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Old 11-20-2009, 10:54 AM   #1
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Electrical feedback coming through electrical system..Did it fry my laptop?


We live in an older house that has no ground, when we first moved in and I hooked up my laptop to the charger while using it and running my fingers over the laptops aluminum case or if your arm got close to the case while using it you could feel the electrical current stinging you. I also have a Proxima surge protector that the entire front is plastic except for the metal name plate and I can feel the electrical current stinging the top of my foot. I have asked around and someone told me it sounded like someone had wired something backwards in the house. Would this of burned my laptop up? I was using it last night and could smell something in it burning and now it won't come on.

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Old 11-20-2009, 12:18 PM   #2
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Electrical feedback coming through electrical system..Did it fry my laptop?


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Originally Posted by CTroxtell View Post
We live in an older house that has no ground,
running my fingers over the laptops aluminum case or if your arm got close to the case while using it you could feel the electrical current stinging you.
The RFI filter/protector at the power input to your laptop is ungrounded, and so it is energizing the case of your laptop to 120vac/2 = 60vac.
It's probably not dangerous because there are regulations as to how much current will pass through the user in the event of an ungrounded filter.

These filters are meant to be grounded.

1 milliamp of current at 60 Hz is barely detectible, 10 mA is painful, 20 mA is so high that you can't let go of it. With "stinging", I'd put the current at 3 mA.


Last edited by Yoyizit; 11-20-2009 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:31 PM   #3
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Electrical feedback coming through electrical system..Did it fry my laptop?


So you don't think it could of fried my laptop? Even my main desktop computer I can feel it stinging me if I have my arm on the back of it and I touch the rivets on the skin of my arm. I am trying to figure out what happened and if the owner of the house is responsible as it is still happening and computers don't like static electricity so I don't figure they'll like some current flowing through them.
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:36 PM   #4
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Electrical feedback coming through electrical system..Did it fry my laptop?


So you are renting ?
In that case I'd report the problem to your landlord
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:39 PM   #5
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Electrical feedback coming through electrical system..Did it fry my laptop?


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Even my main desktop computer I can feel it stinging me if I have my arm on the back of it and I touch the rivets on the skin of my arm.


If it cooked your laptop you are pretty much responsible. When something shocks you, UNPLUG IT AND TAKE CARE OF THE PROBLEM.

And yeah....it could have killed your computer. It could kill you too.
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:41 PM   #6
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Electrical feedback coming through electrical system..Did it fry my laptop?


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Originally Posted by CTroxtell View Post
So you don't think it could of fried my laptop?

Unlikely, if it's just a lack of ground.


computers don't like static electricity

Even my main desktop computer I can feel it stinging me
All these hi-tech gadgets with line filters need to be grounded.

It's not 'static' electricity; it is 'dynamic' electricity and will show up on voltmeter or an ammeter.
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:52 PM   #7
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Electrical feedback coming through electrical system..Did it fry my laptop?


Does the laptop charger have a 2 prong or 3 prong plug
Mine has a 3 plug
Does the desktop have a 3 prong plug ? Mine does, don't think I've seen one that isn't

So...how are you plugging a 3 prong plug into the receptacle?
Are they 2 prong or 3 prong receptacles?
If they are 3 prong are they GFCI or marked no ground present ?
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Old 11-20-2009, 07:39 PM   #8
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Electrical feedback coming through electrical system..Did it fry my laptop?


I'd install grounding asap, even if it means rigging your own ground rod for now and running it with another wire another wire (extension cord, or w/e), it's better then nothing, though I would really look in doing it properly. Make sure the neutral is bonded to the ground as well (only at the main entrance). If this is an apartment I'm guessing you can't just be putting holes all over, so you may need to rig something up but I'd try to convince the landlord to let you do something about it, and do it properly. Not an easy task as it would involve running new wire. Hopefully he'd pay for it.

I find it crazy that there are still lot of houses out there with no proper grounding. :o Guess technically it's not against code unless there are renovations being made in those areas.
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Old 11-21-2009, 08:43 AM   #9
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Electrical feedback coming through electrical system..Did it fry my laptop?


