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ground wire question

Discussion in 'Electrical Engineering' started by DJ, Jun 5, 2004.

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  1. DJ

    DJ Guest

    Could someone tell me if, not having any ground wiring in your home could
    cause computer problems? My PC would just shut down for no apparent reason.
    I was told it could be the power source. I replaced that but it has shut
    down on me twice since then.

  2. DJ

    DJ Guest

    Hi Greg
    Now that you mention it, the lights have flickered every once in a while.
    Could, no ground wire be the reason for that ?
    Thanks again
  3. Bob Peterson

    Bob Peterson Guest

    probably not. pc power supplies are pretty much immune to commonly seen
    power disturbances and poor grounding is unlikely to have much effect
    anyway. it might make things less safe but probably won't effect the
    functionality any.
  4. DJ

    DJ Guest

    Hi, this house is pretty old. The flickering lights don't happen all the
    time, that's what's so puzzling. Just occasionally. I've never seen them get
    brighter though just dimmer.
  5. DJ

    DJ Guest

    Strange, my PC is also a HP. I've been told the power supply that they use
    isn't the best. But like I said I replaced the power supply and it still
    shut down on me. The first HD ended up with bad sectors from all the outages
    that I had, so I bought a new HD and whenever it shut down on me also. I
    reinstalled the old HD just until I get the problem figured out. Surely
    don't want the new hard drive ending up like that.
    I do have a Decor-Surge 3 stage made by Snapit. It enables me to have 6
    plugs instead of just the normal 2. Do you think this could be the problem?
    We live in Louisiana and do have severe weather that causes frequent
    electrical problems also.
  6. DJ

    DJ Guest

    Thanks for the reply. I kind of figured it isn't real safe to have the
    house ungrounded, but now I know.
    Thanks again
  7. DJ

    DJ Guest

    I mentioned in the earlier email to "w_tom"that I do have a Decor-Surge,3
    Stage made by Snapit. It enables me to have 6 plugs instead of just the
    normal 2. Have you heard of any problems with this type of surge protector.
    Thanks, DJ |
  8. w_tom

    w_tom Guest

    First if supply was in a brand name computer, then it was
    typically superior to what is found in most clone built
    machines. If you replaced the supply with something typically
    sold for less than $60 retail, then you probably installed an
    inferior supply. Furthermore, if someone recommended
    replacing a power supply without first taking numerical
    measurements, then suspect the worst. On this I must be blunt
    because so many computer repairs are recommended by junk
    scientists - people who cannot be bothered to first learn the
    meaning and power of numbers. A power supply need not be
    replaced when the numbers and manufacturer specifications say
    it was perfectly good.

    Second, to further answer your questions, basic information
    must be provided. For example, what is the operating system
    and what is the disk filesystem? What peripherals are
    attached and how are those peripherals powered? Intel or AMD

    The Decor-Surge 3 stage protector would typically do same as
    every other plug-in power strip and UPS protector. It has no
    effect on your problem since it remains inert - does nothing -
    acts like it was not even connected unless a 300+ volt surge
    occurs. An event that occurs typically once every eight
    years. An event made obvious by other damaged electronics.

    Its an HP. So download their comprehensive diagnostics for
    your hardware. What did diagnostics report? If using XP or
    any other NT based OS, then what is the important information
    in the system (event) log. What did Device manager report?
    Of course you have done the obvious - run a currently updated
    virus checker on the system.

    And again, why is the AC circuit dimming out. Again, if
    loss of power is something more than 0.015 seconds, then the
    power supply must reset the computer. So why is that power
    flicking out periodically? This is sometimes directly
    traceable to bad household wiring, as described earlier, that
    is perfectly acceptable for electric lights and other simpler
    appliances. Describes previously is how to not wire a house
    (as too many electricians still do) because intelligent
    appliances now exist.

    As for severe weather threat: concepts involve the essential
    earth ground with every incoming utility connected to that
    single point earth ground. A connection either via hardwire,
    or via a 'whole house' protector. The protector only
    effective; making a connection to earth ground during the rare
    extreme transient. Again, that plug-in protector does nothing
    for your current problem nor does it even claim to protect
    from surges typically created by severe storms. Plug-in
    protectors (that are also grossly overpriced) are recommended
    only by those who don't even understand what protectors do.

