Static-Electricity Detector

The static-electricity detector shown in Fig. 1-10 is a simple  tester designed to detect nearby static-electricity fields. You can easily demonstrate a static field by walking across a carpet and then touching the sensor probe. 

When the detector is placed next to a television screen or computer monitor, it is activated by the high voltage that accelerates electrons in the picture tube. A cellophane tape roll also generates a static charge. Place the probe wire near where the tape comes off the roll. Then pull the tape through the dispenser and the meter will move. 

Static-Electricity Detector Circuit Diagram
 
 
A 2N3819 field-effect transistor is used as the static field sensor. A shore wire or small telescoping radio antenna is connected to the gate of the FET. The source lead is connected to ground and the drain lead is connected to a 0-1-mA meter. The remaining meter lead is coupled to a 3.3-k 0 resistor, which is fed to the positive post of a 9-V transistor-radio battery. 

Note that the FET can be easily damaged with a high static field while it is being handled. The FET leads should be shorted together as it is soldered in place and a grounded soldering pencil should be used. A grounded wrist band is also recommended. The static sensor would make a great addition to any static-electricity science-fair project, or could be a handy sensor on your test bench. 

Static-Electricity Detector Parts List
 
Quantity Part Description
1 R1 2.4-ku, 1/4-W resistor
1 R2 100-kQ, 1/4-W resistor
1 Q1 2N3819FET
1 M 0-1-mA meter
1 SW-1 DPST toggle switch
1 ANT Whip antenna or wire
 
Author: Thomas Petruzzellis