AVS Special Member
Join Date: May 2008
Location: San Francisco - East Bay area
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You can't even feel an 8000 volt static discharge. The ones you feel start at more than 10,000 volts and go well above that. On top of that few source components today have the chassis grounded - only the hot and neutral are connected through the power cord interface. Even Japanese AVRs with 7 amp channels rated at 150 watts each only have 2-wire power cords.
There may be some possibilities for touching something near your equipment before you touch the equipment itself - the bigger it is and the more metal in it the better you'll discharge yourself.
I don't like zapping electronic components repeatedly -- you just don't know what might happen. Fortunately, my racks have metal legs and I just make sure to discharge myself to a leg before touching anything.
If you have nothing near the equipment you can discharge yourself to, you can always make a grounding spot by conneting a piece of thin copper or brass bar to a wire connected to the ground outlet on any wall socket. If you want additional safety/protection, put a 100,000 ohm 5 watt (higher watt rating is fine but not necessary) resistor in series with the wire connected to your brass or copper ground strip. Place the grounding strip somewhere convenient and train yourself to touch it first.
When there is a 2-wire power cord the chassis is supposed to be isolated from the electronics which SHOULD make the static discharge a non-event, but it's hard to know exactly what happens in every case... can the static jump through a plastic or membrane switch button and allow the high voltage to get into a switch circuit? Maybe... maybe not.
Also, the characteristic damage caused by a static discharge is rarely instantly fatal to the electronics. If there is damage it can be there for weeks, months, or years before a failure happens. It's best to just avoid the discharges as much as possible - one of those "better safe than sorry" measures. Like using a good power conditioner.
"Movies is magic..." Van Dyke Parks
THX Certified Professional Video Calibration
Widescreen Review -- Home Theater & Sound