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That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/19/2007 11:02 AM

Has anyone ever devised a practical solution to prevent the static discharge one gets as they climb out of a vehicle in certain climates? I know that there is some kind of grounding strip that you can hang from your frame. But I would think that those would wear out fairly quickly if they have constant contact with the road surface.

I assume I'm not Electro-man, and receive this shock any more often than other people ... but I do have to deal with this jolt pretty much all the time. Quite annoying.

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#1

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/19/2007 11:53 AM

Tires on your car may have a low carbon content. You may want to change brands next time around.

Be careful when fueling your car!

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#2

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/19/2007 12:38 PM

In cold weather when this happens more frequently, I hold one of my keys in my hand and ground myself to the car framework before exiting. You still get a discharge but not as severe. If you normally park by a curb you can adjust those grounding straps to hit only when you park. The problem is that you are usually the item charged waiting to discharge upon exiting the vehicle.

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#3

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/19/2007 1:30 PM

If you really want to avoid the shock you should open your car door from the inside and leap out without touching the outside of the car. Make sure that you land with both feet next to each other because otherwise there is an electrical potential between the left foot and the right foot. Of course, this is what you should do when a power line falls on your car or by your car and you have to get out of your car for some reason. Nothing prevents you from doing this daily...

Seriously, I have to deal with that as well during the winter. I just make a point of touching the car door with my forearm or the outside of my hand so it hurts less.

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#10
In reply to #3

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/20/2007 1:55 AM

Jesus Christ! I hate that shock, I get it everytime I get out of my car, and I mean everytime. Yes I tried to ground my hand to the outside of the door before getting out and it works........but only until I reach for the screen door or the doorknob. You can see the jolt clearly at night as it goes into your fingernail and heads toward every nerve ending from your finger to your shoulder. I would like to be rid of this annoying shock too, lol!

Answer this: Does it only happen with the cloth seats or do you also get the shock when exiting a vehicle with leather seats?

I thought about attaching a grounding strap to my shoe but then it would just go through my foot.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/20/2007 2:03 AM

You should try that in -40C weather!

Zapped as you get out of the vehicle, zapped after you walk down the carpet to your appartment and reach for the metal door knob, Zapped as you roll over in bed.

My wife swears by antistatic spray, I get tired of the static.

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/20/2007 2:09 AM

Me Too! It feels like it cuts a path through the end of my finger. You may be on to something, I think i will pick some of that up. Your just talking about the anti-static spray that is for your clothes, right? The kind to get rid of clingy static in your shirt?

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#14
In reply to #12

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/20/2007 2:44 AM

Yup!

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#4

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/19/2007 2:46 PM

After doing a CR4 search, I've discovered that this very topic was discussed in a thread called "Shocking Cars", back in April. Evidently it is a hot topic, as it seems to be one of the longest threads I've ever seen on here! Granted, some of the comments wavered off-topic ... i.e. pumping jam into donuts , etc ... but the theories were many. I'm surprised that the answer to this question remains so vague as to be able to spawn such a myriad of theories. I'd have thought that the answer would be definitive.

But although the reasons for the discharge are many, no one seems to have come up with a solution that does not require some sort of conscious ritual upon exiting the car. Remembering to turn off the lights on my jeep is worrisome enough, without the extra responsibility of touching this, or holding onto that, or jumping to land with 2 feet on the ground.

The grounding strips I spoke of were mentioned with some disdain, as having been a fad in the 90's. So I'll ask this ... do they work? If they work, that's all the solution that I need. Although I don't live in an environment where there are curbs, so mine would need to be in constant contact with the ground. Which leads me to wonder if they wear away ridiculously quickly.

So ... any opinions on some version of these grounding straps? Or any other dummy proof solution?

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Associate

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/19/2007 2:52 PM

Wear rubber gloves?

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#17
In reply to #4

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/20/2007 4:19 AM

Looks like you've invented a new product here: why not make the straps slightly aerodynamic? Just a big surface area so that they're held away from the road by wind pressure while the car is moving but move back down to contact the road when going slowly/stopped.

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#6

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/19/2007 9:45 PM

"Has anyone ever devised a practical solution to prevent the static discharge one gets as they climb out of a vehicle in certain climates?"

At one time there were curb feelers. Haven't seen them in years. Work only with curbs and useless in a parking lot.

You could drag a grounding chain around!

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#7

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/19/2007 10:44 PM

I think one factor to consider is the upholstery of the car. Carpeting, seat covers, seat material, siding material, etc., might be a major source of static electricity, particularly in tandem with the clothes you are wearing. I wonder if cars with leather seats and sidings have the same effect. Had this experience before, but what I do is touch the bare metal of the key in the ignition, or the gear shift before alighting from the vehicle. That makes the static discharge to the chassis of the car. Takes some time to get used to, but now its so much of a habit I barely notice it.

I guess one way to look at it is: what part of the car do you always touch before leaving? I'd say it would have to be the door handle, so if you could ground that.....?

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Anonymous Poster
#8

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/19/2007 11:46 PM

I was always getting a zap from my car until I began touching the body of the car as I exited. Using your hand or elbow to help you out of the car by pressing against the B-pillar works for me, and doesn't look ridiculous...

The grounding strips mentioned are still sold and I see them frequently here in Australia.

