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Old 07-03-2009, 08:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Un-grounded case -> freezing issues?

Hi
My PC is freezing from time to time. I have tried everything including a 2nd PSU, and is down to either the MB or the processor being bad. For practical reasons, I can't test these.

Today I noticed that my case is shocking me when I touch my wall, and figured that maybe this is the reason why my PC is freezing, as I know my PC isn't grounded.

Could this be causing my freezes? Any thoughts on the matter will be greatly appreciated.

Keba
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Old 07-03-2009, 09:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Un-grounded case -> freezing issues?

I thought the PC is grounded when you plug it in? I guess not...
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Old 07-03-2009, 09:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Un-grounded case -> freezing issues?

That is not the reason your computer is freezing.

WHen is it freezing? Does it have any pattern or specific times when it does freeze? What OS do you have? Have you checked the utilities that come with your OS to see if there are any errors (XP-event viewer Vista-reliability and performance monitor)?

I would suggest running a CPU temp monitoring program then stress test your computer to see if that causes the freezing.
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Old 07-03-2009, 10:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Un-grounded case -> freezing issues?

Well, I believe I tried everything.

Specs:
OS: WinXP home SP3 32bit
Motherboard: MSI K9VGM-V
CPU: 2,20 gigahertz AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core
RAM: 3GB kingston valueram
HDD: Primary ST380021A Secondary: ST3320620A
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT
PSU: 400W

The freezing makes my PC stop accepting input from both mouse and keyboard. The weird thing is that although my PC is frozen, some processes can continue to run. One time, my PC froze up and the system clock also froze, but the timer and seek bar continued to play on the video I was watching. Usually any sound I play as the computer freezes, will be played extremely slowly.
Also, when my computer is running normally, the mouse can lag as I move it, and videos can lag as well.

I tried a second harddrive with another installation of WinXP, and it froze too with standard windows drivers, so its not a software nor a driver issue. Also froze in safe mode. It's not a harddrive problem either. I tested my RAM with mentest89+ and windiag. No problems. I do not have a compatible 2nd PSU, but tried powering everything but the MB with a 2nd PSU. It still freezes up. I tried another graphics card and the onboard one. I got BSOD 8E and 1A with the onboard graphics card when I share system RAM, but I still get the normal freezing as well. Tried another BIOS version to no avail. My temps are 35 degrees and nothing is hot when touching. My case is dust-free as well.

So, the things I haven't been able to test are: the PSU, MB and processor.
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Old 07-04-2009, 12:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Un-grounded case -> freezing issues?

Quote:
Originally Posted by keba View Post
Hi
My PC is freezing from time to time. I have tried everything including a 2nd PSU, and is down to either the MB or the processor being bad. For practical reasons, I can't test these.

Today I noticed that my case is shocking me when I touch my wall, and figured that maybe this is the reason why my PC is freezing, as I know my PC isn't grounded.

Could this be causing my freezes? Any thoughts on the matter will be greatly appreciated.

Keba
What I am about to say is not about the freezing...however, you need to get your computer plugged into an outlet that IS grounded immediately. This is for safety reasons, for you and your computer. I am an electrician, and though your machine is running, you need to power it down and plug it into a grounded outlet strip - a surge protector would be better - and then plug in to a grounded outlet.

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Originally Posted by yzmxer608 View Post
I thought the PC is grounded when you plug it in? I guess not...
No, not just plugging it in. There has to be a three-hole outlet (and the third, round hole) is the ground connection. On the other side of the plate, that ground hole is actually a connection to the "ground wire", which is connected to.... you guessed it....the ground (they call it "earth" in England). In the event of a short, the ground is designed to take straying electrical paths and send them to ground where you and your equipment wont be harmed. How this works, is electricity takes the shortest - and/or best - path to ground.

I say shortest and/or best, because the shortest path possible for electricity to take isn't necessarily the best. If the electrical charge sees something as a better conductor, it make take a longer path but as there is less resistance because of a better conductor it has "found", it will take that route instead.

If something goes wrong electrically, a short in your computer, it could go to the chassis and fry your motherboard, CPU or most anything, as they offer a better path being electronic components with tin and copper properties.

