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CM HAF-922 Front Panel + Static Discharge Problems.

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December 6, 2009 2:08:34 AM

Hi guys,

I'm now very frustrated with this problem now that I've finally pinned it down. Initially, when the symptom first presented itself (restarting without any warning whatsoever), I thought it was my fault for accidentally pushing the power button that was maybe overly sensitive to pressure. This incident involved plugging in a WD-Passport drive to the front USB port.

Then, later on as the weeks went by, a second incicdent occurred, that the computer just restarted without any problems. This was due to my plugging in a headset into the front panel 3.5mm jack. The computer has also restarted as a result of plugging in the microphone jack first.

Yes, I've tried disabling the Automatic Restart for the System Failure settings under Advanced Settings to rule out a driver problem or something. I've now confirmed that even with that setting disabled, the computer still restarts, indicating that it's some sort of power-stability supply issue. Therefore, this has now led me to conclude that it's a static discharge problem. Is there anything else?

The interesting problem with this is, when the computer has restarted, using the front panel is perfectly fine (for how long, I have yet to try). I am guessing there needs to be enough of a build up-again before it restarts. I've also realized more often than not, the problem seems to occur only after the computer has gone to sleep at least once (letting it turn itself off when it has idled for 30 minutes or more). A clean-restart then use of the computer always gets rid of the risk of restarting.

I am now here to ask the help of this massive community if there is anything I can do to help fix this problem. I've tried googling it and it seems to be a very rare occurrence. Should I just unplug the front panel USB plug to the mobo? This would be my last resort, but it's really starting to annoy me.

Please help.

Thank you so much for anyone who can help,
-Cheers.
P.S. I have no issues with the mobo's USB ports/jacks. I've tested this many times, it's definitely the front panel.
a b ) Power supply
December 6, 2009 2:37:01 AM

Could you please post the full system specs (specifically the motherboard, PSU). Thanks.
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December 6, 2009 2:45:54 AM

EXT64,

Thank you for such a prompt reply.

-Specs-.
CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W
HIS ATI RADEON HD4670
WD CAVIAR BLACK 640GB
ATHLON 620 PROPUS
G-SKILL RIPJAW SERIES 4 GB
GIGABYTE GA-MA790GPT-UD3H
-

Please ignore my statement about it not happening after a restart. I just restarted my computer earlier, and after booting up, I wanted to test it...I plugged in my headphone jack on the front panel, my monitors went black. The computer was still running, but I think the hard-drive lost power. Fans were spinning and stuff, but the computer was essentially--turned off-- (tested the mouse and keyboard, no dice).

I turned off the computer with long power-press. Turned it back on, fans spin, no POST, nothing. HDD isn't waking up or something or MOBO is not getting enough juice to run the start. Power off with long-butter press again. Go to the rear and physically switched off the PSU supply. Waited till my USB-hub's LED turned off to make sure all power is gone from the system, flipped the switch back on, waited till USB-HUB's led came back on. Powered on the system, and here I am typing this right now.

Having explained this, I'm starting to consider that it could be a PSU-issue, or the cables of the PSU are screwed up.

I hope my detailed explanation of the issue will help anyone in helping me diagnose my bloody annoying problem. Again, this issue never happens when it is my USB-hub or my mobo's USB ports (usb-hub is connected to mobo's USB port).

Also, I just realized that my audio jacks are connected not to the F_USB1 sector on the mobo, but the audio port or something, so I've ruled out that it's a faulty F_USB1 port or something, since the problem has occurred for both USB and audio jacks on the front panel.

When the system starts, it runs perfectly fine, and it has run for hours and days on end with no problems. It's only when I plug stuff into the front panel does it screw it up. The power-socket my PC is connected to is connected to a surge and shares the power-line with a monitor, and a lamp (just additional info that might be useful).

Thank you so much again guys.

