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NEED PRO HELP!! why r components full of electricity?

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December 13, 2006 4:17:17 PM

Ok I know I just posted but I have another problem. ALL my components from the PSU to the hard drive to the screws that connect the motherboard are full of electricity that hits me every time. Even with no power connected all the componets still hit me with electricity. btw I have just done this rig now and I have an Antec NeoHe 500W. Also I have a plastic acrilic seethrough case so I dont know if that has anything to do with it.

need some help!!
December 13, 2006 5:11:35 PM

Even though the PC is turned off, if the PSU is plugged in and the rocker switch is turned on there is the possibility that some components may have current flowing thru them, this is not always the case, but to be sure always disconnect the PSU from the wall outlet before servicing..!
If we're dealing with static electricity here then you have a great chance of trashing all the high impedance static sensitive components inside.
I would definately advise you to use a copper braid strap to ground the case and allow a path for static electricity to flow thru......
The strap must connect to a grounded AC outlet or water pipe or ground rod driven into moist soil several feet....
Also wear a ground strap firmly attached to your wrist when servicing the components, a common mistake many inexperienced builders make is wearing the strap loosely around the wrist, it must be firmly attached so the metal plate constantly makes good contact with the skin and it doesn't hurt if a little sweat gets in there to improve conductivity, the other end of the strap must be connected to a suitable ground as mentioned before.
December 13, 2006 5:43:47 PM

You're dealing with static discharge, and likely the culprit is not your PC but YOU. You "charge up" static while walking around (do you have carpeting near your PC?). By the time you reach out to touch your PC, there's a significant difference in potential (aka voltage) between you and the box, so you "discharge" yourself through your PC since it represents the ground. The PC istself is grounded through the PSU (which in turn is grounded through your 3hole outlet), so it's not the culprit in all this.

You could be working in a very dry-air environment where static charges accumulate more easily, add a humidifier to your room. Also try to avoid using your PC as a discharge station, touch a metallic frame of some sorts before you touch your computer.
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December 13, 2006 5:50:20 PM

Well actually perhaps I should add that it is quite a remarkable shock not just a little tickle. ALso I didnt mention that in my house I do not have ground so the PSU isnt discharging. I do however have other computers and I dont have the same problem with them!? :?
December 13, 2006 5:55:12 PM

Ah.... 2 pin outlets = bad.
People realized it back in the 60s and went to grounded outlets.

There's no guarantee that a new PSU will solve your problems, since there's no defined grounding path.
December 13, 2006 6:10:52 PM

Do not have ground?! Wow, in the UK all plugs have been grounded since 1963, and 90% of earlier ones are grounded too. Even old houses use the post-1963 standard, I think it was actually a legal requirement to rewire to meet the new standard.

No ground is kind of scary tbh :/ 
December 13, 2006 6:14:34 PM

Well actually I kind of dont live in the UK at the mooment yet I bought my parts from the UK coz i go there alot. WHy is it that I dont have that problem with anythung else though? Weve got other ocmputers at home and I dont have a problem??
December 13, 2006 6:14:44 PM

If you are feeling a 'hit' whenever you touch metal on the case it is not static discharge.

It sounds like the ac hot side of the power source is connected to what should be the neutral side of the computer. If this is the case the power switch is interupting the circuit after everything is energized.

Since the outlets are not three prong, are your ac power outlets keyed with one of the prongs wider than the other? If not you probably have the power plug reversed. If they are keyed try a different plug, it could be mis-wired.

The tingle that you are feeling is very much like sticking your finger in a light socket, you are providing the path from the hot side to ground.

You can get a cheap (couple buck) outlet tester to check if the outlet is wired properly. This is not a safe situation.

Good Luck
December 13, 2006 6:18:46 PM

This is actually a problem with acrylic cases, remember the glass rod and silk experiment from high school?
December 13, 2006 6:24:59 PM

Quote:
Well actually perhaps I should add that it is quite a remarkable shock not just a little tickle. ALso I didnt mention that in my house I do not have ground so the PSU isnt discharging. I do however have other computers and I dont have the same problem with them!? :?


I had this problem with a computer once. Something is wrong with your build to be feeding a noticible amount of electricity back through the ground. Also, it might be plugged in backwards (110v is supposed to be AC current on one side, and "neutral" on the other side).

