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Wraping RAM in foil


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starchild's Avatar
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08-Jul-2004, 04:25 PM #1
Wraping RAM in foil
A few weeks ago, I was looking up about RAM and came across a thread (I'm pretty sure it was on this board) where someone asked about the best way to mail it.

Someone said if you don't have an anti-static bag, to wrap it in aluminum foil. Prevents static electricity from hitting it.

I just told someone (who knows about computers, etc) this and he said NO WAY and wrapping RAM (or any other parts) in foil would short it out and ruin it.

Maybe he had never heard of it before and this was the first reaction? I thought the same thing when I first read it, and I don't know that much about it.

At the time my daughter was sending me RAM from another state (from a computer she'd had) and I told her to wrap it in foil and put it between cardboard in a padded envelople. She did, I put it in and it works fine.

What is the real story about this? And, if it's okay to wrap RAM in, what about other parts like harddrives, modems, etc? To store them?

I'm sure the anti static bags are best, and probably inexpensive, but in my case I have a hard to getting things like that, and prefer to use an alternative, that I might have around the house (or can get at a grocery store).

Thanks,

~ Carrie
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08-Jul-2004, 04:36 PM #2
I've never heard of wrapping it in foil, but from a logical point of view, I suppose it does make a weird sort of sense. I certainly will NOT short anything as long as it is all remove before using it.

Last edited by DaveBurnett; 08-Jul-2004 at 04:43 PM..
~Candy~'s Avatar
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08-Jul-2004, 04:40 PM #3
I put mine in bubble wrap
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08-Jul-2004, 04:45 PM #4
I've wrapped processors and RAM in foil before. No problem here, I mean I never mailed it..and it usually sits to its not moving around, but like I said, I've never had any problems.
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08-Jul-2004, 04:49 PM #5
My theory:
Aluminum foil does not transfer electricity very well (if at all) so it will absorb any static charges and keep the RAM safe.

Clever idea.
starchild's Avatar
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08-Jul-2004, 05:36 PM #6
That's how I remember reading it.

Like I said, I'm pretty sure I read about it in a thread on this board. That was the idea it DOESN'T connect static, it repels it.

Someone asked about mailing RAM he had sold to someone on ebay.

I thought I had read it right, but wasn't sure.

I would think bubble wrap, or a bubble lined envelope. Someone in that thread said to get a new (dry) spong long enough to fit it in and slit it open, putting the foil wrapped RAM in.

I would think foil (now I've verified this) sandwhiched between 2 strips of cardboard in a padded envelope would work.

This is how my daughter sent it to me. Actually, it had been through a lot before getting mailed, her teenage son had taken the computer apart, then she couldn't find it- it had fallen in back of her computer desk (she had suspected first that her dog ate it But, it seems to work fine.

Maybe RAM is tougher than we think.

~ Carrie
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08-Jul-2004, 08:15 PM #7
When you wrap electronics in plastic you are asking for problems. Plastic is the major cause of ESD. Pull a section of plastic tape and watch it curl up by the attraction of the electron charges. Foil would be better but an ESD bag is the best.
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08-Jul-2004, 08:27 PM #8
Really, then I guess that would make me wonder why my sound card, firewire card, usb port card were all in bubble wrap
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08-Jul-2004, 08:33 PM #9
Hi,

While foil does not transfer static very well, IT DOES have the capability to transfer it in minute amounts. I don't want my ram coming in contact with ANY static transer, so would suggest if you don't have an anti-static bag, to place it in a rubber sponge and prevent it from touching anything else. Just an opinion.
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08-Jul-2004, 08:35 PM #10
I have never had a component fail due to ESD, and have handled alot of stuff. Some in bags, some ?taped to cardboard? The only precaution I take when assembling or handling components is to take off my socks and shoes, usally cause I'm at home.
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08-Jul-2004, 10:24 PM #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by AcaCandy
Really, then I guess that would make me wonder why my sound card, firewire card, usb port card were all in bubble wrap
The internal cd-burner drive I got about a month ago came wrapped in bubble wrap, too.