-Cheers.
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a b ) Power supply
December 6, 2009 2:57:50 AM

Well, just because I had such a similar issue I'll throw what worked for me out (though it is likely not the issue). When you built the computer, did you put any insulation material (ie, paper washers) between the case/MB standoffs and the motherboard (or between the motherboard and the MB screws)? If yes, that is likely causing the problem. If no, then we can move on to other possibilities.
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December 6, 2009 3:02:04 AM

EXT64,

Thanks again for the prompt reply. I believe I did not put anything foreign at any corner of the stand offs. I followed the manual to the letter and just installed the copper stand offs as they were. Do you think the top-section of the front-panel where the wires are coming from have a bad-soldering job or something and a portion of it is touching a part of the case? Cause if this is the case, I'm screwed because there doesn't seem to be any way to get to that portion of the case (at least I can't see any right now).

-Cheers.
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a b ) Power supply
December 6, 2009 3:10:55 AM

Possible I suppose. But you said it was both the USB and Audio, correct? I guess if they messed up the whole front panel. Also, I just wanted to mention the fact that you had to turn on and off the PSU switch probably means one of the overcurrent safeties was tripped, not necessarily that the PSU is at fault.
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December 6, 2009 3:17:37 AM

EXT64,

Yes. I've seen it reset by a simple plug in from a 1 GB Flash drive, and I've also seen it reset from a WD-Passport plugged into the front. Both mic and audio-out jacks have caused resets as well. However, I've not tried the E-SATA port yet as I have no devices that use that port.

As for the latter, what is an overcurrent safety? Is this on the mobo or something? I'm very torn on the issue right now, I have no clue where the problem is at, I wanna put the blame on the PSU, but I've never had the PC restart when I'm using it (when not plugging stuff onto the front panel).

Thanks again so much for your time, I really appreciate it.
-Cheers.
P.S. Will all these resets mess up my Win7 registry? I've had like 7 of them randomly occuring now, never during a installation of anything though. I'm so tempted to wipe it clean and start again. *Sigh*
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a b ) Power supply
December 6, 2009 12:23:16 PM

Try reseating all the front panel connectors on your motherboard one at a time and testing them. It's possible something's come loose at either end and it's spiking a little.

That being said, I've had funny things happen to my USB connectors and Windows has just said "ooh there was a power surge on such a port" and nothing's happened.
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December 7, 2009 1:48:32 PM

LePhuronn,

Thank you for your suggestion. I'll give that a shot next week as time is a commodity right now for me (finals week). If I could only open up that front panel section and look what the hell is messed up in there would make it so much better. :( 

Anyone think it is worth the hassle to send the case back to Coolermaster? I've read it on their site that the buyer pays the shipping cost to return it to CM. *Glazes over*

-Cheers.
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December 8, 2009 7:38:06 PM

Guys,

I think I've solved it. It makes my initial thoughts on the matter seem so silly, but I finally solved it. Lawl, I was wrong all along, there's nothing wrong with my case, but I hope my problem here will help anyone in the future!

The reason why I thought the front I/O panel wasn't working was because I thought they had to have a single source, but this was where my assumption was wrong. It turns out that the problem was a combination of two separate problems, making it look like the front I/O panel was bad.

The first source of the problem pertains to the audio/mic jacks. It turns out that this was a driver-related issue after all. It turns out that it was the Gigabyte Realtek driver. For some reason, it just occurred to me in school about the phrase, "disable front panel detection". I started tweaking around and I finally found it (in an almost invisible part of the interface-the folder looking thing). Disabling this feature stopped the restarts. Why? I have no idea. Additionally, when you do this, you might realize that your computer now thinks that your speakers are headphones. You might not be able to see this depending on your mobo, but the solution to this is to set it so that you choose under "Device Advanced Settings"....."Make front and rear output play two different audio streams", as opposed to "Mute rear...bla bla bla". Now, when you plug in your headphone into the front panel of the case, you'll realize that your speakers are also still playing, simply choose to set your headphones as the default and your speakers should turn off.

The second source of the problem pertains to the usb ports. This problem, as it turned out while I was scouring the internet (link here), was that it had something to do with the BIOS setting of "Allowing USB devices to wake the PC from whatever sleep state you've set it to". I don't know why this is the case, perhaps the BIOS needs a patch to fix this problem, but I've now disabled it, and ta-da....no more random restarts!....for now.

