Dangers of ESD

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rebelradio
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Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:15 pm

Dangers of ESD

Post by rebelradio » Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:23 pm

Hello all,

I just purchased a RTL-SDR v3 stick and the dipole antenna kit. I was wondering if it's safe to adjust the antenna by hand when it's connected to the RTL-SDR. Is there a risk of ESD damage?

As a precaution, I touched the computer case (at an unpainted location) to discharge myself before adjusting the antenna. But is this enough or should I use more sophisticated ESD protection such as a grounded wrist band?

The floor near my desktop computer is made of wood and air is very dry at the moment so there's static electricity everywhere. When I sit down and start the computer, I often get a nasty shock from the case.

rtlsdrblog
Site Admin
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Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:54 pm

Re: Dangers of ESD

Post by rtlsdrblog » Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:53 pm

By hand is fine. The ESD diodes in the dongle can handle that easily. And there is a bleed resistor on the dipole itself.

Outdoor ESD from high winds/sand etc may be too high. Direct or nearby lightning when connected to an unprotected outdoor antenna will fry it.

rebelradio
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:15 pm

Re: Dangers of ESD

Post by rebelradio » Wed Jan 20, 2021 7:14 pm

rtlsdrblog wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:53 pm
By hand is fine. The ESD diodes in the dongle can handle that easily. And there is a bleed resistor on the dipole itself.

Outdoor ESD from high winds/sand etc may be too high. Direct or nearby lightning when connected to an unprotected outdoor antenna will fry it.
Thanks. Good to know that the risk is low.


Another question: The TV antenna sockets in this house have another connector for radio. I'm not sure what kind of antenna there is but I'd like to try the RTL-SDR on it.

Are there any major risks if I connect the RTL-SDR to the radio socket? Either to the stick or other equipment in the antenna system? The bias-T should be disabled by default, am I correct? I will measure voltages in the connector first to make sure that there isn't anything serious.

To prevent any damage from lightning, I will not keep the stick connected to the house antenna when I'm not using it.

rtlsdrblog
Site Admin
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Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:54 pm

Re: Dangers of ESD

Post by rtlsdrblog » Wed Jan 27, 2021 2:45 am

As long as there isn't some other sort of bias tee power above 5V from a powered device on the antenna line it will be fine.

The antenna connectors for TV are either "F-Type" or "PAL" depending on your country. There should be adapters available at any electronics store, or online on ebay/amazon etc.

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