Macbook Pro In Europe... Metal Case Feels electric, holding a current?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Nar1117, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. Nar1117 macrumors 6502

    Apr 15, 2006
    Hi All,

    I'm in Switerland right now, and I have a question about the power supply for the Macbook Pro. I know that the power block can handle 100-240 Volts of input, so I'm not hurting the computer by not using a converter. However, when I have the computer plugged into the power via the magsafe, the whole case of the computer feels like its holding a current. The palm rests vibrate slightly when I move my hands across them, the back of the screen especially feels strange when i touch it. All of these things happen not only when the computer is on, but also when it is asleep or off and charging.

    Obviously, when I touch it with more than one hand, the buzzing feeling stops because I am grounded, so the current (if thats what it is) has somewhere to go.

    Has anyone else had experiences with this happening? Is it just because the Pros are not made to exactly work with the 220 V? Is there something wrong with my power block? everything on the computer works normally, and I have not had any issues with screen flickering, power outage, batteries exploding... or whatever.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. eluk macrumors 6502a


    Dec 14, 2006
    East London, UK
    I have felt this on occasion and have noticed no adverse effects.

    This idea baffles me. :confused:
  3. Nar1117 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 15, 2006
    Yes, It seems strange... Thats the only explanation i could come up with when I asked myself, "Why does it stop when i touch the computer with more both hands?" And it seems wrong, my explanation, but I wrote it to see what others think.
  4. MichaelThomas macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2007
    This happens on my powerbook when its plugged in.
    My girlfriend was playing with my hair before n she caught my ear and she could feel the current and I could hear it :eek:
  5. bearbo macrumors 68000


    Jul 20, 2006
    electromagnetic 101.

    when you are touching your macbook pro with more than one hand, that is, two hands, unless you have more than that, you are NOT grounded. you are grounded when you touch something else that connect you to the, guess what, ground.

    and you are only suppose to feel anything when you ARE grounded, because when you are grounded (or otherwise complete the loop of circuit), electricities has somewhere to go, let it be the ground or back to your mbp. when you are NOT grounded, the electricity doesn't have anywhere to go through your body, then it won't even come into you.

    electricities like to go to (in the shortest path) ground, or otherwise complete the loop of circuit.

    so i'm not so sure what you were feeling... perhaps it's all in your mind.

    why don't you measure it and see if there's any current.
  6. benpatient macrumors 68000

    Nov 4, 2003
    There's no "buzz" when it's disconnected, but there IS a "buzz" when it's connected, whether it's on or not?

    Try taking out the battery and plugging it in. If you still get the 'buzz' then I'd say you're definitely carrying a charge, and it's not a safe thing to do. Probably not enough current going through the line to kill you or anything, but certainly enough to fry the macbook. and anything connected to it. Seen that post from the guy whose battery exploded in flames? Not saying this is what happened to him, but the bottom line is, your computer case shouldn't be carrying a current. Make sure you never touch the thing with wet hands. Your resistance to the current drops dramatically, from "that tingles" to "CLEAR!!!" with the same input current.

    Do yourself a big favor and have that thing serviced. A laptop, no matter how cool, is nothing to die over.
  7. 4np macrumors 6502a


    Feb 23, 2005
    The Netherlands
    There is also another thread for this particular issue. I experience it as well every now and then and I have a PowerBook G4 although less frequently at the moment. Perhaps it's also static electricity related?
  8. bearbo macrumors 68000


    Jul 20, 2006

    static, if present, when discharged, is discharged instantly... if you feel it for any continuous amount of time, it's not static.
  9. MaaseyRacer macrumors regular

    Oct 30, 2005
    San Francisco, Ca.
  10. Nar1117 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 15, 2006
    The thing is, I've never felt it in the states before, only in Europe while plugged into the 220 Volt outlet.

    To clarify, there is a 'buzz' when the computer is connected to the power, no matter whether the computer is active, sleeping, or off. Again, I can only detect the buzz by touching the computer with one hand, and two hands makes it stop, or at least unnoticable. When I take the battery out and plug the computer in, I can still feel the buzz on the case. And i dont know if this is just my perception, but it seems that without the battery in, I cant feel the buzz in as much of the case as when the battery is in. For example, with the battery in, I can feel the buzz pretty much everywhere on the surface of the case, but without the battery in, the buzzing seems to be confined to the strip of metal just above the touchpad but below the spacebar, the metal above the keyboard but under the screen, and the back of the screen. Again, that could be just my perception.

