General discussion

My computer is shocking me

Feb 27, 2007 4:56AM PST

At Thanksgiving I bought an Acer Aspire 5100 - one of the door busters at Circuit city.
This is the first computer that is "mine" and the first laptop I have used with any regularity.
Occasionally, I find that when I set it down one of my fingers will feel what I assume is a tiny jolt of electricity. It seems to come from the side, or occasionally underneath (perhaps where the battery is). I haven't approached this very scientifically since I don't want to do myself or the computer too much damage if I can help it. I think it only occurs when I move the computer from my lap to the table with the screen open. My husband also uses the computer and he has not complained.
Is this a defect?
Am I handling the computer incorrectly?

Thank you in advance


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Feb 27, 2007 10:38AM PST

there's a recent study going on amongst dell e1505-e1705 owners regarding mysterious stray voltages that can be detected on the bottom screws on the machine which may lead to some motherboard related problems and in rare cases, minor shock to the user. This can also happen to other laptop brands.

Many have theorized that this is caused by faulty grounding on the dell adapters where they used cheap two-prong devices versus 3 pronged grounded adapters. If you have a 2 prong adapter, getting a 3 prong adapter should solve your problem. If you have a 3 prong adapter, you should check if your socket has proper grounding. Many found that some 3 prong sockets aren't even properly grounded -- you can buy a device from your local hardware store to check this.

You can check for stray voltages by using a multimeter. Set the red lead on one of the screws on the bottom of the laptop and the other on something grounded and check if it reads something greater than .26 (or something of that range) volts.

If the problem persists, you can call Acer about this problem and they should send you either a new adapter (if you feel that this is causing the shock), or they may just replace your entire laptop. While the shock you receive may be just be a minor inconvenience - a ruined motherboard caused by stray voltage is something entirely more serious.

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Thank you
Feb 28, 2007 12:57AM PST

Jack, thank you for the information. Everything is 3 prong plug, but it could be the actual outlet. I appreciate you being specific in your post about what can happen and your instructions on how to rule out the options.


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Same problem
Feb 28, 2007 12:51PM PST

I have a Toshiba M55-S325, and it's had its shares of problems, rapid slowing, crashing, random shtudowns...

But last week while I was writing my paper, it just randomly started shocking my when I touched any of the ports (USB, headphone, microphone, etc). But then the next day it stopped and it hasn't since...


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Mar 2, 2007 8:37AM PST

It's possible it's the battery static grounding itself via you, which would sugest inproper earthing, although this would probably stop the machine from booting up due to the static, try removing the battery and putting it back in to conduct any static from it? I personally would take it back asap though, it's obviously a fault of some kind.

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Shocking - Static
Mar 3, 2007 12:03AM PST

I have only owned laptops for a little over a month now, but have experience with 2 machines during that time. First I bought the Gateway MT-3705 then returned it within 2 weeks due to a sticking button. Now I have the Sony Vaio VGN-N250E. Both laptops shock me. It feels like a static electricity shock, similar to when you touch someone and get a shock.
I typically sit on my living room couch with the laptop in my lap, it never shocks me in this situation. When I stand up and begin to sit the laptop down on a table is when I often feel the shock (with the unit plugged in). I don't believe it to be a defect in the laptop since two different brands/models did the same thing. I would like to know what I can do to stop this as well as if this charge is putting the components of my laptop components at risk.
note: I have checked the polarity of the outlet and it is correct.

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my laptop is shocking / electrocuting me, it's not STATIC!
Aug 7, 2008 8:11AM PDT

