When breadboarding it can help to do all your work on a new cookie baking sheet. The raised edges keep small parts contained within your work area, and since your wrists can rest on the raised edges everything is at the same potential as the worker. Just be sure to touch the cookie sheet first when starting a session, and maintain contact with the cookie sheet.
@studleylee I still keep a A/D converter I bought from Analog Devices that cost me $100 in 1984. I zapped it.
An engineering lab actually had a carpeted floor. Was supposed to be anti-ESD carpet, but the installer got it wrong, and it had to be sprayed weekly with some kind of chemical. Back then we did not have heel straps or wrist straps.
Anyway, on a cold dry winter day in the Great White North, a colleague had just installed the 1st of 10 samples of his brand new ASIC into the socket. It was in a ceramic package with a metal top. We fired the board up, then we wondered how warm the ASIC was running. My friend reached out to feel it - I said "Static!" but it was too late. We could hear the 'snap' of a strong ESD discharge.
He said "It's not very hot." Then a few seconds later "But it sure is getting hot now!"
There's lots of stuff going here, but let me try to clarify some things.
When working on the something like a laptop, there are really two options of grounding for ESD purposes.
1. Ground all conductors and dissipative materials (people, product, worksurface, etc) through an electrical ground (third wire). This is the preferred method for electronics manufactures because the electrical ground is where other equipment (soldering iron, scopes, etc) used in the production environment if grounded, but not always available in "field" applications.
2. If grounding to the electrical ground is not possible, you can use equipotential bonding. Equipotential bonding connects all conductors and dissipative materials in the environment together. If you are working on something such as a laptop, you would use an alligator clip to connect the wrist strap to the housing of the laptop.
Both methods essentially do the same thing in creating an equipotential balance between all items and personnel. ESD events can only occur when there is a difference in the potential. Note that only conductors and dissipative materials can be grounded, insulators require ionization to control ESD.
Based on this post we are going to make some samples of a USB to banana jack adaptor to see how this would work. The adaptor will allow a standard wrist strap to be connected to the USB.