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#9

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/20/2007 1:30 AM

I get my shock from sliding across the upholstery.

Cotton pants don't do it. Wet pants definitely don't.

So, wear cotton pants and drink lots of coffee?

Draw your own conclusions

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#13

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/20/2007 2:34 AM

So what can you do and not do:-

1) Do not wear synthetic fibers

2) Have a car with leather seats - did you ever not wonder why some people only have leather seats?

3) Have an earth strap on the car's bodywork that does not touch the ground when driving (air pressure from moving), only when you stop. Give it time to work say 10 seconds before stepping out.

4) Do NOT use a key to discharge yourself, each time it discharges, a small bit of metal is vaporised, eventually that key will be too short! I know of someone who ruined a key within one year this way....use something metallic and unimportant like a big 2 megohm resistor (just hold one end in your fingers and touch the other end to car chassis ground), which will discharge you but slower, so you do not notice it so much.

5) Do not slide over from one side of the car seat to the other (some pickup trucks still have a bench seat).

6) Get your wife to step out first!!

7) Touch the fuel nozzle to another part of the cars body before opening the filler cap.....if you see a spark, do not fill up there.....discharge the car first! Watch box stops in F1 races, the car runs over flexible metal strips glued to the road to discharge any static buildup.

8) Take static seriously, especially where fuel and or electronic components are in use. If you just feel a shock, it could be several thousand volts - CMOS could get damaged by anything over 60 volts!! If you can see a spark, it could be over 6,000 volts or more.....

9) Read articles on ESD protection.

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#15

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/20/2007 3:39 AM

With the 3M Electrostatic Discharge ESD brochure, most of the equipment is designed for the protection of electronic equipment from ESD damage but you may be able to use some of it in your situation.

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#16

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/20/2007 3:44 AM

Many vehicles used to have an earthing strap, which touches the ground every so often, causing a discharge path, in theory, to get rid of the static. They are not seen so much these days. They're a bit 1973, though they do work. Most of the cars in Norwich have them, curiously....

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#18
In reply to #16

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/20/2007 6:01 AM

That's because Norwich is stuck in 1973

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#19
In reply to #18

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/20/2007 9:01 AM

Yeah, wow. Even I saw that one coming.

-A-

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/20/2007 9:07 AM

Living in the future helps of course!!

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#21

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/20/2007 1:36 PM

I would guess, from my experience, that it has to do with the fabric in the car and your clothes. I have never ever experienced or been shocked getting into or out of one of my vehicles, and I live in fairly dry climate. But then I abhor cloth seats in the car and go with leather/pleather, mainly because leather does not stain as easily and is easier to clean up and now perhaps because I do not build up static .

I do like the suggestion of letting your wife out of the car first, although wouldn't you have to hold her hand for your static to discharge through her? Although, she might like that you hold her hand .

Maybe a car humidifier that plugs into the cigarette lighter or something akin to those anti-static guns that used to be used to remove static from magnetic tape (ie carts, reel-to-reel tapes and disks) If I remember they spray a negative charged air puff over a small area, to neutralize static build-up. Maybe something that does this on a continuous basis inside the car might work.

Oh I know, get metal plates and mount them to the bottom of your shoes then attach grounding straps from yourself to the metal base? Sexy,I know .

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#22

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/20/2007 5:18 PM

About the grounding strap, it will wear fairly quickly even if you are touching it to the ground every so often, I think the right way to design it is so when you shift into PARK the grounding strip drops down and makes contact with the road, this will get rid of having to replace it or adjust it so that it touches the ground again.

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#23

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/21/2007 7:09 PM

I would like to suggest something that works for me, It would appear that you only get zapped when you put your hand on the steel frame of the door, either when closeing the door or reaching to support yourself getting out with one foot already on the ground. Therefore when getting out of the car I use the door arm rest for support, and when upright I put my shoulder against the door steel frame at the top, I assume the clothing absorbs the static? so you would need to wearing something, of cause this is only treating the symptoms and not the cause. I only get zapped if I forget to do it.

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#24
In reply to #23

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/22/2007 2:44 AM

I would guess that the clothing is working as a high resistance so you are bleeding off the voltage in a slower (1 second is slow!) way, that way you will not feel it. It is a quick discharge that is uncomfortable.

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#25
In reply to #24

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/25/2007 9:25 AM

10K resistor, solder one end to the metal on the key, leave the other end to make contact with your hand.

Play around with aesthetics to make it look/feel comfortable. The when you exit the car, touch the key to the body work and the ESD discharges through the 10K resistor rather than your body.

For extra dry/low humidity conditions, you might want to up the resistor value to maybe 100K. But for here in the UK (plenty of rain) 10K should be plenty.

If you don't want to be playing around soldering stuff to keys, simply attach one to your key chain.

Good luck

Jon

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#26
In reply to #25

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/25/2007 9:44 AM

I'm sure I've seen a make of car that had a metal button in the door panel for you to touch before getting out, I expect that this works the same way.

Do you get the same problem or worse in a fibre glass bodied car?

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#27
In reply to #25

Re: That static zap as you leave your vehicle ...

06/25/2007 11:37 AM

may I suggest that a 1 Megohm resistor will be much better, the increased time constant will not be noticed, but 10K may still give a shock, even though less than without the resistor....remember, the voltage can be in the 100,000 volts range or higher quite easily....the price is the same......

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