Ipad 3 Voltage leak?

Macman45

macrumors G5
Original poster
Jul 29, 2011
13,199
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Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
I've just noticed this, probably because most of the time my iPad is in a case, and the metal is mostly covered.

Went to charge it up this morning, and when touching the metal surfaces (Edges, and rear) a "tingling" sensation, almost like a phone vibrate alert is felt.

Okay, I though..Faulty charger / cable...Changed both for brand new ones, same result.

In all other respects, the iPad is fine....But voltage is obviously leaking from somewhere...Anyone had this?
 

Macman45

macrumors G5
Original poster
Jul 29, 2011
13,199
133
Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
It's there all the time, just a gentle tingle in the hands when I touch the metal surfaces...I really hope it's not a major issue because the screen on this one is A1.
 
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jltj

macrumors member
Jul 7, 2008
70
9
I've noticed it on mine as well, but I've had laptops that were the same and I used them for ages without it being a problem, so I don't think it's something to worry about.
 
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Macman45

macrumors G5
Original poster
Jul 29, 2011
13,199
133
Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
I've noticed it on mine as well, but I've had laptops that were the same and I used them for ages without it being a problem, so I don't think it's something to worry about.
That's my take on it, I don't want to risk a replacement because the screen is so good...Must be a bad ground somewhere, neither my 1 or 2 did it. My MBP and MBA don't either...I will stick with it, like I said in all other respects my iPad is perfect>
 
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Sylon

macrumors 68020
Feb 26, 2012
2,032
80
Michigan/Ohio, USA
I've noticed it on both of my iPads, and various other electronics over the years. I've had the full 120v from an outlet zap thru me once before, so I recognized that sensation right away. Its nowhere near as intense, its subtle, but noticeable. It doesn't seem to be hurting anything, so I'm good.
 
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Macman45

macrumors G5
Original poster
Jul 29, 2011
13,199
133
Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
I've noticed it on both of my iPads, and various other electronics over the years. I've had the full 120v from an outlet zap thru me once before, so I recognized that sensation right away. Its nowhere near as intense, its subtle, but noticeable. It doesn't seem to be hurting anything, so I'm good.
Yep, sounds the same as mine, just a gentle tingle...Really is like a vibrate on the iPhone...I'm going to stick with it though, unless the iPad shows signs of any fault, I'm happy to stick.
 
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Jeremy81

macrumors 6502
Dec 17, 2007
349
21
Oklahoma
I'm assuming you mean it does this only when it's plugged in? If so you might plugging the wall adapter into the wall plugin opposite to how you are now. I had this problem my Transformer Prime and after some research found that it would stop when plugged in a certain way.
 
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Ecoh

macrumors 6502a
Oct 30, 2009
651
23
USA
I have never felt this on my iPAD, but I have felt it on other appliances in the house. There are other threads about this on this forum.
 
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Macman45

macrumors G5
Original poster
Jul 29, 2011
13,199
133
Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
I'm assuming you mean it does this only when it's plugged in? If so you might plugging the wall adapter into the wall plugin opposite to how you are now. I had this problem my Transformer Prime and after some research found that it would stop when plugged in a certain way.
I've tried different wall sockets and as I said, a brand new adaptor and cable, the result is the same. It seems others have the same glitch, so I'm not going to worry too much....It's the only iPad that has ever done it though....I'd be guessing on a bad or inadequate ground, but the voltages are so low, and since I don't use it when it's on charge, I think it's okay. I wonder if it's due in part to the iPad 3 requiring more power over a longer charge cycle, although using the same power adaptor that the previous incarnations used.?
 
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r-sparks

macrumors 6502
Dec 1, 2006
255
0
England
I've just noticed this, probably because most of the time my iPad is in a case, and the metal is mostly covered.

Went to charge it up this morning, and when touching the metal surfaces (Edges, and rear) a "tingling" sensation, almost like a phone vibrate alert is felt.

Okay, I though..Faulty charger / cable...Changed both for brand new ones, same result.

In all other respects, the iPad is fine....But voltage is obviously leaking from somewhere...Anyone had this?
This posting caused me to look-up aluminium and I found a load of interesting information, none of which is relevant here :)

However, it turns out that some people have contact dermatitis when they touch aluminium. While aluminium is common in everyday life usually it's protected by paint or powder coating. The times we touch pure aluminium are rare, but the iPad is one of them.

