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Old 8th December 2005, 10:13   #1
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Question Static Electricity Discharge / Shock when touching front door

Hai Bhpians,

Every morning, first time when I touch the car there is a static discharge with a "click" sound at the point of contact with the skin. When I get in and touch the keyhole to put the key in, its more pronounced. Wonder what causes it?

This has happened in many cars I've had. Everytime I have asked questions to mechanics and some techys, I get fancy answere. The recent one that deserves an award from a Ford mechanic ....... "if the pottasium levels of your body drops there is electorlyte imbalance and causes an electrical discharge!!!!!!!!!!!"

I know it has something to do with earthing, static build up and the subesquent arching...... would love to hear from the techys here.

Tnx,

-- Ramky.

--------------------

Last edited by ramkya1 : 8th December 2005 at 10:15.
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Old 8th December 2005, 11:43   #2
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In winters, the moisture content is low. So your body gets charged. When you touch the car, due to different in potential charge flows from body to car, hence the discharge. Infact when you are inside the car sitting on your synthetic seat cover, you rub against it and get charged. When you get out, shock again. Some people are more prone to static discharges(esp people who have dry skin condition). There is not much you can do about it except touch the car first with the back of your hand as the shock will hurt less at that point. Also use pure cotton seat covers, they are more static friendly.

Also if you are static prone handle unsealed electronics equipments with care, esp things like motherboards etc.,. In my previous company where we used to work in the labs, we had to wear static discharging wrist bands all the time. These were connected to ground through a resistance and therefore would slowly discharge the body to ground level.

Also if you are in an air conditioned room, this is more pronounced as air conditioning dries the air.

If you are really really bugged by this condition, make sure you oil your hands and hair little bit, it will help to some extent.

PS: I am exteremely static prone and am actually scared to touch metal surfaces at times due to that arc!
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Old 8th December 2005, 12:04   #3
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I used to get this all the time getting out of my Ford Escort. This involved sliding myself out of the fabric seat - the rubbing would generate electric charge, and when I stepped out, and touched the car door to close it, there would be a painful shock. How I cured the problem was simply to touch a part of the metal of the car whilst sliding out - the charge must have flowed out that way.

My present cars have PU seat covers, hence have not faced the problem for some time.
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Old 8th December 2005, 12:27   #4
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I had this problem of static 'shocks' mainly while driving my sister's M800 when I tried touching the button which locks the door. I then started using the back of the keychain (not metal) to do the same...

Like tsk I too have this thing and generally get static shocks in many places :s
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Old 8th December 2005, 14:30   #5
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Here are some of the ways to control the static shocks:

http://www.school-for-champions.com/...staticcont.htm
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Old 8th December 2005, 17:19   #6
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Hai,
I used to have this static shocks very regularly in winter.
You can try these 2 steps as i found them working fine for me.
1.Touch any cement surface(for example pillars in your parking lot or boundary wall of your compound)before attempting to close your car doors.
(I touch the pillars in car parking lot,and when i forget to do this,i get a static shock).
2.Hold the carkey in your hands and touch the car body with the key.As the plastic portion of the key in your hands,it reduces the effect to great extent.
Hope these 2 help.
Jraj
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Old 8th December 2005, 17:27   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filcord
This involved sliding myself out of the fabric seat - the rubbing would generate electric charge
Exactly....saw this on some reality show...on axn i think.The rubbing of your body on the seat leads to the static charge being created and when you touch the car the charge is passed through.The reason (i think)why its more pronounced when you touch the keyhole is because your body slid over the seat while getting into the car.When i saw it on tv,the woman who was filling gas in her car touched the fuel pipe handle thingy and the whole thing caught fire.

binz

edit-saw it on the oprah show....one of her mid life crisis stories.

Last edited by binz : 8th December 2005 at 17:28.
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Old 8th December 2005, 17:32   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jraj
Hai,
I used to have this static shocks very regularly in winter.
You can try these 2 steps as i found them working fine for me.
1.Touch any cement surface(for example pillars in your parking lot or boundary wall of your compound)before attempting to close your car doors.
(I touch the pillars in car parking lot,and when i forget to do this,i get a static shock).
2.Hold the carkey in your hands and touch the car body with the key.As the plastic portion of the key in your hands,it reduces the effect to great extent.
Hope these 2 help.
Jraj
Spot-on, jraj.

