IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Computers and the Internet
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Tags laptops

Reply
Old 17th January 2010, 07:43 PM   #1
Wowbagger
The Infinitely Prolonged
 
Wowbagger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Westchester County, NY (when not in space)
Posts: 15,452
Why Aren't Laptop Computers Grounded?

It is the winter, and every time I have touched my laptop computer, this weekend, I got a spark. So, as a temporary measure, I started using my antistatic wristband to ground the machine. And, so far: No more sparks.

But, now the question comes up: Why don't these things have grounding plugs, to begin with?!
__________________
WARNING: Phrases in this post may sound meaner than they were intended to be.

SkeptiCamp NYC: http://www.skepticampnyc.org/
An open conference on science and skepticism, where you could be a presenter!

By the way, my first name is NOT Bowerick!!!!
Wowbagger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th January 2010, 07:45 PM   #2
kuroyume0161
Graduate Poster
 
kuroyume0161's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,628
Mine does. Get one that does. :P
kuroyume0161 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th January 2010, 07:55 PM   #3
Wowbagger
The Infinitely Prolonged
 
Wowbagger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Westchester County, NY (when not in space)
Posts: 15,452
Originally Posted by kuroyume0161 View Post
Mine does. Get one that does. :P
Perhaps I should add the word "Most" to the title. Because most of the laptops, tablets, and netbooks I have seen do not have them.

But, why?!!! Why can't the third prong be standard on these things?
__________________
WARNING: Phrases in this post may sound meaner than they were intended to be.

SkeptiCamp NYC: http://www.skepticampnyc.org/
An open conference on science and skepticism, where you could be a presenter!

By the way, my first name is NOT Bowerick!!!!
Wowbagger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th January 2010, 08:33 PM   #4
ElMondoHummus
0.25 short of being half-witted
 
ElMondoHummus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Somewhere north of the South Pole
Posts: 12,279
You can almost certainly order an upgraded power supply for your laptop that'll be 3 pronged. But, I have had such laptops for years now, and in the middle of winter when the air's dry enough, I still used to get shocked. Pretty damn badly too. That didn't stop until I got a humidifier for my condo. My point is that a grounded power supply for your laptop might not be a cure for the problem.
__________________
"AND ZEPPELINS!!! We haven't even begun to talk about Zeppelins yet! Marauding inflatable Teutonic johnsons waggling their way across the sky! Indecent and flammable all at once."
ElMondoHummus is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th January 2010, 08:50 PM   #5
kuroyume0161
Graduate Poster
 
kuroyume0161's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,628
Truly. Humidification to reduce dryness will reduce static discharges. Where I live it gets close to desert-dry at times (esp. in Winter) and I employ a humidifier to stave off drying of my guitars (wood). This also has the benefit of reducing static electricity. Nonetheless, I'd go for that and a grounded (three-prong) plug power-supply.

And, I'll admit, that my laptop is not a 'store bought' one. It is one of those 'order to your specs' types (Nobilis). I payed more but it has nice specs - and a grounded plug.
kuroyume0161 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th January 2010, 09:02 PM   #6
RecoveringYuppy
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 10,989
Are you wearing the grounding strap or did you attach it to the laptop? Attaching it to the laptop doesn't make much sense. It would generally be you building up the static charge not your laptop (your laptop isn't scuffing it's shoes across the carpet is it?). And having the laptop attached to a ground wouldn't stop the spark from occurring. The static charge you build up "wants" to reach ground in order to discharge.

And laptops are designed to operate unplugged so a ground connection isn't expected to be available most of the time anyway, they have to be engineered to assume one isn't available. And it's not unusual for low voltage equipment to not require a ground connection.

And on those three pronged connections the grounding doesn't usually extend beyong the transformer anyway.

Last edited by RecoveringYuppy; 17th January 2010 at 09:07 PM.
RecoveringYuppy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th January 2010, 09:41 PM   #7
Wowbagger
The Infinitely Prolonged
 
Wowbagger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Westchester County, NY (when not in space)
Posts: 15,452
Originally Posted by kuroyume0161 View Post
Truly. Humidification to reduce dryness will reduce static discharges.
Perhaps. But, I also have a couple of desktop machines, all with grounded plugs, and they don't give me a spark.

Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Are you wearing the grounding strap or did you attach it to the laptop? Attaching it to the laptop doesn't make much sense. It would generally be you building up the static charge not your laptop (your laptop isn't scuffing it's shoes across the carpet is it?).
It is attached to the laptop.

But, I think it does build up static in some of the places I put it.

Or, maybe it's got a loose wire in it.

Something to look into....
__________________
WARNING: Phrases in this post may sound meaner than they were intended to be.

SkeptiCamp NYC: http://www.skepticampnyc.org/
An open conference on science and skepticism, where you could be a presenter!

By the way, my first name is NOT Bowerick!!!!
Wowbagger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th January 2010, 09:57 PM   #8
RecoveringYuppy
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 10,989
A loose wire won't build up a static charge. A loose wire would lead to a continuous shock except I don't think there are any voltages in a laptop computer that would shock a human.

And your reasoning is backward on the affect of grounding and static discharge. You can discharge most fully, greatest shock, in to a grounded object. If you discharge in to some isolated, ungrounded, object you have the potential for only partially discharging, lower shock.
RecoveringYuppy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th January 2010, 10:18 PM   #9
Fnord
Metasyntactic Variable
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 6,623
Your laptop may already be grounded, but you may not!

It is not the 'grounding' that matters in drawing a spark, it is the difference in electrical potential between yourself and the laptop. A grounded device may have a greater potential difference from an ungrounded object (or person) than any two ungrounded objects have with each other. Similarly, you stand a greater chance of drawing a spark from a grounded water faucet than from the glass of water sitting on the table.

HOWEVER, if one end of your wrist strap is attached to the laptop's 'ground' and you pick up the other end before touching the laptop, you are not likely to draw a spark at all, since the potential difference will be bled off through the strap. And if both the laptop and the strap are actually 'grounded' to the water pipe (or the third-wire ground pin in an electrical outlet), you will not draw a spark from either the laptop or the faucet.

Wrist straps and third-wire ground pins act to equalize electrical potential between objects connected together.
__________________
Belief is the subjective acceptance of a (valid or invalid) concept, opinion, or theory;
Faith is the unreasoned belief in improvable things;
and Knowledge is the reasoned belief in provable things.
Belief itself proves nothing.
Fnord is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th January 2010, 10:27 PM   #10
arthwollipot
Observer of Phenomena
Pronouns: he/him
 
arthwollipot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Ngunnawal Country
Posts: 71,033
I have never been zapped by a laptop.
__________________
We will meet them on the beach, we will meet them on the phone hook-ups.
- Scott Morrison, probably
arthwollipot is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th January 2010, 10:27 PM   #11
Wowbagger
The Infinitely Prolonged
 
Wowbagger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Westchester County, NY (when not in space)
Posts: 15,452
Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
A loose wire won't build up a static charge. A loose wire would lead to a continuous shock except I don't think there are any voltages in a laptop computer that would shock a human.
Perhaps the loose wire is not continuously loose. I wonder if there is an easy way to find out.

Or, maybe some other factor is causing it to build up static.

This machine was serviced about a year and a half ago for a shorted power switch inside the monitor. And, in September, the battery had to be replaced, because its original one wasn't holding a charge.

Would any of that be relevant?

Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
And your reasoning is backward on the affect of grounding and static discharge. You can discharge most fully, greatest shock, in to a grounded object. If you discharge in to some isolated, ungrounded, object you have the potential for only partially discharging, lower shock.
Makes sense. Though, the grounding seems to help, anyway.

Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
And laptops are designed to operate unplugged so a ground connection isn't expected to be available most of the time anyway, they have to be engineered to assume one isn't available. And it's not unusual for low voltage equipment to not require a ground connection.
This, btw, at least answers the main question of the OP. (I meant to mention that, earlier.)
__________________
WARNING: Phrases in this post may sound meaner than they were intended to be.

SkeptiCamp NYC: http://www.skepticampnyc.org/
An open conference on science and skepticism, where you could be a presenter!

