Help/Electric shocks touching macbook pro early 2015 (13'')

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by britpoprule, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. britpoprule macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2015
    Hello everyone.
    I need your help. I recently bought second hand an early 2015 macbook pro 13 inches. It works really well and apparently it's never been opened. The problem is that it gives me tiny electric shocks (plugged or unplugged). Is it normal? I read on google that many other people had the same problem. Is there a way to fix it? Does it mean that it's faulty? Can apple repair it?
    Thank you
  2. BigMcGuire Contributor


    Jan 10, 2012
    Does it happen with the laptop off? (Static electricity).

    Use a grounded plug / surge protector - 3 prongs vs 2?

    Kind of at a loss here.
  3. tomekwsrod macrumors newbie

    Apr 16, 2018
    Use the grounded plug that was in the box with your MBPro, and you need to have a working grounded socket. Without it you will get the tiny electric shocks.

    An alternative is to tape a thin cable from your mac to something made of metal that is grounded ie. to a radiator.
  4. britpoprule thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2015
    Is it normal that I also get tiny shocks even when it's unplugged and using the battery?
  5. Razzerman macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2007
    Hello there,

    Do you get the shocks all the time, or when you first touch the machine? Like the previous poster, I'd suspect static shocks.
  6. britpoprule thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2015
    I get them every now and then, no all the time. I guess when I change the positions of my hands and touch a different spot.
    And so are static shocks normal?
  7. BigMcGuire Contributor


    Jan 10, 2012
    It is a metal body. So if you're in a cold office with AC running on carpet, definitely normal to get a zap if you're building up a charge just by moving your feet or walking across the office, though usually this is more of an issue in dry weather / winter.

    Static shocks aren't common in most cases - but not unheard of in the right environment.
  8. Razzerman macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2007
    A colleagfue used to walk across carpet tiles, to his large neoprene mouse mat, and every time he'd get a small shock. Footwear probably has a bearing too.

    Try wearing nothing but wellies, and touching a radiator before touching your macbook ;)
  9. axantas macrumors 6502


    Jun 29, 2015
    Plugged, you might get some kind of constant "buzzing" feeling, if you touch the surface of the MacBook, which is nothing to worry about or defect. You feel the 50 or 60 Hz "leakage current".

    Unplugged, there is probably static electricity, thats one "buzz" then. In that case there is no "buzzing" feeling.

    For both of them: Just forget about it. It is normal.
  10. britpoprule thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2015
    I don't know what to do. To keep it or return it. It's not that bad, but I don't know if it's the normal and so I have to get used to. My previous macbook pro mid 2014 didn't have this 'problem'.
  11. Honza1 macrumors 6502

    Nov 30, 2013
    It is normal and will not hurt you.
    Assuming you are right and it happens on battery also. Then it is static charge and different shell designs will have different charges in the same situation. You may be able to find some conductive pads under the computer which may reduce this. May not be worth the effort.
  12. TianjinMBP macrumors newbie


    Dec 31, 2018
    Tianjin, China
    Well, I think everyone has this problem in drier environments. It is a static thing and I've had my MBP for 10 years and when it's in the winter especially, I get zapped them I touch it. The case is grounded so no worry, but it is a "shock" when you're not expecting it. Don't worry, you'll get used to it. :D It is my only complaint about Macs... Aluminum body.
  13. MichaelDT macrumors regular

    Aug 18, 2012
    It’s probably just the excess vril you get from touching a MacBook.
  14. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    If you feel a shock its an electric static discharge (ESD). This happens because there is a movement of electrons due to the difference in potential between you and the object you touch. People don't usually feel ESD until 5000+ volts, if its very obvious its 15000~ volts if it hurts its as high as 30,000 volts. You are the source of the ESD not the Mac.

    ESD can damage electronics very easily. So IC's have built in protections. That protection usually isn't adequate for 5000+ volt ESD though. So there is more circuitry specifically designed to clamp the ESD voltage to reduce its voltage to a level the ICs protection can tolerate. This is why touching the MacBook (or iMac for that matter) produces a noticeable ESD when you touch it.

    Regardless of laptop the build up electrons is still there its just many laptops have plastic cases which are conductive so it just stays in your body.