The quick fix: take that 3prong to 2prong adapter you're using. You see the little tab for the ground? GROUND IT (that's what it's there for). The scrwe in the middle of the faceplate of the outlet *should* be grounded, but it ussually isn't. Wrap a fairly beefy wire (I used speaker wire) around the tab so it is secure and will conduct electricity well, attach the other end to a ground. What you use for a ground can be just about anything, but it's best to connect it to the same ground as everything else in the house so you don't get votage flowing back across it.

Choices are:
1. The negive side of the two-prong outlet (it goes back to the exact same place a "ground" wire would anyway, just make sure you attach it to the negetive side, not the positive side). Pros: eaiest, best solution from an electrical EMI standpoint. Cons: riskiest, if you hook it up backwards you will fry your computer and possible start a fire. Frequently these old two-prong outlets are wired BACKWARDS, so if you unplug it from one outlet in your house, and plug it into another... smoke.

2. Copper water pipes. These are grounded. Pros: works well if accessible. Cons: Prone to lightning damage or could possible electricute someone to death while taking a shower (that's why they don't do it anymore) but your wiring is problably grounded there anyway so it's not making anything worse then it already is.

3. Central AC ventalation, baseboard heaters, steam heaters. These are ussually grounded. Pros: works well if accessible and grounded. Cons: none.

4. Run the wire outside and wire it to your grounding spike (if you have one, you probably don't, your entire house is probably grounded to your water pipes) or make a new grounding spike (on the cheap: dig a hole, strip a bunch of the wire and put it down there, fill the hole back in).

To fix your PC:
1. take the PSU out, plug the PSU in, see if it electricutes you. If so, get a new PSU. If not go to step 2
2. Unplug all drives and cards and check all mounts on the motherboard to make sure nothing is being shorted out (check especially under the motherboard). File down offending parts of the motherboard tray, use plastic and those little paper washer thingies to make sure your mobo isn't touching anything. Put the PSU back in and power the system up (yes, with no GFX card or anything. It won't boot but we that's ok) If it still electricutes you get a new mobo, if not go to step 3. If the mobo tray is all acrylic this really should be the problem though. Just check the screws.
3. Start plugging cards and drives back in one at a time. The one that electricutes you should probably be thrown away. Make sure that it's plugged in properly and not shorting anything out.

Once you think you've isolated the problem to either the PSU, mobo, or ond of the components try swapping it out and see if the problem goes away.

Make sure you follow proper ESD and handling proceedures, especially unplug the PSU from the wall inbetween each time you add or remove a component.

Once you ground that tab the problem will basically go away. The Acrylic case isn't causing the problem, it just isn't helping it go away either. You really should try to figure out what is causing it and fix that then ALSO ground the tab.
December 13, 2006 6:32:09 PM

The neutral of the PSU should not be connected to the frame. This goes back to the 2 pin issue also. The grounding pin of the receptacle should not be carrying ANY current unless there is a fault condition.
The ground pin is there to be an easy path back to the source in the event that a wire comes in contact with the equipment frame. This would allow large amounts of current to flow (by design) and thus facilitate the breaker tripping. If this path did not exist then the frame would remain energized until something else made the path to ground. (namely you) Unforturnately, the human body isn't a very good conductor and if you came into contact with the supply, you would not conduct enough current to trip a typical 15 or 20A breaker. (which is why GFCI exists)

The situation being descibed is likely a symptom of a faulty or very poorly designed power supply.
December 13, 2006 6:39:59 PM

Well thats sad to hear because I have an antec NeoHe 500 :(  ALso I would like to say that I touched my rig (cautiously) just now after being turned off for 2 hours and nothing happened so I guess it just discharged itself.

Instead of electricuting myself couldnt I turn on the computer and use a voltmetre to measure if there is any current on the PSU. Im sorry but Im kind of a noob especially when it comes to electricity but wouldnt switching it on damage the computer now so I shouldnt switch it on?
December 13, 2006 7:04:07 PM

Guess what, I tried a different plug and everything but this time as soon as I connected the wire to the PSU I was instantly electrocuted before I turned on the computer? I think that means I have a faulty PSU?? :( 
December 13, 2006 7:34:11 PM

Quote:
The neutral of the PSU should not be connected to the frame. This goes back to the 2 pin issue also. The grounding pin of the receptacle should not be carrying ANY current unless there is a fault condition.
The ground pin is there to be an easy path back to the source in the event that a wire comes in contact with the equipment frame. This would allow large amounts of current to flow (by design) and thus facilitate the breaker tripping. If this path did not exist then the frame would remain energized until something else made the path to ground. (namely you) Unforturnately, the human body isn't a very good conductor and if you came into contact with the supply, you would not conduct enough current to trip a typical 15 or 20A breaker. (which is why GFCI exists)

The situation being descibed is likely a symptom of a faulty or very poorly designed power supply.