To ground yourself is the best route.

Way back in 1978, 55 people died on board a Shell Oil Tanker due to an explosion. A tank, partially full of oil, was being gauged (a flexible steel measuring tape with a weighed end was lowered to ascertain the level of oil). While pulling up the tape, the metal band touched the tank sides and the spark was enough to ignite the vapours in the vacant space and this resulted in a major explosion.
Rules and gauging procedures have been changed since.

Take care.

PS: This info is authentic, however I was not around and attending kindergarten instead in Patna.
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Old 9th December 2005, 17:03   #9
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This is a usual pain in dry areas, and in winter...
When I was in California, I was really scared to touch the car after walking a bit. Later I can around this by wearing a pair of anti static shoes which was provided by the company for use in Lab.

They are also available in India, But the ones I saw were not very fasionable. And in Bangalore the problem is not that much.

You can practice Raj's suggestions, They work.

I use the same trick before touching the metal switches of our Elevators which used to give me static shocks
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Old 10th December 2005, 20:05   #10
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i just logged on to find some answres to the same problem..

it has been happening to my palio recently.. i only happens to the people sitting in the car. mostly, if the car is touched by someone who is already grounded( like the people who open the car doors at hotel porches) they donot get the shock, but I do while touching the door.

the shocks are anoying, mildly painful, produce blue spark and have a click sound..

viewing the advice by the fellow bhpns i guess i will try some other material for the seat covers or groundins tricks.
thanks guys.. hopefully it will work
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Old 10th December 2005, 20:22   #11
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Ahhhaaa... This brings back some painful memories from my past. It was my second winter in USA, until then I had never experienced static discharge. But I am not sure what changed in my body, I started getting static shocks from my car, and every tap in my apartment. Every time I turn the tap, I get a jolt. I got so conditioned by that, everytime my hands move towards a usual suspect (tap or any other metal object), my hand halts, braces for the shock, slowly touches the object and then I get it, that shock I mean. Even after I returned to India a year later, my hand still used to halt before trying to turn a tap or open a car door, some involuntary memory that was... It took years for my hand to get over that memory.

Also, I used to get static shocks from Chevy Malibu all the time, but when I switched to Acural TL, it just went away.

Last edited by Samurai : 10th December 2005 at 20:23.
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Old 10th December 2005, 20:24   #12
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Quote:
1.Touch any cement surface(for example pillars in your parking lot or boundary wall of your compound)before attempting to close your car doors.
Happens to me too. I usually rub my shirt against the car when ever i get out. My skin must be pretty dry coz i really feel jolts of electricity when it happens.

Shan2nu

Last edited by Shan2nu : 10th December 2005 at 20:25.
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Old 10th December 2005, 20:35   #13
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Usually happens when the weather is dry. When you get in the car first thing, always keep one foot out on the ground. This way you can safely touch the steering and turn the key without risk of static discharge.

Simple and foolproof. Works all the time - it just takes a while getting used to the "backside-in-first-and-one-foot-out" mode of entry. It may look strange to onlookers, too...
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Old 10th December 2005, 20:37   #14
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Quote:
Usually happens when the weather is dry. When you get in the car first thing, always keep one foot out on the ground. This way you can safely touch the steering and turn the key without risk of static discharge.
In my case it's the other way around, it never happens when i'm getting into the car. It's only when i get out and touch the door.

Shan2nu
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Old 10th December 2005, 20:45   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shan2nu
In my case it's the other way around, it never happens when i'm getting into the car. It's only when i get out and touch the door.

Shan2nu
Reverse procedure. Keep a hand on either the door frame or a metallic part of the door while opening it from inside, put one foot out. Once you get out this way, you wont get static shock while locking the door.

Invariably we open the door using the inner handle and our first contact with metal is AFTER we've stepped out. Just ensure you keep contact with metal WHILE you step out.
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