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Weird glitch with static electricity


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#1 gkl

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 21:22

So apparently I had built up quite a bit of static electricity when I touched my mouse and it zapped. Normally I wouldn't care too much about that (that hasn't happened before though) but, when that happened, for a split second all my peripherals got disconnected and then reconnected, e.g., unplug the keyboard and then plug it back in. Since my knowledge about things like this is very bad, my question is - has my motherboard been damaged? Can stuff like this damage my motherboard/anything connected to it? If so, how to check that? So far everything seems to be working fine (*knock on wood*) but I'm still kinda paranoid.


#2 Astra.Xtreme

Astra.Xtreme

    Electrical Engineer

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  • Location: Milwaukee, WI

Posted 21 January 2013 - 21:36

Sounds like a strange situation that all your peripherals would cut out like that. I'm assuming your mouse has some metal on it which triggered you to discharge into it. And then your mouse must be wired, which sent the discharge into the USB port of your PC. It's definitively possible, I guess, but pretty unlucky.

Anyways, regarding static charge, it definitely can cause damage. It can sometimes cause things to burn out, but most of the time, the effects will be transparent. In most cases, static discharge will reduce the lifespan of the circuitry. Whether or not that makes any noticeable difference depends on the lifespan of those components in the first place.

To answer your question. As long as everything works, you should be fine. Just be more careful. :) If you have big issues with being staticy all the time, you can get a dehumidifier and it will pretty much solve the problem. Or find something else metal to discharge yourself with.

#3 +techbeck

techbeck

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 21:40

So apparently I had built up quite a bit of static electricity when I touched my mouse and it zapped. Normally I wouldn't care too much about that (that hasn't happened before though) but, when that happened, for a split second all my peripherals got disconnected and then reconnected, e.g., unplug the keyboard and then plug it back in. Since my knowledge about things like this is very bad, my question is - has my motherboard been damaged? Can stuff like this damage my motherboard/anything connected to it? If so, how to check that? So far everything seems to be working fine (*knock on wood*) but I'm still kinda paranoid.


We ordered these tiny INTEL pcs to use on the back of large display monitors. Kinda like thin clients where you need to install a flash and memory module but it runs fill windows. I set one up and logged in to windows. Went back to my desk and then back to the PC and when I touched it, it shocked the intel box. The whole system lost power right then. The intel PC turned back on and has been running fine for months with no problems.

So like Astra said, if everything works...I wouldnt worry about it.

#4 XerXis

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 21:46

It's simply your usb controller that detected a voltage peak and therefore shut down. That in turn caused all peripherals attached to that controller to become unavailable. You shouldn't worry about it. It's the exact reason why usb controllers have resettable fuses.

#5 OP gkl

gkl

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 23:14

Sounds like a strange situation that all your peripherals would cut out like that. I'm assuming your mouse has some metal on it which triggered you to discharge into it. And then your mouse must be wired, which sent the discharge into the USB port of your PC. It's definitively possible, I guess, but pretty unlucky.

Well, that's exactly what happened. :D I have a G500 and its scroll wheel is metallic + it's wired as well.

It's simply your usb controller that detected a voltage peak and therefore shut down. That in turn caused all peripherals attached to that controller to become unavailable. You shouldn't worry about it. It's the exact reason why usb controllers have resettable fuses.

Thank you for the information! I really hope it's like you said and no harm has been done. Either way, my mind is much more calm now. I upgraded recently so anything like this and I'm getting very nervous as I don't feel like spending even more money. :D

#6 +metal_dragen

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:13

To answer your question. As long as everything works, you should be fine. Just be more careful. :) If you have big issues with being staticy all the time, you can get a dehumidifier and it will pretty much solve the problem. Or find something else metal to discharge yourself with.


You actually want a humidifier, not a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers take moisture out of the air. This would cause static electricity to be easier to build due to the drier conditions. See here.

#7 Astra.Xtreme

Astra.Xtreme

    Electrical Engineer

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  • Location: Milwaukee, WI

Posted 23 January 2013 - 14:13

You actually want a humidifier, not a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers take moisture out of the air. This would cause static electricity to be easier to build due to the drier conditions. See here.


Doh! :pinch: Yup, you're right. Thanks for catching that.

#8 +chconline

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 03:07

Probably won't ruin it. USB ports are designed for USB static surge, and grounds it appropriately (Desktop USB ports are earth grounded). One shock won't wreck anything. I've done a lot worse (I'm an electrical engineer at a major electronics firm. I was testing a new USB based product for static discharge protection while plugged in and powered on using an ESD gun that can generate up to +/-25kV. I've done over 300 discharges within a 3 hour timeframe repeatedly and the computer is still fine :p )