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Cooler Master Sniper Case Reboots, Static?

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February 20, 2011 1:28:10 PM

I just bought my dream case after 20 years of BYOPC for myself and companies I have worked for (I am a Programmer and IT Pro) the Cooler Master Sniper BE. This case is huge I had my Ohm meter laying in it while taking ground readings. The front panel is great with its fan speed adjustment and light on/off switch. Its not the prettiest, but it's about as functional as you can get. Even full towers don't offer much more if more room (depending on the case of course). But wait why does it reboot when I touch the top panel at times. :cry:  I got one of those bad, poor quality Cooler Master cases :(  , not!

I Googled and read all the forums and even the Cooler Master forum, same problems, same tests, same results as me; you can't find an answer it seems. If you search Antec they have the same problems! For some reason some cases don't however. But I have to say some members here did nail it, but it's being over looked a lot as not the right answer because it's too simple. It is me, I am holding a charge. Notice this problem is getting big right around the start of winter? I live in Michigan and yep house is dry because of the cold air and the furnace. We do have a humidifier on the furnace but it went bad some years ago. I bought one of those larger type portable humidifiers. Not for this problem, but for my wife at Christmas. She was saying it's too dry, her skin is drying, her hair gets pulled to metal objects when she walks by them LOL... it's designed for 700 square feet, but its in the bedroom and I guess not big enough to get to where my PC is located (need to fix the old Lobe furnace humidifier).

I disconnected everything from the front panel of the Sniper case but the power switch and stopped the reboots from the panel, but it would now reboot if I touched any metal part of the case! I studied static electricity a bit yesterday. It seems a case made of plastic will hold more of a charge than metal! The material the case is made of is not a big factor. The Cooler Master cases are well grounded. The front panel is isolated but is grounded from the USB and other headers. My wall outlet is grounded. What is happening is the power surge from us is going right through the case to the PSU via direct ground or motherboard and out the ground. The power supplies are rebooting the cases. For me it's a half way boot, I have to do a reset to get it back.

There really is no technical problems with the front panel its just when you touch it the surge goes down whatever path it finds which for the Sniper case is the USB and other ports, into the motherboard grounds into the PSU and it reacts. It could be going through the MB and its reacting. I know my MB has those reset and power buttons right on the board, perhaps a bleed to them? But IMHO its the PSU and grounds in the case and MB. But if anyone knows I am not an electrician but a programmer; so chime in. I am not 100% sure my outlets are grounded. Technically they are. I pulled off the cover and the copper wire is hooked up to the outlet. However I can't test them until I get my little tester Monday from work and make sure. My gut feeling is the PSU should let the spike go straight to ground and never through any circuit and reset.



How do I know for sure my problem is found? My PC speakers have a separate amp (Genius SW-V2.1 1250) and I can hear a pop through the speakers when I touch its back panel after dragging my feet around the room; then when I touch the PC no reboots ever (so far)! Hurray an audible and visual (spark sometimes) confirmation it's me! Its not really a design flaw, other makers have the problem, Cooler Master does make an awesome case (and others ;)  ) and my case is fine.

I just went and got a cup of coffee walking on the carpet with my slippers came back sat down touched the back of my amp and I could hear the pop, discharge. Touched the case no reboots or anything.

Now I know this may not apply to all but I hope it helps a lot of folks. The cure is to discharge yourself before touching your case in this case ;) 
February 20, 2011 2:42:07 PM

Definitely sounds like a static problem. With your computer off but the power supply plugged in... find some bare metal to touch and see if you feel any small bite. If you do, then you definitely have a grounding problem. It may not be in your computer, but in the power supply or the actual grounding of your house. If the grounding rod connected to the electric box is not deep enough to hit moist ground, your devices will hold more static.

I had that problem when I lived in a trailer in Kentucky for a year before I moved to China. The ground rod on the outside was only 3 or 4 foot. I replaced it with an 8 foot grounding rod. I didn't have problems with my computer at the time, but I am an amateur radio operator and had a lot of noise and problems from the electric until I put in some new grounding rods. I grounded my electric, and grounded my antenna mount.

