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Old Dec 15, 2010, 01:07 AM   #1
INEEDANOTEBOOK
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macbook air / electric shock anyone?

Does anyone has electric shock problems with a macbook air 2010?

I already have an Imac, and need a laptop as a second computer, but there seems to be a well-known problem of electric zaps with the precedent generations of macbooks (white and pros). As I don't want to pay big bucks for something that shocks me , does anyone have such a pb with the new G of macbook airs?
Tx!
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 03:11 AM   #2
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Does anyone has electric shock problems with a macbook air 2010?

I already have an Imac, and need a laptop as a second computer, but there seems to be a well-known problem of electric zaps with the precedent generations of macbooks (white and pros). As I don't want to pay big bucks for something that shocks me , does anyone have such a pb with the new G of macbook airs?
Tx!

Well known problem? The problem is that you seem to have reinvented the laws of physics. How do you get a shock off something running at about 10 volts DC?? You could jump in the bath with it and you wouldn't get a shock.
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 05:01 AM   #3
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Do your homework, mate.
Just google "macbook" and "electric shock" and read all the threads that appear... It seems that these machines tend to have electric leakages that are noticeable when the computer is not properly grounded. I don't think that all these people are inventing it. And by the way, the problem is not limited to mac products -- many other metal laptops are concerned too.

But I did not find anything concerning the last generation of macbook air (2010) so I was hoping that Apple solved the problem, whatever it was.

And for what it is worth, it IS possible to feel low voltages. I actually used to have zaps with my magic mouse, which runs on two batteries. We are not talking about dangerous shocks, of course, but zaps sufficiently strong to be annoying. That's actually why I'm concerned about this problem.
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 05:21 AM   #4
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What cable are you using?

I have the UK adapters (short and long) and whenever I plug the short one into my MBP i can feel the shocks.

If I use the long cable it's fine
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 05:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by INEEDANOTEBOOK View Post
Do your homework, mate.
Just google "macbook" and "electric shock" and read all the threads that appear... It seems that these machines tend to have electric leakages that are noticeable when the computer is not properly grounded. I don't think that all these people are inventing it. And by the way, the problem is not limited to mac products -- many other metal laptops are concerned too.

But I did not find anything concerning the last generation of macbook air (2010) so I was hoping that Apple solved the problem, whatever it was.

And for what it is worth, it IS possible to feel low voltages. I actually used to have zaps with my magic mouse, which runs on two batteries. We are not talking about dangerous shocks, of course, but zaps sufficiently strong to be annoying. That's actually why I'm concerned about this problem.
You've answered your own question. You should complete your own research and google "current leakage paths in house wiring", or similar keywords.

The "shocks" have to do with improper ground systems and are usually cured by using the grounded adapter cord which comes with the MacBook. There's nothing inherently wrong with the MacBooks. When instances of this occur, it's usually a situation which is dependant on the particular location's a/c wiring. That's why it's not a common problem. Also, it has nothing to do with the DC input voltage, except for being a path to carry the a/c leakage current.

As for your Magic Mouse, the only thing I can imagine you feeling is static discharge. There's no path to the aluminum shell from the batteries (except possibly ground - I haven't measured it myself, but nothing from the positive side).
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 05:24 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by INEEDANOTEBOOK View Post
Do your homework, mate.
Just google "macbook" and "electric shock" and read all the threads that appear... It seems that these machines tend to have electric leakages that are noticeable when the computer is not properly grounded. I don't think that all these people are inventing it. And by the way, the problem is not limited to mac products -- many other metal laptops are concerned too.

But I did not find anything concerning the last generation of macbook air (2010) so I was hoping that Apple solved the problem, whatever it was.

And for what it is worth, it IS possible to feel low voltages. I actually used to have zaps with my magic mouse, which runs on two batteries. We are not talking about dangerous shocks, of course, but zaps sufficiently strong to be annoying. That's actually why I'm concerned about this problem.

I don't think these shocks are strong enough to be of concern however I would only be concerned if you have such things as hearbeat monitor or heart problems
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 05:36 AM   #7
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I don't think these shocks are strong enough to be of concern however I would only be concerned if you have such things as hearbeat monitor or heart problems
Not unless there's an actual short, where sufficient voltage and current were present and the current could make it through a pathway through the heart. The sort of leakage currents most complaints are about are much smaller than what could be damaging.

