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Grounding problem - Antec Sonata III - Confirmed w/cust support

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January 31, 2008 12:19:04 AM

I originally posted this problem in Graphics ard section but moved here because I think the problem is ground-related.

New system:
8800GT
5000+ BB
Biostar TA770
2 gig kingston 1066 ram
400GIG SATA HD
SATA DVDR

Case:
Antec Sonata III Quiet case w/500W earth power PSU.

Problem:
When I touch the front bezel inset (metal and has the lights, esata, and 2 USB2.0 connectors on it) the screen goes blank and I need to reboot. This only happens sometimes but I am pretty sure it is static-electricity related. I removed all the front bezel plugins from the mobo and the problem still occurs. I think it must be a grounding problem between the front bezel and the case. Any tips or help?

Thanks!


ALSO:
Ran prime 95 10hrs last night successfully.
On reinstall of all front bezel connectors I double checked to make sure polarity matches on all plugs.
Brian
January 31, 2008 8:10:00 AM

as far as i can tell this is either a mainboard or a videocard problem.
what i would try if i had this problem is check if any of the contacts on the back of the mainboard touch the case, and if so remove the mainboard and put some rubber O rings on the mounting screws between the mainboard and the pc case. ( http://www.cranecams.com/images/downloadable/Motorcycle...(TC%20Evo%20Shv%20PN%2041101).jpg )
January 31, 2008 11:26:49 AM

Are you sure the front bezel is conductive? It looks plastic to me. If you mean the front connectors, why would you touch those?

If you suspect a ground issue, remove the mobo & look for a loose screw or an extra standoff. While you're at it, tie up the power cables so that they aren't dangling around.
January 31, 2008 11:49:51 AM

I had a similar problem that was completely resolved by moving my parts to a new case. That's supposed to be a decent case, so you should not need to do anything quite as extreme. A search for unintended contact of wires or pins, or something loose somewhere might turn up the cause.
January 31, 2008 12:17:21 PM

I had a bunch of weird problems like that with a recent build. I have a 1000W PS with 12 drives on a Xeon board. I bought a anti-static pad and attached the groundwire to the ground on my electrical plug and I had no more issues. I know my house has ground to neutral issues and have not been able to fully solve them. So the ground pad corrects my electrical issues in my house.
January 31, 2008 12:23:57 PM

TrentB said:
I had a bunch of weird problems like that with a recent build. I have a 1000W PS with 12 drives on a Xeon board. I bought a anti-static pad and attached the groundwire to the ground on my electrical plug and I had no more issues. I know my house has ground to neutral issues and have not been able to fully solve them. So the ground pad corrects my electrical issues in my house.



this is more a workaround, not a solution imho.
he should not be having this problem.
though it is better than nothing i guess.
January 31, 2008 12:56:46 PM

here where I work (repairing pc's), its quite common to cause a reboot or blank screen when a static shock when touching a case. Assuming the ground situation in the home is good, and the power supply is properly grounded to the case and plug, the 0nly solution is to eliminate the static before you touch the case.

January 31, 2008 1:08:33 PM

The thing is, I am pretty sure the mobo is grounded because when I installed it I used ALL of the standoffs and made sure that all of the mobo screws were tight. I have a multi-tester. Does anyone know if I can test the grounding of my case with this? Also, how is the case grounded? Does the housing of the PSU ground the case which grounds the mobo?

Also, that little front panel insert HAS to be metal because when I touch it, the computer resets. Unless it is some sort of secret preassure switch or something, the only explanation is that it is conductive and transmitting a static discharge.
January 31, 2008 1:09:56 PM

I guess I can always try to plug it into a different outlet too. Maybe I have a bad ground at that plug?
January 31, 2008 1:26:59 PM

My system reset even though the PSU has an additional ground wire that I had screwed to the case. Apparently the grounding did not extend to whatever on the front panel caused the problem. If my gloriously fluffy cat so much as walked within a few inches of the front of the case, the PC blacked out.
January 31, 2008 3:14:20 PM

Yup. Same case here. My cat (being curious of the new case/light) put it's nose up to the panel once and it did this. Maybe I could take apart the case and rig up a ground to case?
January 31, 2008 3:29:17 PM

UPDATE!!!!

Called Antec customer support. They said they are aware of the problem and have no fix for it. They actually told me that the only thing that seems to work at this point is to tape a wire to the front bezel and connect it to a screw in the back of the case. Also said they are working on a harware fix and will send it once once is found.