    To solve your problem, first we must know why problem exists
    before even consider fixing it. Answers to above questions
  9. Kilowatt

    Kilowatt Guest

    Sounds like a loose connection at the mobo or a loose connection in the
    power supply cord.
  10. DJ

    DJ Guest

    Hi, can't say how much I appreciate your help.
    I have a HP Pavilion 531w, purchased July 2002, Windows XP Home Edition,
    NTFS. HP DeskJet 3820 printer, HP PS2 Keyboard (2K-3), PS/2 compatible
    mouse, Sony CD-Writer (internal). Intel Celeron CPU 1.30 GHz. (The Sony
    CD-Writer was a replacement for the original CD-writer.)

    I have the Norton's Anti-virus program and I keep it up to date.

    I'm not sure what the problem is, with the house lights flickering.But like
    I mentioned before, this is an old house (over 55 years), also, it was built
    out of 2 old houses at that time. Just hope they didn't use the same wiring
    from the original 2 houses.

    I will see what kind of diagnostic tests I can find and run and please let
    me know if you need any further information. I will let you know what I find
    out with the tests, K?

    Thanks so much, Donna J.
  11. DJ

    DJ Guest

    Could you tell me what kind of problems have you heard of from using the
    surge protector with no ground?
    DJ |
  12. DJ

    DJ Guest

    This is the 2nd power supply cord also and it still shut down on me. The
    loose connection for the MB you mentioned, you mean from the PS to the MB,
    right? I have checked all those connections. Checked the capacitors also and
    all look normal to me. Any other ideas?
  13. DJ

    DJ Guest

    I want to add that whenever the PC shuts down, it won't just turn back on
    by pressing the button. I have to unplug the PC and wait a few minutes then
    plug it back in again and turn it back on. There is no specific time of the
    day or particular program I have open at these times. I can say that it has
    always been within 2-3 minutes after I turn the PC on.
    Thanks again
    DJ |
  14. DJ

    DJ Guest

    Hi, can you give me some ideas what to look for?
    Thanks, DJ

  15. Kilowatt

    Kilowatt Guest

    Those were the two places I suspected.

    The outlet you are plugging the power cord into?
  16. Kilowatt

    Kilowatt Guest

    Another reason to suspect the power outlet.
    It could be the single outlet in the power strip.
    Plug it into another hole.
  17. John Gilmer

    John Gilmer Guest


    A typical surge protector will have clamping between and among the three
    wires to your plug. IOW: it will still offer protection against a higher
    than normal voltage on the HOT wire to the NEUTRAL wire.

    Since the NEUTRAL and GROUND wires are bonded at the service entrance, you
    just aren't going to see large inpulse voltages between NEUTRAL and GROUND.

    If you have two wire (no separate ground) to a computer with a lot of three
    wire (separate ground) plugs, you have computer with a "floating" chassis.
    The surge protector will limit the impulse level beween the chassis and the
    HOT or NEUTRAL wires.
  18. w_tom

    w_tom Guest

    Its an NT based OS. Therefore the system (Event) logs are a
    major source of information. If you don't know where the
    event logs are, then use Windows Help to locate and read
    them. If they make no sense, then post the recent information
    from that log.

    Also what sometimes provides information is the Device
    Manager. Locate and identify any devices the system has
    marked with a yellow encased exclamation point - indicating
    hardware or driver failure.
  19. w_tom

    w_tom Guest

    In another post, you stated:
    You also mentioned flickering lights. There is a circuit on
    motherboard to control power supply. If power line voltage
    rises and falls too often too fast, then this circuit locks
    out. It is hardware protection that can only be reset by
    removing power cord from wall. Is that (type of surge) where
    your problem lies? Symptoms are correct. This type of surge
    could be creates by an intermittent arcing wire inside walls.
    Also typical of a surge that no surge protector would ever see
    because it is not a voltage transient.

    Furthermore, could not safety ground make this circuit trip
    into safety cutoff? Maybe, but we don't have circuit details
    to say for sure.

    Just another reason to first start with the dimming light
    phenomena that should not be happening. Your flickering is
    not just dimming? It is really flickering? Lights blinking
    off every for tenths of seconds is more than a nuisance. It
    may be a human safety threat. And it could trip that
    motherboard safety circuit.
  20. DJ

    DJ Guest

    Hi, I took the new hard drive out and have the original one back in. Just
    didn't want to take any chances with messing my new hard drive up. I've not
    had any shutdowns since I reinstalled the hard drive with the bad sectors. I
    checked the Device Manager and there are no problems there. I will change
    the hard drive out again and look at the system (event) logs and device
    manager to see what I can find.
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