I have a toshiba satellite a-75 series. I have been round and round with toshiba; they admit that the shock, which comes from the speakers and bottom screws is a problem, they had me send it off to a tech II level technician (at my expense) who said it was the adapter (two prong) so toshiba said they would send me a three prong; when the adapter came in (finally) it was two prong Sad so I called back and spoke with another technician, he said they did not make a three prong but that that was not the problem, he said they didn't like to talk about it or admit it but that there was a law suite because they were having problems with some of the laptops electrocuting people because the motherboard was not grounded. He forwarded my call to another person who said they were sorry but even though they agree and are aware of my problem; there was a class action laws suite addressing the problems and the cut off time for there own liability was two months ago. I told them I had never been notified of any recall or class action law suite, and they sent me to another person who told me; that because they had already looked at my laptop and sent me a new (be it non grounded) adapter they had met the quota required by law for each user that had a faulty laptop. they went on to say there was nothing else they were willing to do for me. I am furious!! I told them the first tech. said there was really no problem with the laptop, but that the adapter was bad. they said "we are so sorry you are being shocked but we are not willing to do anymore for you, good by" and they hung up on me! I believe I am going to open up the laptop and see if I can see what is not 'grounded' on the motherboard. interesting enough; through out the past few month in dealing with toshiba I have been told everything from it's all in your head; to it's static, to "don't touch it, we don't want you being electrocuted" to, oh we hear this all them time, to we won't admit the problem exist. and to think.... It all started with a little prickly feeling out of my speakers onto my wrist, for the longest time I did think i was imagining it, then I thought it was a bent wire that was catching my skin, then I begin getting shocked by the screws on the back, and lastly the shock traveling up my arms, and I always feel a 'buzzing' feeling through the keyboard, mouse pad, and on the wrist rests. I covered the speakers with paper to keep my wrist safe. and yes, for the last poster, my fingertips always feel like they are numb or have fallen asleep. If any of you know how to ground the motherboard, I'd appreciate instructions. I hope toshiba is happy, they may have gained fifty bucks by not grounding my motherboard, but they have lost a customer for life and just maybe... (if my luck fails me) a customers life! if any of you want a shocking computer let me know, I think I can help you out!

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That lawsuit is about electrostatic discharge
Aug 8, 2008 8:27PM PDT

causing the laptops to crash, freeze up, etc. It's not about injury to users. It's not possible for you to get an electrical shock of the type described by your symptoms. You don't get tingling from anything but AC or RF voltages and RF is more of a burning sensation. You don't have AC on your plastic keyboard, mouse or palm palm rest. The only high voltage generated in a laptop is for the CF tube in the screen and it doesn't touch any other part or the laptop won't work. If you're getting a tingling sensation in your fingers, you have a medical problem and not a laptop problem. You need to seek help for that. You could have nerve damage or such but nothing that comes from the voltages within the laptop. Electrostatic discharge that affects PCs is generally not generated internally but by the user. This comes from a combination of factors such as dry air, clothing and movement...particularly that from sliding around in ones chair. An electrostatic discharge of this type does not tingle. It happens all at once. It startles but is of such low current that it's not life threatening. If you are having the symptoms you describe, you might want to see a doctor about this and not a lawyer.

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shocking laptop
Sep 11, 2013 9:21PM PDT

i beg to defer with you but i was electrocuted by my laptop and it put me in a coma for 3 days

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The issue appears to be
Aug 8, 2008 11:33PM PDT

Just you and this unit.


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Shocking - Static - me too
Jan 7, 2012 7:10AM PST

Hi Nova23,
I use my laptop (Toshiba) similarly - sitting in my recliner with the laptop on my lap. When I go to stand up and put the laptop down, I almost always get shocked. I thought I was imagining it for the LONGEST time but then realized it wasn't my imagination. I'm going to see if I can put my hands on other parts of the laptop as I stand up and see if that makes a different. I wonder if I grab it by the screen frame instead of the keyboard and underside, perhaps that will not zing me b/c it's not as metallic.

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You've replied to an old post
Jan 11, 2012 9:15AM PST

but your problem sounds like classic static discharge. You say it happens when getting up from your recliner with the laptop and laying it down. This means you've built up a charge on yourself, transferred it to the laptop and had the laptop discharge into the surface where you placed it. The shock felt is because it passed through the plastic frame into your body as an arc of electricity. The initial charge buildup might be from your and your clothing sliding on the seat of the chair. Some fabrics do this and, today, nylon microfiber is one of the worst. Anyway, you might try an experiment to see if this is true. Try having a metal object in your hand when you get off of the chair...even a fork or spoon. Walk to a large metal object such as a refrigerator or even a sink and, in an assertive motion, touch what's in your hand to the metal device to discharge the static build up. Now put your laptop down as before and see if you still get zapped.

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same here
Oct 3, 2010 8:30AM PDT

i have a toshipba too, and it has only just started in the last half hour, whenever i touch the wee metal bits on the usb ports etc it shocks me!
also my backlight has started failing Sad

im clueless about computers and dont know what to do

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If this is true.
Oct 3, 2010 9:47AM PDT

Then the next stop is a repair counter or asking Toshipba for where to get repairs.

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My Toshiba LapTop is Shocking ME.
Aug 10, 2013 12:24AM PDT

I plugged my smart phone into the usb and then had a call. When I answered it shocked my ear. I thought it was my phone until I noticed it only happened when plugged in. Then I noticed when I have only one hand on the computer.. My wrist gets shocked. If I put the other hand on there it grounds and doesn't shock.

Aaron Majors
M Realty

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