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Powerbook is shocking me

1614 Views 25 Replies Latest reply: Feb 19, 2006 10:51 PM by crewmark RSS
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st8macin88 Calculating status...
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Oct 18, 2005 4:17 AM
This might be because i am in a different country and i am using a converter to charge this computer, but around the outside of the computer (where the metal meets thegray part of the laptop), whenever i lay my arm across this comfortably i get a small shock, like a small pinch

anyone know why it is doing this?
  • Peter Knapp Level 4 Level 4 (1,490 points)
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    Jul 8, 2005 7:03 PM (in response to st8macin88)
    I get that too sometimes. If I run my hand over the left palm rest I sometimes get a feeling of magnetic 'resistance'. It's very disconcerting.

    I think it's down the the aluminium casing. It seems to generate or pick up a lot of static electricity and basically you're it's path to earth.

    Does anyone know if this is correct or evidence of something to worry about?
  • JDee Level 5 Level 5 (4,730 points)
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    Jul 8, 2005 10:04 PM (in response to st8macin88)
    Apparently the prevailing wisdom has it that the minor shocking sensation is (a) nothing to worry about and (b) due to lack of grounding. The following recent thread discusses the issue on some detail:

  • Peter Knapp Level 4 Level 4 (1,490 points)
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    Jul 9, 2005 3:52 AM (in response to st8macin88)
    Curious. Well I'm in the UK and of course we have a third 'earth' terminal. The machine is from the Apple Store London. Perhaps the PSU just doesn't use it.
  • carl wolf Level 6 Level 6 (13,910 points)
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    Jul 10, 2005 2:46 AM (in response to st8macin88)
    What generation of power adapter are you using? Was it supplied with a 3-prong UK duckhead?
  • Jernej Bergman Calculating status...
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    Jul 10, 2005 5:56 AM (in response to st8macin88)
    Are you useing PB on the table or on sofa? Sitting and therfore rubbing on fabrics can cause statics....

    I had same problem when sitting on sofa... now I put my legs up not tuching the floor and it's gone..
  • Peter Knapp Level 4 Level 4 (1,490 points)
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    Jul 10, 2005 6:09 AM (in response to carl wolf)
    Well the PSU came with the machine (latest PB model). Not sure what gen that would be but it definitely comes with the 3 prong UK duckhead.

    I'm not terribly worried but it was a curious phenomenon. I thought my PB had become a Ouija board!
  • carl wolf Level 6 Level 6 (13,910 points)
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    Jul 10, 2005 6:24 AM (in response to st8macin88)
    Have you tried a different AC outlet, or used a voltmeter to assure that the outlet is grounded? If the outlet is grounded and the duckhead is properly installed, and you're still noticing voltage on the cover, something is not right.
  • Peter Knapp Level 4 Level 4 (1,490 points)
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    Jul 10, 2005 7:34 AM (in response to carl wolf)
    I'll have to ask my father who's an electrician if the outlet is earthed. It hasn't happened since but if it does I certainly follow your advice and run some tests.

    Thanks for the advice.
  • cognitdiss Level 3 Level 3 (615 points)
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    Jul 11, 2005 10:46 AM (in response to JDee)
    No offense anyone, but prevailing wisom? Oh, I see, normal operation, maybe it's just like global warming- use the consumer device, and suffer, it's only logical! Hmm, now why does that not seem quite right?

    Really folks, has anyone tried calling Apple and asking them *** is up yet? What if the next zap is the whole voltage? It's not up to us to diagnose this crap. If my PB was shocking me I don't think I would be asking the boards about it, I would be complaining like **** to Apple directly, and I wouldn't care how out of warranty my machine was!!

    If this was a car or a coffee maker that delivered shocks no one would be asking questions about how to cope or making excuses for the company that made it, would they? You'd just be demanding answers to the obvious question of what is the company going to do about it!!


    If you want to remove yourself from all culpability in the issue you could have your power company come out and check the quality of the ground connection to your house- most will do this for free. If your lights momentarily dim when the washer or the frige turn on a bad ground is defenitely indicated, and should be be replaced for a number of reasons, not the least of which is danger of house fire and shock.

