Static electricty - Can it damage audio gear

I have run into a problem with static electricity and my AVP2 processor. It took a while to figure out but if I rub my foot on the carpet several times and touch the processor it will suddenly change into another mode or freeze into a setup mode. There is no shock or spark but the unit still freezes. Can this cause permanent damage to any of the circuitry ?

This is the 1 st time in 6 years that it has happened. Can a faulty component in the processor cause this problem ? Any suggestions

Thanks , Dave
My answer is, I think so. I have also completely shut down my receiver with static. I was thinking it was toast until I figured out the speakers had been switched off, along with a few other settings. I now have a habit of touching something cheap before I touch something expensive.
I blew out an old CROWN preamp - the DL-2 - by a static zap.

Try to ground yourself just to be sure, before you grab the control of anything.

Or use a humidifier.

Bob Wood
If your standing on carpet as you touch your electronics and you feel the zap, you can treat the carpet with a solution of Cling Free, Downey, or any other laundry additive that cuts static and water. A rubber mat could do the trick.
Absolutely. It blew all the output transistors of one of my monoblocks.
I too have had the static thing. While it is windy here in So. Cal;turning off a flourescent light (one time, even a wall switch) will hang-up my dac / thus no music. Then it can take 20/30 mins. to get the music back. ---real pain.
Grounding straps for listeners... the final tweak. LOL.

There was a preamp that had a grounding fault that caused it to absolutely self destruct after being zapped by static. I have an old NAD that I zap every day. It just causes a "pop" to go through the spekers. So far no damage. I wonder if I were to strap it to the CDP if it would bypass the amplifier on its way to ground?
I'll echo Bob's comment. Get a humidifier. It'll make you feel warmer too.
This happens to me every day. I just touch my stand first and dissipate the charge.
ESD is a primary cause for damage to Surface mount chip technology, or in other words most home theater components. ESD can be produced by leather rubbing poly carpets or wool leading to a HUGE voltage discharge. If you feel a spark it could be thousands of volts of electricity. This will fuse small circuits. Typical humidity in a living environment should be around 40% this will reduce the potential greatly.

Something fun to do is to try to see the arc of electricity between you and another person, that has also become charged. Your bodies act essentially like the capacitors on your amps. A typical 1 inch spark is 60,000 volts of electricity.
This issue always seems to come up on the forum during the winter months and yes, damage can occur to some sensitive circuits. Be careful as some audio companies can detect static charge damage on warranty claims and consider the damage to be an "act of God".

Just to be safe, do as the other members have suggested, where the easiest remedy is to discharge yourself by touching your metal rack or something metal nearby. Even touching the corner of a wall as the cornerbead is enough metal to disharge the energy.

In addition, and another simple remedy, is to make sure your shoes are off.
After talking to a technician at Harman he said that ESD can cause some glitches in the circuitry. Since the unit works fine he thinks that there should be no damage from previous zaps. What I still find strange is that I do not feel a zap or see any spark. So it is a very small charge. He did suggest the humidifier, proper grounding, static guard. If the unit continues to lockup after these changes they would check it out under warranty. He claims that it is the first time they have seen this with a Proceed product. A decent humidfier is a lot cheaper than a new processor
Thank you all for the excellent feedback.
You might also consider getting one of these. They use these when building computers and other electronics to insure no static.
with regards to treating carpet with anti-static stuff, would i need to treat all of the carpet in the room or just the area where i stand when adjusting my stereo? also, is there a good ratio of treatment:water to use when making the solution?

i did a little more digging and was able to answer my own questions. this thread over at audio asylum had some good info.