I say most complaints, as there certainly could be a situation where some major defect in either house wiring or to the computer (as a result of poor maintenance, a defect, or damage) could result in a dangerous safety risk.
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 05:48 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by INEEDANOTEBOOK View Post
Does anyone has electric shock problems with a macbook air 2010?

I already have an Imac, and need a laptop as a second computer, but there seems to be a well-known problem of electric zaps with the precedent generations of macbooks (white and pros). As I don't want to pay big bucks for something that shocks me , does anyone have such a pb with the new G of macbook airs?
Tx!
I notice that with the cold dry winter weather here i get the occasional static electricity shock when picking up my macbook when it is connected to the mains. But then again i also get shocked touching anything else that is grounded :-)
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 06:36 AM   #9
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I have one, although only for a couple of weeks, and I haven't gotten shocked just yet. And, when I'm using it at home it's always connected to the power source. Hopefully I wont be getting shocked anytime soon
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 07:03 AM   #10
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If you are using the equipment incorrectly then there is a chance of seeing some electrical malfunction. But use the computer/accessories correctly and you won't get electrocuted.

Is the OP a troll or what? It's like saying "Should I buy this fork even though it can electrocute me if I shove it into a wall socket?"
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 07:13 AM   #11
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Is the OP a troll or what?
Err, no. He's just reporting an issue that's affected a lot of people. For the record I have had a few shocks from my new MBA and my 2010 MBP before it.
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 07:29 AM   #12
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My MBA gives me a few shocks in my Tucano bag, especially when I rotate the strap around my jacket, which is probably building up static.

Also, I wear slippers around the house, and I've shocked myself a few times when I went back to my Air and reached for the keyboard.

I gotta get me an anti-static mat on my desk or something. I feel I'm going head-on into some ESD nightmare in the future.
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 07:33 AM   #13
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gr8tfly just thoroughly owned you!
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 07:44 AM   #14
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I did a trip in Uni to Europe a few years ago and everyone was was getting little zaps. We were just using plug adapters because the brick is supposed to be adjusting the voltage for us. I didn't bring the grounded cable so I can't make a comparison but I can definitely confirm that its possible with just the little cord. Came back to the states and all was normal again...
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 07:45 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by gr8tfly View Post
You've answered your own question. You should complete your own research and google "current leakage paths in house wiring", or similar keywords.

The "shocks" have to do with improper ground systems and are usually cured by using the grounded adapter cord which comes with the MacBook. There's nothing inherently wrong with the MacBooks. When instances of this occur, it's usually a situation which is dependant on the particular location's a/c wiring. That's why it's not a common problem. Also, it has nothing to do with the DC input voltage, except for being a path to carry the a/c leakage current.

As for your Magic Mouse, the only thing I can imagine you feeling is static discharge. There's no path to the aluminum shell from the batteries (except possibly ground - I haven't measured it myself, but nothing from the positive side).

Perhaps I was not clear enough: I only have an Imac for now, which is perfectly fine, and I plan to buy a macbook as a secondary machine. I don't have one, yet. For what I need to do, a macbook pro would be good. But apparently, they tend to have a electric leakage problem.

So, what I want to know is whether Apple has solved this problem with the new generation of macbook air (late 2010), and thus whether any user has had such a problem with this machine yet.

Concerning the notebook -- properly grounding the machine makes them safer, but does not resolve the leakage itself. The main concern I have is that, according to existing threads, Apple geniuses tend to deny the problem when reported to them, and mac users are most of the time left to deal with it on their own.

Concerning the magic mouse -- Yes, I thought it was static too, at first. But I kept having zaps every time I accidentally touched the base. Repeated static discharges are very unlikely...
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 08:11 AM   #16
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My MBA gives me a few shocks in my Tucano bag, especially when I rotate the strap around my jacket, which is probably building up static.

Also, I wear slippers around the house, and I've shocked myself a few times when I went back to my Air and reached for the keyboard.

I gotta get me an anti-static mat on my desk or something. I feel I'm going head-on into some ESD nightmare in the future.

