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Can ungrounded power line damage computer components & networking devices?

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June 11, 2014 3:10:26 PM

I live in a rented house and it's electrical wiring doesn't have a ground line. I'm using 3-pin plugs with 2-pin converter. I have desktop computers, laptops, wireless routers, network switches etc all plugged into this ungrounded line. Touching any metal parts on this devices proves the current on their body. I didn't measure the current using meter but electrical testers always shows off. Can this ungrounded line cause damage to the electronic devices I mentioned?

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June 11, 2014 3:17:38 PM

Can it cause damage? Probably not. However, it could definitely harm/kill you if even the slightest thing goes wrong. Especially if you can feel any tingling when touching them.

Use of devices that requires a ground (not double insulated) without one is illegal in most places.
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June 11, 2014 3:26:08 PM

Someone Somewhere said:
Can it cause damage? Probably not. However, it could definitely harm/kill you if even the slightest thing goes wrong. Especially if you can feel any tingling when touching them.

Use of devices that requires a ground (not double insulated) without one is illegal in most places.


Actually it feels a strong tingling when touching them. My landlord won't fix the wiring anytime soon. What can I do as an alternative?
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June 11, 2014 3:29:39 PM

Nero666 said:
Someone Somewhere said:
Can it cause damage? Probably not. However, it could definitely harm/kill you if even the slightest thing goes wrong. Especially if you can feel any tingling when touching them.

Use of devices that requires a ground (not double insulated) without one is illegal in most places.


Actually it feels a strong tingling when touching them. My landlord won't fix the wiring anytime soon. What can I do as an alternative?


If you can actually feel it, he is required by law to fix it. "won't fix it" is not an option.
(assuming you are in the US)
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June 11, 2014 3:33:17 PM

USAFRet said:
Nero666 said:
Someone Somewhere said:
Can it cause damage? Probably not. However, it could definitely harm/kill you if even the slightest thing goes wrong. Especially if you can feel any tingling when touching them.

Use of devices that requires a ground (not double insulated) without one is illegal in most places.


Actually it feels a strong tingling when touching them. My landlord won't fix the wiring anytime soon. What can I do as an alternative?


If you can actually feel it, he is required by law to fix it. "won't fix it" is not an option.
(assuming you are in the US)

Unfortunately that's not the case. I live in Dhaka, Bangladesh. You probably never heard of it. Law here doesn't go that straight :( 
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June 11, 2014 3:48:59 PM

If you have metal pipes you can run a wire from the pipes to the ground plug on the adapter. You have to make sure the pipes are actually grounded if you try this. Another way would be to get a piece of steel (rebar) and pound it into the ground. Then run a wire from the steel to your ground plug. You could test it with a multi-meter.
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June 11, 2014 3:52:46 PM

Also, you should short NEUTRAL (Not phase. Don't use phase. If you use the phase/live/active wire, there will be sparks) wire to ground. This should really be done in the switchboard, but it's better than none. This is just tissue paper over the cracks unless you use a proper earth rod, though.

Rebar into the ground is essentially the right way to do it. Threaded steel rod is the easier way, as you can just put two nuts on the top and put a lug between them.
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June 11, 2014 3:54:35 PM

zdbc13 said:
If you have metal pipes you can run a wire from the pipes to the ground plug on the adapter. You have to make sure the pipes are actually grounded if you try this. Another way would be to get a piece of steel (rebar) and pound it into the ground. Then run a wire from the steel to your ground plug. You could test it with a multi-meter.

Wow!! Didn't know something like that can work. I'll definitely try it. Thanks :) 
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2 minutes ago

Can an ungrounded power line damage computer components & networking devices? My answer: Some people say probably not, but I say yes definitely it can over a period of time! I had my computer unknowingly plugged into an ungrounded outlet for a bit over two years at the house I'm renting. After the first year I remember my computer died one morning when it wouldn't do anything when I pressed the power button. It had an amber colored light that appeared on the power button instead of the usual green. I soon found out that my motherboard and power supply needed to be replaced. Now a year and a half later I still didn't know the electrical outlet was ungrounded!! It was only last week that I heard light popping sounds coming from inside my computer! I knew the sounds were unusual so I opened the computer case while the computer was running. When I leaned my forearm against the computer chassis I felt tingling on my arm! It was not static electricity, but was a steady tingling sensation which told me I had a ground problem! I then looked at my surge protected extension cord and noticed the ground light was NOT on. I then tested the outlet with a plug-in outlet tester I had and sure-enough the tester indicated that the outlet was NOT grounded even though the outlet was a three-prong outlet! I then took my tester and checked the other electrical outlets in my living room. I was lucky to find one that WAS grounded so I moved my computer equipment, TV and components to that outlet. Guess what happened next? The popping sounds stopped completely, been a week so far and when I put my forearm now against the computer chassis I no longer felt a tingle! I believe static electricity builds-up inside the computer chassis possibly from cooling fans and who knows what. When the current has no-where to go I think that's when damage to components begins possibly? When you hear light popping or arcing sounds or feel a tingle when you touch your computer chassis with your wrist or forearm - that can't be good for the computer? Right? Only makes sense? As to myself I will never again plug my computers, monitors, components and TV equipment into an ungrounded outlet! To me doing so would only lead to component damage if not failure over time.

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