Static discharge??????

glojo

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I accept that I am dicing with the 'Great Mover' here and this might be an electrical question, but it does NOT relate to a Mercedes-Benz so I have placed it here.

My brother-in-law has bought a new car and after a couple of days he got an electric shock when touching the ignition key. At the time he had just completed a journey and was still sat in the car with all the doors shut. He complained to the dealer and was told that it was merely a static discharge.

This 'static discharge' has happened again and it is 'most unpleasant'. He has now noticed that everytime he starts the engine he has to reset the Climate Control to the desired temperature as it goes back to the factory default setting.

Prior to taking delivery of the vehicle the supplying garage fitted a tow bar and all the electrical fittings.

I have experienced numerous static shocks, but never when actually sat in the vehicle with all doors shut and sat in the drivers seat. Imagine being in a helicopter they generate mega dollops of static. :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Has anyone any experience of this, or is it the dealership ducking their responsibilities?

Thanks for any advice,
John
 

Ian B Walker

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Morning John, I think the dealer is ducking his responsibility. To get a shock surely one part of the body has to go to earth. While sat in a car the tyres will insulate you. Or is my knowledge of physics tainted. :crazy:
 
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glojo

glojo

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Ian B Walker said:
Morning John, I think the dealer is ducking his responsibility. To get a shock surely one part of the body has to go to earth. While sat in a car the tyres will insulate you. Or is my knowledge of physics tainted. :crazy:


Hi Ian,
I think you and I went to the same school. ;) I agree with you and have told my brother-in-law the same thing, but requested he wait until I get more information.

Nice speaking to you,
John
 

Laters

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Do you remember the test top gear did to that car (A vw I think) where they fired large amounts of static (lightning) at the car with one of the presenters (hamster hammond) sat in the drivers seat.
They stated it to be totally safe as you are totally insulated inside the car.
I have come across some people who seem to attract static and I know some who have gone to great lengths to try stop static shocks from car doors/handles etc but never known it happen inside a car :crazy: .

Paul
 

Benzowner

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Ian B Walker said:
Morning John, I think the dealer is ducking his responsibility. To get a shock surely one part of the body has to go to earth. While sat in a car the tyres will insulate you. Or is my knowledge of physics tainted. :crazy:

I beleive you are correct, I think an insualted cage, excuse the pun, is called a Farraday cage. My wife has a static shock when she leaves the car, but that is when she is earthed and touches the car, but that's only when she wears a certain nylon fleece type coat. You should not be getting any shock off the ignition key. Back to the dealer with the beast.
 

nickmann

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How about an extra-long "Cortina-strip" from the key to the footwell? And perhaps a personalised sun-visor to match?

I'll get my coat...
 

Satch

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Could be static.

I was sent to work for a month in a place where the Health & Safety people were utterly and horribly paranoid about the static problem. Day one was a training course where we were told that any static buildup meant potential for a spark and that could have put everyone out of their misery very quickly.

So we all walked around for the first few days just waiting to blow up. The old lags played up to this and made us suffer immense pantomimes, like forcing one wretch to confirm by public email he would wear an earth strap between ankle or wrist and "an available ground point" at all times, including whilst on the bog. It was indeed a problem but only in certain areas. We were never allowed into those but ever since static charges get me all atwitch!.

Mostly people only notice this when they get in/out of a car where the movement generates a static charge which up to then has not been a problem because it is leaching away.

However, it is possible that the driver is effectively insulated from the car body and generates a static charge on himself by movement of self, clothes & seat covers. Plastic soled shoes, pedal rubbers, rubber mats, plastic steering wheel, gear knob & controls, door cards, knobs etc mean there may not be many opportunities for such a charge to dissipate quickly so when he moves about after stopping the car it builds up.

Removing ignition key may then provide an effective path for rapid discharge.

Options may be to change shoes/clothing. Fleeces are a real favourite for static on synthetic seat covers. Turn off aircon because dry air enhances static build up or earth himself out first by using a metal rod or even a metal pen against some metal on the car (a challenge to find some inside modern cars!) or even the ground outside.

Alternatively, since an ankle or wrist earth strap is not an option, I suggest he taps a 6mm Stainless Steel bolt into his left hip and runs an earth strap to the seat fixing, watching out of course for any Pyrotechnic tensioning devices :D
 
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glojo

glojo

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Satch said:
Could be static.

