An average modern car has between 1,400 to 1,500 semiconductor chips: tiny electronic components that control everything from emissions systems to driver assist systems. Given the high number of electronic components in modern vehicles, electrostatic discharge (ESD) and other electrical issues have become more concerning to automakers. To ensure correct operation throughout a vehicle’s lifetime in harsh environments, automotive applications must be protected against damaging voltage transients like lightning and ESD. ISO 10605:2023—Road Vehicles – Test Methods For Electrical Disturbances From Electrostatic Discharge details ESD testing specifications for road vehicles.
What Is Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)?
Static electricity accrues through contact in our surroundings—workbenches, floors, chairs, clothes, packing, material, paper, and plastic files. For example, the shock (static electricity) you may feel when you walk across a carpet, touch a metal doorknob, or take clothes coming out of the dryer is electrostatic discharge (ESD). ESD occurs when there is a sudden discharge of electricity between two bodies, typically due to contact, dielectric breakdown (e.g., moist air separating the objects) or short circuits; it can also build up due to the constant rubbing of two dissimilar materials (i.e., triboelectric charging). When an ESD strike occurs, the electric field or spark generated can damage sensitive components.
While most of ESD events are harmless to the human body, they can cause challenging and expensive problems in certain industrial environments. ESD is a problem for vehicle fabrication as static electricity issues can slow production, negatively affect product quality issues, attract contaminants, and create safety issues. Since it can damage electrical components, it is critical that road vehicles are in compliance with ESD testing in standards like ISO 10605:2023.
What Is ISO 10605?
ISO 10605:2023 specifies the electrostatic discharge (ESD) test methods necessary to evaluate electronic modules intended for vehicle use. The standard applies to discharges in the following cases:
- ESD in assembly
- ESD caused by service staff
- ESD caused by occupants
It describes test procedures for evaluating both electronic modules on the bench and complete vehicles. ISO 10605:2023 applies to all types of road vehicles regardless of the propulsion system (e.g., spark-ignition engine, diesel engine, electric motor). The test for electronic modules on the bench described in this standard applies to any device under test (DUT), powered by an unshielded power system, DUT powered by a shielded power system, self-powered DUT, etc.
This standard does not apply to pyrotechnic modules.
Component Immunity Test Method for ESD
ISO 10605:2023 specifies requirements for immunity testing of electrostatic discharge. These tests consist of direct and indirect types of application of discharges to the device under test (DUT), as follows:
- Direct type discharges (contact or air discharge mode) are applied directly to the DUT and to the remote parts that are accessible by the vehicle users (e.g., surfaces of switches, diagnostic connectors, buttons)
- Indirect type discharges (contact discharge mode) simulate discharges that occur to other conductive objects in the vicinity of the DUT and are applied through an intervening metal, such as to GP
ISO 10605:2023—Road Vehicles – Test Methods For Electrical Disturbances From Electrostatic Discharge is available on the ANSI Webstore.