By the way, my first name is NOT Bowerick!!!!
Wowbagger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th January 2010, 10:44 PM   #12
kuroyume0161
Graduate Poster
 
kuroyume0161's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,628
Now I have to ask the unasked question: Are you rubbing your feet on a carpet repetitively before getting on your laptop?

I agree with the idea that this might be related to yourself (how people spark on door handles from static electricity, for instance) or even the environment (the table, chair, floor, etc.) where you have the laptop and create electrostatic sparks.
kuroyume0161 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th January 2010, 10:49 PM   #13
RecoveringYuppy
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 10,989
Even if there is a loose wire, I don't think the voltages in a laptop are going to shock a person. And there aren't many plausible ways a laptop sitting still could build up a static charge. Are you rubbing it's plastic parts against the carpet? A cat rubbing against it? It's far more likely the charge has built up on you.

The primary reasons for grounding in the A/C grid don't exist in low powered isolated devices. The main reasons for grounding: Lightning diversion; Providing a path for high voltage to dissipate in the event of a wiring failure; Preventing the isolation transformers in the grid from building up a high voltage relative to ground. Those issues don't exist in low voltage battery operated devices.
RecoveringYuppy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th January 2010, 11:15 PM   #14
Wowbagger
The Infinitely Prolonged
 
Wowbagger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Westchester County, NY (when not in space)
Posts: 15,452
The laptop is used in a variety of locations: On a wooden table (that might shift on the carpet, every now and then); on a soft ottoman-like thingy; sometimes directly on the carpet; rarely on the bed. (But I take special care not to smother the vents.)

Here's an experiment I might try:

1. "unground" the machine and have it sit someplace, untouched for a while.

2. Rub my feet on the carpet, with socks, in dry air

3. VERY IMPORTANT: Touch something that is grounded, such as a light switch, to release the static electricity. I would expect to get a spark, here. But, this is important, because of the next step:

4. THEN (after touching a ground), immediately touch the laptop. See if I still get another spark.

Theoretically, I should not get one in step 4. But, what does it mean if I do?!!

Any recommendations for locations, in step #1?

Should the computer be on or off during this experiment? Would it make a difference?

Originally Posted by kuroyume0161 View Post
Now I have to ask the unasked question: Are you rubbing your feet on a carpet repetitively before getting on your laptop?
Not intentionally. (At least not yet.)
__________________
WARNING: Phrases in this post may sound meaner than they were intended to be.

SkeptiCamp NYC: http://www.skepticampnyc.org/
An open conference on science and skepticism, where you could be a presenter!

By the way, my first name is NOT Bowerick!!!!

Last edited by Wowbagger; 17th January 2010 at 11:18 PM.
Wowbagger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th January 2010, 11:50 PM   #15
CelticRose
Graduate Poster
 
CelticRose's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 1,603
Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I have never been zapped by a laptop.
Neither have I, and I live in a desert.
__________________
Be who you are & say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter & those who matter don't mind. - Dr. Seuss

Be yourself no matter what they say. - Sting

My needlework blog: http://rainbowpincushion.blogspot.com/
CelticRose is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th January 2010, 12:18 AM   #16
BobTheDonkey
Illuminator
 
BobTheDonkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,501
Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
The laptop is used in a variety of locations: On a wooden table (that might shift on the carpet, every now and then); on a soft ottoman-like thingy; sometimes directly on the carpet; rarely on the bed. (But I take special care not to smother the vents.)

Here's an experiment I might try:

1. "unground" the machine and have it sit someplace, untouched for a while.

2. Rub my feet on the carpet, with socks, in dry air

3. VERY IMPORTANT: Touch something that is grounded, such as a light switch, to release the static electricity. I would expect to get a spark, here. But, this is important, because of the next step:

4. THEN (after touching a ground), immediately touch the laptop. See if I still get another spark.

Theoretically, I should not get one in step 4. But, what does it mean if I do?!!

Any recommendations for locations, in step #1?

Should the computer be on or off during this experiment? Would it make a difference?