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Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
So you are renting ?
In that case I'd report the problem to your landlord
Yes, we are leasing, I reported it to the real estate agent, who called the owners and they said they have never had any complaints and suggested I talk to Best Buy or Radio Shack about some kind of filter. I am just wondering if its the wiring that fried my laptop or if it was just time for it to go. I am just concerned about that and my 6 month old in the case that he touches something with that small current going through it. The owners seem to of just blew me off as they don't want to spend any money.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
Does the laptop charger have a 2 prong or 3 prong plug
Mine has a 3 plug
Does the desktop have a 3 prong plug ? Mine does, don't think I've seen one that isn't

So...how are you plugging a 3 prong plug into the receptacle?
Are they 2 prong or 3 prong receptacles?
If they are 3 prong are they GFCI or marked no ground present ?
The laptop is just a 2 prong, the desktop is a 3 prong. The receptacles are 3 prong they just have no ground.
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Old 11-21-2009, 09:10 AM   #10
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Electrical feedback coming through electrical system..Did it fry my laptop?


how do you know they have no ground
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Old 11-21-2009, 09:24 AM   #11
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Electrical feedback coming through electrical system..Did it fry my laptop?


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Originally Posted by CTroxtell View Post
The laptop is just a 2 prong, the desktop is a 3 prong. The receptacles are 3 prong they just have no ground.
A 3 prong receptacle without a ground or a GFCI feeding it is a code violation as far as I know
Talk to the local building Dept

How did you verify there isn't a ground ?
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Old 11-21-2009, 10:17 AM   #12
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Electrical feedback coming through electrical system..Did it fry my laptop?


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Originally Posted by CTroxtell View Post
The owners seem to of just blew me off as they don't want to spend any money.
I wonder if you, as a tenant, can ask the county to inspect your apt. for elec. noncompliance.
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Old 11-21-2009, 11:21 AM   #13
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Electrical feedback coming through electrical system..Did it fry my laptop?


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Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
A 3 prong receptacle without a ground or a GFCI feeding it is a code violation as far as I know
Talk to the local building Dept

How did you verify there isn't a ground ?
Well I have installed some of the 3 prong receptacles because when we moved in it just had the 2 prong receptacles and they were very touchy or you had to shove the plug into the receptacle. If you moved the plug just a little the appliance would go off because the contacts in it were so old I guess they were spread apart and not making contact. I turned the breaker off and pulled the receptacle out and its only got 2 wires, white and black. The 3 prong receptacles were the only ones I could find to replace the older ones.
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Old 11-21-2009, 11:43 AM   #14
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Electrical feedback coming through electrical system..Did it fry my laptop?


#1 your are a tenant, not allowed to make changes to the electrical system

Any changes/problems have to brought to the attention of the landlord & the landlord needs to fix them
By installing 3 prong outlets you have accepted responsiblity for any problem that results
3 prong outlets can NOT be installed
2 prong outlets are still made
GFCI outlet can be installed & labelled no ground present

BUT, your landlord needs to fix this

You have no claim against your landlord since you installed the 3 prong outlets

Are the wires in metal conduit by any chance with a metal outlet box ?
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Old 11-21-2009, 04:36 PM   #15
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Electrical feedback coming through electrical system..Did it fry my laptop?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
#1 your are a tenant, not allowed to make changes to the electrical system

Any changes/problems have to brought to the attention of the landlord & the landlord needs to fix them
By installing 3 prong outlets you have accepted responsiblity for any problem that results
3 prong outlets can NOT be installed
2 prong outlets are still made
GFCI outlet can be installed & labelled no ground present

BUT, your landlord needs to fix this

You have no claim against your landlord since you installed the 3 prong outlets

Are the wires in metal conduit by any chance with a metal outlet box ?
You mean metal conduit from the outlet box up through the walls? If so I am not sure, I think that the outlet box themselves are metal.

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