatar
    Great advice from Radius. The only thing I will add is to get the ESD grounding strap, and make sure you get one with a limiting resistor for your own safety. If the wall socket gets a fault and the ground line goes live the resistor will prevent a potentially lethal mains discharge through you to real ground.
    Maybe 99% of the time you would be OK and the misconceptions in your post wouldn't matter. Its the other 1% that kills a phone - maybe not immediately, it might take weeks or months for some static induced failures to show.

    Remember, you can discharge static from (or to) your body into an isolated circuit, and simply put a little charge into a capacitor on the pcb. A discharge to a track that passes it into/through a sensitive component will do bad things. Semiconductor junctions may only be designed to handle tens of volts forward, and a few volts reverse bias.
    09-15-09 05:36 PM
  9. Branta's Avatar
    very early FET transistors that were particularly prone to mortality by static.
    I can assure you the new ones have not developed any resistance. I have some high power MOSFETs on my desk, capable of switching 1500V at high current - but the ones they will replace they got a discharge. Expensive fuses.
    09-15-09 05:45 PM
  10. Radius's Avatar
    The Blackberry phone and mainboard are shielded from static electricity. The only way it would be vulnerable is if it were charging through a wall charger or USB cable while doing anything to the phone as the rate of electrical current decay/discharge would be almost instantaneous and any mainboard charge would be completely dissipated; otherwise you need not worry. RIM electromagnetically shielded the interior against such a case.

    Since the phone would not be hooked up to any kind of charger during an upgrade, no-one needs to worry themselves over this.
    Not sure what you're getting at, but firstly if the main board is exposed then there's trouble. Even if it's not plugged into anything then static will kill it.

    Branta, never seen a wrist strap without a resistor but I get spoiled at work, nothing but the best here.
    09-20-09 05:18 PM
  11. Pete6's Avatar
    If the wrist strap does not have at least 100K in series then do not use it.

    Once the phone is unplugged from the wall or USB, and the elecronics exposed, a Blackberry is just a vulnerable as any other piece of modern electronics. In fact, the wall charger will not do much since there is isolation between the input and the putput there is no ground present at all. There is just a transformer secondary even if you are using a switching power supply. A USB connection is not much better either.

    The only way to be sure is a decent working environment and a wrist strap to ground.
    09-21-09 03:57 PM
  12. Pete6's Avatar
    Now that is a great post^^^
    I got asked by a couple of the afore mentioned ladies if I would care to make a physical inspection right there on the production line. I was about 22 and one chick was twice my age. Man, I nearly ran.
    09-21-09 04:00 PM
  13. larrygump's Avatar
    thanks for the post radius.....great stuff!!!!
    09-22-09 10:36 AM
  14. visualryan's Avatar
    I got asked by a couple of the afore mentioned ladies if I would care to make a physical inspection right there on the production line. I was about 22 and one chick was twice my age. Man, I nearly ran.
    Oooohh.....
    and then? and then?
    Did you take that once in a lifetime chance? ROFLMAO.
    Did you do a physical inspection on a really HOT chick?
    09-26-09 01:14 AM
  15. cbwannabe's Avatar
    Sounds like the safest way to work on your berry then is naked out on the concrete!! =]

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    09-26-09 10:16 AM
  16. Radius's Avatar
    Sounds like the safest way to work on your berry then is naked out on the concrete!! =]

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    Actually, it would be lying naked on the concrete under an ionizer. Come on, we all love overkill right?
    10-04-09 04:27 PM
  17. Seymourmezz's Avatar
    We should Being safe when using electrical appliances, extension cords etc. and follow some safety rules working with electricity....
    First of all Unplug unused appliances and stow cords safely out of reach of pets, young children or hazardous situations.
    Keep all electrical appliances away from water.
    Do not touch electrical appliance with wet hands or while standing in water.
    10-09-09 02:21 AM
  18. ruffs1908's Avatar
    Hi the power of my BB Tour goes of periodically, sometimes every 7-8 hrs, sometimes after 24 hrs. Do you know what I can do to fix this

    Thanks
    10-09-09 11:55 PM
  19. hooked_on_crackberry's Avatar
    Thanks =) this is really helpful
    10-10-09 03:49 AM
  20. tjgrey's Avatar
    Great thread & info! People should really read this sort of stuff before cracking the cases off of their phones...

    You can also get nifty ESD mats that are 'strap-grounded' to work on as well (if you're into that sort of thing @ home)
    10-13-09 09:20 AM
  21. jzizzle07's Avatar
    Wow! That was very helpful! I just read this. But I will remember this for the future!!

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    10-27-09 11:17 PM
  22. MediaMagnet's Avatar
    Something i would also recommend is a antistatic mat to lay the bb on while working on it i use them when working on my computer parts and it helps out a lot
    10-28-09 12:00 PM
  23. petersisson's Avatar
    Sorry - newbie here so I'm going to ask a stupid question. If you open up your BlackBerry, does it void the warranty, etc? Is there any way for them to know?
    10-29-09 07:55 PM
  24. vincent1986's Avatar
    Just a short comment, I'm new here and the advice in this thread is great! helps me a lot!
    10-30-09 12:37 AM
  25. maxsentramax's Avatar
    great post thanks for the help
    11-02-09 09:50 PM
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