current leakage on MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by anand.rohira, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2011
    guys, i have got my new MBA from HONGKONG for 9600 HKD(the base model)

    its pretty good and m very satisfied....everyone is amazed to see my new laptop, as its still not very popular in india, so its a very new thing, when i show it to my indian buddies.

    anyways here is a small problem that I have:

    whenever my laptop is plugged to AC power and I run my hands over the MBA, i feel a mild tingling kind of sensation, as if there is a small current leakage or something....

    can you guys try this on your MBA,
    (when its plugged in to socket, just close the lid of your laptop and run your hands over the lid, you will feel a mild vibration , tingling kind of sensation,.....and when your hands are still ober the MBA, there is no tingling sensation or anything present....)

    so can you guys tell me what is it ?
    is there something wrong with my peice ? or its just a common thing present in all MBA !!

    Hope to hear some positive replies !!

  2. macrumors 6502

    Sep 7, 2003
    I've noticed this on all of the aluminum Apple notebooks that I've owned. (12" PowerBook, 17" MacBook Pro, 11" MacBook Air).
  3. macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Ive had it on one of my laptops. Its actually not electrical (at work we had the electrician test it with some device). Its really weird. I know the exact sensation your describing. It goes away. (At least mine did).
  4. macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2008
    All of my apple alu models (3 x air and 1 x pro) feels like that when on AC.
  5. macrumors regular

    Mar 4, 2010
    Toronto, Canada
    Perhaps it's the material...

    I notice this too but I don't think it's electrical either. I believe it's the texture of the aluminum and/or paint/polish they use. It does feel like a vibration and strange but I've never noticed it to cause any issues or be a faulty electrical problem.
  6. macrumors 6502

    Dec 22, 2009
    Is this not just because you bought it from a territory where AC power doesn't have an earth pin in the plugs?
  7. macrumors 68020

    Sep 30, 2003
    If you use a grounded plug this will not occur.
  8. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2011
    nope, its not texture !! or paint !!

    nope, i don think, its texture or paint on the aluminium body of MBA,
    if that was the case, i wud feel the same sensation if my MBA was dissconnected from power supply (but I DON'T !!)

    i think , i will go home and try with the 3-pin, earth pin, and report u guys what happens !!

  9. macrumors newbie

    Dec 29, 2011
    I have that problem too. Anyone has any solution yet? the current leaks on my machine in spite of using the magsafe adapter. It works fine in Singapore but not so in India
  10. macrumors regular


    May 1, 2007
    Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK
    Don't think it's grounding...

    Given that the magsafe PSUs all use a two conductor plug (between the removable pins and the body of the PSU) I don't really see how this would help. In addition I am in the UK where we have three pin plugs and have felt this sensation with every metal MacBook I've owned or used.

  11. macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2008
    Yeah, got mine today and am so stoked! couldnt have been happier with the performance. that being said, every mac i have owned (the black polycarbonate being an exception) gives me the same sensation when I run my hand over the machine. Using a 3-pin plug didnt help either. What I want to know is if this affects the mac in any way. Anyone?
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2011
    It is normal to feel voltage on the external case when it is plugged in. The Mac won't be affected at all by it.
  13. macrumors 601

    Dec 14, 2007
    Sorry, but it NEVER normal to feel current when you touch the case.
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2011
    This is a known issue with Alu Macs... most PC/Mac motherboards use a floating ground, so basically you are becoming ground when touching the Alu chassis, drawing current from the chassis to yourself. Not much you can do about it unless you run a grounding strap to the Mac itself.
  15. macrumors 68030

    ET iPhone Home

    Oct 5, 2011
    Orange County, California USA
    Hmmm, I don't feel anything. I do have it plugged into a power surge protector all the time when on AC.
  16. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2008
    I have it on my 11" when not using the grounded plug. If I lightly brush my hand across the top part of the front of the lid while its open and running, (Above the Apple) I can feel it.

    It feels like running wet hands against dry glass.. kinda hard to describe.
  17. doktordoris, Jan 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012

    macrumors 6502a


    Mar 14, 2009
    it is just the effect of your friction ridges skittering across the sand-blasted type finish. all my macs have done it.


    I was utterly wrong, read my post below.
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2009
    I get the same plugged in, not plugged in, on or off. It's the surface texture and I love it..
  19. doktordoris, Jan 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012

    macrumors 6502a


    Mar 14, 2009
    Hmmm. I have altered my opinion about this. I have made some odd discoveries, I get the odd juddering, tingly feeling when my MBA is plugged in, but not when I unplug it. I also did some experiments whilst the machine was plugged in; if i am experiencing the effect on the left side of the track pad and then with my other hand touch the other side the effect disappears. If I pick the machine up, whilst plugged in, the phenomena fails to appear. But if i pick the air up using my sleeve to prevent me touching the air (other than the odd sensation seeking hand) the sensation is discernible.
    I had the same odd sensation when I used to own a MBP, but I never thought about it much or undertook the researches I just have done.
    I feel it all the time if a digit touches aluminium whilst moving between keyboard and trackpad.

    So it MUST be something to do with stray electricity ambling about, else my earthing experiments wouldn't have given me the results they did. musnt they?

    Oh, another thing is that the effect only occurs when moving against the surface, never when my finger or whatever (I still feel it when using an iPad stylus) is still.

    Ive given the matter more thought, and as the effect only appears when moving a finger I was wondering if the air and MBP perhaps have a fan, which makes the case vibrate, and which only comes on when the machine is plugged in and my touching and holding the machine have stopped it being able to vibrate the case so easily?
    Oh, another thing is that the effect only occurs when moving against the surface, never when my finger or whatever (I still feel it when using an iPad stylus) is still.
  20. macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2008
    Not True! The MBA power supplies have NO earth connection. Even if your cable has earth this earth is connected to....NOTHING!
  21. macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2010
    It IS electrical: transfers between persons

    This issue has always been present in all aluminum MacBooks, not just yours. It's nothing to worry about, but I agree that it can be annoying.

    With all due respect - why would you only notice this phenomenon when the mac is plugged in, if the explanation had to do with the aluminum texture or paint, as several suggest?

    The reason why I'm convinced it's electrical is that it transfers from one person to another! I kid you not, when my girlfriend is using her MBP while plugged in, I can tell when she's touching it and when she's not, without looking, by running my fingertips across her skin. If another person is touching the metal part of a plugged-in MacBook, you can feel the same tingling sensation on their skin as if you were touching the computer directly, although the effect is somewhat weaker.
  22. macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2009
  23. macrumors G4

    Oct 23, 2010
    I've noticed this with all my MacBook Airs (I have had them since the first one in February 2008).
  24. macrumors member

    Jan 13, 2012
    Okay, try this. Place your hand on the case. DON'T move it. Do you still feel a tingle?

    The case has a texture so yeah you're gonna feel something...
  25. macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    That does not sound good at all! I've never experienced this!

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