Static Electricity and Laptops....Harmful?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Wie Gehts, Nov 28, 2007.

  1. Wie Gehts macrumors 6502

    Mar 22, 2007
    Howdy. Something just happened to me that freaked me out a bit.
    Now that the cold weather is upon us in those northern climates, the cold dry air and carpeting can build up some good zaps.

    A few moments ago, I walked over to my macbook and when I touched the keypad I felt a slight discharge. Then I noticed my whole computer had frozen...couldn't move the cursor..none of the keys worked. I panicked and tried pressing the power switch. The shutdown/restart window came up but I couldn't do anything because the mouse and keys didn't work.

    So I then tried closing the lid, which put it to sleep and then I opened it again and thankfully I was able to regain control. I was worried I might have damaged something so I ran the hardware test (extended) and everything checked out ok.

    But now this has me wondering. Just how dangerous is static discharges with laptops? That is, considering the fact that laptops are portable and used under a variety of conditions....are they designed to handle it?

  2. forrestmc4 macrumors regular

    Sep 20, 2007
    Washington, DC
    I've never heard of static freezing a laptop or any other electronic device for that matter. While electrostatic discharge can certainly damage computer components such as RAM or HDDs when they receive a charge directly it is really no danger to an undamaged, assembled laptop. The charge that can build up on your person by say rubbing your feet in wool socks on carpet is not sufficient to damage your macbook. Additionally, the polymer that our macbook shells are made of is an insulator, so you cannot discharge onto your case. The silicon that the circuits that your computer reside on is also an insulator. The odds of you actually damaging your beloved mac with an everyday static discharge are EXTREMELY low.

    If that doesn't put your mind at ease then consider simply touching a metal surface before touching your macbook.

    Hope that helps.
  3. Wie Gehts thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 22, 2007
    Thats good to hear.
    Believe or not, I once had one of those 5 disc cd players and when I went to turn it on I got a good spark jump from my fingertip...and I killed it. It wouldn't turn on anymore...didn't light up or anything. I had to toss it out.
  4. forrestmc4 macrumors regular

    Sep 20, 2007
    Washington, DC
    That is downright strange. Though as a kid I did cram one of those big thick crayons (blue) into my dad's CD player. Later when my uncle who works for Boeing opened it to fix it everyone just turned and looked at me.
  5. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    This is also a problem with the new iMac keyboards. :p

    Cannot wait for the shocking new al-Mighty Mouse.

    Of course I just try to touch something else to discharge myself on before the computer.
  6. dancastady macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2011
    I too am cursed...

    This is a chronic problem for me, at least once a day I'll touch my MacBook Pro and feel a slight shock. Sometimes it even happens when I'm touching something else that is metal. I then find that the whole keyboard and trackpad goes frozen, and I am forced to hit the power button until it restarts. I hate it!

    Are you guys saying closing the MacBook and re-opening it may give me control again? I will have to try this. Any other secrets anyone can tell me about to shut down without having a keyboard or mouse?
  7. hfletcher macrumors 6502


    Oct 10, 2008
    I'm pretty sure that the cases for the Unibody metal Macbooks are earthed. That's why you feel a zap when you touch it. The outer case is (I'm pretty sure) connected in such a way so that internal components are protected from static and excess is discharged down the power cord. Though I'm not sure what happens when it's on battery.
  8. blackburn macrumors 6502a


    Feb 16, 2010
    Where Judas lost it's boots.
    Another one that gets frequently zapped. Zapped my girl friend's macbook pro, scared the hell out of me but it still works:p
    The trick to not getting zapped is to grab your house keys or any metal object and make contact with something that's grounded, just make sure that you don't ground yourself directly (you get shocked genius:D), that way there will be an zap but you wont get shocked;)
  9. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    If it's causing computer issues, more is their than just static and its worth having someone look at it who knows electrical work.

    For those who just get shocked and hate the feeling, they make numerous lotions that are 'anti-shock' formulas and they get good reviews. They also keep your hands nice and soft :)
  10. GregJ macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2011
    Static electricity freezing me up to

    In recent weeks my track pad and key board have been freezing also, just as described by others. Today I clearly noticed a static electricity discharge as it happened, so I agree that it appears to be related -- although it just happened again, and I did not feel a discharge. Luckily, I can use my wireless mouse and keyboard to continue to work or save and shut down properly.

    For what it's worth...

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