Not intentionally. (At least not yet.)
If the wooden table is polyurethaned, that's a pretty big ESD generator (as well as the ottoman, carpet, etc). The light switch itself isn't grounded - the screw holding the cover on may be...but the switch itself is usually plastic (for good reason - insulation). And even then, the screw head might be painted and therefore present less of a solid ground.

A "better" idea for grounding yourself in step 3 could be to insert the banana plug of your ESD wrist strap into the 3rd hole of your outlet (that's the round one people...)... Of course, I can in no way whatsoever actually advocate this. I just know that it's acceptable policy in the USAF to use the 3rd wire as a ground for ESD tabletops...
__________________
TSIG: Everyone wants to be 'special' but nobody wants to admit they ride the bus.
BobTheDonkey is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th January 2010, 01:43 AM   #17
shadron
Philosopher
 
shadron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 5,918
The laptop is grounded, if it is in good repair.

The third prong wire to the power brick grounds the brick's case, as required by electrical code for 115v AC circuits. The wires going to the computer will be two or three (perhaps more), and one of those will be double duty - it is both the common return for power and the ground. You might expect that there would be a separate ground like there was to the brick, but the voltage going from he brick to the laptop is all low voltage DC, and the code doesn't require a separate ground in that case.

The reason you got sparks in the first instance is that you grounded yourself to the computer and the static electricity drained by that path to ground. After you grounded yourself with the wrist strap, the static drained off there, and not longer when you touched the computer.
shadron is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th January 2010, 01:46 AM   #18
shadron
Philosopher
 
shadron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 5,918
Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
4. THEN (after touching a ground), immediately touch the laptop. See if I still get another spark.

Theoretically, I should not get one in step 4. But, what does it mean if I do?!!
If you do, then there is a wiring fault in your laptop, probably. If you should happen to get a tingling sensation, there is definitely something wrong.
shadron is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th January 2010, 02:51 AM   #19
BigAl
Philosopher
 
BigAl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 5,397
Originally Posted by kuroyume0161 View Post
Now I have to ask the unasked question: Are you rubbing your feet on a carpet repetitively before getting on your laptop?

I agree with the idea that this might be related to yourself (how people spark on door handles from static electricity, for instance) or even the environment (the table, chair, floor, etc.) where you have the laptop and create electrostatic sparks.
Speaking for myself, I wouldn't worry about a spark. You might contact the manufacturer's tech support to see what they say.

For a problem with a static-producing rug, a cheap spray bottle of anti-cling spray from the supermarket appplied to the rug will make the problem go away for a couple weeks. Reapply as necessary. I've seen this work in an office that had a killer static problem each winter.
__________________
------
Eric Pode of Croydon
Chief Assistant to the Assistance Chief,
Dept of Redundancy Dept.
BigAl is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th January 2010, 05:52 AM   #20
Dancing David
Penultimate Amazing
 
Dancing David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: central Illinois
Posts: 39,699
Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
It is the winter, and every time I have touched my laptop computer, this weekend, I got a spark. So, as a temporary measure, I started using my antistatic wristband to ground the machine. And, so far: No more sparks.

But, now the question comes up: Why don't these things have grounding plugs, to begin with?!
It should, but really the case should keep you from damaging the machine with a static spark.
__________________
I suspect you are a sandwich, metaphorically speaking. -Donn
And a shot rang out. Now Space is doing time... -Ben Burch
You built the toilet - don't complain when people crap in it. _Kid Eager
Never underestimate the power of the Random Number God. More of evolutionary history is His doing than people think. - Dinwar
Dancing David is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th January 2010, 10:44 AM   #21
Wowbagger
The Infinitely Prolonged
 
Wowbagger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Westchester County, NY (when not in space)
Posts: 15,452
Originally Posted by BobTheDonkey View Post
The light switch itself isn't grounded - the screw holding the cover on may be...but the switch itself is usually plastic (for good reason - insulation). And even then, the screw head might be painted and therefore present less of a solid ground.
Some of the screws on some of my light switches are not painted, and usually provide a good source for draining static electricity.

I don't seem to have any metal furnature.
__________________
WARNING: Phrases in this post may sound meaner than they were intended to be.

