Author Topic: HELP: Static Electricity?  (Read 4643 times)

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bex

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HELP: Static Electricity?
« on: Nov 15, 2012, 01:08 am »
I have a weird/ridiculous situation right now, hoping you guys have a solution...

I am basically a static electricity magnet- I have long hair and I am CONSTANTLY cold, which results in layering for backstage: I have black leg warmers, fingerless gloves, hats, neck wraps, fleece pullovers, the list goes on and on. All of those things cause me to constantly have an excess of static electricity, and coming in to the winter dry season, it's only going to get worse.

This is a concern because I have twice (TWICE! on two separate shows) shorted out a headset with a visible static charge from my finger to the talk button, and I really would like to not ever do that again. My current headset sounds fuzzy when I touch it sometimes, and I think that might be due to the static electricity, too.

So, first of all, does anyone else have this problem, or am I an electricity-conducting freak of nature? 

And secondly, how do I fix this?! I'm going to try stuffing dryer sheets in my pockets tomorrow, so I'll see if that helps. I always keep my hair braided or up in a ponytail when I'm backstage, which helps minimize that static source. Short of shelling out big bucks for some of that UnderArmor fancy cold weather gear, does anyone have any suggestions? I know my layers of knitwear are causing the problem, but I'm just so dang cold backstage!
You will have to sing for your supper & your mortgage, your dental coverage & your children's shoes, over & over again while people in desk jobs roll their eyes the minute you start to complain. So it's a good thing you like to sing.

Maribeth

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Re: HELP: Static Electricity?
« Reply #1 on: Nov 15, 2012, 01:22 am »
Dryer sheets come to mind. I've heard that leather-soled shoes can help disperse static, or holding a metal object like a key. Are you wearing wool knitwear? If you are, try switching to cotton layers.

There are also anti-static sprays out there like ScotchGard. Not sure if they would get rid of the problem but might be worth trying out.

DeeCap

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Re: HELP: Static Electricity?
« Reply #2 on: Nov 15, 2012, 10:34 am »
Dryer sheets are good. I've use Static Guard which helps. You can spray your clothes before you put them on.

Also make sure you moisturize (I can't live without my hand cream in the winter) and drink more water than normal.

planetmike

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Re: HELP: Static Electricity?
« Reply #3 on: Nov 15, 2012, 02:48 pm »
You might also see if the humidity level at your playing space is too low. We just started running humidifiers here at home because I started zapping light switches when I entered and left a room.

Bwoodbury

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Re: HELP: Static Electricity?
« Reply #4 on: Nov 15, 2012, 02:51 pm »
Another vote for static guard. I do my clothes before I put them on and then I static guard my brush when I use it.

jcarey

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Re: HELP: Static Electricity?
« Reply #5 on: Nov 15, 2012, 03:14 pm »
Static Guard sounds like a good option. I know there is also a static shock preventing bracelet made for working on computers and electronics that disperses static so it doesn't harm electronics. That might be something to look into.

EDIT: Adding Link

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antistatic_wrist_strap

The only problem is the cord. It could be something that lives at your calling station and you just take on and off...

The important part is getting rid of the static shock before touching anything. Gas stations recommend touching metal before pumping gas for that reason. Maybe make it a pre-show habit to release the energy by touching a piece of metal?

Hope you find something.
« Last Edit: Nov 15, 2012, 03:17 pm by jcarey »
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TheWiseTurtle

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Re: HELP: Static Electricity?
« Reply #6 on: Nov 16, 2012, 09:46 pm »
Either gloves or wriststrap seems like the best idea to me. Gloves would help with your cold problem too, but they would be a little bulky. Wriststraps are designed to keep people from instantly bricking their expensive electronics, so I think they would be the perfect thing for you. You'd just have to remember you're wearing something that ties you to a table.
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nmno

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Re: HELP: Static Electricity?
« Reply #7 on: Nov 17, 2012, 01:27 am »
This was a huge problem on my current show.  (I too have long hair and it's often a problem with me, but it was happening with the other stage managers as well at least weekly.)  Static Guard didn't work.  Touching metal worked except we had to do it throughout the call, not just when first sitting down or putting the headset on and occasionally we'd still short things.

Finally, we got an antistatic mat (like this: http://www.uline.com/Product/Detail/H-894/Anti-Static-Mats/2-x-3-Anti-Static-Mat-with-Cord?pricode=WU326&gadtype=pla&gclid=CNXRvIqu1bMCFQWnnQodWRwAmA) and have not had a single problem since.

On_Headset

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Re: HELP: Static Electricity?
« Reply #8 on: Nov 17, 2012, 10:47 am »
Computer technicians have antistatic wristbands which they wear for precisely this purpose. I have no idea how you go about finding such an article, but if you know an IT person...

Mac Calder

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Re: HELP: Static Electricity?
« Reply #9 on: Nov 17, 2012, 12:16 pm »
Antistatic mats and wrist bands are available on e-bay for very little money.

Avoid polyester - and moisturise - Dry skin builds up lots of static electricity where as moist skin tends to allow charges to dissipate more readily...

Try to wear 100% cotton, or 100% wool, avoiding poly blends - poly blends generate their own static just by the fibres rubbing together within the garment.

bex

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Re: HELP: Static Electricity?
« Reply #10 on: Nov 23, 2012, 03:04 pm »
Thanks guys!

So far, I have gone with extra moisturizer, a smoothing spray for my hair, and dryer sheets in my pockets, and that helped a little. Then I happened to be at Old Navy and saw their cold weather workout gear was on sale, so I picked up a black hooded jacket that really does trap the heat and has replaced the fleece pullover, arm warmers, hat, and neck wrap, which DEFINITELY cut down on the static.  I also took my headset pack off my belt and put it on my table when I was sitting down, which helped too.

I love the idea of an  anti-static mat or bracelet, but I don't think I can justify purchasing one right now, since I am only infrequently SMing at this point. I can't be tethered to one place when I'm running all over backstage as the ASM, which is what I'm mostly doing now (which I love!)
You will have to sing for your supper & your mortgage, your dental coverage & your children's shoes, over & over again while people in desk jobs roll their eyes the minute you start to complain. So it's a good thing you like to sing.

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