    There are several basic things you can do that may or may not be reason. Not wearing shoes and higher humidity help to discharge the build up of electrons in your body. However what I do at work is I touch my filing cabinet prior to touching my MB when I sit down at my desk. Since its large and sitting on carpet it I don't get a noticeable shock however it reduces the voltage differential enough that I don't feel an ESD when I touch the MB.

    I only have this issue in the winter when the humidity is low.
  15. jeyf macrumors 65816

    Jan 20, 2009
    no doubt its true but
    i can't fathom how an unplugged portable anything can give you a shock.
  16. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Since the human body is conductive dragging your shoes across carpet (two insulators) will cause excess electrons to gather around the surface of your skin.

    If you touch something else that is conductive the electrons will want to equalize between you and that object.

    If the object you touch is capable of holding enough electrons and you have an excess amount that energy transfer can be quite apparent in the form of a shock.
  17. britpoprule thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2015
    So it's normal even when not connected to the plug?
  18. buran-energia macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2017
    I bet all those people that had this problem had it plugged in and the sensation is more of a tingling / feeling electricity, but not shocks. This happens because either the adapter doesn't support the grounding pin (e.g. EU plug, but the EU extension cord supports it) or the socket itself isn't grounded.

    If you're getting static electricity shocks like when touching a door sometimes, then it's different from those people... I haven't seen anyone describe it as shocks on the internet. You're the first one.
  19. chscag macrumors 68030


    Feb 17, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Like you were told in the other forum you posted this to, it is not normal to receive shocks from an electronic component. The internal grounding of the machine might be defective. I would return it. And since you stated that your previous machine did not have that problem, that makes it more suspicious that something is not right. And you live in the UK where AC power is 240V. Grounding is especially important.
  20. britpoprule thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2015
    But as you can see yourself (and I really appreciate your opinion), here you're the only one to say that.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 8, 2019 ---
    If I take it to the Apple store, will they be able to test it and tell me if it's normal or not? Will they charge me for that?
  21. currahee2100 macrumors regular

    Feb 9, 2009
    Bad battery is what I'm betting.

    I replaced my MBP 13" 2012 battery with a generic Chinese one on Amazon. A week after I left it unplugged, it wouldn't charge. The screen was unresponsive- mouse would jump all over the place. Touching the touch bar felt like... you know when you're feeling a piece of clothing and it feels sorta "fuzzy"? and then one time it shocked me.
  22. user_xyz macrumors regular


    Nov 30, 2018
    I believe that is a Feature? :D
  23. burgman macrumors 68000


    Sep 24, 2013
    The internal battery outputs under 12 volts with low amps, to low to feel a shock unplugged. You don't say if you feel continuous shocks or a one jolt when you touch it. If its all the time unplugged it's just the awesomeness off the Macbook reaching out.
  24. britpoprule thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2015
    it doesn't hurt and it happens every now and then. It's like a feeling of a tiny pin on your hand/arm.
  25. Honza1 macrumors 6502

    Nov 30, 2013

    nonsense. This is MacBook Pro - notebook - and this happens with operations battery only. Now, if this was iMac, mac mini, or Mac Pro, sure, that this could be potentially dangerous.

    1. There is no way to get 240V from power source into that notebook, it would fry the notebook ports so fast, we would not be talking about this... There is about 20V going through he cable. 20V will NOT give you any feeling, tingling,...
    2. This also happens with battery operations (not connected to power source). These batteries can put up quite a bit of amps, but only ~20V = again, that would not give described high voltage shock.
    3. Some googling around identified, that backlight LEDs use around 46V (this is for newer MBP though) - that should be the max voltage inside MBP as far as I can say. Again, not enough to give this shock. Note, that this LED power is very lwo current only so it will not kill anyone anyway. Like, ever.

    It would really be nice if the suggestions and answers at least had level of high school physics ;-)

    This is human being charged and this notebook being differently connected to the surrounding that the prior/other one. Human walks around, human is charged. Human touches the metallic box and discharge happens. Different metallic boxes are differently grounded = different discharge. Replace human, human clothing, floor, shoes, or metallic box. Either may fix it. Do not blame box, or clothing, or shoes... It is physics:

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25 June 7, 2019