How to Test an Antistatic Mat With a Meter

Antistatic mats protect sensitive electronics from static damage.
••• electronics image by Stanisa Martinovic from Fotolia.com

An antistatic mat uses a conductive plastic material to safely drain static electric charges away from a work surface. The electrical resistance of a mat’s surface generally falls in a range of 1 megohm, or million ohms, to 10 gigohms, or billion ohms. A typical multimeter you might buy at an electronics shop can’t measure resistances this high, but specialty equipment outlets sell meters capable of testing antistatic mats. Over time, accumulated dirt will interfere with the mat’s electrical resistance. Periodic testing with the right meter will tell you when to clean or replace the mat.

    Lay the mat on a clean, flat, nonconducting surface.

    Turn the ESD test meter on. Connect one of its probes to the mat’s metal grounding rivet or clip. Connect the other probe to the furthest point on the mat’s top surface.

    Read the meter’s display. Some meters have an resistance gauge, and some have “good,” “high” and “low” resistance lights. A mat in good condition will read between 1 megohm and 10 gigohms, or it should light its “good” light.

    Disconnect the probes. Touch the metal contact of one probe to a point on the mat’s edge, and touch the other probe to the edge directly across from the first probe. Move the probes to several points around the mat’s edge, always keeping the full width of the mat between them. The meter should have fairly consistent resistance readings, or light its “good” light. If it doesn’t, clean the mat with a mild cleaning agent and retest it.

    Tips

    • A mat with rectangular proportions will have different resistance readings because of the different distances between the probes at different edge points. The readings may vary by a factor of five but should not decrease below 1 megohm or increase beyond 10 gigohms.

Related Articles

How to Test ESD Mats
How to Check a Photocell
How to Read Amps on an Analog Multimeter
What Are the Applications of a Multimeter?
How to Read an Ohm Meter
How to Measure Low Voltage Amps
How to Measure Conductivity in Liquid
How to Test a Diode Rectifier
How to Build a Gauss Meter
GB Instruments Multimeter Instructions
Advantages & Disadvantages of Digital Meters Vs. Analog...
How to Make an Electrical Circuit with Paper Clips
How to Produce Electricity From an Apple
Activities On Conductivity
How to Test Multimeters
How to Check if a Diode Is Bad
How to Test for an Open Circuit in a Home
How to Test an SCR With an Ohmmeter
How to Test Electrical Conductivity
How to Read Ohms on a Ranged Multimeter

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!