SkeptiCamp NYC: http://www.skepticampnyc.org/
An open conference on science and skepticism, where you could be a presenter!

By the way, my first name is NOT Bowerick!!!!
Wowbagger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th January 2010, 12:17 PM   #22
MortFurd
Master Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,010
1. If your laptop power supply has a three prong plug, it still does ZIP for grounding your laptop. The AC ground only goes as far as the power supply.
2. The low voltage DC side of your laptop power supply is galvanically separate from the AC side. This is a MUST so that if the power supply goes Tango Uniform you won't get zapped.
3. The third prong (ground) on the plug is NOT there to drain static electricity from the equipment. The ground prong is connected to the metal housing or frame of the equipment to provide a short circuit to ground should a "hot" wire somehow come loose inside the equipment. This will cause a circuit breaker or fuse to blow, but most importantly it will keep you from getting zapped.
4. If your laptop were properly grounded, you would be MORE likely to get a static zap than if it weren't. Grounding the equipment but not your self guarantees that one of you (the laptop) will be drained of static charge and that one of you (yourself) will not be drained. If there's no ground on the laptop, then it might be charged up as much as you are and thus REDUCE the static zap you could get.

To reduce static zap:
1. Wear either anti-static shoes or leather soled shoes.
2. Wear cotton or linen clothing, avoid synthetics and wool.
3. Use humidifier or ion source to make the air more conductive.
4. Use a grounding strap on your wrist.
MortFurd is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th January 2010, 01:39 PM   #23
realpaladin
Master Poster
 
realpaladin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,585
Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
The laptop is used in a variety of locations: On a wooden table (that might shift on the carpet, every now and then); on a soft ottoman-like thingy; sometimes directly on the carpet; rarely on the bed. (But I take special care not to smother the vents.)

Here's an experiment I might try:

1. "unground" the machine and have it sit someplace, untouched for a while.

2. Rub my feet on the carpet, with socks, in dry air

3. VERY IMPORTANT: Touch something that is grounded, such as a light switch, to release the static electricity. I would expect to get a spark, here. But, this is important, because of the next step:

4. THEN (after touching a ground), immediately touch the laptop. See if I still get another spark.

Theoretically, I should not get one in step 4. But, what does it mean if I do?!!

Any recommendations for locations, in step #1?

Should the computer be on or off during this experiment? Would it make a difference?

Not intentionally. (At least not yet.)
Post the YouTube url please
__________________
"All is needed (and it is essential to my definitions) is to understand the actuality beyond the description, for example: Nothing is actually" - Doron Shadmi
"But this means you actually have nothing." - Realpaladin
---
realpaladin is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th January 2010, 02:11 PM   #24
stevea
Master Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 2,060
This thread is a nice example of the verbose ignorance on these threads.

The line power to your laptop stops at the power converter. - after that it's 10-15 volts and you couldn't hurt yourself unless you tried very hard. It's not grounded for the same reason your wall-worts and lamps aren't generally grounded - no exposed parts.
stevea is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th January 2010, 09:53 PM   #25
Wowbagger
The Infinitely Prolonged
 
Wowbagger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Westchester County, NY (when not in space)
Posts: 15,452
Funny thing is: I have tried all day to get a spark from my laptop in various circumstances and settings. I think I might have felt a relatively minor tingle early in the day, after walking normally on the carpet (no intentional scruffing the feet along with socks) and touching it without the grounding thing. But, barely. And, I haven't gotten anything else resembling a spark since.

And, no, I won't do the foot-scruffing right before touching it, because:
A. I already know that will work, just as reliably as touching the light switch screws. I only experimented with the steps I outlined above, and normal walking.
B. I don't want to risk (even if it is a tiny one) damaging the thing.

Originally Posted by realpaladin View Post
Post the YouTube url please
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpcUxwpOQ_A&#t=01m18s

(A nice, joyous song preceeds it.)

Originally Posted by stevea View Post
This thread is a nice example of the verbose ignorance on these threads.
Which responses seemed particularly ignorant, to you?

