Sparks flying out of brand new EyeTv 250 Plus -- Is this common?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by sinko25, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. sinko25 macrumors newbie

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    Feb 11, 2009
    #1
    So I just got my eyeTV plus in the mail just in time for LOST tonight ... FIrst I plugged it into the wall, then plugged in the USB. As I went to plug in the cable, sparks flew out of it! After jumping away initially and composing myself for a moment, I tried plugging everything in again ... this time, first cable, then power, then once I get to the USB sparks came out again! I'm very, very worried about damage to my brand new iMac. Its not the USB port as other devices work just fine. Has anyone else had this problem? Might it have anything to do with stuff on my end? Guess I'm watching LOST in SD tonight ...
     
  2. brad.c macrumors 68020

    brad.c

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    #2
    Yikes. I'd put a hub in between should you decide to try again.

    I don't as yet have an EyeTV so I can't help you, but it is the 250 Plus I'm looking at. I hope you get this resolved.
     
  3. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #3
    No, sparks are definitely not normal.

    It appears that there is a short somewhere in your setup. Since the USB port works with other devices, this would indicate that something is wrong with the EyeTV Plus. Suggest that you get is swapped out for a new one.
     
  4. szark macrumors 68030

    szark

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  5. sinko25 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    I got in touch with someone at Elgato, here was his response:

    Sounds like its Comcast's fault. They're sending someone out tomorrow.

    In the mean time, I tried the EyeTV on my unplugged Macbook. No sparks, but the USB port is shot. The Macbook wouldn't recognize that it was plugged in.

    I wish there was a way to test these things out ahead of time! I could have been electrocuted, or worse, ruined the brand new imac I literally got yesterday. Yikes.
     
  6. JustGretchen macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Wouldn't surprise me at all with how shoddy comcast is.

    However, and I really don't mean to sound like a di*k, do you really feel a post here was necessary when something such as sparks is clearly not normal with any electronic device?

    I would take Elgato's advice and get comcast to come and check their lines.
     
  7. WPB2 macrumors 6502a

    WPB2

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    #7
    I personally see nothing wrong with this post. The OP wanted to know if any else ever had the same problem. Maybe Elgato was B.S.ing him.
     
  8. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

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    #8
    i have to remember this one :D
     
  9. és: macrumors 6502a

    és:

    #9
    :D

    Personally I think it'll turn out to be something other than a cable line. Try connecting it up with the cable disconnected.
     
  10. ihabime macrumors 6502

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    Jan 12, 2005
    #10
    El Gatos explanation sounds a bit sketchy to me. I'm not an electrical engineer or anything, but even if the TV cable is carrying to much power, why is the EyeTV sending that through the USB connector? The USB spec does define how much power it can carry and if the EyeTV allows more than that then it's a design flaw, either in the grounding or filtering of the power level.
     
  11. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #11
    Good to hear.

    I think that this is the definition of a true Mac fan! :D
     
  12. sinko25 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 11, 2009
    #12
    The way I understand it is that this happens when the iMac and cable line are connected somehow. That's why it only happened when all three things (power, USB, and cable) were plugged in. The USB was the last thing to be connected to the EyeTV and the thing that was bridging the cable and the imac together. I did try it out on my unplugged macbook and no sparks flew. Of course, now the USB port on the EyeTV is dead. Comcast is coming out today asses the electrical imbalance issue and Elgato is replacing my unit ... I'll post an update if I have the balls to try it again.

    As for my reasoning for posting the thread:
    a) I was really pissed off that my EyeTV was doing this, and having no tech support line to contact (its email only) I needed to vent a little
    b) I was curious if this had happened to anyone else ever
    c) I figured people should know that there is a slight chance of this happening to them with this device.
     
  13. sinko25 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 11, 2009
    #13
    Well, the guy from Comcast came today and unsurprisingly he knew absolutely nothing. Said the cable was grounded and it must have been a problem with that specific unit. So I have a few other things I'll try, but I'm not really that hopeful.
     
  14. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #14
    A voltmeter tapping between ground/cable, cable/computer, computer/ground/ EyeTV/everything would tell you if there's actually a potential difference somewhere in the system that would cause this. Sounds a whole lot like a bad EyeTV unit, though--it'd have to be a pretty huge ground difference on the cable line to produce visible sparks.

    I've fought with ground loop issues causing hum due to the cable and power having slightly different potentials, but visible sparks would have to be a relatively huge voltage.

    I did have a related experience, though: I was hooking up a cable modem for my parents, and when messing with the cables I got a noticeable electric shock. At first I assumed the cable was screwed up, because I was definitely getting it off the cable, but after unhooking everything and poking around with a meter it turned out the VCR had developed some sort of internal short that was putting its entire case (which is electrically connected to the outside shield of its coax input) at about 50VAC, which I then felt when touching the cable outlet.

    Point here being that if it's NOT the EyeTV unit (which still seems most likely) there could be something other than bad cable wiring and bad household wiring causing weird voltage differentials. Only way to be sure is to strip down to bare minimum stuff connected to the same things and check with a meter (to prevent frying expensive hardware and/or you).

    As for my parents' house, I'm just glad that the problem fried neither the cable modem nor any of the cats. VCR, however, went to the recycle heap. Good riddance.
     
  15. brad.c macrumors 68020

    brad.c

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    #15
    That's what I wanna do, with the help of an EyeTV 250 Plus.

    Thanks for posting this, sinko25.
     
  16. sinko25 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 11, 2009
    #16
    If that's the case, how come there were no sparks when I connected the EyeTV to an unplugged MacBook?
     

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