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Shocking mouse, bad?

Posted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:09 am UTC
by Sizik
Sometimes (especially now with the low-humidity winter weather), when I return to my computer, I find I've built up a static charge. If I don't remember to ground myself on the case, I often receive an acute shock when my finger touches the mouse wheel (Logitech G500). Usually when this happens, the mouse goes dead for a few seconds, during which the computer plays its "USB device disconnected" jingle. Sometimes, if the shock is big enough, my keyboard (Razer Blackwidow) will go kaput as well. Should I worry about this damaging my motherboard/anything else?

Re: Shocking mouse, bad?

Posted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 3:17 pm UTC
by Jplus
This could definitely damage your hardware at some point. Your mouse is the most likely to break.

However, perhaps you should also worry about yourself. I figure frequent prolonged exposure to static charge might not be good for your health on the long term. IIRC, showering (or perhaps even just washing your hands) can help to discharge your skin.

Re: Shocking mouse, bad?

Posted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:35 pm UTC
by LucasBrown
As J+ said, yes. Worry. This could very definitely kill your computer.
Some things to consider:
  • What sort of fibers are in your clothing and your carpet? Wool in particular is notorious for generating static zaps.
  • A quick Google search doesn't produce any good images of this, but a bunch of gas stations these days have exposed, unpainted metal points wired directly to ground near the pumps with labels like "touch here before pumping to discharge your static". You may want to install something like that near your computer.

Re: Shocking mouse, bad?

Posted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:26 am UTC
by EvanED
There are days that any time I sit down or get up from my chair I get a static charge. Did you know a whiteboard can shock you? It can.

I touch the case of a boombox that I now use just as a monitor stand, or a metal lamp. Touching the case of your computer should also be safe.

(Another misc hint: if you're holding something metal -- e.g. keys, though I worry a bit about the effect on chipped car keys -- if you discharge through that instead of your finger, it's not painful.)

Re: Shocking mouse, bad?

Posted: Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:11 pm UTC
by Sizik
So, bit of an update. I've been more thorough about grounding myself on my computer case (which is on my desk) whenever I sit down, which has the added benefit of discharging through a less painful part of my body (the back/side of my hand/wrist) than the tip of my finger.

Unfortunately, I've come across a bigger problem. Twice now, when I've grounded, my computer has frozen. The screen freezes, Ctrl-Alt-Del doesn't work, and it sounds like my hard drive starts spinning up (for reference, I've got an SSD for the OS, a HDD for programs and user files (old Windows install), and a second HDD for storage (Steam, movies, etc.)). Upon a hard reset, the computer seems to work fine.

Thoughts? I'll probably be switching my ground point from my case to my metal-framed bookshelf.

Re: Shocking mouse, bad?

Posted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 3:44 pm UTC
by Jplus
Grounding only works if you touch something that is electrically connected to the soil below the street. So touching a metal bookshelf only works if the bookshelf has a ground wire, and touching the casing of your pc works only if your pc is earthed. This is why rinsing your hands isn't such a strange idea as it may seem; if you have copper tubes, this may conduct the charge pretty well.

Re: Shocking mouse, bad?

Posted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:05 pm UTC
by troyp
Surely any computer case should be grounded. Maybe try touching the metal surface of the PSU itself, at the back? Or use something else.

A large metal object would probably be good enough. Even if it's not grounded, it's going to take most of the charge.

Re: Shocking mouse, bad?

Posted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:14 pm UTC
by free-bee
troyp wrote:Surely any computer case should be grounded.
<snip>

Yes, through the power supply. I took a PSU apart once and the ground terminal of the plug was screwed directly to the PSU's shell. As long as the PSU isn't electrically isolated from the case, which it shouldn't be, then the entire case is grounded.

Re: Shocking mouse, bad?

Posted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:14 pm UTC
by Sizik
So I've moved my computer into a different room, which means no more large metal bookshelf. Fortunately, I've: 1) Brought out the humidifier. Don't know why it was still in the attic. 2) Connected the grounding wire from an anti-static strap to a ground plug in a nearby power strip (banana plugs are surprisingly well-suited for this) and hung the other end from my desk, where I can ground myself easily on it. This provides the benefits of grounding through a safe channel, and also having a 1 MΩ resistance, lessening the strength of the shock. Even with this though, vary rarely when I ground myself, the keyboard still goes kaput for a few seconds.

Re: Shocking mouse, bad?

Posted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 7:05 am UTC
by evilpig
I have the G500s. It's been shocking me through the mousewheel as well lately. Pretty large shocks as well, felt it through my body. I just built a new computer so i'm worried i might wreck it.

Any ideas?

Re: Shocking mouse, bad?

Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:13 pm UTC
by cphite
evilpig wrote:I have the G500s. It's been shocking me through the mousewheel as well lately. Pretty large shocks as well, felt it through my body. I just built a new computer so i'm worried i might wreck it.


Yeah, getting shocked by your mouse (or any peripheral really) is a bad thing, particularly if it's a powerful shock. You could definitely wreck your computer.

Any ideas?


Try a different mouse? Given that you're using the same mouse as the OP and you're both being shocked, it seems reasonable that there is something wrong with that mouse model.

Re: Shocking mouse, bad?

Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:37 pm UTC
by Sizik
In my case, it's just that the mouse provides an inconvenient outlet for static buildup caused by the dry winter air. The problem goes away when I remember to refill the humidifier.

Re: Shocking mouse, bad?

Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:46 pm UTC
by evilpig
Yeah, I've started to notice it's once I put on my sweater and shoes that it happens. Not to mention dry winter air.

Re: Shocking mouse, bad?

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:22 pm UTC
by Sizik
So an odd update to the situation. For reference, here's how everything is connected electrically:
Keyboard/Mouse -> Motherboard USB -> Power Supply -> UPS -> Wall outlet
Grounding wire -> Power strip socket ground -> Wall outlet on a adjacent wall

Grounding myself on the wire often causes the speakers to click, and if the shock is strong enough causes the keyboard to go dark, accompanied a few seconds later by the Windows USB disconnect sound, before coming back on.

Here's the weird part. I got a new gaming chair, and sometimes accidentally shock myself on a screw under the armrest when standing up. The chair is on carpet, and doesn't touch anything electrically connected. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure there have been a few occasions where the discharge into my chair causes the keyboard to go dead.

Edit: It's definitely happened a few more times, so I'm utterly confused as to how shocking my chair affects the keyboard. My guesses are either that the carpet is conducting the shock to the electrical equipment (both the UPS and a subwoofer are on the carpet), or the static shocks are emitting radio waves that are interfering with the equipment.