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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a fair amount of static electricity especially during the winter when the forced air system is on. I've tried so hard to make sure that I ground myself to a lamp or something else before touching my computer case, but every once in a while I accidentally give my computer a shock. Even the littlest static shock, which is usually on the door of my tsunami case, my computer locks up, then reboots. I have never had a system that is this sensitive to static shock to just the case. Isn't the case supposed to be directly grounded through the PSU?? I installed all the components in this case myself and thought that everything looked properly grounded. My other computer buddy says he's surprised about it too. Is there a chance my Mobo or power supply is not grounded well enough or is this a normal condition? I'm afraid that over time the repeated shocks will fry my computer and it finally won't reboot. Any ideas or suggestions??

SimpleCJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, my computer is not on the floor it's on a piece of wood furniture. As far as the wiring goes, it is plugged into a three prong outlet, through a surge protector of course. I guess I could check the grounding on the outlet. This house has some funky wiring. How can I tell if the third prong is a direct ground or simply tied to the negative wire of the normal two prongs and if it is would that cause a problem?

SimpleCJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It's in a basement, so running a wire outside is not as simple as drilling through a wall behind the computer. I could run one to bypass the surge protector and ground directly to the socket box which should be grounded through the conduit. So I take it that this is not a normal situation. I knew there was something wrong the first time I shocked my computer. I'll have to get my multi-meter out and do some testing.

SimpleCJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No pipes near the computer, but in an adjacent room. I'll have to do some testing. But you are saying that I do have a grounding problem right? Small static shocks to the case should not reboot my computer right?
 

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no that's why you ground yourself to the case when working on the insides
i would suspect that something is grounding inside the case that should not be
i.e.
a riser under the m/b that is not lined up with a fixing hole in the m/b
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
OK, well I just bought a new video card, so when I pull my computer out, I'll have to check the risers. I just hope that isn't going to require me to pull the mobo out of the case. I thought the risers where supposed to ground the mobo. Most of the screw holes in it had a metal grounding ring around them from what I remember. I'll look into it and let you know what I find out. Thanks for all the quick responses!

SimpleCJ
 

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I was refering to an extra misplaced one that does not line up with a hole in the m/b and touches the bottom of the m/b where it should'nt
the holes with the silver finish are required grounding points
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
What about grounding holes that didn't get a screw because my case didn't have the screw holes for risers at that location? Dang, I guess I might end up pulling the mobo to check that.

SimpleCJ
 

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it needs a screw for every hole in the m/b
mark the backing plate through the hole in the m/b drill a smaller hole than the screw on the riser and screw a riser in
usually there are more holes than required allowing for different size m/b
 

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You are of course missing the obvious and that the reason why you are discharging to the case is that YOU are not grounded whilst the case is .. in any event the best thing you could do is call an (comptetent) electrician to check whether the case is grounded or not. Normally the case is grounded as you so ably described via the PSU, however that assumes that the cable that acts as earth is a) connected, b) that the earth wire has been brought down to the socket from the mains fusebox and c) that the house is properly earthed. I don't know about your part of teh world but in many parts houses used to be earthed via the water mains which was a lead pipe that ran everywhere feeding water to all the houses. Modern times and frequent replacement due to corrosion and repairs have resulted in this pipe being replaced by polyurothane (sorry spell checker not handy) piping which meant that many houses lost that earthing option. Whilst I suspect that the correct procedures for mainataining a proper earth potential have probably been enforced we are always hearing about houses that got missed. Hence my advice , get a qualified COMPETENT Electrician to check out your wiring. Also have him check that the Residual Current detection is working. This is a protection device for HUMANS that, should they come into contact with the live wire, minimises the possibility of death by electricution ... the frequent result of NOT having a proper earthed electrical system in a domestic residence.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Could that be the reason why my heating system seems to buid up so much static in our house? Cause I'm constantly shocking everything, I've almost killed my portable phone several times.

