MacBook Pro giving me electric shock!!!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by tevion5, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. tevion5, Aug 20, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013

    tevion5 macrumors 68000

    tevion5

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Location:
    Ireland
    #1
    I have an early 2011 13" MacBook Pro that only during charging gives me an electric shock to my arms when they come into contact with the front edges of the unibody enclosure during normal usage. I don't know how long this issue may have been going on for because I usually use it with an external monitor in a desktop setup and rarely use the built in keyboard. However I have brought it with me on holiday to Greece and during normal usage when charging it gives me a shock. Is it perhaps a dodgy greek electrical socket? I am using an official Apple charger with the official apple travel adapter kit for european sockets.

    Also when I lightly drag the back of my fingers over the area where the battery is during charging it gives me a vibration, but not when my fingers remain static, only during movement. I don't know if this is normal or not. However the shocking is very alarming and may be a serious issue. :(

    Has anybody heard of an issue like this before on any laptop, particularly MacBook Pro's? Is my battery faulty, or perhaps my charger?

    I would very much appreciate any help or suggestions, thank you. :)
     
  2. GSPice macrumors 68000

    GSPice

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    #2
    Yup, I've experienced that. It's odd, isn't it? But I think it's just the material against skin, friction, etc.

    As far as the "shock", does it feel more like a pinch as if a hair on your forearm got pinched/pulled? I've felt that before. I doubt it's anything dangerous or malfunctioning, though - and I've actually charged in Greece with official Apple power brick, and generic international adapter.
     
  3. tevion5 thread starter macrumors 68000

    tevion5

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Location:
    Ireland
    #3
    Well I'm glad to hear I'm not alone. And the fact you've charged in Greece is an excellent coincidence! :D I suspected the vibration might be normal alright.

    It is indeed like having having a hair pulled out. Hmmm maybe it is common enough so. Still feels a little odd for normal function. Although not having the laptop made out of plastic makes it susceptible to this sort of thing even if aluminium isn't a great conductor. Anyway it's only 12v so it's far from dangerous. If my Power Mac G5 case started shocking me with it's enormous 700W PSU I probably wouldn't be around to complain :p
     
  4. GSPice macrumors 68000

    GSPice

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    #4
    Yup :) I was wondering myself (and my wife) if it was just static shock. But that's interesting that you bring it up. :)
     
  5. MacModMachine macrumors 68020

    MacModMachine

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Location:
    Canada
    #5
    use the 3 prong power brick attatchment instead of 2 prong

    should fix problem.
     
  6. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a

    Yahooligan

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2011
    Location:
    Illinois
    #6
    The "vibration" is actually due to electrical current and not the material or just friction, I've experienced it myself but not with my MBP.

    As for the shock, you need to consider that YOU may be shocking the MBP, not the other way around. The reason why it happens only during charging/being plugged in is because that is when the chassis is connected to a ground/earth via the power adapter. If you're generating a static charge within yourself (rubbing feet on carpet, etc) then touching something that is grounded you will get shocked, but it's from the charge stored in your body being transferred to ground. This is why people should be using grounding straps connected to their wrist when working on electronics, to prevent static charges from damaging the electronics they are working on.
     
  7. GSPice macrumors 68000

    GSPice

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    #7
    Interesting. Didn't realize that would actually be felt, since the Macbook was the first time I'd experienced it.
     
  8. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #8
    Could be -- especially if it's not properly grounded. You'd have to do some investigating/troubleshooting to narrow down the cause.
     
  9. jafingi macrumors 65816

    jafingi

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Location:
    Denmark
    #9
    Happened to me before too.

    The dragging your finger part is totally normal, I think you can do that with 90% of all electrical devices once they're plugged into a wall/ground.

    Actually, the funny part is that if you touch (like stroke (is that the correct word??) their arm) a person that touches a MBP, you can feel that vibration through them :D And it stops when they no longer touch it :D
     
  10. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    #10
    If you use an ungrounded power adapter, you become the ground wire.
     
  11. MacModMachine macrumors 68020

    MacModMachine

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Location:
    Canada
    #11
    yup, if anyone bothered to read my post above.
     
  12. vpro macrumors 65816

    vpro

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2012
    #12
    this happens from time to time regardless

    I'm not sure but a lot of people have talked about running their palms or fingers along the surface of the palm rest and around the perimeter of the mbp and feeling vibration, buzzing sensation through the skin, this has happened to me since 2006 with my first 17"MBP. No matter how grounded I was there are just times when you really notice it. I don't know if there is really anything to "cure" it, that is electrical current, unless you unplug and just use the battery all the time.
     
  13. raptor402 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2011
    #13
    Hey,

    I'm not sure, but as far as I'm aware, no Apple powerbrick has a Ground pin. Even if you use a 3 Prong Adapter, there would be no Earthing.

