220 volts make Macbook Pro Vibrate

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by hanguolaohu, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. hanguolaohu, Sep 30, 2009
    Last edited: May 28, 2011

    hanguolaohu macrumors regular

    Mar 5, 2007
    I'm using a USA Macbook Pro in China and noticed that when I plug in the power which is 220 volts the laptop vibrates. I do not feel this vibration while I use my laptop in the USA which uses 110 volts. I've also had problems with my USA hard drives vibrating and even Final Cut Pro being very unstable while using it in China. I was wondering whether this vibration is normal and whether it could possibly harm my laptop. Any info would be much appreciated!

  2. stuarthatto macrumors regular

    Nov 5, 2008
    I think I know what you mean - do you mean you can feel a kind of low level vibration when you move your finger across the aluminium case?

    If so, I think it's an earthing problem.

    I bet you are using your US adapter with a mains multi-adapter plug thing with no earth connector.

    I get this going the other way actually, from UK to US using an adapter. If I don't use an adapter plug but borrow a US lead for the power supply this phenomenon goes away.
  3. Punker macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2009
    I'm using my new (june 2009, 15", 2.8Ghz) macbook pro (bought in Canada) in Vietnam. I am feeling this too when i move my finger across the aliminum case but not all the time. only when connected from some power sources.

    Otherwise i cannot say i feel any vibration from the laptop that seems unusual as the OP might be describing
  4. hanguolaohu thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 5, 2007
    Exactly. But I took my laptop to my work today which is in an old house, and the vibration feels especially strong, which makes me concerned whether it could be harmful. Yes, I'm using a USA adapter with the 3 prong connection. Hm, I guess I could get a China adapter, but as long as this doesn't harm my laptop I'm wondering whether it's necessary. This has adversely affected some of my American external hard drives with power supplies rated from 100-240v, but they still had instability when using Final Cut Pro.
  5. Moriarty macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2008
    You're probably feeling a slight tingling due to currents going through the case. Make sure it's grounded properly.
  6. Azathoth macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2009
    Yeah, I'm sure the Macbook case is floating relative to ground. The power suppy is no doubt isolated from ground for safety reasons, but there's probably a leakage current there - you could try an isolating transformer between the AC mains supply and the Apple PSU. Or sit on a rubber mat and avoid contact between any part of your body and any conductor/the floor/metal tables...

    This is most likely to occur in countries with a floating neutral (LNE)
  7. hanguolaohu thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 5, 2007
    I just returned home, which is a much newer building and I don't feel the vibration anymore. I think I should get the circuits checked at my workplace. I appreciate all the helpful info!
  8. Rampant.A.I. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2009
    You probably should get a portable surge protector, or even a "travel adaptor" kit to step it down to 110.
  9. m85476585 macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    That is not necessary. The Magsafe will work off 110V or 220V just as well.

    You could buy an inexpensive ground tester that will tell you if the building is properly grounded. Make sure you get one for the right voltage (buy it in the country where you are using it to be sure).
  10. mikes70mustang macrumors 68000


    Nov 14, 2008
    There are many many threads on this going back to the very first metal mac notebooks. Basically if your not running it on 110(120)v 60Hz it seems common to get vibration or light shock. Its funny reading these thread though. B/c if your from the US, the thought of plugging any computer or appliance into a 220v receptacle is Crazy.

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