While I've never mentioned it in previous posts, the USB-restarts were much more sporadic than the audio jacks. It usually happens after the computer has went to sleep and woken up at least once. This is why I believe this solution should be accurate.

------------------------------------------
CONDENSED VERSION (tl;dr):
Audio-jack problem: Disable front panel detection.
USB problem: Disable "Allow USB Devices to wake computer from Sleep-State".
------------------------------------------

I hope this solution will be useful for anyone else who experienced my "seemingly" frustrating problem!

Cheers everyone!
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December 8, 2009 7:46:51 PM

Guys,

For anyone's who is interested, the solution came to me when I decided to test the issue by plugging in the audio jack while I was in the bios. I did the same for the USB ports. When they didn't cause a restart, I figured that it was impossible that it was some electrical defect in the case and prompted to look for software solutions again.

Cheers.

UPDATE:
I was wrong to jump so quick to a solved conclusion. It isn't fixed, at least not the USB port. I can't pin it down, it doesn't seem to be before or after a sleep. It happens too randomly for me to be able to pin it down, however currently, the audio and mic jacks have not caused a restart at all.

I can't seem to recreate the USB port restarting after a fresh boot (I could do this with the audio and mic jacks the moment I reached the login screen). So I'm guessing the computer has to be running for a while in order for this to to happen...which perhaps brings me back to some sort of a static discharge hypothesis.

I'll keep you guys updated.
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December 9, 2009 9:09:35 PM

Guys,

I've figured it out. It's some sort of grounding issue. Apparently, if I touch the rear of the case for a good couple of seconds, plugging stuff in front does not result in a reboot.

Would anyone be kind enough to teach me where I would need to attach a wire to any case screws to help ground the case? The top I/O panel seems to be made of plastic.

Cheers.
P.S. Now that I know the reboots are a result of static or something, since this has happened for about 15 times, should I be worried that I might have damaged some components?
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December 21, 2009 5:28:50 PM

Guys,

I'm back and I have a question about how to ground the front i/o panel. Here's a picture of the disassembled front i/o ports.



My question is, if I wanted to ground the front ports, do I need to tape an individual wire to the places marked with red (for each of them), and connect to the other to end to a screw on the case, or do I just need to connect a single wire to one port and all the other ports will be grounded as well?

I'm planning to just use a plain wire I got from an unused old pair of earphones that I cut out. This should do it right?

Thanks guys,
Cheers.
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a c 248 ) Power supply
December 21, 2009 5:54:59 PM

I just read your comment about touching the back of the case before plugging stuff in the front. In effect, you are grounding yourself. Is it posible you are the one who needs to be grounded? Got a pair of rubber gloves so you can experiment with that? Just throwing that out for fun. :) 
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December 21, 2009 9:13:57 PM

Johnny,

You are right. I'm the one who needs to be grounded. I tested this, I just put on my socks, and started dragging my feet really quickly for 10 seconds. Whenever I start the computer up, I just need to grab a thumbdrive, and touch the metal frame against the front i/o panel's usb-metal frame. Doing so results in a restart 100%. However, touching the rear and getting a jolt will not cause the restart.

So there's no way to fix this issue besides discharging myself prior to using the front i/o panel? That seems so unlikely to me because if not, people during the winter would be insanely annoyed with this issue! I find it hard to believe it's just me and not some defect in the case!

-Cheers.
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a b ) Power supply
December 22, 2009 12:29:25 PM

I actually do always tap my hand and pen drive against the case before plugging them in. I don't think I have to, but I don't want all that (if there is any) to discharge through the USB.
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December 27, 2009 2:04:06 AM

I try to remember to touch the metal case before touching the front steel mesh, DVD/CD or plugging anything into the front. My cat just wandered into the room 10 minutes ago and brushed up against it. Instant restart. I hope this tread is not dead because I've about had it. Sometimes touching the front results in a loss of all USB peripherals, mouse, keyboard etc... That requires a hard boot or reset. Other times it restarts. The front of my Enermax Staray case is peices of metal mesh surrounded in a plastic frame that snap-fits onto the case. there is 3.5" bay device housing USB and audio ports along with a push-button switch for the fan LED lights. The power and reset buttons w/LEDs are incorperated into the outer plastic bezel on oposite sides.