True story, I don't remember which state it happened, though : lightning hit someone on a golf course miles away from where she was golfing. The lightning could have hit a tree, but this lady was holding a metal golf club and it hit the club instead. Why ? Better conductor than say a tree, even though a tree would be higher and therefore, closer to ground.

In the OP's case, by his touching the wall, there may have been some moisture on his hand. And when you touched your case, the lack of a ground caused some electrical charge to go from your case, NOT to ground as your computer isn't grounded, to the wall which is entrenched into the ground via the foundation of your house. At that time, it was the shortest and best path to ground. A ground wire connected properly in an outlet would have taken that charge to ground, and you wouldn't have felt anything.
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Old 07-04-2009, 12:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Un-grounded case -> freezing issues?

Ah that's what that third prong is for, never knew why some plugs had it and some didn't. When you say connected to the ground, you don't mean the actual ground like dirt? I assume not, but when you say people in England call it earth, that makes me start thinking.... Thanks for that explanation though, that explains a lot!
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Old 07-04-2009, 12:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Un-grounded case -> freezing issues?

If you take a look closely at this picture you can see how the ground wire ultimately connects to the neutral bar at the panel. Sometimes the grounds are connected to the neutral bar, and sometimes there is a dedicated grounding bar in the panel. Here is a case of the latter :

Ok, that last pic I tried to upload choked. Here is another attempt...

Source : Inside the Electrical Service Panel-The Ground Bar
Attached Images
File Type: jpg grounding_bar.jpg (26.3 KB, 136 views)
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Old 07-04-2009, 01:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Un-grounded case -> freezing issues?

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Ah that's what that third prong is for, never knew why some plugs had it and some didn't.
Older house wiring didn't have it. It wasn't required, and the dangers of not grounding appliances wasn't known until some number of fires later. That is why all (read ALL) new construction in the US must have properly installed ground wiring.

Older houses are ""grandfathered", so though it isn't illegal to have non-grounded wiring because of this fact, it is in the best interest of the building owner and its occupants to have ground wiring, and that it be used, which means to hook everything up using grounded outlet strips or surge protectors. Lastly, the equipment ITSELF must be grounded properly. DONT use those "cheat plugs !"
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Old 07-04-2009, 01:14 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Un-grounded case -> freezing issues?

Well, I did know that, but always assumed that the protection-circuit inside the PSU was enough. I don't own any extension cords that has a ground plug, but I will definitely get one for my PC.

I always wondered how the PSU was able to supply ground for the system in DC without actually being connected to ground, but I guess it just finds the middle of the AC and declares that to be ground. As that might be a little off and connected to the case, I then get a shock from my wall as current travels through me to make up for the differential voltage.

Thank you for your concerns oldskool, hopefully this will solve my freezing issues, as well as to keep me from getting myself killed =)

Quote:
Originally Posted by yzmxer608 View Post
Ah that's what that third prong is for, never knew why some plugs had it and some didn't. When you say connected to the ground, you don't mean the actual ground like dirt? I assume not, but when you say people in England call it earth, that makes me start thinking.... Thanks for that explanation though, that explains a lot!
I believe it IS the actual 'dirt' that the ground plug is connected to =)
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Old 07-04-2009, 01:17 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Un-grounded case -> freezing issues?

Quote:
Originally Posted by keba View Post
Well, I did know that, but always assumed that the protection-circuit inside the PSU was enough. I don't own any extension cords that has a ground plug, but I will definitely get one for my PC.

I always wondered how the PSU was able to supply ground for the system in DC without actually being connected to ground, but I guess it just finds the middle of the AC and declares that to be ground. As that might be a little off and connected to the case, I then get a shock from my wall as current travels through me to make up for the differential voltage.

Thank you for your concerns oldskool, hopefully this will solve my freezing issues, as well as to keep me from getting myself killed =)



I believe it IS the actual 'dirt' that the ground plug is connected to =)
Yes, it connects to "dirt", see my above post. It will show a connection in the panel (is in the picture), then ultimately all this connects to a rod driven into the ground, and into the dirt (not in picture).
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