Statics are annoying indeed, but apart from protecting oneself as you do, it seems unavoidable with metal machines (or is it? Does someone have solid knowledge about it?). Leakages are another problem. As far as I understand, you did not experience any shock coming from dynamic current (more like continuous vibrations), did you?
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 08:15 AM   #17
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I have one, although only for a couple of weeks, and I haven't gotten shocked just yet. And, when I'm using it at home it's always connected to the power source. Hopefully I wont be getting shocked anytime soon
Good to know.
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 08:32 AM   #18
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Statics are annoying indeed, but apart from protecting oneself as you do, it seems unavoidable with metal machines (or is it? Does someone have solid knowledge about it?). Leakages are another problem. As far as I understand, you did not experience any shock coming from dynamic current (more like continuous vibrations), did you?
And the good thing having a metal machine is that the statics discharges do not go through to the sensitive electronics inside like it does with plastic casings.
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 10:15 AM   #19
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If you are using the equipment incorrectly then there is a chance of seeing some electrical malfunction. But use the computer/accessories correctly and you won't get electrocuted.

Is the OP a troll or what? It's like saying "Should I buy this fork even though it can electrocute me if I shove it into a wall socket?"
It crossed my mind also. But to be charitable, we have to differentiate between the laptop/ other device giving you a shock and you giving yourself shock by discharging your static electricity into a device at a different electrostatic potential. You are not going to get a shock from a low voltage device like this. If the powerbrick is faulty and leaks mains voltage into its output, it will fry the computer power supply immediately. You can touch the terminals of a car battery at 12v without getting any sort of shock and there is no way the 18 volt dc supply of a macbook is going to get through your skin resistance to give any sort of shock. The plastic cased laptops can store electrostatic charge generated by friction against a case or clothing while the metal ones are a convenient sink for charge if you are carrying a charge yourself. In both cases this is an electrostatic discharge, not you getting a shock from the equipment. This is more prevalent in cold weather below 0 dec. C when there is little water vapour in the air to discharge such static.
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 12:44 PM   #20
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I got a static shock from it last night. It's an metal laptop, it was sitting on a cloth couch, I generated the static through movement, it shocked me.

No big deal.
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 01:29 PM   #21
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It crossed my mind also. But to be charitable, we have to differentiate between the laptop/ other device giving you a shock and you giving yourself shock by discharging your static electricity into a device at a different electrostatic potential. You are not going to get a shock from a low voltage device like this. If the powerbrick is faulty and leaks mains voltage into its output, it will fry the computer power supply immediately. You can touch the terminals of a car battery at 12v without getting any sort of shock and there is no way the 18 volt dc supply of a macbook is going to get through your skin resistance to give any sort of shock. The plastic cased laptops can store electrostatic charge generated by friction against a case or clothing while the metal ones are a convenient sink for charge if you are carrying a charge yourself. In both cases this is an electrostatic discharge, not you getting a shock from the equipment. This is more prevalent in cold weather below 0 dec. C when there is little water vapour in the air to discharge such static.

If you do your homework as previously suggested to you, you'll find that many people have had that kind of problem for years, mostly with macbook pros, and mostly when they are charging their device without proper grounding. Moreover, many do not feel a single shock, but a continuous sensation of electric flow. It can't be static. Obviously, many people can feel a low voltage leakage in their machine - just perhaps not all (and especially not the thick-skinned kinds).

Try to focus -- the question is: Do any macbook air 2010 (11 or 13) owners have had that kind of electric shocks from their machines?
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 03:41 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by INEEDANOTEBOOK View Post
...

So, what I want to know is whether Apple has solved this problem with the new generation of macbook air (late 2010), and thus whether any user has had such a problem with this machine yet.

Concerning the notebook -- properly grounding the machine makes them safer, but does not resolve the leakage itself. The main concern I have is that, according to existing threads, Apple geniuses tend to deny the problem when reported to them, and mac users are most of the time left to deal with it on their own.
....
There's no problem (that I've heard of) specific to 2010 models Apple needs to solve (or earlier models...). If the problem occurs, it's for the same reasons already posted.