:mad: Typical...

I really thought I was on a roll, you always get one though...... ;)

Morning Satch,
I do however value your comments and take note of what your saying.

Sounds like you were working near some 'explosive materials'

Thanks everyone, although surgery is out of the question.

Not only is my brother-in-law married to my sister, I am married to his sister..........

(We come from a very small village :) )

Regards,
John
 

sportyreptile

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You do build up a static charge by just moving around, it's the "balloon rubbed on your jumper effect", polyester/nylon mixed clothing is worse, pure cotton is not so bad but still has an effect. Man made soles on your shoes rubbing on carpet is a good static generator. Thye worst one is pealing sellotape off packaging, this generates hugh static charges.

We have to wear anti-static earth straps when working on electronic equiptment, it's so we don't damage the equiptment by Electro Static Discharge not the other way round.

If you feel a static shock it's at least 3000 volts static, probably 4000 - 6000 volts if you see a blue spark. Sounds a lot doesn't it but the current is very low so it doesn't kill you.

To discharge you would have to earth yourself, so unless he's touching the metal part of the key while it's still in the ignition switch, or some other metal part of the car, I can't see how it's discharging.

I'd suggest look carefully at what's happening and analyse what's being touched when it happens.
 

Shude

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If you get shocks when getting out of the car:

Touch a metal part of the car (like the door frame) then put your foot on the floor.

Discharges through your shoes and doesn't hurt :)
 

Satch

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Potentially explosive atmospheres in and around some processing plant. I think the real danger was overstated but nobody would hang around if the alarm went off because of the risk of a BLEVE (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapour Explosion). Think US Daisycutter fuel/air bombs in action and then multiply greatly.

It was said that when a leak had occurred a few years beforehand a 55 year old worker of some 22 stone had cleared an 8 foot fence with the grace of a Gazelle and then overtaken much younger & fitter men in the 400 yards to a shelter. But he had an incentive: used to work at Flixborough.

(Flixborough, for the benefit of those not around in 1974, was the Petrochemical plant which still holds the dubious record of biggest explosion in the UK. 28 dead and widespread devastation)
 
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glojo

glojo

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Shude said:
Touch a metal part of the car (like the door frame) then put your foot on the floor.

If your feet aren't on the floor...........

My primary concern was I had never experienced a static shock without having a grounding effect.

I was always of the opinion that the static electricity built up in the car and as soon as Joe Bloggs touched the vehicle this static had a giggle and attacked the culprits fingers en-route to the 'ground'?

Satch has come up with a convincing arguement that it is possible, but I wonder why it has never happened before.

THANK YOU very much indeed everyone.


When I crawl across the floor to bleed our radiators I sometimes get a duecy of a blue sparky 'belt'.

And now for something completely different.......



An older, white haired man walked into a jewelery store one Friday evening
with a beautiful young girl at his side. He told the jeweler he was looking
for a special ring for his girlfriend. The jeweler looked through his stock
and brought out a £5,000 ring and showed it to him.

The old man said, "I don't think you understand, I want something very
special."

At that statement, the jeweler went to his special stock and brought
another ring over. "Here's a stunning ring at only £40,000," the jeweler
said.

The young lady's eyes sparkled and her whole body trembled with excitement.

The old man seeing this said, "We'll take it."

The jeweler asked how payment would be made and the old man stated by
check. "I know you need to make sure the cheque is good, so I'll write it
now and you can call the bank on Monday to verify the funds and I'll pick
the ring up Monday afternoon," the old man said.

Monday morning, a very teed-off jeweler phoned the old man. "There's no
money in that account."

"I know," said the old man, "but can you imagine the weekend I had?"
 

PJH

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The 'shock' mentioned at the begining of this thread will almost certainly be discharge to the car NOT shock from it.
Your B-in-L will probably find it only happens when he wears certain trousers the produce a higher level of static with the seat cushion material.
 

Shude

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PJH said:
The 'shock' mentioned at the begining of this thread will almost certainly be discharge to the car NOT shock from it.
Your B-in-L will probably find it only happens when he wears certain trousers the produce a higher level of static with the seat cushion material.
He needs to try cotton underwear or something! :)
 
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glojo

glojo

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Shude said:
He needs to try cotton underwear or something! :)

:) Or rubber gloves :)

John
 

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