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Old Dec 14, 2008, 06:15 PM   #1
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NissanNazi
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Default Static electricity restarts my computer.

This just started happening recently. Whenever I plug something into any of the USB ports a small spark of static electricity jumps from the USB cord to the USB port and my PC instantly restarts itself. The motherboard is grounded to the case properly and the case is sitting on a glass computer desk. The only think I can think of is that I removed the four plastic feet from the bottom of the case so now the metal case sits directly on the glass computer desk. Other than that I can't figure out why it jumping a spark of static. Sometimes it will do it if I touch the mouse and there is a static shock. The air here is really dry and we get a lot of static just from walking across the carpet. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?
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Old Dec 14, 2008, 06:20 PM   #2
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Earth yourself before touching your computer; get a wrist strap or touch a nearby waterpipe.

You might consider reinstalling the plastic case feet just to see if that makes a difference.

When humidity is low and air is dry, static discharge can be a big problem. We had a guy at work who everytime he went in the server room would spark from his finger when he touched a server chassis, rack, etc. We installed anti-static mats in the floor and that helped a little.
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Old Dec 14, 2008, 06:23 PM   #3
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I don't think I have the plastic feet anymore but I can cut a piece of rubber mat to set the computer on. I was more curious why this was happening in the first place? I thought the the motherboard was grounded to the case which is grounded with the plug at the electrical outlet?
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Old Dec 14, 2008, 06:28 PM   #4
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Do you have a properly grounded outlet?

I would think a properly grounded PSU/case would prevent static electricity from nailing the computer.

I discharge on mine all the time and it doesn't bother it.
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Old Dec 14, 2008, 06:29 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by NissanNazi View Post
I don't think I have the plastic feet anymore but I can cut a piece of rubber mat to set the computer on. I was more curious why this was happening in the first place? I thought the the motherboard was grounded to the case which is grounded with the plug at the electrical outlet?
Right, and your bodies movement in the dry air causes a build up of static electricity in your body (more specifically your clothes), that searches for a path to ground when you touch something. If that something is especially conductive or has a good ground connection, it'll earth quickly causing the spark and shock. A byproduct of this is that the computer resets, unfortunately.

The purpose of grounded equipment is so that if a short happens, and your case or other compenents get fed 5,12 or 115v of electricity, they already have a path to earth through the chassis/outlet and trip a breaker or blow a fuse, instead of grounding through you when you touch it.
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Old Dec 14, 2008, 06:32 PM   #6
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If a static discharge restarts your PC, that sounds like a bad grounding in the outlet.
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Old Dec 14, 2008, 06:42 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Uber_Tiny View Post
If a static discharge restarts your PC, that sounds like a bad grounding in the outlet.

Hmm. Our house is only a year old so I would hope it's a good working outlet. I'll have to check it out soon.
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Old Dec 16, 2008, 09:34 PM   #8
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If you pull the faceplate off the outlet you should see a bare wire running from the power cable to the outlet box and a green screw on the outlet itself. If you don't see the wire connected to both (or no wire at all) the outlet is not properly grounded. Another test you can do is measure first the voltage and then the resistance between the neutral (should be a white wire that goes to the larger of the two slot openings in the outlet) and the ground. You MUST measure the voltage first because sometimes the electrician can make a mistake and reverse the hot and neutral leads. If you put 120V across an ohmmeter it will usually blow it up. The resistance between the neutral and ground should be nearly 0 ohms if not 0 since they go to the same place on the breaker panel. If there is a high resistance, the ground line isn't hooked up properly and is a safety issue that should be addressed.

If you are unsure of what you are doing, call an electrician (or at least turn off the breaker first ).
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Old Dec 17, 2008, 08:22 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by NissanNazi View Post
Whenever I plug something into any of the USB ports a small spark of static electricity jumps from the USB cord to the USB port and my PC instantly restarts itself
Are you sure it's static discharge? If your case is metal and you touch your case, does the same happen or only when you're holding a USB device? If it's the latter it could be something shifted a bit in your PC producing a small short when you put something in th USB port. trust me, things can work good for years and suddenly things like this happen. I once had a motherboard which suddenly, after 2 years of use had a short with the case via a tin solderpoint while it worked flawless for 2 years
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Old Dec 17, 2008, 08:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The PyroPath View Post
Are you sure it's static discharge? If your case is metal and you touch your case, does the same happen or only when you're holding a USB device? If it's the latter it could be something shifted a bit in your PC producing a small short when you put something in th USB port. trust me, things can work good for years and suddenly things like this happen. I once had a motherboard which suddenly, after 2 years of use had a short with the case via a tin solderpoint while it worked flawless for 2 years
Good point. I have seen this with about to fail power supplies as well. Only Sparkle brand though.
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Old Dec 17, 2008, 10:17 AM   #11
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This happened to me once.
Turned out I had a screw laying on the motherboard. It caused a short. I removed the screw and all was good.
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Old Dec 18, 2008, 05:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbsboyer View Post
If you pull the faceplate off the outlet you should see a bare wire running from the power cable to the outlet box and a green screw on the outlet itself. If you don't see the wire connected to both (or no wire at all) the outlet is not properly grounded. Another test you can do is measure first the voltage and then the resistance between the neutral (should be a white wire that goes to the larger of the two slot openings in the outlet) and the ground. You MUST measure the voltage first because sometimes the electrician can make a mistake and reverse the hot and neutral leads. If you put 120V across an ohmmeter it will usually blow it up. The resistance between the neutral and ground should be nearly 0 ohms if not 0 since they go to the same place on the breaker panel. If there is a high resistance, the ground line isn't hooked up properly and is a safety issue that should be addressed.

If you are unsure of what you are doing, call an electrician (or at least turn off the breaker first ).

Yep I tested it all out and it was working fine. I am pretty good with running electricity in houses. I put a new 220v outlet in my garage for my air compressor last week Anyway back on topic. I took my pc apart and double checked that nothing was shorting out on the motherboard and it all looked good. I did a test by rubbing my feet on the carpet and building a lot of static. I touched my case and it discharged and nothing happened. I then grabbed my iPods USB cable and did the same thing. This time I plugged the cable into the PC (no iPod attached) and before the cable even contacted the USB port a spark jumped and it restarted on me. I'm confused
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