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Strange vibrating feeling when touching electronic devices

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Warrgarbl, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. Warrgarbl

    Warrgarbl

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    Hello everyone,

    there is something that has been bugging me a lot lately, and I fail to find an answer for what may cause it.

    As the poorly worded thread title sais, sometimes, when I touch the surface of some electronical devices, such as certain MSI notebooks or my girlfriends iPad, and swipe over it with very VERY little pressure I have such a strange vibrating feeling coming off the device. It's not like the vibration you'd feel from a spinning HDD, and as soon as I hold my hands still I feel nothing. It is hard to describe just how it feels, but I would describe it as some kind of electrical vibration.

    It seems like it mostly has to do with power supplies. As soon as I disconnect the power supply or change the orientation of the plug it usually vanishes. Heck, when my girlfriend holds her iPad and the power supply is plugged in in a certain orientation I can even feel her skin vibrate. When we plug the power supply in the other way or unplug it it is gone. She feels it too and it creeps her out.

    I have absolutely no idea what causes this, and my coworkers are no help. Two of them feel nothing whilst one of them feels it very slightly.

    Could anyone shed some light on what the hell this is?

    Then again, maybe I am just oversensitive and / or should put on a tinfoil hat :wtf:
     
  2. RCoon

    RCoon Forum Gypsy

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    Uh, grounding? What's the earthing like in Swiss houses?
     
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  3. Warrgarbl

    Warrgarbl

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    I have no idea. Well, here's a swiss power plug though:

    [​IMG]

    The middle prong is for grounding. Oh, and everything that has to do with electricity is pretty much lost on me. I'm a PC guy, not an electrician.
     
  4. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    Are you sure that it is the device? Does this only happen to you? A doctor might be a better person to ask.
     
  5. THE_EGG

    THE_EGG

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    You're not oversensitive (unless I'm oversensitive too D: ). I find this too when I work on my taichi that has a metal housing and lightly move my finger over the shell. Weird stuff. I've only noticed it occurring on certain occasions and not all the time. Australian power delivery is renowned for being a bit up-down though and not constant which is a bit worrying but I guess it can contribute to it (only guessing and this would only apply to me). That being said it also happens on battery power.

    Keen to hear an answer :)
     
  6. zsolt_93

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    I have experienced this too, on my mom's laptop that has a metal surface. She has experienced it too. Although, from what i know the grounding in our house is poor and in some sockets inexistent with it being built ~60 years ago in a country where safety wasn't really the priority.
     
  7. Iceni

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    Have you changed your shoes or started to wear wool jumpers, or changed your hairbrush? You could be holding a slight static charge and it's that your feeling.

    Try grounding yourself, Touch something earthed in the house like a radiator pipe, or one of your taps. And see if it goes away.
     
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  8. Mathragh

    Mathragh

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    I've felt something familiar on occasion. I suppose it could have something to do with the 50/60Hz frequency of AC. Your fingertips are extremely sensitive to very small changes in a surface, and I can imagine that it could result in you picking up either very small resonations, or very small changes in static charge in the surface of the metal as a result of AC current.


    I'm not saying this is the case for sure, but its the best explanation I can think of :p. It would at least also explain why you don't feel it when its not connected to the net, since then it'll only run off of AC current, which doesn't produce the low frequency oscillations you sense as "vibrations".

    Edit: As some of you also report it happening when there's no AC connection, I suppose it could also be a sort of regularized static discharge that only happens when you move because of the fact that contact between the skin and metal then isn't that good, and static charge can build up a little bit and then at a certain point discharge again.
     
  9. de.das.dude

    de.das.dude Pro Indian Modder

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    its not grounding. just the same thing when u swipe over wet glass and make squeaks. youre doing it slowly so the vibrations are not audible but are felt.

    lol. you trippin balls yo
     
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  10. micropage7

    micropage7

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    maybe like when your pc connected but not turn on, you may feel trembling than when your pc on
    i guess its normal since some people could feel more than the other
     
  11. Aleksander

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    When an earthquake happens only 2 or 3 people can feel it in a 100 people bases
    This means that you have good feeling man :)
    This is a good sign, not kidding, it is your ability to feel conductivity
    I feel that when touching my pc case at some parts but that releases a lot of energy
     
  12. RCoon

    RCoon Forum Gypsy

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    I think you might be autism.
     