While you're not getting a rash, might this account for the strange sensation?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contact_dermatitis

I'd also advise you to plug the USB cable into a PC and see if the lower-power throughput also causes the tingling to happen.
 
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Coltaine

macrumors regular
Jan 7, 2012
149
70
This is a well-known issue and happens on the iPad, the MacBook Air and on MacBook Pros. The tingling sensation is caused by a leak current due to lack of proper grounding, when you use what is known as the "duckhead" adapter with your charger (the short adapter without a cable).
Switch from the "duckhead" to the adapter with the cable, which has proper grounding, and you will notice that the tingling sensation is gone.

Nothing to worry about.
 
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Macman45

macrumors G5
Original poster
Jul 29, 2011
13,199
133
Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
This is a well-known issue and happens on the iPad, the MacBook Air and on MacBook Pros. The tingling sensation is caused by a leak current due to lack of proper grounding, when you use what is known as the "duckhead" adapter with your charger (the short adapter without a cable).
Switch from the "duckhead" to the adapter with the cable, which has proper grounding, and you will notice that the tingling sensation is gone.

Nothing to worry about.
I am using the proper cable and adaptor...This doesn't happen on either my MBP or my MBA, but as you say, I'm not going to worry about it.
 
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Coltaine

macrumors regular
Jan 7, 2012
149
70
I am using the proper cable and adaptor...This doesn't happen on either my MBP or my MBA, but as you say, I'm not going to worry about it.
I can reproduce this phenomenon easily by switching between the adapters. Actually, any kind of grounding causes the leak current to disappear.
Not sure about your case, though.
 
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keith4594

macrumors member
Jul 15, 2010
78
0
its on most apple products
ipad,macbook, mini,pro,imac its the bushed metal that gives it the extra feeling aswell i think
 
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ZipZap

macrumors 603
Dec 14, 2007
5,482
905
Its been discussed here.

Its not normal and should be addressed by Apple. First make sure your plugs are grounded if not, then its your fault.

Then take the ipad with your wall adapter to Apple so you can test to see if its the adapter or the ipad.

Can you live with this? Sure but feeling electricity on the case is never ok.
 
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jacg

macrumors 6502a
Jan 16, 2003
894
45
UK
This is the electrostatic haptic feedback system secretly built into the iPad 3. It will be enabled by iOS 6. Are you using the same developer build as me?
 
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spyguy10709

macrumors 6502a
Apr 5, 2010
882
294
One Infinite Loop, Cupertino CA
I am using the proper cable and adaptor...This doesn't happen on either my MBP or my MBA, but as you say, I'm not going to worry about it.


You didn't read.

Change from using the "Duckhead" connector on the iPad's Charger to the 6 Foot long Cable that plugs into the charger. That will ground your iPad. (Electricity has this thing called grounding- look it up)
 

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Big-TDI-Guy

macrumors 68030
Jan 11, 2007
2,606
13
How exactly, is a 2 prong connector going to establish earth ground?

Anyhow - it's not grounding related - it's leakage current from the switching supply in the charger itself.

I have 2 "new ipads" and one of the chargers has leakage, while the other I cannot detect at all. Even switching between different outlets, cables and ipads / iphones - the sensation is common to the CHARGER - irrespective of what it's plugged into.

That said - switching the way the adapater is plugged in has some merit - however it did not do anything in my case.

I'd say get a new power supply in your case.
 
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Big-TDI-Guy

macrumors 68030
Jan 11, 2007
2,606
13
Because I cannot sleep and I'm bored - I decided to grab 3 different Apple USB chargers and tested them out.

On my "leaky" charger - no matter what was done, I could not make the sensation go away. Yes - if I grounded the chassis by touching it to something hard-grounded, it would stop - but the 2 prong plugs will not accomplish this. No matter what way it was inserted into the wall socket.

Humoring another poster - I slid off the plug, and measured the steel "T" pin - (the only other possible connector available) and that is NOT common to the ground shield - so there is no possible way the charger that shipped with my iPad will "properly ground" with a different plug being used - as it's using a 2 pin non-polarized connector.

Now - I did notice with one of the "meh" chargers that I could feel it slightly - when I unplugged it from the wall, and put it in 180 degrees off - it went away. (in this case, with the writing facing up).

