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Electrified case problem....

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tRidiot

Premium Member
Joined
May 17, 2003
Heya guys. I need a little help here. Maybe this isn't the proper forum, but I noticed some guys talking about getting electric shocks, so I thought I would see what you guys think of my situation.

I just built my own home computer, and since I live in the Caribbean, my options on equipment are somewhat limited. I bought all the heavy stuff (monitor, case, speakers, power backup) from a local guy who has decent prices.

Unfortunatley, when I went to install all my components in my new case, the hardware that was included was all metal. There were/are no rubber washers, plastic mounting hardware, nothing for mounting the motherboard to the (removable) metal panel. Now, my computer is up and running and everything seems fine, except when I touch the inpainted part of the case , I can feel a slight current running through it, as well as my motherboard and most or all internal components. I don't know how dangerous this is, but I am certain it can't be very good for my stuff. Will this cause it to burn out quicker? I know the danger of a short is probably also higher, too, but I don't know what I can do about it. The computer is sitting on my ceramic tile floor, on its plastic case feet. Where can I buy a small kit of plastic or rubber mounting hardware to properly isolate my motherboard from the case?

Another problem may be my electrical connection. You see, the island I live on (Sint Maarten) is half French and half Dutch. I live on the Dutch side, but my landlord is French, and our apartment has all French plugs in it. It is still 120V (all our appliances work fine), but I have to have adapters to plug in US-style plugs. Unfortunately, the adapters do NOT have a ground, so the built-in ground on the French wallplugs goes unused. Could this be causing my problem? I have a battery backup/surge protector built-in as well, but I don't know how this affects things. It is a 625VA-rated Powercom UPS King Pro Series, if anyone is familiar with it.

Any help you guys can offer me would be greatly appreciated!
 

DaveSauce

Member
Yup, that's your problem right there....no ground. Your motherboard and components are grounded not only by the wires, but by their connection to the case. If you open up your power supply (don't do it, heh), you will see that the ground on the plug leads to both the circuit board AND to the metal frame of the power supply.....the fact that the power supply is touching the metal frame of the case grounds all the other parts....

You don't need any rubber connectors or anything.....the connections from motherboard to your case are supposed to be metal.

But, you need to find a way to ground your case. You can make your own ground by attaching a copper wire to the cold water pipes below your sink or something and attaching the other end to the ground wire coming out from your power supply.....

but, I'm not an electrician. There are a few lurking around here, so I'll leave it up to them to give you a complete answer on how to ground your case.

edit:

oops, I thought you said that the french plugs don't have a ground, heh.

Well, what you could do then is run a bit of wire from the US plug straight to the wall socket. Make sure it's a thick bit of wire.....the people at the hardware store should be able to help you find the right guage....
 
OP
T

tRidiot

Premium Member
Joined
May 17, 2003
I have been looking around and found a few of the adapters I need online, but at around $7 each plus shipping, I wish I could fine them locally. Unfortunately no one in the hardware stores here have a clue about anything, literally. It's really pathetic. They sell the non-grounded adapters by the truckload, but can't seem to find a SINGLE grounded adapter. ARGH.

Well, I may have to give in and buy a couple from online.... or I may look into what it would take to simply change the outlet to be a grounded US-style outlet. Concrete walls aren't particularly easy to work with, tho. :(