Eh, if he had a properly wired outlet his neutral and ground would be connected... back at the electrical box. If you had a properly wired system and you connected the ground and neurtral at the device you would bypass the GFCI wouldn't it and make the wireing less safe? But he doesn't have those safety features anyway so it makes no difference, right? Neutral and ground both go to the same place, they are both ground, the extra ground wire in the outlet is just a saftey and EMI/ESD consideration.

When this happened to me my entire circuit became hot until I grounded the case of the offending device (I grounded it to the water heater which is where my electical box was grouned). My computer and sterio amplifier would both shock me if I wasn't wearing shoes when I touched them. After using my friend as a circuit tester we had his dad come over with a multi-meter and discovered it was 70volts DC. I was poor at the time though so I just grounded it out and sold the computer later. Then I bought myself a cheap mulit-meter (for <$20 those cheap ones sure are useful, and don't have to worry about breaking them much).

I imagine that in europe they had dedicated "ground" sooner because they run two opposite-sine hot lines to the outlet and have no "neutral". In addition to being more effecient, you never have to worry about plugging something in backwards as both sides are hot xD However, if you want any kind of ground you need a 3pin plug, not just two.

In the US all electrical devices are grounded because they plug into neutral. Most electrical devices run off DC current, not AC (which is why we have power supplies all over the place) and the AC-DC converters don't care which way the current runs, nor do AC electric motors. While this seems nice and simple and all, it has lead to decades of bad electrical wiring and engineering in the USA which still haunts us all to this day. With some older lamps if you plug them in backwards you'll get a nasty surpise when you go to turn them off (my grandfather has such a lamp, he recently put a polorized plug on it, but that doesn't help if the outlet is wired backwards which they often are).
December 13, 2006 7:45:25 PM

Actually I have another reason to believe my PSU is to blame. When I switch on my computer it shuts down for a second then starts the second time. I have been told that is a PSU problem? So is it definately my PSU then? Should I rma it? Also wouldnt all this loose electricity damage my components? I am starting to worry about them :?
December 13, 2006 7:49:20 PM

Quote:
The neutral of the PSU should not be connected to the frame. This goes back to the 2 pin issue also. The grounding pin of the receptacle should not be carrying ANY current unless there is a fault condition.
The ground pin is there to be an easy path back to the source in the event that a wire comes in contact with the equipment frame. This would allow large amounts of current to flow (by design) and thus facilitate the breaker tripping. If this path did not exist then the frame would remain energized until something else made the path to ground. (namely you) Unforturnately, the human body isn't a very good conductor and if you came into contact with the supply, you would not conduct enough current to trip a typical 15 or 20A breaker. (which is why GFCI exists)

The situation being descibed is likely a symptom of a faulty or very poorly designed power supply.


Eh, if he had a properly wired outlet his neutral and ground would be connected... back at the electrical box. If you had a properly wired system and you connected the ground and neurtral at the device you would bypass the GFCI wouldn't it and make the wireing less safe? But he doesn't have those safety features anyway so it makes no difference, right? Neutral and ground both go to the same place, they are both ground, the extra ground wire in the outlet is just a saftey and EMI/ESD consideration.

When this happened to me my entire circuit became hot until I grounded the case of the offending device (I grounded it to the water heater which is where my electical box was grouned). My computer and sterio amplifier would both shock me if I wasn't wearing shoes when I touched them. After using my friend as a circuit tester we had his dad come over with a multi-meter and discovered it was 70volts DC. I was poor at the time though so I just grounded it out and sold the computer later. Then I bought myself a cheap mulit-meter (for <$20 those cheap ones sure are useful, and don't have to worry about breaking them much).

I imagine that in europe they had dedicated "ground" sooner because they run two opposite-sine hot lines to the outlet and have no "neutral". In addition to being more effecient, you never have to worry about plugging something in backwards as both sides are hot xD However, if you want any kind of ground you need a 3pin plug, not just two.

In the US all electrical devices are grounded because they plug into neutral. Most electrical devices run off DC current, not AC (which is why we have power supplies all over the place) and the AC-DC converters don't care which way the current runs, nor do AC electric motors. While this seems nice and simple and all, it has lead to decades of bad electrical wiring and engineering in the USA which still haunts us all to this day. With some older lamps if you plug them in backwards you'll get a nasty surpise when you go to turn them off (my grandfather has such a lamp, he recently put a polorized plug on it, but that doesn't help if the outlet is wired backwards which they often are).


