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Question I am running a functional test on an aircraft and I get a failure. In trouble shooting I discover we have a bad LRU (electronic box), that is labeled as being ESDS. I go into the electronics bay and remove the bad LRU, and set it on the floor, which is made of a static producing material. I then remove the conductive dust from the new LRU, as it is setting on the same floor, I then install the new LRU. At no time did I touch the pins on the connectors and I was not strapped up (connected to ground). Did I put the hardware at risk due to ESD?. - Anonymous, Seattle, WA
Answer Yes, depending on the sensitivities of the components in the box. As the I/O connector with metal connects is passed near an electric field (anything that can generate and hold a charge yielding an electric field, such as the floor of the cockpit) then the I/O pins could have been charge induced (through charge induction) and when the I/O is mated, a discharge could occur. I would measure the floor and other nearby areas with a field meter under various field conditions to see if there are any substantial (>100 Volts) electric fields present. If the vendor of the boxes could provide some sort of ESD shunt or foam that covers the I/O of the box along with a disposable wrist strap for field use you would be in a better situation.
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