UGGGG. What a POS case. Back to the store w/ this one. I hope I have the receipt still! Damn shame too. The rest of the case is rock-solid and looks great.
January 31, 2008 3:40:23 PM

I got limited relief in the short-term by taping a piece of aluminum foil across a section in the front of my case. As ugly as it sounds, and reduced but didn't eliminate the problem, but it's a thought.
January 31, 2008 4:26:07 PM

I am gonna tear it open tonight. He said there is a ground strap in the front of the case. I will take it off clean and reattach it. Maybe the paint is insulating it. I will also inspect the back of the front panel insert that is the cluprit. If I can fix it so that it is cosmetically OK I won't bother returning it. It is a good case for the $$ I guess. Man, this time around I have had bnothing but problems upgrading!
February 1, 2008 12:00:53 PM

Sorry to hear that, but I can't believe Antec would let out a major design flaw and not do a full-scale recall, or at the very least, offers to replace your case with another one of similiar price at their expense. It's the 1st time I've heard of it. My Sonata II doesn't have this issue.
February 1, 2008 12:50:27 PM

If you don't believe it, call their tech support and tell them you have a Sonata III and it resets when you touch the front panel. If they give you a different answer, I'd like to hear what they say!
February 1, 2008 2:13:03 PM

el_brio said:
The thing is, I am pretty sure the mobo is grounded because when I installed it I used ALL of the standoffs and made sure that all of the mobo screws were tight. I have a multi-tester. Does anyone know if I can test the grounding of my case with this? Also, how is the case grounded? Does the housing of the PSU ground the case which grounds the mobo?

Also, that little front panel insert HAS to be metal because when I touch it, the computer resets. Unless it is some sort of secret preassure switch or something, the only explanation is that it is conductive and transmitting a static discharge.

Installing the stand-offs and making sure the screws are tight is not always enough. I've had a few grounding issues over the years and the solutions are (usually) easier than you think.

Regardless of what Antec says about any defects, there are still things you can do to ensure the system is insulated/grounded properly.

Put a cardboard or plastic washer between the mobo and stand-off. Put a washer or one of those noise reducing plastic dampeners between the power supply and the case. And, a grounding strap on the case can never hurt.

Good luck!




February 1, 2008 8:45:23 PM

Read my posts. Antec said there is a problem with the front panel grounding. Mobo to case groung is not the problem.
February 1, 2008 9:11:01 PM

el_brio said:
Read my posts. Antec said there is a problem with the front panel grounding. Mobo to case groung is not the problem.

I did read your posts but something obviously needs to be grounded and/or properly insulated. And given that the front panel is attached in one way or another to the power supply and mobo, and given that the leads for the front panel are connected to the mobo, and regardless of what Antec says; it stands to reason that if you take the extra steps to properly ground or insulate the parts in your case, the issue will go away.

Hey, either you take the advice or you don't, I don't care, I'm not the one with the problem. You've got nothing to lose by trying it out.

Whatever...
February 1, 2008 9:50:54 PM

If your house has modern electrical, the ground and neutrals are always connected or bonded in the meter/main. Without this bonding a fault on the ground wont cause the breaker to trip. If you are having a serious static problem, it sounds like you don't have a good ground in the outlet.
February 1, 2008 9:59:51 PM

I would discourage insulating between the power supply and the case. You want to allow current to travel from the case into the psu and into the building's system ground. And unless there are metal parts in the front panel, I doubt there is a static issue. If you touch the grounded slot for usb or Esata then you may complete a circuit but its unlikely elsewhere.
February 3, 2008 3:17:24 AM

Well I disassembled the front of the case and popped the metallic insert off the front. Taped a wire to the BACK side of the panel and snaked the wire through to the ground point for the front panel components. Everything is 100% cosmetically OK. Put everything back together.

Scuffed around and shocked the panel a few times and no resets.

Looks like everything is OK now. This solution (albeit very similar to the tech support solution) works much better because you don't have to have wire taped to the front of your case which would look like crap.

Thanks everyone for the advice.
February 3, 2008 5:59:31 AM

I was reading the thread, and saying to myself that it was a case failure. At any rate it is nice to see a resolution. I do want to chime in and say that I have a very cheap Antec SLK3000B, and I have built 2 systems with 180/182s and Antec makes good cases. Your situation is probably related to the USB, or other headers that you have plugged in. That is easy to verify by unplugging all headers and determining the result. However you did talk about your cat etc. sending static to the machine. It is not acceptable that you should assume that the case / machine should work properly under extreme conditions. High static discharge is one of those conditions. Although you would hope they would. Use the anti-static spray or 20/50, 50/50 Bounce and water, and spray it on the carpet. Don't slip. I assume that Antec screwed the pooch, but I'm sure you will work it out.
February 20, 2008 11:33:33 PM

I have confirmed that Antec is working on this as well. As far as the front panel, it is metalisized plastic. Tested it and it does pass a current. This straight from Antec:

"Comment: 1. We are working on this problem with a high priority, and have already tested multiple proposed fixes. Unfortunately, the problem is turning out to be more difficult than anticipated. The case is currently being tested in a special ESD lab.
2. The metallicized plastic IS grounded. That fact is one of the reasons this problem is proving so difficult to pin down.
3. We cannot refund monies that were not paid to us, but if a customer needs help returning product to a distributor we can usually help arrange that if the distributor is being uncooperative.
4. We actually expect an answer fairly soon, and as soon as we can we will be making it available to customers encountering this problem. We definitely apologize for the inconvenience, but Antec is well known for the quality of its customer service and for the way we stand behind our products."
March 18, 2008 5:22:46 PM

I just recieved a replacement part from Antec that seems to have fixed the static issue. They shipped a piano glossy black plastic insert to replace the metalic plastic font panel insert. Seems to not have the static issue anymore.
April 14, 2008 1:13:29 PM

I'm sorry to bring up an old post, but I have a different issue with this case as well, and was wondering if anyone has/is experiencing the same....

