Ground instruments are anti-static devices designed to protect people and electronic equipment from electrostatic discharge (ESD). They create a designated path through which electrical current can flow to a safe ground without harming people or damaging equipment.
These critical safety devices are available in many variations. For example, they can be made from aluminum, copper, stainless steel, and plated materials, shaped into flat, tube, or specialized forms, and designed as straps, strips, or wires. Each variant offers distinct advantages and disadvantages that make them suitable for different applications. Below, we highlight braided ground straps and ground wires, but visit our blog to learn more about ground straps at an overview level.
Overview of Braided Ground Straps
Braided ground straps are manufactured by braiding multiple wires together and terminating them with metal connectors. This durable design makes them well-suited for use in highly demanding applications and environments. Additionally, since they have a large surface area, they benefit from the skin effect (i.e., current flows on the outside of the conductive material), making them ideal for low impedance RF ground connections. However, since they are prone to retaining water, which can lead to corrosion, they are not appropriate for situations where they will regularly come into contact with water. As such, they should not be used buried directly.
Examples of typical applications for braided ground straps include:
- Grounding one radio chassis to another
- Grounding equipment to a single-point ground
- Bonding swinging gates/doors to a ground system
Overview of Ground Wires
Ground wires are available in solid and stranded versions. Solid ground wires consist of a single solid wire, while stranded ground wires consist of multiple wires stranded together. The wires are typically made from copper due to the material’s conductivity and durability. This simple design makes this type of anti-static device easy to install and connect. Additionally, it is available in insulated variations, which enables it to be used safely in outdoor environments. However, since it is round, it has less surface area, making it unsuitable for low impedance RF ground connections.
Examples of typical applications for ground wires include:
- Basic grounding of amateur radio equipment (typically solid wires that are 10 AWG)
- Basic lighting protection grounds (typically stranded wires that are 2 AWG and up)
Quality Ground Products at ABL Electronic Supplies
Ground instruments play a critical role in protecting people and products in electrical applications. That’s why it is important to purchase them from a supplier you can trust, such as ABL Electronic Supplies.
At ABL Electronic Supplies, Inc., we offer made-to-order ground straps and wires. Each one we deliver is made to the highest quality using state-of-the-art equipment, so our customers can rely on them to protect their employees and equipment. For information on these products, check out our ground strap and ground wire pages or contact us today.