YMMV
 
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Macman45

macrumors G5
Original poster
Jul 29, 2011
13,199
133
Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
You didn't read.

Change from using the "Duckhead" connector on the iPad's Charger to the 6 Foot long Cable that plugs into the charger. That will ground your iPad. (Electricity has this thing called grounding- look it up)
I did read, and I have tried it....It's the device for sure...Since it hasn't happened on any of my other devices including the first two iPads, it's a device issue for certain. I'm going to live with it, even if Apple swap this one out, I could end up with screen issues....Just not taking the chance.
 
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gordonoga

macrumors newbie
Aug 9, 2012
1
0
Apple charger voltage leak

I've just noticed this, probably because most of the time my iPad is in a case, and the metal is mostly covered.

Went to charge it up this morning, and when touching the metal surfaces (Edges, and rear) a "tingling" sensation, almost like a phone vibrate alert is felt.

Okay, I though..Faulty charger / cable...Changed both for brand new ones, same result.

In all other respects, the iPad is fine....But voltage is obviously leaking from somewhere...Anyone had this?
I too have a tingling from the A1357 10W USB Power Adaptor on iPAd, iPod and iPhone. I believe that tingling is not normally felt below 50V. The charger has the symbol which indicates it is a double insulated system which means that there is no electrical/metal connection between the input and output. I checked for alternating voltage between the house electrical earth system (240V in UK) and the metal shroud of the USB cable at either end (the outer part of the connectors) and got around 140V, slightly less when connected to charge the iPad, iPod and iPhone. I used two different electrical meters, neither of which have been calibrated so the results cannot be relied upon except as indicators. I tried to measure the current from the shroud to earth and got a reading of less than 2mA. We have an earth leakage circuit breaker system in the house so any "leakage" or grounding to earth of 30mA or more (stops people being electrocuted by touching live wires) will trip the system which it did not when I connected the shroud to earth. So it is "safe"! But there should not be tingling?

I raised this issue with my local UK Trading Standards who confirmed that there has been no recall from Apple and are reluctant to have the item subjected to (costly) electrical testing as they cannot experience the tingling on the item I loaned them for test. They asked if our house electrical system was OK which I think it is but I would need to have it tested (at my cost) to be absolutely sure.

I checked the interweb and found also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stray_voltage which explains this phenonoma. I therefore assume that the tingling is the capacitive leakage within the charger which happens with alternating current but not with direct current.

But this should not cause tingling! So while I am happy to consider it "safe", I still feel that it is wrong.
 
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Beta Particle

macrumors 6502a
Jun 25, 2012
527
5
Its not normal and should be addressed by Apple. First make sure your plugs are grounded if not, then its your fault.
It is normal, and most laptops or other small devices do this because they don't have a dedicated ground.

It's the fact that most of Apple's hardware has exposed aluminium that makes this much more obvious than other devices.

If you are using the short plug where the brick connects directly to the wall, and not the extension cable where the brick is halfway between the iPad and the wall, it is always going to happen. It's completely normal for this to be happening, and should be perfectly safe.


If you are using the grounded extension plug and are still experiencing this, you should probably get your home's wiring checked out.

I do think that this is something that Apple should address with the adapter design though. I'd rather have a little extra bulk to have a grounded plug at all times.

You might find this an interesting read:
http://www.arcfn.com/2012/05/apple-iphone-charger-teardown-quality.html
 
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ZipZap

macrumors 603
Dec 14, 2007
5,482
905
It is normal, and most laptops or other small devices do this because they don't have a dedicated ground.

It's the fact that most of Apple's hardware has exposed aluminium that makes this much more obvious than other devices.

If you are using the short plug where the brick connects directly to the wall, and not the extension cable where the brick is halfway between the iPad and the wall, it is always going to happen. It's completely normal for this to be happening, and should be perfectly safe.


If you are using the grounded extension plug and are still experiencing this, you should probably get your home's wiring checked out.

I do think that this is something that Apple should address with the adapter design though. I'd rather have a little extra bulk to have a grounded plug at all times.

You might find this an interesting read:
http://www.arcfn.com/2012/05/apple-iphone-charger-teardown-quality.html
Since I have never experienced this on a Mac or any other device I would say you are wrong and it's not normal.

You should never feel electricity.
 
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