Modeling an ESD Gun Discharge to a USB Cable

Yang Xu, Jianchi Zhou, Daryl Beetner, Javad Meiguni, David Pommerenke, Sergej Bub, Steffen Holland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


When an electrostatic discharge (ESD) gun discharges to a USB cable, the routing and quality of the cable impacts the waveform seen at the printed circuit board (PCB) connected to the cable and the ability of an on-board transient voltage suppressor (TVS) to protect sensitive electronics. The impact of cable configurations during ESD gun contact discharge tests was investigated for multiple cable configurations. Injection to a cable pin whose shield is 'floating' at the injection site can cause a double-peak in the ESD waveform at the PCB and a lower maximum stress level than when the cable shield is connected to the return plane. Poor shielding of the USB connector can further induce a pre-pulse effect, where a smaller ESD pulse arrives at the PCB before the main pulse. This pre-pulse can result in poor firing of the TVS device and thus worsen ESD stress at a sensitive IC. Circuit models were developed to anticipate and explain both of these phenomena. These models were incorporated into a system-level transient simulation including models of a PCB with a TVS and a pair of on-chip diodes. This system-level model was able to predict the quasi-static and peak voltages and currents at the on-chip diode during 1-8 kV ESD contact-discharge tests with various USB cable configurations to within less than 30%. These models were used to develop test and design guidelines to account for the impact of the quality and configuration of a USB cable during an ESD discharge.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2022 IEEE International Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility and Signal/Power Integrity, EMCSI 2022
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781665409292
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event2022 IEEE International Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility and Signal/Power Integrity: EMCSI 2022 - Spokane, WA, USA, Spokane, United States
Duration: 1 Aug 20225 Aug 2022


Conference2022 IEEE International Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility and Signal/Power Integrity
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Electrostatic discharge (ESD)
  • system-efficient ESD design (SEED)
  • System-level ESD
  • transient voltage suppressor
  • USB cable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Signal Processing
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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