What is Grounding? – Ground Your Tools

It is critical for facilities to have grounded electrical systems, so that in the event of a lightning strike or utility the over voltage, current will find a safe path to earth. To ensure a reliable connection to the earth, the International Electrical Testing Association specifies the ground electrode testing every three years.

The tools you use when building electronics projects can also build up static electricity. If your soldering pencil operates from AC current, ground it as a best defense against electrostatic discharge. There’s a double benefit here: A grounded soldering pencil not only helps prevent damage from electrostatic discharge but also lessens the chance of a bad shock if you accidentally touch a live wire with the pencil.

Cheapo soldering pencils use only two-prong plugs and don’t have a ground connection. You can’t find a really safe and sure means of attaching a grounding wire to the soldering pencil, so the best bet is to just buy a new and better pencil. You can purchase a grounded soldering pencil for less than $30, including an assortment of tips. As long as you ground yourself by using an anti-static wrist strap, you generally don’t need to ground your other metal tools, such as a wire wrapping tool, screwdrivers, and wire cutters. Any static generated by using these tools is dissipated through your body and into the anti-static wrist strap.