View Full Version : Unexplained Phenomena

02-08-2009, 11:41 AM
I'm new to this BB thing and I still think this is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Of course, my BB isn't doing anything too weird yet. But I keep reading these horor stories about BB's shutting off and doing other weird and undesirable things. And I had a thought...

I'm an auto mechanic. But I specilize in the computer controlled systems on cars and have worked with electronics for over a quarter centery. So I have a little experience with, for the lack of a better term, "solid state" apparatus.

For those who may not know.. many electronic circuits and devices including the BB operate on 3 to 5 volts of electricity. If you take a solid state chip and expose it to say 300 volts, you stand a good chance of zapping it. Sometimes, the damage doesn't show up immediately either. It can show up as erratic operation later on. This is the same for any solid state device.

It's been a cold and dry winter and with the lower humidity, static electricity is a real issue. When you drag your feet across the carpet or slide your butt out of the car, you often generate enough static elelctricity to cause a spark. But did you know that in order to "see" "feel" or "hear" that little spark, that means you generated at least 3000 volts of elelctricity. Yep, no typo, 3000 volts.

Now I noticed that especially with a new BB, we like to keep it looking all shiny and nice. And I often get smudges and fingerprints on the screen. So, what's the natural thing to do? Rub it on your pant's leg to buff it up?

I can't help but wonder just how much static elelctricity you are generating when you do that. Maybe, I won't do that any more.

02-08-2009, 03:09 PM
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Woudnt the bb have to be grounded or have a negative charge for the static electricity to jump from our hand to the device?

02-08-2009, 03:11 PM
Good point !!! I am not sure whether those invisible skins from BSE or zagg will do any good. Generally I am careful about smudges and finger prints on my berry but if somehow it comes I prefer using a paper towel to rub it off rather than any clothing material.

Hypothetically speaking dry winter conditions or specific clothing material may cause electrostatic charge to generate and may cause harm to the BB...although it is a rare possibility.

02-08-2009, 03:23 PM
I rub the screen of my BB on my shirt, pants, undies, socks, micro fiber cloth, and anyones else cloths who lets me about 40 times per day and have been for several years.
No problems yet! :)

02-08-2009, 03:25 PM
never noticed a problem here... as asked above, isn't a ground required for the static jump?

02-08-2009, 06:43 PM
... isn't a ground required for the static jump?

You are not "grounded" very well when you are wearing a pair of rubber soled tennis shoes and yet the spark from your car can jump off and get you.

A great many high quality electonic instruments like I use in the shop incorporate static shielding. If you open open up some voltmeters or even some old calculators to replace a battery, you may notice a foil-like covered piece of cardboard that wraps around the circuit board. That is static shielding because anything is subject to a static discharge even if it is well below the threshold of what you may feel or see.

I just wonder how well or how much of that care goes into the building of these new phones considering price and supply are their primary concerns.

Many folks can go forever without getting zapped by a static spark. Something in their daily ritual allows them an oppertunity to disipate any buildup of static charge. But some are not so lucky. If you're one of those who keeps getting zapped by your car or light switches, (which happen to be plastic and well insulated), in your home, I would take caution.

02-08-2009, 06:56 PM
Wirelessly posted

Woudnt the bb have to be grounded or have a negative charge for the static electricity to jump from our hand to the device?

It is the act of friction against certain materials that builds up the charge.

In most cases, you would probably be holding the BB by the edges as you rubbed it against your clothing which can build up an enormous charge but that charge is quickly and smoothly disapated throughout your body, pretty much keeping everything equal. But, let's say you are holding the BB with a piece of material, effectively insulating yourself from the BB, and you rubbed it briskly on something. It would be easy to build up an incredible negative charge within the BB itself. Then, when you or something without this negative charge come in close proximity, the rapid discharge of electons creates what we percieve as a static spark or in many cases, is just enough less that it can damage electronics without you ever knowing it.

We have very specfic handling procedures for electonic components when they are not sealed inside of some sort of static supression housing like many computer cases. This is the very reason you need to wear a grounding strap to work on computers.

02-08-2009, 07:50 PM
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The bb has a plastic case wich would insulate it. There is actually much more plastic than metal. And static electricity takes the path of least resistance. I would think that the humidity in the air outside would have more of an effect than static electricity.

02-08-2009, 08:08 PM
You can spend about 20 pages explaining the effect on electronics that static electricity can cause. To be safe your better off “grounding” yourself on your wife:razz: than the Blackberry. You will only loose dinner or some other item you need, well maybe not;-)

02-08-2009, 09:31 PM
Wirelessly posted

I use microfibre to clean my screen. Works good.