My motherboard and case is grounded well. I can zap the living heck out of myself touching the case part after rubbing my feet on the carpet, it goes to ground and nothing happens. That eliminates everything but the front panel of my PC and its various wired connections to the motherboard and side panal fan.

So I take the front of the case off, use wire with an aligator clip on each end and hook one end to the case frame and the other to the steel mesh, scraping the paint off and roughing the surfaces of the metal for a superior ground. popped the front back on and retested. Same Problem. I tried diferent grounding positions with the aligator clips. Same problem.

This leaves no other possibility. Electricity follows the path of least resistance. My, and my cat's, electrostatic discharges are finding a less resistant path than the nice ground I made for them. It must be the front panel USB, audio or switches providing the better path.

This is what I don't understand, what can be of lesser resistance than direct ground? I read a little about USB with shielding and how the shielding, which goes to ground cannot terminate at the point where the device is plugged in, rather it terminates at the source, the motherboard. I believe it is the tenth pin of the USB header, known to cause grounding issues with USB devices and can be snipped off. I have to reread this stuff before I go snipping pins off headers but I need to find where I read it first.

Anyway, Its a relief to know I'm not alone on this. By the way it's dead of winter here with a humidifier elsewhere in the house but moist air doesn't fix a bad ground.


Update: Today I unplugged all wires to the front panel to verify that they were plugged in correctly and to see if I could eliminate some causes. I plugged in one item at a time and ESDed the front panel after each. Ruled out the USB, HD audio and everything but the reset switch. With everything but the reset switch plugged in several hefty sparks wouldn't phase my PC. With only the reset switch in place each time I tried it either restarted or froze. I had an extra switch and wire and changed it out. I continued to have the same results. With a DVOM I checked the voltage on the System Panel Connector mainly to make sure everything was hooked up right. I noticed that the ground terminal for each front panel item except the reset switch had a small amount of voltage (millivolts). presently I have no reset switch but my PC does not freeze or reboot like it did. I think I could RMA the MB at this point mainly because multiple QVL, DDR3 RAM brands/capacities will not crank out a stable 1600MHz no matter what settings are used. Or, I can bite the bullet and deal with Mediocre performance and buggy hardware as it is the norm nowdays. I will see if the reset switch can share a ground with the power switch. My hunch is that its a floating ground that discharges gradually and that the reset ground is shorted to a hard ground somehow. Well see.
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December 30, 2009 8:59:49 PM

My roommate has this exact same case with the exact same problem. I've done everything you did, but I did one-up you. I unplugged everything (USB, audio ports, esata) and it STILL restarts when you hit it with something metal. I think its simply a poorly designed case.

We went out and bought the same case again and it has the same damn problem. I'm stumped.
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January 15, 2010 10:17:31 PM

Hi guys,

I apologize for my lack of reply. I've been away for a while now. @Kewlnic, I'm sorry to see that you too are experiencing such problems. I don't really know what would help, except that you should touch the rear end of your case before plugging in anything into the front i/o panel. I seem to do this almost unconsciously now without thinking and my computer doesn't restart/freeze up/screen blacks out or any of those anymore. But since you have a cat, that complicates things...however, it does appear that you are much more knowledgeable with electricity than I am, so please keep us posted on your future testings as I believe this post is extremely valuable for future people with such problems.

@kingwaffle, have you tried contacting Coolermaster for a new front i/o panel? They sent me one no questions asked after I filed an eRMA and complained about the static problems. Also, are you telling me that even after touching the rear end, your friend's PC still restart/freezes after something is plugged into the front panel? If that's the case, the wiring for that i/o panel is definitely pretty flakey and I suggest getting a new one.

So far, with my new i/o panel, I've not had any issues, but then again, I haven't deliberately tried to do an ESD on it. Let me know what happens for your friend's case.

I'm really glad that now I'm not the only one with this problem. I thought I was all alone on this planet as googling for this issue turned so few little hits.