SimpleCJ
 

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It is possible but only a survey will prove it for sure. If you're living in an old house, with old electrics .. the possibility increases.
Manmade fabrics like nylon will increase the possibilities too. I remember woolen jumpers being removed in the dark would also cause "fireflies" to appear ...
Even if your house is properly earthed walking over a carpet can cause your body to generate thousands of volts in static which will discharge onto anything with a lesser charge that you come into contact with. The static will try to bring all potentials to the same potential. Across a high resistance surface you can even find both positive charges and negative charges of staic electricity, which will wait for an unsuspecting low resistance route to "average" themselves out! If you have good isolated flooring in the form of wood or linoleum then there is every possibility that charges are being built up all around you.
Modern Electronics factories have conductive flooring which allows charges to discharge through relatively low resistance paths to ground. That's also why we tend to wear special wrist straps as well to protect circuits from static discharge.
You mentioned aircondition earlier. The motors & fans in airconditioners can be a source of static because of the speeds of rotation. Old printers used to have special discharge paths due to the speed at which paper travelled through them which, on occasions, resulted in the paper catching alight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I found the grounding lead coming off our circuit breaker. Guess what, it was attached to a clamp which was near a copper pipe that I'm assuming it was supposed to be clamped to, but it was just hanging loose. I clamped it down, but was wondering if it might be better to actually create an earthen ground. I remember doing this once for a hot tub installation where we drove a five foot iron rod similar to rebar into the ground with the grounding lead attached to the top end of it. The location of the breaker box would make it very easy to run the ground outside to a grounding rod. Although I'm not sure this will help static produced from the carpet, but might help drain off excess static from the forced air system. It seems that excess static from the furnace is partly responsible for static from the floor because during the summer when it's not running static build up is not nearly as strong.

Sorry to run this thread so far off of computer related discussion, but that is the root of my concern. I don't want to kill my $3000 baby! I really appreciate all your responses!

Simplecj
 

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sounds like you're:4-zap: a walking Van der Graff generator :4-zap: :eek:.

wearing clothing of synthetic/man made fibres :4-zap: , and/or footwear (especially trainers/sneakers), will aggrevate the matter :4-zap: :4-zap:

if the air is dry you might like to consider a humidifier in the room, or a few foliage house plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Shoes make a huge difference. I've notice the new ones I got are better than the old ones at not generating static. Also I notice that my couch charges me up whenever I get up from sitting in it. My other cloths are mostly cotton. There is that possibility that I am actually more electrically charged than the average person. I've read about it in my search for answers to my static problem. Also, I seem to be the only person in my house that is almost always shocking things. I frequently shock my girlfriend when I kiss her and it kinda hurts.

HOWEVER, I think this is all related to my basement (my domain), and the apparent grounding issues my house has. Normally I would think excess charges built up by by forced air systems or even house furnishings should find its way to the ground via the electric and plumbing grid that's spread throughout my house. I am going to put my own grounding spike outside and tie it into the one that's on the copper pipes and leading to my circuit breaker. I somehow doubt that the pipes are grounded somewhere else and the wiring in my house appears to have been redone in a rather half-assed manner. I'll spare you the details.

:pray: Again thanks for all your input. I think I've narrowed my search for a solution down to a few factors. More than I accomplished on my own for the last year or so. Not that I really tried that hard before, but you've all been very helpful!

SimpleCJ

-I'm one of those that's good with numbers, I'm an engineering student...
 

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Is the house wiring aluminum or copper?
Some circuit boxes get their ground bar rusted and crapped out by rain water leaking through the stand pipe outside.
Simple tool at radio shack checks for properly grounded outlets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The wiring is copper. The circuit breaker is a joke. One whole section is taped off and says "don't use" like the whole house was rewired or at least changed over to lower breakers. Somehow I doubt it is up to code. I'll check out that ground testing unit if its cheap enough, probably pick it up with some rebar for sinking the new grounding spike and check it before and after. Even if it passes before, extra grounding can't hurt. My network admin buddy said when I get my new video card he's going to go over my computer with me to check for possible shorts inside the computer.

Off subject:
My new video card --> NVidia BFG 6800 Ultra OC AGP 8X 256 MB Dual DVI Card - I'm stoked! Finally, FEAR and Call of Duty in full detail!!!!

(My old card ---> ATI Radeon Atlantis 9600 standard 256MB AGP = crappy gaming)

SimpleCJ
 
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