Question about static

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by michael_r, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    My floor is carpeted, and my enlarger is on a wooden table with a small footprint (about 30" square). To avoid indenting the carpet too much, I wanted to put down a piece of thick plexi (also about 30" square), and stand the table on it. My question is, will the plexi increase the amount of static or dust in the enlarger? Or will it be the same as if the table stands directly on the carpet.

    I was really hoping to avoid having to buy some kind of anti-static chair mat for computers or whatever. It's expensive and I'd have to cut it down, and those mats usually have those annoying spikes on the underside. I don't even know where I'd get that stuff.

    Thanks
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Maybe a piece of plywood instead? Ground the enlarger chassis seperatly from the power supply.
     
  3. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I just grounded the darkroom. It's a great idea.

    You might not need a separate ground for the power supply and the enlarger.

    I did not have to separately ground the lamp head and the enlarger frame.

    But check anyway that you have your enlarger grounded. Then don't worry about what kind of mat the table is on, all the electric charge will dissipate to ground.
     
  4. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I don't know if this will help but, a few years ago, I put my drafting table on a large, thick piece of plexiglass, in order to protect a carpet. It made the table less stable, and instead of having 4 small dents I ended up with one large one. I went back to the 4 small dents...
     
  5. George Nova Scotia

    George Nova Scotia Subscriber

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    I tend to agree with Eddie on this, you may find it a bit wobbly. Now my household tip for the day: a damp towel and a hot iron will usually steam out those depressions.

    Grounding will help with static, so will time & grime. Most carpet will gather enough grime in a few weeks to eliminate the static no matter how much you clean. :smile:
     
  6. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Any DIY store will carry an assortment of "carpet protectors", which have numerous fingers that penetrate
    the nap and underlayments without damaging them, providing rigid contact with the floor.

    - Leigh
     
  7. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Don't know if it's possible in your situation, but it would be great to bolt the table to the studs in the wall, no matter what is on the floor, will add great stability, even just one or two bolts, or brackets. But go into studs, not just the drywall.
     
  8. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    There are electrostatic grounding pads that are used in laboratories with sensitive electronic equipment. The rubber like pads conduct electricity and are attached to ground, as is the table.

    For example: http://www.allmats.com/site/439205/page/128621
     
  9. feilb

    feilb Member

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    The plexi will not have any impact on the static charge present on the enlarger. Basically, only grounding the body of the enlarger (as mentioned above) will prevent any charge build up, regardless of the presence of other materials. No grounding pads are necessary. A simple ground wire between the enlarger and the ground prong in your outlet will be plenty.
     
  10. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Static charge builds up on the person as a result of walking across the carpet. It does not build up on the equipment.

    The equipment merely provides a current path to ground for discharging the static from the body.

    - Leigh
     
  11. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Therefore walking across the floor can build up a static electric charge, then touching the paper box or the easel could discharge the energy. The static electricity path may or may not cross the photographic paper. Hence my comment about the grounding pads.
     
  12. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    It's quite unlikely that there would be any discharge to or through photographic paper, which is a very poor conductor.

    You can easily get static discharge to any metal object, even if not grounded (think of a door knob).

    - Leigh
     
  13. wentbackward

    wentbackward Member

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    Static can be a real bugger to eliminate. We had problems in the lab where we mount images onto acrylic sheets. Acrylic can hold a significant charge, as can other parts of the equipment. Grounding is obviously a first step, but will not prevent static build up which is enough to suck in some debris. If you're already having issues with static, it's probably not advisable to add that surface directly against the carpet.