Cheers.
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January 25, 2010 3:03:45 PM

+1 on the case being the issue. The PC I'm having this problem with is a very cheap case, and it is the first time I've ever witnessed this problem. The internal components are all high quality, and I'm a long time veteran of building PC, Servers, network equipment, etc. - so that was all done right. There were a couple of cosmetic issues with the case too, so it all falls in line. More specifically, I think the problem is with ground. It IS a VERY frustrating issue to track down though. Like the others in this thread, I'm kind of throwing my hands up in the air, and alternating between scratching my head and pulling out my hair.

I sincerely hope that anyone who comes up with a specific solution posts it here. PoisonWolf's solution sounds like it... but I'm reluctant to spend money on this. That's too easy! LOL
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January 25, 2010 4:10:30 PM

I have also experienced similar issues with a CM Sniper case that I built in December. I raised the humidity in the house and it seemed to solve the "static discharge issue". Very frustrating to hunt down problems that don't always present themselves.

Would a simple bare copper wire attached to the front panel and routed internally to the PS case not serve as a ground and path of least resistance to resolve this issue? In my situation, it would appear that the front panel is isolated by plastic parts and so the best path for the discharge is through the MOBO, hence the restart.
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March 1, 2010 12:37:10 AM

I'm having static problems with my CoolerMaster case as well. I think Coolermaster is starting to have quality problems, as I'm starting to see some posts on various sites regarding this. I just purchased a 690 II Advanced, and the top mounted composite usb panel is a static nightmare, crashing and restarting my pc 80 percent of time I try to connect a thumb drive. Most times I just touch it and it shuts down the pc. I took the top panel off tonight to look for loose wires, but I agree with the last person. The entire thing is plastic. There's no good ground that I can see. So if ESD shoots down the port to the mobo, LOOKOUT!! I've tried just about everything with no luck. I wish I had stuck with my all Aluminum Lian Li case.
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a c 248 ) Power supply
March 1, 2010 1:33:18 AM

Hmmm.....this doesn't sound good at all.

You could run a ground wire from the pc case to an electrical wall outlet (mains). We used to do that back in the good old days (ancient history). We also had grounding mats under our keyboards that had a ground wire going to the wall outlet. That's how we grounded ourselves.

Are you sure this isn't a Winter phenomenom caused by a combination of very low humidity, forced air heating systems, nylon carpeting, and polyester clothing? I live in sunny southern Arizona where the humidity typically drops to 10% in the Winter. I get zapped all the time. My girlfriend got me earlier today. I've even been zapped by running water.
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March 1, 2010 11:01:45 PM

I believe it's worse because of the winter season. You're correct there. No doubt. But I've never seen a case this bad. Maybe it's just me or I've never noticed but I don't think so. I've thought about your suggestion running a wire and will probably try that next. I've contacted Coolermaster for a replacement panel. Only thing that seems to work is for me to touch the case (metal part) to let any static discharge fully and then I'm golden. But if I have the slightest bit of static and touch the usb panel with a flash drive, all bets are off. I would just give a word of caution to anyone considering buying a Coolermaster 690 II Advanced. Maybe I just got a lemon. This case is a new design or rework of the 690, and I wouldn't be surprised to see others with problems soon.
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March 6, 2010 12:57:05 AM

I have a Rosewill case that exhibits the same problem, so maybe this is not limited to a particular brand. Too much dry winter static and a thin "ground" wire from the USB panel to the MB, and you got trouble. I measure basically zero ohms from my USB connector to case chassis, but apparently that is not enough.


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a b ) Power supply
March 6, 2010 1:51:44 PM

bizzare. but something similar happens with my core2duo system. its in some noname brand pentium 4 case....sometimes, if i roll around in my wheelie chair, then maybe i use my othe computer...or maybe i run against the curtain or the rug...i touch my computer, it just turns off like someone pulled the plug. very wierd. but heres what im th8inking for those with the problem. isolate the front panel connections or where the little chip they mount on from the case, maybe with some rubber thingies for fan dampening usually. it helped me...
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March 6, 2010 4:02:25 PM

The exact same thing happens with my HAF 922. I have to ground myself before I plug anything into the front USB ports.
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April 22, 2010 12:35:37 AM