I thought you US people used 110V 60Hz AC :s

The UK is different from most of mainland Europe in that although we still use 230V 50Hz AC, we do have a live and a neutral rather than two opposite sine lives. All switches and fuses are supposed to be in the live only... but it depends how much of an idiot the installer was tbh, I've seen some really crappy wiring in my time :D 

Even with live/neutral wiring, (the three phases are in a four wire star configuration before each house is fed a single phase from neutral and either R, B or Y,) we still have three pin plugs. In fact, there is NO provision for ANYTHING other than a three pin plug nowadays, anything else is illegal, although the third (earth) pin can be no connection in the case of Class II/double insulated devices.

(Actually our 230V is more like 240V, Europe once used differing voltages in different countries, between 220V and 240V. The UK was 240V±6%, and now it is 230V±10% across Europe. As that is up to 253V, most power boards just carry on supplying 240V.....)
December 13, 2006 8:27:47 PM

Quote:
Guess what, I tried a different plug and everything but this time as soon as I connected the wire to the PSU I was instantly electrocuted before I turned on the computer? I think that means I have a faulty PSU?? :( 


Since you wrote that you have other computers and they don't have a problem, I think the search for problems with the house wiring isn't going to help. I think that either you have a bad psu that's shorting to the case frame or some other component is shorting to the case frame.

My suggestion is to unplug the computer from the house wiring, leave it alone for a few minutes, and then take out the psu and RMA it, throw it away or whatever. Then go through the computer and search both for any parts that might be shorting to the frame (the motherboard for instance) and for signs of burn marks that could point to shorts. This should help identify damaged parts.

As a side note, where I live in the USA, electrocute(d) means to be killed by electricity. What you are suggesting would be to get shocked by a non-fatal jolt of electricity.
December 13, 2006 9:02:38 PM

Quote:
I thought you US people used 110V 60Hz AC :s


Oh, we do, but we have two of them running to each house. So, our houses are 220v 60hz ready... but almost all of our devices are 110v as are all of our "standard" outlets. We use 220v quite a bit for furnaces, water heaters, stoves, and clothes dryers, but basically everything else is 110v.

Quote:
Guess what, I tried a different plug and everything but this time as soon as I connected the wire to the PSU I was instantly electrocuted before I turned on the computer? I think that means I have a faulty PSU??


I gave you three things to test, don't post again until you at least do the first one or have some other new information to give us :p  You already told us you got electrocuted whenever it was plugged in, not just when the computer was on. Trying to help you, but you gotta do some more testing. It's *probably* the PSU, but if you spend a bunch of money on a new PSU without making sure that was what was broken and you still have the same problem you're not going to be very happy, are you? It could be the PSU, the mobo, a simple short somewhere in the case, one of the drives or add-in cards, another device on the same circuit as your computer, your surge protector, your plug adapter, or your outlet. Heck, it could be 2 or more of those things all broken at the same time. You have to isolate and test, only then you will know. Until then all any of us can do is guess.

You are using a 2-prong to 3-prong plug adapter on a surge protector with your computer, monitor, and whatever else plugged into that aren't you? Try uplugging everything but the computer. You could also try taking that adapter and surge protector to a friends house and plugging in your PC there. Your computer right now is consisting of numerous different parts that could be bad, you need to isolate them and retest them, taking the PSU out and testing it is the first logical step to take (and really, you should avoid running your computer while this problem is happening as much as possible anyway).
December 13, 2006 9:09:33 PM

Quote:


...electrocute(d) means to be killed by electricity.


huh... you're right. It seems the origin of the word is "electro execute". I don't think I was previously aware of that. I guess the proper word to use is 'electrofied'. As in "I was electrified by the malfunctioning device".
December 13, 2006 10:28:39 PM

Quote:


...electrocute(d) means to be killed by electricity.


huh... you're right. It seems the origin of the word is "electro execute". I don't think I was previously aware of that. I guess the proper word to use is 'electrofied'. As in "I was electrified by the malfunctioning device".

That's the right idea. It may seem trivial on my part, but it was something that I was taught years ago when taking an electronics course in the Air Force. Come to think of it, some of what I learned in the Air Force was shocking, though in a different way.
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