But before I changed the ground rod on the electric box, I could feel small electric shocks from the power supply to my radio linear amplifier and my computers when touching them. It also would cause a pop in the radio speaker and computer speakers when touching. I never really had static shocks/sparks from my finger or hand, but when touching bare metal I could feel a small electrical bite like sticking your tongue to a 9v battery.

Before you start pulling out any hair, check the grounding system to the house, and add another grounding rod if you can. Make sure to get 6-8 foot if you cannot get moist soil all year 2-3 feet down. Make sure it is an all copper rod, and you have a very heavy solid copper wire going to the gounding on your electric box and it carries over well to your outlets. I'm not sure of the name of the company, but I borrowed a device for testing grounded outlets from the Amatuer Radio shop I used to work in, it could measure noise and electrical feedback. I will see if I can find that exact device for you online... but I think it cost like $300, so it's not really good to buy if you don't need it all the time.

Also, there are some ways to create an artificial ground... you might want to look into the power supply you have too. Make sure it doesn't have any problems with static, grounding or bad filter caps. What is the make and model of your PSU?
February 20, 2011 3:06:22 PM

Thanks 1965Ohio for the quick reply and tips. My PSU is an OCZ 600w ModXStream Pro.

I have been looking for where my house wire grounding is located. I have a crawl space no basement which makes tracing a bit hard. I do see some fairly thick copper wire going to the water pipes in the utility room? The house wiring was redone and the 60 amp wire to the house was replaced with a 100 amp feed, 3 prong outlets and 100 amp breaker box. But that's about all I know right now.
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February 20, 2011 3:18:23 PM

If you are grounded to copper water pipes then the grounding should be good. Just check the grounding wire that leads from the pipe to the box or outlet. I am still looking for the tools I mentioned above.

Do you often get power surges or spikes in your area?
February 20, 2011 3:31:15 PM

The electrical quality tester we had at my old job wasn't made by Fluke like the one I found, but some cheap company like MFJ. They were around $300, but that was 7-8 years ago. But anyways, the electrician you used to update your wiring, if it was done recently... maybe you could ask him to test the line for noise and proper grounding. The machine in question looks like this:



But I don't think you need to spend $2800 on such a beast. It can test for static, electrical noise, feedback, grounding and more. But any certified electrician really should have one and can test your main box and outlets with something like this and find out if electric is your problem in just a moment.

Adding additional grounding can't hurt, but it is still guess work unless you can get a reading. Your power supply is a good one, so I don't think you have a computer issue. Do you ever hear humming or buzzing in any speakers or devices in your house? If so, calling that electrician or borrowing a tester like that will be worth it. But if your computer is the only thing doing this, it is a strange problem indeed.

In my case, when touching bare metal inside the PC or on the outside of my radio equipment, I could definitely feel a bite, not a static spark. And it looks like artificial grounding is more in the radio field and there really isn't any way to apply to home electrical systems.

Another way to test your setup, to rule out the PC... is take your PC to someone body else's house or to your workplace and test it on a different electrical system. If it doesn't act up, the problem is your wiring.

Sorry if I couldn't be more helpful, it's a strange problem that is hard to test and troubleshoot. :sweat: 
February 20, 2011 4:20:25 PM

No need to be sad your advice is solid. I believe even though the wiring was redone over 10 years ago there is a problem. I do hear buzzing in my speakers so bad I went to RS and bought those Snap-Together Toroid Chokes and wound the power cord in two of them and bought the snap type that you see on many PC cables that go around it and put it on my amps input AC and green wire. They work as stated. So this is enough evidence for me to take your advice and have it checked out.

Its not a problem as long as I don't touch the case and or ground my self before doing so. Thanks for the help :) .
February 20, 2011 5:04:59 PM

No problem. Just be careful touching that PC when it's in use so you don't damage the board on accident with static discharge or something until you get the wiring checked out. Hope everything gets fixed without any headaches!

Best of luck!

BTW, Welcome to Tom's and if you need anything else, just ask! :D 
!