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Grounding out static charge using a battery.

  1. Mar 7, 2017 #1
    I am trying to solve an issue which occurs when two robots with different static charges make contact. It has been some time since my Physics classes and I have some ideas that are only partly making sense to me. I need to minimize the effect that a static shock is having on a small robot. What I am hearing is that Robot A has a lower static charge and Robot B has a greater charge. When they collide the resulting shock is causing havoc with the electronics of Robot A. I have been trying to find a way to dissipate the static without grounding the robot. I was considering the use of a capacitor to store the charge somehow but that seemed to require a ground. Recently I thought perhaps by connecting the positive terminal of the battery to the this would allow the excess electrons to flow to the battery as they move from negative to positive. I apologize for my ignorance on this topic but any help would be appreciated.

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 7, 2017 #2


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    Welcome to PF.

    The obvious thing to do is to give the robots, (or all the electronics), a electrically conductive coat that will prevent lightning strikes to electronic sensors or circuits. You might then hang a resistive fibre or link chain to the ground, or use antistatic rubber tracks or wheels.

    The impedance mismatch is a problem. The static voltage is so high and the current is so low that there is little point in harvesting the energy into a low voltage battery or capacitor.

    You have not explained how contact is being made. If it can be controlled, then simply making contact through a resistor of about 470k ohm should reduce the discharge noise spike.
  4. Mar 8, 2017 #3


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    If you do not want them to have a ground connection somehow, then you might be able to make contact via a resistor, as suggested by Baluncore. Alternatively, insulate the point of contact. Ideas using capacitors and batteries are not going to work. Maybe the floor covering or the use of plastic wheels is the source of the static problem.
  5. Mar 8, 2017 #4
    Be careful, both robots will be affected.

    I think you have to connect the chassis of the robot to the electronics ground with that resistor which was mentioned previously.
    If you don't have chassis, then you should make one. Just the external surface should be made of some conductive material.
    Also, make sure that it's the chassis is what makes contact with any other objects. The electronics should be entirely within the chassis.
  6. Mar 10, 2017 #5


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    Can you post a pic of them? Respondants could then offer more specific suggestions.
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