Originally Posted by stevea View Post
The line power to your laptop stops at the power converter. - after that it's 10-15 volts and you couldn't hurt yourself unless you tried very hard. It's not grounded for the same reason your wall-worts and lamps aren't generally grounded - no exposed parts.
Repeating what others had stated, in different words.... is addressing verbosity.... how exactly?
__________________
WARNING: Phrases in this post may sound meaner than they were intended to be.

SkeptiCamp NYC: http://www.skepticampnyc.org/
An open conference on science and skepticism, where you could be a presenter!

By the way, my first name is NOT Bowerick!!!!
Wowbagger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th January 2010, 10:01 PM   #26
BobTheDonkey
Illuminator
 
BobTheDonkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,501
Originally Posted by stevea View Post
This thread is a nice example of the verbose ignorance on these threads.

The line power to your laptop stops at the power converter. - after that it's 10-15 volts and you couldn't hurt yourself unless you tried very hard. It's not grounded for the same reason your wall-worts and lamps aren't generally grounded - no exposed parts.
Speaking of verbose ignorance...everyone* knows it's amperage, not voltage that does the damage.

Thousands of volts are of concern because of the amperage that it represents.

SO, being as the power brick for my laptop claims an output of 19V, 7.9A (DC) and a (relatively) small current of 300-500mA (that's approx 1/16 of the output current, btw) is enough to cause death in humans...your ignorance is showing


*ok, so, not really everyone...but I'd wager most of the people on this thread who have readily apparent backgrounds in electronics know this
__________________
TSIG: Everyone wants to be 'special' but nobody wants to admit they ride the bus.
BobTheDonkey is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th January 2010, 10:28 PM   #27
kuroyume0161
Graduate Poster
 
kuroyume0161's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,628
I'll just state that grounded plugs are just good. Might not apply here for static electricity but it is a good start to protect the laptop/power-supply against surges, spikes, and brownouts (UPSs designed to protect against this are better, of course). I'm definitely not an electrician or electrical engineer. I just pointed to possible solutions from the given information.

I'm more acclimated to guitar electronics where grounding is *very* important. On a guitar itself it just stops the tingling when touching metal parts and output hum but a faultily-grounded amp or sound system (monitors, mikes, PAs) could *kill* you. There are a few actual cases of this or close calls.

Last edited by kuroyume0161; 18th January 2010 at 10:29 PM.
kuroyume0161 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th January 2010, 01:45 AM   #28
realpaladin
Master Poster
 
realpaladin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,585
Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
What's with that? Why do my responses of late evoke muppet-memories in people?

Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
Which responses seemed particularly ignorant, to you?
Ooooh, pick me! Pick me! Pick me!
__________________
"All is needed (and it is essential to my definitions) is to understand the actuality beyond the description, for example: Nothing is actually" - Doron Shadmi
"But this means you actually have nothing." - Realpaladin
---
realpaladin is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th January 2010, 04:27 AM   #29
commandlinegamer
Philosopher
 
commandlinegamer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Mazes of Menace
Posts: 9,098
There are high voltages present in laptops specifically to do with the LCD screen which may require several hundred volts, so don't go digging around inside if you don't know what you're doing.
commandlinegamer is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th January 2010, 06:20 AM   #30
Dancing David
Penultimate Amazing
 
Dancing David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: central Illinois
Posts: 39,699
Originally Posted by stevea View Post
This thread is a nice example of the verbose ignorance on these threads.

The line power to your laptop stops at the power converter. - after that it's 10-15 volts and you couldn't hurt yourself unless you tried very hard. It's not grounded for the same reason your wall-worts and lamps aren't generally grounded - no exposed parts.
wall wort?
__________________
I suspect you are a sandwich, metaphorically speaking. -Donn
And a shot rang out. Now Space is doing time... -Ben Burch
You built the toilet - don't complain when people crap in it. _Kid Eager
Never underestimate the power of the Random Number God. More of evolutionary history is His doing than people think. - Dinwar
Dancing David is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th January 2010, 07:08 AM   #31
RecoveringYuppy
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 10,989
Originally Posted by commandlinegamer View Post
There are high voltages present in laptops specifically to do with the LCD screen which may require several hundred volts, so don't go digging around inside if you don't know what you're doing.
Can you provide a reference for that? When this thread started the display was the one component I didn't know the voltage for off the top of my head. On topic internet references were hard to find but most suggested 5V for an LED display (did you mean LED BTW? Similar low voltages for LCD but LCD isn't too common anymore is it)

Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
wall wort?
Wall wart. Nickname for the ugly transformers that plug in to outlets.
RecoveringYuppy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th January 2010, 08:00 AM   #32
commandlinegamer
Philosopher
 
commandlinegamer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Mazes of Menace
Posts: 9,098
Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Can you provide a reference for that? When this thread started the display was the one component I didn't know the voltage for off the top of my head.
The screen backlight may require between 500 and 700 VAC, supplied via an inverter. Finding a decent article seems to be problematic; this is a typical diy guide to replacing it (which I wouldn't recommend to the novice no matter how easy it looks):

http://www.pchub.com/uph/content/fq2..._inverter.html
commandlinegamer is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th January 2010, 08:12 AM   #33
RecoveringYuppy
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 10,989
Thanks. And apparently you really did mean LCD.
RecoveringYuppy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th January 2010, 09:16 AM   #34
Checkmite
Skepticifimisticalationist
 
Checkmite's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Gulf Coast
Posts: 26,538
Originally Posted by shadron View Post
The reason you got sparks in the first instance is that you grounded yourself to the computer and the static electricity drained by that path to ground. After you grounded yourself with the wrist strap, the static drained off there, and not longer when you touched the computer.
This. When you build up some static on yourself, if you touch something and it "zaps" you, it's because the thing you touched is grounded.
Checkmite is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th January 2010, 10:22 AM   #35
technoextreme
Illuminator
 
technoextreme's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 3,785
Originally Posted by BobTheDonkey View Post
Speaking of verbose ignorance...everyone* knows it's amperage, not voltage that does the damage.

*ok, so, not really everyone...but I'd wager most of the people on this thread who have readily apparent backgrounds in electronics know this
That saying is an example of ignorance trying to masqurede itself as knowledge.
Originally Posted by BobTheDonkey View Post
SO, being as the power brick for my laptop claims an output of 19V, 7.9A (DC) and a (relatively) small current of 300-500mA (that's approx 1/16 of the output current, btw) is enough to cause death in humans...your ignorance is showing
Steva is right. You'd have to be an abject retard to kill yourself with that power supply. You would have to jam the wires into an open wound, be sopping wet, or jam the wires straight through to your heart. And the only way I'm certain that you could kill yourself with that power supply is the last one because a freaking hearing aide battery is capable of stopping your heart in that last scenario. Hell lets not even mention the fact that you picked the one frequency that I have never heard of anyone dying from besides from having their body parts vaporized due to heating. Your ignorance is burning so brightly I have to wear welding googles or I will go blind.
__________________
It's amazing how many of these "paranormal" icons seem to merge together. There always seem to be theories about how they link together in some way. I'm sure someone has a very good explanation as to how Bigfoot killed JFK to help cover Roswell.-Mark Mekes
This isn't rocket surgery.-Bill Nye

Last edited by technoextreme; 19th January 2010 at 11:00 AM.
technoextreme is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th January 2010, 11:47 AM   #36
realpaladin
Master Poster
 
realpaladin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,585
Originally Posted by technoextreme View Post
That saying is an example of ignorance trying to masqurede itself as knowledge.

Steva is right. You'd have to be an abject retard to kill yourself with that power supply. You would have to jam the wires into an open wound, be sopping wet, or jam the wires straight through to your heart. And the only way I'm certain that you could kill yourself with that power supply is the last one because a freaking hearing aide battery is capable of stopping your heart in that last scenario. Hell lets not even mention the fact that you picked the one frequency that I have never heard of anyone dying from besides from having their body parts vaporized due to heating. Your ignorance is burning so brightly I have to wear welding googles or I will go blind.
You could also get killed if you offend someone who will be using that powersupply to beat you to a bloody pulp... but that is neither here nor there...