    Regards
    Raptor

    UPDATE: Confirmed. There are only two points in the powerbrick. By the way, I have the same issue with 2010 15". I have heard it's quite a popular thing.
     
  14. powerstrokin macrumors 6502a

    powerstrokin

    Joined:
    May 18, 2013
    #14
    The power brick does have a ground connection. It's the metal 'disc' shaped part that the plug (duck plug or cord) slides and locks onto.

    If you look into the female end of the three-pronged cord that attaches to the power brick, you'll see the ground connection as well.
     
  15. raptor402 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2011
    #15
    Hi,

    That's what I had thought a year ago, but I had looked into the simple 3 pin plug and noticed a lack of links, so I had assumed that that was there just as a holder. I just checked the extension cord, and realised that there are links for earthing. So you need to use the extension cable for earthing; the regular 3 pin adapter won't do.

    Regards
    Raptor
     
  16. powerstrokin macrumors 6502a

    powerstrokin

    Joined:
    May 18, 2013
    #16
    I'm not sure what you mean by the 3 pin plug. What is that?

    Yes, the "extension cord" has a ground. The "duck bill" plug does not.

    Heck for all I know, it could all just be for show anyways. I haven't personally torn apart the actual power supply brick to see if the ground wire even goes anywhere LOL! I'm sure it does, but you get what I mean I hope.
     
  17. bdrake47 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2012
    #17
    I can't say it is "normal" but it definitely DOES happen.

    It is electrical current, not static. I've had both of these issues on two personal 15" MBP's (2010 and 2012 rMBP), as well as several 13" company MBPs (2011).

    The vibration thing is weird, but the shock part is a bit disconcerting.

    I'm also sure it is due to grounding issues as well.

    My experience with this is having worked with "dodgy" electrical systems in the Middle East and Asia for several years now, and I get this problem a lot.

    Using the appropriate country adapter sometimes helps, but in some places even the right adapter doesn't help as the building electrical systems are not properly grounded.
     
  18. scbond macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    #18
    It isn't a full-on electric shock you are experiencing, it's just static charge. Nothing to worry about. I've noticed some unibody MBPs do it and others don't.
     
  19. ammarmalhas macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2012
    #19
    Well, it is now mid-2016 and I was suffering from this static issue until 15 minutes ago. People will always get to this problem, regardless of time ;-)
    If I am barefoot I feel the static, if I wear my Crocks (or anything insulating) I feel nothing; which means an electric earthing problem.
    Do not be fooled by the output voltage of an inverter (charger), all electric appliances need earthing. Small chargers usually do not because we will not feel the small static, but it will be there.
    I replaced the small "UK-converter-head" I had attached to the MagSafe which is supposed to be 3-prongs but is actually a two-pronged connector, I am not sure if it came in the box or I got it from somewhere else and it does not allow for the earth connection that exists on the MagSafe, look at the edge of the sliding guide on the MagSafe you will see the earth connector, i replaced that with the original real 3-pronged cable / MagSafe connector which allows earthing of the MagSafe and all is good now.
    It is a simple earthing issue.
    By the way the US and AUS "converter-heads" also do not provide earthing.
    This is an oversight of Apple, all the plastic converter-heads should be real 3-progned (Hot/Neutral/Earth) and pass through the earthing.
    Safe computing everyone ;-)
     
  20. spfparker macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2016
    Location:
    UK
    #20


    Just found this out after getting my macbook yesterday - and realising there was an earthing issue - Apple really need to sort this out as it is very annoying!
     
  21. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #21
  22. webbot15 macrumors newbie

    webbot15

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2017
    Location:
    Halifax, Canadia
    #22
    Found his page because of the same problem. Because you're completing a circuit between your laptop and the ground, try insulating your feet. I just tried it out swapping between having my feet on the floor (slate) and up on the chair (wood) and when my feet were up I immediately stopped feeling the sensation. I also sticky taped cling film to where my forerams rest on the laptop.
     
  23. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2016
    Location:
    Utah
    #23
    Tingling makes sense. Reports of vibrations from moving one's finger over the surface await a sensible explanation in terms of the same phenomenon. It remains unclear why an electrical phenomenon would be felt only when a finger is moving.
     
  24. AppleMacFinder macrumors 6502a

    AppleMacFinder

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    #24
    Probably all the MBPs have this problem - it is just different people have the different levels of body sensitivity
    and many people simply don't notice
     
  25. Robalb macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    #25
    --- Post Merged, Jul 7, 2017 ---
    I have only just discovered this problem with a 2017 MacBook Pro. I get a tingling feeling from the MacBook and realised that the earth part of the apple UK 13 amp plug is a dummy (not connected with the circular locking spur on the charger unit) but I noticed on my early (2008) MacBook Air that there was an earth connector on the apple plug and so I swapped it and now I do not have the tingling problem. I now do have it on the Air with the new "improved" apple plug.

    If anyone knows of a third party earthed plug do post details.
     

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