For most users, grounding does resolve the leakage problem. And, as you say, it's not something particular to Apple MacBooks/MBPs. Any machine with a grounded metal surface (local ground to its supply) can have the leakage effect.

I disagree with your assessment that "mac users are most of the time left to deal with it on their own". The Apple techs are aware (and I believe there's a KB article or two on the issue) of what's going on and how to fix it. If grounding the supply to the mains doesn't fix the leakage, that usually means there's a fault in the mains wiring [house, or other].

If you don't have any issues with your iMac (I'm assuming aluminum frame), you probably won't have any with a portable. Again, there's nothing in the design that would specifically create such a problem by itself.
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 06:07 PM   #23
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For most users, grounding does resolve the leakage problem. And, as you say, it's not something particular to Apple MacBooks/MBPs. Any machine with a grounded metal surface (local ground to its supply) can have the leakage effect.

Agreed. Yet, one should be clear about what we mean by "solving" the problem. Grounding machines that have electric leakages only allow users not to be shocked since the leakage goes not go to the ground through them anymore (or at least not too much). In that sense, it seems to solve the problem because users do not feel the consequences of the problem anymore.

Yet, grounding the machine does not solve the source of leakage itself, which is not normal, and should be repaired properly. Grounding is just a safety device to protect users in case leakages happen, not the solution itself. To use a medical analogy, it is like treating the symptoms of an illness, not the illness itself.

But anyhow, it seems that no one so far has experienced such thing with their macbook airs...
Or is it too early?
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 06:08 PM   #24
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[QUOTE=INEEDANOTEBOOK;11578677]For most users, grounding does resolve the leakage problem. And, as you say, it's not something particular to Apple MacBooks/MBPs. Any machine with a grounded metal surface (local ground to its supply) can have the leakage effect.




Agreed. Yet, one should be clear about what we mean by "solving" the problem. Grounding machines that have electric leakages only allow users not to be shocked since the leakage goes not go to the ground through them anymore (or at least not too much). In that sense, it seems to solve the problem because users do not feel the consequences of the problem anymore.

Yet, grounding the machine does not solve the source of leakage itself, which is not normal, and should be repaired properly. Grounding is just a safety device to protect users in case leakages happen, not the solution itself. To use a medical analogy, it is like treating the symptoms of an illness, not the illness itself.

But anyhow, it seems that no one so far has experienced such thing with their macbook airs...
Or is it too early?
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Old Dec 16, 2010, 04:30 AM   #25
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[QUOTE=INEEDANOTEBOOK;11578689]
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Originally Posted by INEEDANOTEBOOK View Post
For most users, grounding does resolve the leakage problem. And, as you say, it's not something particular to Apple MacBooks/MBPs. Any machine with a grounded metal surface (local ground to its supply) can have the leakage effect.




Agreed. Yet, one should be clear about what we mean by "solving" the problem. Grounding machines that have electric leakages only allow users not to be shocked since the leakage goes not go to the ground through them anymore (or at least not too much). In that sense, it seems to solve the problem because users do not feel the consequences of the problem anymore.

Yet, grounding the machine does not solve the source of leakage itself, which is not normal, and should be repaired properly. Grounding is just a safety device to protect users in case leakages happen, not the solution itself. To use a medical analogy, it is like treating the symptoms of an illness, not the illness itself.

But anyhow, it seems that no one so far has experienced such thing with their macbook airs...
Or is it too early?
Don't know if it's about being thick or thin skinned, but I would be interested to hear how you would propose earthing the power supply of any current Apple laptop or the laptop itself. They have no earth terminal to connect to an earthed socket. I suppose you could use a jump lead to clamp the laptop and connect it to a water pipe but that wouldn't do the Mac's resale value much good. You could also sacrifice one of your usb ports and connect the earthing sleeve to an earth connection, but what you are suggesting seems, as the lack of response suggests, not a well known problem. The problem with this sort of forum, and even with the Apple discussion boards to a certain extent, that even the weirdest fault report will generate a certain following. I'm sure that if you reported say that the 'q' key doesn't work on the third Tuesday of the month when it falls on an even date, that you would get a non zero response confirming this software bug. That does not mean that the problem is real.
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