    I dont think that it is static buildup because i have experienced no discharge, just the feeling of a "buzz" or slight vibration when I touch it.

    Im going to call applecare today and see what they say.
  11. WillJS macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2007
    I think he means when one hand is on it.. the current goes to him but not back. With two hands, the current is going into/ and out of him completeting the circuit.. this is if it is an electrical current.
  12. eluk macrumors 6502a


    Dec 14, 2006
    East London, UK
    This leads me to believe that is not being properly earthed via the adapter you're using.

    There would not be a circuit it the laptop had a potential it would be equal to both hands and thus there would be no flow.
  13. zblaxberg Guest


    Jan 22, 2007
    sounds like it's not grounded properly...i'd call applecare
  14. Nar1117 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 15, 2006
    Yeah, that sounds like a good guesstimate. Im in switzerland, and the outlets do have a third hole for the grounding wire, but the adapter im using does not offer this third contact into the wall, even though I have the extension cord for the MBP that has the grounding contact.
  15. SC68Cal macrumors 68000

    Feb 23, 2006
    I've had my macbook hold a static charge... not good.
  16. rossgumbrell macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2006
    Hove, South East England
    yeah. my powerbook did it alot. i also zap myself sometimes (nothing major, feels like a little nip) when i use the PB whilst wearing shorts. leg hair slips through the gaps and zaps.

    and same with the "vibrating" palm rests. you can kinda controll that by earthing yourself and it feels smooth again. strange feeling
  17. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    try the extension cord that comes with the adaptor
  18. SpookTheHamster macrumors 65816


    Nov 7, 2004
    I get that feeling on my Powerbook. I once got even worse, my power supply had been flooded and after leaving it to dry I plugged it in and got a terrible shock from my computer.
  19. JRP macrumors newbie

    Dec 13, 2003
    Had the same problem with my PowerBook G4 1,25. I had it sent to Holland twice to have it checked. Apple told me everything was within specs.

    Some how I later ordered another power adapter to have at work. And as it turned out, the buzzing sound wich was heard very clearly when using headphones, dissapeared with the new power adapter wich made it appearent that there was some kind of problem with the power adapter and not the PowerBook it self. Reocognizing everything in the symptoms I would guess the problem you are experiencing is of the same sort. My PowerBook was a Swedish one.

    I hope this helps
  20. LCaller macrumors regular

    Feb 28, 2007
    I had this with my MBP , if you used to touch the lid you'd feel this. Then my battery died ( 3 months old ) , swapped it out with Apple and the charge feeling went away . Try another battery and see if it still happens .
  21. vader26 macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2006
    Funny that you posted this as I was about to do the same, heh. I am in New Zealand and have the exact same problem with my MBP. Will try to call apple care soon and see what they say. It is not a problem in the US for me at all, but here, I can feel the current (when only one hand is on). I am using the apple international adapter for new zealand (which does not have a ground).
  22. faustus67 macrumors newbie

    Jan 18, 2006
    Birmingham, UK
    I had the same problem with my MBP, but it now seems to have disappeared - haven't done anything to it. I also had the same problem in my Powerbook and it went away.Very odd that.

  23. ensteve macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2009
    Hi Guys,

    I am in Australia have noticed this problem with my macbook pro a number of times which lead me to find this thread. Our power outlets are three pin which in theory should earth the connection.

    Strangely enough I found that if I held my charging iPhone (connected via power adapter not usb) in one hand and ran my fingers over the surface of the macbook pro you get the strange vibrating sensation in the tips of your fingers.

    Has anyone tried to measure the current?
  24. Signal-11 macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    2nd Star to the Right
    I've experienced this and I've tested it in designing and installing UPS circuits.

    This is almost certainly because of improper grounding, period. If you are using the correct plugs, then it is because the wiring behind the wall is not correct. The only other thing you can check at that point is your power supply.

    I once had a suspicion that there was a difference between ring and spur (UK vs RoW) might have had something to do with it, but I never explored this.

    Anyways, if you're feeling a humming vibration and small shocks when you touch your computer, it's because the compy's not grounded.
  25. TheClarkster macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2009
    Well, why didn't you say that earlier. It is almost certainly a grounding problem then, nothing wrong with your Macbook. I'd look for a better converter as soon as possible, and I'd be very wary about continuing to use the computer until then.

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