The anti-static bags seem to be foil coating on plastic.

The person who started me thinking abut this today, who said it wasn't good to wrap in foil said to put plastic around it FIRST and then the foil and that would be okay.

I don't think he knew anything about it, and his first reaction was it's metal and not good.

I would think slicing a dry sponge and putting a strip of RAM in it wouldn't be good, because it has tiny crumbs (the sponge) And aren't sponges made from a form of plastic? I mean the ordinary ones you buy in stories?

I think I've started something with this thread. It's sort of like the question "do you leave your computer (the power) ON all the time and let it go on standby, or turn it off at night and put it on in the morning?"

I turn mine off (shut it down) and put it on in the morning. Same when I go out of the house. I asked someone I know about this once, who worked for the local fire dept and he said to always turn everything like that off when you leave or go to bed. He recomended unplugging everything, even toasters, coffee makers, etc.

I compromise and unplug my coffeemaker when I go out. And computer (and turn off the plug strip with everything in it)

~ Carrie
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08-Jul-2004, 10:33 PM #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by foloyd
My theory:
Aluminum foil does not transfer electricity very well (if at all) so it will absorb any static charges and keep the RAM safe.

Clever idea.
Aluminum foil conducts electricity very well. Antistatic packaging is also conductive, which is how it protects against static electricity.

The damage to electronic components is caused by electric current flowing from one point to others. For this to happen, there must be a voltage difference between the points, even if only for a moment. The voltage level in a conductive material is the same everywhere (but not necessarily zero volts). This being the case, there is no current and hence no component damage.

Wrapping components in aluminum foil will have the same effect as wrapping them in an antistatic bag. That being said, most printed circuit boards made today contain diodes. The diodes, which only allow current to flow one way, help guard against the effects of static electricity. They are no replacement for anti-static measures, but do make the circuits a little more rugged.

When adding or removing components from a PC, it is a good idea to wear a static strap grounded to the computer case. It would be a shame to zap a board before getting it into the aluminum foil.
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08-Jul-2004, 10:43 PM #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by AcaCandy
Really, then I guess that would make me wonder why my sound card, firewire card, usb port card were all in bubble wrap
Some bubble wrap is anti-static.
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09-Jul-2004, 07:50 AM #14
Aluminum foil is better protection than the anti-static bags, though they're more than sufficient for the job. I've seen very expensive military electronics that is shipped in aluminum foil a number of times.

I believe I was the one that suggested aluminum foil in the previous thread, and I stand by my recommendation.
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08-Oct-2004, 01:00 PM #15
I am new at this, but I know a couple of things about esd. I am in the military, and i work on electronics, expensive ones. We do not store, or ship, anything in aluminum foil. What you are thinking of are carbon bags, looks kinda like aluminum foil i guess, unless you look at the inside of them and you see that it's black, that's the carbon, and best for storage or shipping of electronics. The number two form is carbon impregnated bags, those are the black, but still see through bags. Not as good as the carbon, but better than the pink poly stuff you used to see all the time. Carbon is the best because it does not generate static, nor does it allow it to pass through it. After all the carbon bags you have the pink poly I just mentioned. It does not generate static when it rubs together, but it won't block static either. Poly, or plastic, is probably the worse thing you can use. Sure it is non conductive, but like someone mentioned with the tape, because it is non conductive it will hold a charge hundreds of times higher than a conductive sort. When the surface gets moist or something, maybe a little humidity, then zap. That's why the worse thing to have on a work surface while repairing a circuit card is a plastic bottle like the one a pepsi would come in. You can think you've never had a problem handling esd sensitive devices, but has your computer ever crashed, shut down, gave you a crazy error message. Esd sucks because it starts by giving intermitten faults where a run, or lead, or chip gets zapped, but it doesn't fully break, just enough so it goes out every now and then, making nearly impossible to trouble shoot. Eventually though, it'll blow it, and you'll replace something because you think it is it's time, but it would of probably lasted a lot longer if it was handled correctly.
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