  13. Kaynar

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    Exactly the same for me when I move my finger over my Lenovo Y500 laptop (anywhere on the back of the screen or around the trackpad. I'm not sure why is that, but its the first time I ever noticed something like that. It has been like this since the first day of the purchase, but even when the laptop is powered off and without battery.

    Damn we need an expect to give us a scientific explanation!

    Although I'm pretty sure this only happens on specifically formatted aluminium surfaces and is a result of friction of this surface with the skin in the similar way you feel electricity when brushing a wool cloth on you.
     
  14. RCoon

    RCoon Forum Gypsy

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    "I've come across this with all sorts of devices. There was a discussion on some newsgroup or other, where we concluded that:

    The un-earthed power supply design was causing the conductive case to float to half of mains voltage. This bit's easily verifiable with a meter.

    Some sort of nerve or muscular effect as a result of moving fingers over a surface with an AC voltage applied makes it feel 'rough' or 'sticky'.
    "

    Low ampage voltage leak from an AC current. It only happens when you move your skin across the surface, if you keep it still, the effect is less noticable. Even the old Apple power books had this weird sensation, and the representitatives knew about it, but said the ampage is so low its perfectly safe.
     
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  15. de.das.dude

    de.das.dude Pro Indian Modder

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    ahh the best way to test is using that with an led. old one lead in ur hand and touch it to the computer. should glow. happens with the ethernet cables. i am guessing the grounding on your PSU or case is horrible.
     
  16. Frick

    Frick Fishfaced Nincompoop

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    Which is the way it should be.

    But yeah sounds like grounding to me.
     
  17. Red_Machine

    Red_Machine

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    I get it with a lot of my electronic devices, too. I figured that it's just because it has electrical current coursing through it at the time, so you can feel it on the metal parts of the chassis.
     
  18. de.das.dude

    de.das.dude Pro Indian Modder

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    yes i checked in normal mode as well. led still glows. lol.
     
  19. BiggieShady

    BiggieShady

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    Most likely. Happened to me once, I had a grounded outlet that only looked like a grounded outlet. It wasn't actually grounded. The whole case was under low current. I switched couple of PSUs back then thinking it's a bad PSU problem, instead of testing the outlet right away. The solution, of course, was moving to a better apartment :D
     
  20. CheezusCrust

    CheezusCrust New Member

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    I've had the same issue with my Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus (Haswell), went away when I swapped out the standard power plug with one that has 3 pins.
     
  21. itsakjt

    itsakjt

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    Even I felt this a lot of times. Let me come clear.
    1) I felt it while using Apple devices on stores e.g. Mac books, iPhones and some Samsung and Asus Notebooks. Those were disconnected. That type of vibration is not electrical and can only be felt especially with very good quality products like the above ones.

    2)The common one is grounding issues. A few years ago(5-6 years), my house didn't have earthing. At that time, when I touched my computer metal case, it felt like vibrating. Another thing. The vibration intensity is more when touched with one finger. When I used say 2,3 or 4 fingers, the vibration reduced and finally went away. I guess it has something to do with the current flowing. Obviously when using just one finger, more current was passed through that finger. But when multiple fingers were used, the current was distributed and reduced such that I couldn't feel anything at all or very little.
     
  22. Swamp Monster

    Swamp Monster

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    ^^ This.
    Most Switching mode power supplies are made this way. You get half of mains voltage on device metal chassis if it is not grounded. But this is only leak current of some components so very small current, in most cases not hazardous. Some feel it less and some more, because when you touch that metal chassis then leakage current flows through you to lower electrical potential point - ground. The strength of effect you feel depends on contact electrical resistance + your body resistance + other material resistance that is in current's path to ground.
    If your electrical appliances are properly grounded, then all leakage currents will flow directly to ground and there will not be any potential difference between you and device chassis = no voltage on chassis. You can measure voltage on chassis with voltage meter/multimeter on AC voltage mode. If you measure between yourself and chassis and you will see voltage level that your body will see if you touch that chassis.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  23. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    Un-earthed main, but I would actually check the source. Meaning see how well your actual main power panel is grounded if you live in a house. If you're unsure, have an electrician inspect it. It's more crucial in Europe and the UK, where they operate on higher voltage and Hz.
     

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