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Electrical Case?!

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April 29, 2010 7:16:36 PM

Hi Forum!

I just finished building and install the necessary software on my new system! (thanks a lot for helping me choose the parts :b)

Now, I have one weird problem. I have an Antec 902 kabinet (link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) and after a couple of minutes of running, if I touch the kabinet and a piece of metal (in this case, my radiator), I can feel a tiny current running through me.

My power cord doesn't go to a wall plug with a ground, as I don't have any grounded outlets in this room.

Is this normal? Is this a problem? How should I ground it?

More about : electrical case

a c 122 B Homebuilt system
April 29, 2010 7:38:16 PM

You have a grounding problem.

Ground the case to the radiator. You need a ground, if only for your own safety.
April 29, 2010 7:39:20 PM

I should just run a cable from a metal part of my case to my radiator?

That fixes the issue?
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 29, 2010 7:46:22 PM

It will earth/ground the system, bare metal to bare metal and make sure the wire cannot be knocked,moved or otherwise screwed with :)  it will fix your issue and prevent you frying yourself or your pc,
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
April 30, 2010 7:18:57 AM

Thanks, Moto. I should have been a little more clear about the bare metal.
April 30, 2010 9:26:01 AM

I grounded my kabinet a couple of hours ago, and since then, I haven't been able to feel any current.

The wire isn't placed perfect yet, but I'll look into a permanent solution over the weekend.

Once again :D  Thanks a lot!
a b B Homebuilt system
April 30, 2010 5:09:00 PM

While the above solution Alleviates the problem, it does not correct the problem. Have a couple of questions and I would look into correcting the problem.

Are you in the US? How old is the room as outlet, with a ground, have been required for the last 40 some years. You might want to look inside your outlet box (simply remove the cover plate. Look to see if they used 3 wire conductor or two wire. If all three wires are available (White, green, black) then buy a 3 wire outlet to replace your two wire outlet.

Another question, Is your "2 wire" outlet polarized (AC plug only goes in one way.
Are you using a 3 prong to two prong adaptor?

A voltage that you can feel on the neutral AC wire normally indicates a problem with the wiring (Not always, but normally)

How comfortable are you with using a voltmeter (can buy a cheap one for $20-$30 Bucks)

Added: Moto
If the radiator is a steam/Hot water radiator that heats the room, it's probably safe to assume - 99.9% (Make a A doulbe S of you and me) that the radiator is also tied to earth ground. But just tieing the case to a "Large" bare metal object does not guarrentee a "earth ground, only that the case and the large metal object are at the same potential. IE if large metal object is NOT tied to earth ground then all you have done is made the case and the metal object same voltage. If case was at say 50 V the metal object is now at 50 V also and you would not feel any current when touching both objects.
a b B Homebuilt system
April 30, 2010 5:27:36 PM

I would recommend getting a gfci outlet and installing that. My home has old wiring and it is poor wiring as well. I have installed several gfci outlets because the outlet boxes are the old style and don't have the third wire.

The gfci will allow you to add a safety ground by attaching that wire to the metal box or directly to the steel cable (bx or armored) if you do not have the third wire available, or even if you do. It also has the bonus of overcurrent protection with a built in breaker.

Here's a fact sheet: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/99.html
a b B Homebuilt system
April 30, 2010 6:15:57 PM

Good point, buzznut.

From a safety standpoint a vey good suggestion, but will not correct a grounding problem if they only ran two wire conductor and the metal outlet box is not tied to earth ground. Sometimes they ran 3 wires and attached the gnd wire to the box and used a standard two prong outlet. In this case easy correction - install a 3 wire outlet, or as you suggested use a gfci, remove the green wire from the "box" and attach to the Gnd on outlet/gfci.

My house, I found that they had wired some outlets/lights to use the Gnd instead of the Nuetral wire. Works, but NOT a good Idea.
a b B Homebuilt system
April 30, 2010 6:30:00 PM

Course, it could just be super-old wiring. If he starts digging around about that then finds out why it's bad, this could end up into the whole house is getting re-wired.
a b B Homebuilt system
April 30, 2010 8:47:01 PM

Based on the use of the word "kabinet", I'm guessing he's not in the US. Hopefully electrical codes aren't that different in other countries, but any advice about poking around in the wiring should probably be taken with a grain of salt.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 4, 2010 11:20:08 AM

RetiredChief said:
)

Added: Moto
If the radiator is a steam/Hot water radiator that heats the room, it's probably safe to assume - 99.9% (Make a A doulbe S of you and me) that the radiator is also tied to earth ground. But just tieing the case to a "Large" bare metal object does not guarrentee a "earth ground, only that the case and the large metal object are at the same potential. IE if large metal object is NOT tied to earth ground then all you have done is made the case and the metal object same voltage. If case was at say 50 V the metal object is now at 50 V also and you would not feel any current when touching both objects.


Sry Chief, I did assume, as most probably did, that the radiator was a wall-fixed permanent thing, which would *usually* be earthed, I would'nt reccomend just tying it into a random peice of metal in the room hehe :)  our Op seems to be a sensible sort though, and hopefully we've helped avert any disasters between us :) 
!