    When you get buzzed in the shower a bad house ground also the culprit. Anyone who has had this happen to them will recognize that the level of shock from the water handle as being very similar to that reportedly coming from the PowerBooks.

    In 220 using countries I do not know how this works, as there is no ground in the circuit. A similar symptom might occur if one of the two legs of current were loose in the power panel. I bet the utility also checks for this danger for free, but I wouldn't really know.

    If the PB does it in all sockets in a given house this is likely. If you only get shocked in the one socket then it is that socket that is probably miswired or a very old installation with wires that have loosened from heat and time.

    And if it happens in every socket everywhere you can be sure it is the PB at fault. Sounds like it's usually place dependent though, so far, but really, this seems beyond the pale of what is tolerable. After all, coffeemakers and VCRs don't shock you w/ a bad ground, why a cutting edge piece of electronics?
  • JDee Level 5 Level 5 (4,730 points)
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    Jul 11, 2005 12:08 PM (in response to cognitdiss)
    You're 100% correct. They should get in touch with Apple. And there's absolutely nothing stopping anyone on these boards from calling, writing, e-mailing or otherwise contacting Apple and asking them directly about this or any other problem they may have.

    But there would appear to be a number of good reasons why people would come to these boards
    b before
    contacting Apple or an AASP, such as because:

    1. they want to see if others have experienced the same problem as them;
    2. they want to know whether the problem poses an immediate real danger (either to themselves or to their computer), or whether it might be a sign of even worse problems that might ensue (so they know if they can continue to use their machine before getting the problem looked at and fixed; and
    3. they want to find out if there might be an immediate fix or workaround that they can apply without too much effort to stop the problem's symptoms from happening in the interim.

    With respect to the problem discussed in this thread, it seems quite possible that readers might be relieved to know:

    1. that the sensation they are experiencing is not unique to their machine;
    2. that it appears occur largely in countries other than the US;
    3. that nothing serious appears to have happened to any poster experiencing this problem, either to themselves or to their machines;
    4. that they therefore need not interrupt their work schedule by rushing to get it looked at (they can do so when it will least disrupt their computer needs); and
    5. that there appears to be a very simple solution in the mean time to stop the sensation from happening (at least for some folks) -- use a three-prong (grounded) electrical source for the PB's power supply.

    Trying to offer helpful information to those asking for it, and, where appropriate, trying to assuage people's apparently unsubstantiated fears, doesn't make anyone on here an Apple apologist. They're just trying to be more constructive than they would by whipping up hysteria, such as by comparing the problems described herein to a phenomena like global warming that threatens eventually to destroy civilization as we know it.
  • Peter Knapp Level 4 Level 4 (1,490 points)
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    Jul 11, 2005 1:26 PM (in response to carl wolf)
    I'm not sure if this is related, but my machine is now constantly shutting off and sleeping. It's driving me crazy. It keeps giving incorrect temp readings and the log says the machine is shutting down as an emergency measure. I've been on the phone to applecare all afternoon. I'm hoping to keep it awake long enough to get my data and settings off.
  • carl wolf Level 6 Level 6 (13,910 points)
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    Jul 11, 2005 7:39 PM (in response to st8macin88)
    It's not related. For some creason, your PowerBook isn't being cooled sufficiently, and the internal temperatures sensore are shutting down the computer to prevent damage. Be sure that the computer is on a hard, flat surface, with proper airflow through the bottom cover. If the fans are not coming on before the unit shuts down, it's time for a repair.
  • Peter Knapp Level 4 Level 4 (1,490 points)
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    Jul 11, 2005 9:05 PM (in response to carl wolf)
    I never keep the machine on anything but a flat surface. I always take the proper precautions hence this is very irritating that it's happening. I don't think it's a cooling problem more the temp sensor is damaged. The readings it's giving are entirely false, such as 170 degrees for the trackpad. Looks like its going in for repair (perhaps a new logic board). Archive and install hasn't solved it. I've just wiped the hd and trying again to make sure it's definitely hardware based. But from the things I've read from other users, this PB has gone bye bye.
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