Damn I thought it was just me lol. Every time I'd plug my headphones in --poof--

Damn great case, damn stupid issue. I just decided to unplug the front panel audio and usb from the mobo. Luckily I have a ton of ports on back, so I'll deal.
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May 5, 2010 3:49:57 PM

Might as well keep this thread alive. My case is an Apevia with a brushed aluminum finish. My original problem was waking from sleep mode. The computer wakes up but there is no signal to the monitor. I thought I resolved the problem by not forcing sleep mode and letting it go to sleep on its own. I think that is a fix for me but this morning a ESD woke up the computer with no signal to the monitor.

I'll let the sleep problem ride at this time but ESD has been a problem. I've had an ongoing problem with restarts because of ESD. Like the original poster, I wondered why it would restart for no reason. Now I know ESD is the problem but it seems at this point there is no answer. I'll try to resolve but it appears it will be difficult at best from reading this thread.
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a b ) Power supply
May 5, 2010 5:08:32 PM

Normally do not post to old post. Didn't not the orginal date untill I started reading, but tought I would comment for future reader benifit.

Not GOOD:
(1) Poor design - insuffient shielding on front panel. NOT good
(2) But even worst - repeated testing by discharging your static build-up in to the computer to test "fix" is not good. Trying to generate ESD by rubbing your feet on carpet and then Discharge several KV (repeat Kilovolts) into computer to test repeatabilty, is NOT like touching someone behind the ear, you are endangering your beloved computer!!

First, if you can feel a discharge - the voltage potential is several hundred volts. If this discharge is not going to ground then it is going to an electronic component either at the MB or a component on the front panel and reflected on to the MB.

Johnny indicated the BEST solution. If you know you have a ESD problem, fix the cause, not the effect. ESD mats can be can be expensive. An alternative would be to place a piece of alumium at your desk. Place a wire on it and run (attach) th wire to either the back of case or to AC ground (NOT Nuetral if US).

A little more on ESD. If your building up several KVs you do not need to phyically touch a component to damage in. Say that you have a 2 KV build up and you pick up that Plastic encased thumb drive. You can still transfer a charge to the inside and when you plug it into the usb port which is then transfered to the USB port - Does not matter if port is well shielded or poorly shieled.
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May 18, 2010 8:41:34 PM

I found a solution for the reboot and other strange and mysterious problems associated with ESD.
I put an Anti-Static Grounding Pad under my computer and grounded it to everything. The pad costs $8.99 from Sears.

My PC room contains two computers, a Mac Pro, and a home built PC in a Cooler Master case. My Cooler Master is the Cosmos case. Both are sitting on wall to wall carpet.

I had the same problem with the front USB's. Every time I would plug in a USB the PC would reboot.The PC is under a Lifetime folding table. Lifetime tables have a steel frame. My first attempt to solve the problem was to ground the Lifetime to the PC. Because sometimes the PC would reboot when I touched the steel frame, so I thought this was the problem. It was better, especially if I touched, and kept hold of the steel frame before I plugged in a USB. This was better, but not the solution. Rather than go through the fire-drill of taking the computer apart and replacing the power supply, along with checking all the mobo screws etc. I decided to put the grounding mat, I use when building computers, under the PC. With the mat under the PC, and the PC grounded to the steel table frame etc., the problem is solved.

Something may be wrong with my PC, but for now the problem is solved. When I replace the mobo, in the future, I will certainly examine the case etc. for builders error.

The Mac does not have this problem.
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Anonymous
a b ) Power supply
July 15, 2010 9:53:53 PM

Same issue with a new build in a Coolermaster Sniper BE case. Just touch that top I/O panel after walking on the carpet and it's a reboot. No other problems touching any other area of the case. Have torn the build completely appart, made sure no chaffed wires, everythign has a snug connection, and MOBO is properly screwed in. Checked outlets, and power cord. Drives me nuts. Definately faulty grounding in the I/O panel. Going to see if I can get the panel off and take a look. Will RMA if need be.
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a b ) Power supply
July 16, 2010 12:22:01 AM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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