I am more interested in Wowbaggers adventures.
__________________
"All is needed (and it is essential to my definitions) is to understand the actuality beyond the description, for example: Nothing is actually" - Doron Shadmi
"But this means you actually have nothing." - Realpaladin
---
realpaladin is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th January 2010, 12:13 PM   #37
MortFurd
Master Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,010
Originally Posted by BobTheDonkey View Post
Speaking of verbose ignorance...everyone* knows it's amperage, not voltage that does the damage.

Thousands of volts are of concern because of the amperage that it represents.

SO, being as the power brick for my laptop claims an output of 19V, 7.9A (DC) and a (relatively) small current of 300-500mA (that's approx 1/16 of the output current, btw) is enough to cause death in humans...your ignorance is showing


*ok, so, not really everyone...but I'd wager most of the people on this thread who have readily apparent backgrounds in electronics know this
Given that skin resistance is usually in the thousands of ohms, your 19V powersupply will have a hard time killing you - UNLESS you do something spectacularly stupid so that the current flows through your blood and goes through your heart.

Face it, there's folks around who understand this stuff better than you.

The reason the thousands of volts involved in a static electricity discharge don't kill you is because a.) there's not enough electrons stored for there to be much current flow and b.) it doesn't typically go near your heart.
MortFurd is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th January 2010, 12:32 PM   #38
BobTheDonkey
Illuminator
 
BobTheDonkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,501
Originally Posted by technoextreme View Post
That saying is an example of ignorance trying to masqurede itself as knowledge.

Steva is right. You'd have to be an abject retard to kill yourself with that power supply. You would have to jam the wires into an open wound, be sopping wet, or jam the wires straight through to your heart. And the only way I'm certain that you could kill yourself with that power supply is the last one because a freaking hearing aide battery is capable of stopping your heart in that last scenario. Hell lets not even mention the fact that you picked the one frequency that I have never heard of anyone dying from besides from having their body parts vaporized due to heating. Your ignorance is burning so brightly I have to wear welding googles or I will go blind.
DC doesn't have a frequency. But, nice try. Thanks for playing

And how many amps is that hearing aide battery?

Here's a few examples of your pleasure:

A 9V battery has 500-800mAh (that means 500-800mA over an hour)
A AAA battery has 1150mAh (that means 1150mA over an hour)
A AA battery has 2850mAh (that means 2850mA over an hour)

All very low current. I would expect a hearing aid battery to be somewhere lower than the 9V...of course it can't kill you, the amps aren't there.


Interestingly, I work on this stuff for a living - but, ya know, I guess I don't really know much about the dangers of voltage/amperage (not like I have had this beat into me via quarterly safety training for the past, oh, 10 years).
__________________
TSIG: Everyone wants to be 'special' but nobody wants to admit they ride the bus.

Last edited by BobTheDonkey; 19th January 2010 at 12:40 PM.
BobTheDonkey is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th January 2010, 12:33 PM   #39
technoextreme
Illuminator
 
technoextreme's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 3,785
Originally Posted by realpaladin View Post
You could also get killed if you offend someone who will be using that powersupply to beat you to a bloody pulp... but that is neither here nor there...
Bob diserved the sarcastic response.
Quote:
DC doesn't have a frequency. But, nice try. Thanks for playing
Actually it does and its ridiculously obvious.
__________________
It's amazing how many of these "paranormal" icons seem to merge together. There always seem to be theories about how they link together in some way. I'm sure someone has a very good explanation as to how Bigfoot killed JFK to help cover Roswell.-Mark Mekes
This isn't rocket surgery.-Bill Nye

Last edited by technoextreme; 19th January 2010 at 12:44 PM.
technoextreme is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th January 2010, 12:44 PM   #40
BobTheDonkey
Illuminator
 
BobTheDonkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,501
Originally Posted by technoextreme View Post
Bob diserved the sarcastic response.

Actually it does and its ridiculously obvious.
No. It doesn't. That's how DC works. There is no frequency (well, ok, 0Hz...if you want to be pedantic). AC has frequency, DC does not.
__________________
TSIG: Everyone wants to be 'special' but nobody wants to admit they ride the bus.
BobTheDonkey is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Computers and the Internet

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:42 PM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.