Zapper devices designed for intentional Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) pulse generation play a crucial role in testing products before release to ensure resilience against ESD hits in the field. This testing is not only vital for product reliability but also aligns with military specifications that impose limits on radiation levels. A strong correlation exists between susceptibility to ESD and radiation, making ESD testing a valuable indicator of a product’s robustness against external radiation.
Zappers typically offer two modes of operation. In the first mode, arcing occurs at the probe tip, while the second mode involves the arc taking place before the probe, injecting a pulse of current at the point of contact. These arcs can be adjusted in intensity and frequency. Testing procedures include injecting pulses at key points, such as controls and cable entries. The testing begins at a low voltage to prevent hardware damage. If issues arise, design adjustments are necessary before gradually raising the voltage. The critical voltage range is typically around 6000 V. The more severe test involves the arc at the probe tip, as radiation from this arc is closer to potential apertures and can provide insights into potential vulnerabilities in the product design.