Major laptop electrical fault??

Discussion in 'Hardware Components and Aftermarket Upgrades' started by jack574, Feb 25, 2021.

  1. jack574

    jack574 Notebook Consultant

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    Hi

    Just tried to plug an external USB drive into my laptop. I missed the port and the metal end of the USB plug pressed up against the aluminium chassis of the laptop. Saw a tiny spark where it touched, and the laptop died instantly - windows completely froze and all the external monitors went black. Had to hold down the power button to reboot it.

    Surely that shouldn't happen??
     
  2. jack574

    jack574 Notebook Consultant

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    It is an 8TB powered external desktop HDD btw...
     
  3. jack574

    jack574 Notebook Consultant

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    Also - never noticed this before, and the motherboard was replaced by a Dell engineer yesterday... Possible he didn't earth something properly or something?
     
  4. Tech Junky

    Tech Junky Notebook Evangelist

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    Well, if it wasn't grounded it wouldn't turn on.

    Could be a fluke of trying to plug something in and the issue occurring at the same time. Though mentioning a technician just replaced the board the day prior brings into question underlying issues with the laptop itself.

    Why did they replace the MOBO?
     
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  5. Raidriar

    Raidriar ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

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    It’s just a short in the USB. We used to prank each other by using aluminum foil gum wrappers or paperclips and stick them into each other’s computer USB ports to shut them off. You probably have a damaged USB cable.
     
  6. jack574

    jack574 Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks for the reply.

    Not a fluke as I tried it again to test and it did it again.

    Replaced mobo due to problems with PC going to sleep when the screen was locked and crashing when woken up (didn't fix it).

    The PC is under warranty (and has other problems, hence the mobo replacement) so I could mention this issue, but if the issue is potentially with the external drive and not the PC, it gives them a reason to get out of addressing the other issues.

    I was thinking that there should be no way this should happen - USB cables should be allowed to touch the PC chassis without frying it - but wanted to ask on here first.
     
  7. jack574

    jack574 Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks for the reply. Cable is brand new Seagate. Could be damaged I guess, but drive otherwise works fine.

    Just to be clear - the PC dying is not when I plug the cable in, it's when the tip of the plug touches the PC chassis next to the port...
     
  8. Raidriar

    Raidriar ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

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    Then the chassis is definitely not grounded or more likely, the motherboard is touching something on the chassis and may be shorting. I’ve owned several dozens of laptops and never experienced behavior as you are describing
     
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  9. jack574

    jack574 Notebook Consultant

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    Thank you for the reply.

    I have also had many laptops and never seen this.

    I took the laptop to my office and tried to replicate the issue with another identical USB external drive and wasn't able to.

    So the issue only happens with this one particular external drive, and not with another identical model.

    Maybe the drive/cable is faulty... i am just relucant to report it to Dell in case they say "Your faulty drive has caused all the other issues with your laptop so your warranty is void".
     
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