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issue: November 2004 APPLIANCE Magazine

Electronics Report
Electrostatic Discharge Protectors

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Littelfuse developed an eco-friendly electrostatic discharge protector that is said to reduce voltage overshoot by up to 50 percent, as well as meet RoHS requirements.

The PGB1 series of lead-free 0603, surface-mount PulseGuard® ESD suppressors from Littelfuse, Inc., of Des Plaines, IL, U.S., help protect sensitive equipment against electrostatic discharge (ESD) by supplementing on-chip protection of integrated circuitry. These ESD suppressors are best suited for low-voltage, high-speed applications where low capacitance is important. Data ports using such high-speed protocols as USB 2.0, IEEE 1394, HDMI, and DVI can benefit from this technology. Typical applications include high-definition TV (HDTV) monitors, computer equipment, network hardware, computer peripherals, digital cameras, set-top boxes, LCD TVs, and projectors.

According to Dr. Mary O’Reilly, product manager for Littelfuse, Inc., ESD is a serious problem in the electronics industry since voltages as low as 80 V can readily damage sensitive electronic components. Damage from this type of voltage range is extremely common on electronic equipment. Even during manufacturing, damage can occur on the assembly line, where circuitry is at its most susceptible.

“With a typical capacitance of only 0.55 picoFarads (pF) and an ESD event response time of less than one nanosecond, our products ensure the highest level of ESD protection without waveform distortion,” Dr. O’Reilly says. “By lowering trigger voltage from 1,000 V to 500 V, this reduces overshoot by as much as 50 percent.” She adds that the amount of voltage required to activate Littelfuse devices is lower than its competitors, even from such low-voltage ESD events as touching an input data port on electronics equipment. The devices are also said to reduce OEM product returns caused by ESD damage.

The devices use patented polymer composite materials to suppress fast-rising ESD transients specified in IEC 61000-4-2 and MIL-STD-883C, which add virtually no capacitance to the circuit. “This is a very specific material, which acts as an over-voltage suppressor that is specially designed to meet the European Union’s RoHS and WEEE requirements for the reduction of hazardous substances,” Dr. O’Reilly explains. “The material is also compatible with higher temperature reflow cycles typically needed with lead-free solders.” She adds that the company has also replaced its previous tin/lead metal finish on terminations with a tin finish. In addition, the devices are independently verified for RoHS compliance.

Because of the fast rise-time of the ESD transient, the company recommends installing the suppressors directly behind connectors so that they are the first board-level circuit component encountered by the ESD transient to achieve optimal ESD suppression. They are connected from signal/data to ground.


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