My front USB and eSATA ports don't work at all. Yes, they are plugged in..... The USB plug is plugged directly into a USB header on the mobo (there are two headers, the other is plugged into a front-bay card reader which is working perfectly). The eSATA is plugged right into a SATA port on the mobo. Since we're really changing a SATA to an eSATA, does the eSATA drive need to be plugged in when the computer is booted up? I mean, are SATA drives "plug-and-play"?
April 14, 2008 1:24:11 PM

You will need to set the sata ports to ahci or raid in the bios for (amongst other things) Hot pluging to work
April 14, 2008 1:30:45 PM

Thank you for the reply, and I will try that tonight. I had no idea if it was maybe due to this grounding issue as to why I was having my problems. Can you just "short out" the USB ports?
April 14, 2008 2:20:50 PM

The eSATA should work automatically if you are plugging in a eSATA enclosure. The enclosure has a card in it. Otherwise you need restart and go in the bios and have it recognize the disk.
For the USB ports, delete the entries under the USB controller in the Device Manager and restart the computer. It should then work.
I killed a motherboard by shorting out the USB port.
April 14, 2008 2:40:43 PM

Make sure the eSATA connection is not plugged in the RAID controller ports. Also make sure the ports are enabled in the bios.
April 14, 2008 2:52:41 PM

My 2 hard drives are plugged into SATA 1 and SATA 2. My DVD/RW is in SATA 3, and the front eSATA is in #4 (though nothing is plugged into the eSATA port itself, so it's just an "extender/converter" at that point). I see the HDs and the DVD drive in the BIOS, but SATA 4 shows "nothing detected" or whatever. I was just unsure if you could plug something into the eSATA after booting, or if it would need to be detected when the computer was booting up.

As for the USB ports, I'll first try to swap the headers on the mobo so that the card reader (which works fine) uses the other ports and the front USB is plugged into the header that I know works that was powering the card reader previously. If that doesn't work, then I'll try the USB trick you mentioned.....
March 14, 2009 2:33:24 AM

***-inStupidSpace-Pin

Now the circuit is closed.

You see, what causes a discharge is by no way you first, it is because a wire sends current but has nowhere to return.

Verify if you have a wire in the wrong place in your POWER LED plastic plug.

Because a LED cannot light up with only one wire, or only the black wire touching a pin

:bounce: 

Hope you guys find my post useful, let me know if you solved the problem with my advice..
March 14, 2009 2:36:09 AM

el_brio said:
The thing is, I am pretty sure the mobo is grounded because when I installed it I used ALL of the standoffs and made sure that all of the mobo screws were tight. I have a multi-tester. Does anyone know if I can test the grounding of my case with this? Also, how is the case grounded? Does the housing of the PSU ground the case which grounds the mobo?

Also, that little front panel insert HAS to be metal because when I touch it, the computer resets. Unless it is some sort of secret preassure switch or something, the only explanation is that it is conductive and transmitting a static discharge.

open circuity
December 2, 2010 4:41:25 PM

My Antec Super Lanboy 350 has had this problem since I purchased it in early 2006. Recently the cat again went by and discharged through the front i/o panel. I think the massive reset fried the front USB ports. Also the software became unstable. I reloaded all the software and the instability stopped. Thanks to coming across this site, and like el_brio, I ran an 18 or 20 gage wire from a screw in the back of the front i/o panel to a screw I added on the left side of the chassis. This is the chassis's left side, where the chassis has a lot of unused threaded screw holes that ordinarily would be used to accommodate a motherboard.

I have done some tests, scuffing my feet, getting the shock on the casing but with no reset. So far so good. We will see if it passes the cat test.

I considered a new case but the Super Lanboy is too good looking.
December 2, 2010 9:19:45 PM

wow an old forum

I remember that this case (I still have it as my studio computer) DID have a problem.

I don't remember extactly what but I think it was a jumper that was not linking the 2 pins correctly

Like a jumper with 3 holes, and it had to link 2 pins but actually linked nowhere because the wire wasnt at the right place or something


look at everythin, you will see a wire with some sort of connector (i said jumper but its vague) and you will see that one of the wire isnt placed at the good place


You have to like, take it out and place it in hole #2 of the plastic connector, orsomething

for real... now I could lick my front panel with my tongue.

it used to reset all the time.

This is a very fuckin sad flaw, however its the most easily curable one if you pay attention
December 2, 2010 9:21:02 PM

oops... I just saw that I replied with better info... about 2 years ago lolll
!