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Shocks for Seniors

Last response: in Other Consumer Electronics
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August 7, 2010 6:50:39 PM

I'm a senior who walks with a walker that has wheels. The frame is aluminum, and the hand rests are covered in foam. Often, say every 5-10 seconds, static electricity builds up enough to jump thru the foam into my hand, producing a nasty jolt. I don't want to wear a wrist strap or anti-static gloves. Is there a circuit with, perhaps, a resistor and LED to discharge static buildup and show when it does? I can solder kits, etc. This may seem petty, but I have to walk for my health, and it's very unpleasant to be shocked all the time. Currently I have to walk with one hand holding the frame, which is very uncomfortable. Thanks for helping me discharge this nasty problem.

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Anonymous
August 7, 2010 6:58:14 PM

Sounds like the wheels are made of plastic and/or you are walking on a synthetic carpet. Check also your shoes -- I find I get static shocks when wearing some types of trainers -- I have to remember to take them off when I'm handling electronic components.
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August 7, 2010 8:42:12 PM

Thanks - The wheels on my rollator are rubber, and I walk in a large mall that allows me to walk about an hour a day. Yes, I wear rubber-soled runners which sort of insulates me from the floor, but the floor is probably not a good ground if it's vinyl or other synthetic material. I just don't understand enough about static electricity to search for a solution. It must build up in the frame then jump thru the foam, which sort of insulates my hand from the frame.
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Anonymous
August 8, 2010 9:52:51 AM

I think I would experiment with the easiest first and try wearing different shoes -- maybe leather just to see if it makes a difference.

Another factor of course is climate -- if you're in a dry cold or hot dry environment it makes a big difference compared to here in moderate, often damp, Europe -- I recently answered a query from a member based in Peking and it just sounded like hell at certain times of year with equipment failing due to static from incredibly dry conditions.
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August 11, 2010 9:48:28 PM

Problem Solved! OK, I can put this rather nasty problem to bed, having solved my static electricity discharge dilemma. I was hoping for a cute little circuit that might light up when the built-up static discharged, but after realizing that the static build-up was coming up from my walking on the non-grounded tiles in the mall, and proceeding to discharge from my finger tips into the aluminum frame of my walker, it became apparent that no sexy circuit with lights and buzzers would work without getting my finger(s) connected to it. Ouch! The solution - less impressive to be sure but 100% successful - was to mark my foam covered handles where the base of my index finger rested on it. I bought a brass screw with a wide "skirt" machined into the head (probably meant to hold canvas or other fabric in place). I drilled a pilot hole where I'd marked the foam, and screwed the brass screw tightly down. Now my hand rests on it when I walk. No wrist strap and wire, no anti-static gloves, just pure shock-less walking. KISS works again. Thanks to those who offered good suggestions, but this thread can be put to bed now. Best regards to all in the forum.
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