Question Case under voltage despite being connected to grounded wall outlet?

Sep 2, 2020
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Hello,

I'm having some issues with the performance of my computer. I made an old thread about this, suggesting it was more a case of bad electricity. Therefore, I got recommended to contact an electrician to check my wall outlets, circuits and cabling which I did. He first of all added an earth leakage protection since there was only one for the bathroom. It didn't go off until now, so this means that all devices are going well. Next, he checked all the wall outlets' grounding, by attaching one clip to the metal of the overall grounding of the apartment, and the other end he checked one by one every wall outlet very carefully with the multimeter. All seem to be perfectly grounded. At every wall outlet, his device did a long ''beep'', which means it's a good ground. At another visit he also spend alot of time at the fuse box, I think checking every circuit if there was any sort of loss to be found, which could maybe be causing my issues, but no. After all that, he said that the electricity is perfectly fine now and would be officially approved. I ofcourse told him that my problems with my computer were still present. He answered that because I have an aluminium cockpit and a monitor stand around my computer, this could be causing some sort of magnetic field which gives me these problems. I told him that I tested my computer in the living room, away from the aluminium, with the mandatory cables only, and 1 monitor and that I had exactly the same symptoms. I told him that moving cables away from eachother, in other places, grabbing them together changed alot on my performance of my computer, in particular the movement of it, the response. And this basically leads to tabs opening slower, steering wheel and basically all USB devices having the same thing, a slow response. Everything is so sluggish, you wouldn't expect it from a computer like this.

So, what he did is measure if there is any voltage on my PC case, and indeed there was. He was quite shocked about it. He said that ofcourse now it's not a large amount, but if I use my PC more, and so the CPU usage goes up, for example when I'm driving my simulator, you generate more voltage on the case, which makes the symptoms worse. And this is exactly what I feel when driving in the simulator. Or just when using my PC, the more stuff I open, the worse it gets. He later recommended me to ground my aluminium, and to ground my computer aswell then. He said to just put a cable in a power plug, plug it in the wall outlet, and other end you put into the aluminium on a screw, and then the same for the computer but then around the screw or something. Well, I wasn't really sure if I wanted to do that. He said that the electricity is fine, the outlets are well grounded, and since my PSU has 3 pins, and so has the cable connected to it, my PSU and therefore my PC case have to be grounded, correct? So, why is my PC still generating voltage, despite being grounded? I don't get his way of thinking, your PC is generating voltage, so you have to make a new ground. Well no, why is my PC generating voltage, isn't that the most obvious question?

So yeah, now I'm a bit stuck, I don't know what to think anymore. I do think the electricity is all good now, but why is my PC still having these issues? I checked the cables, which to me seem to be fine, apart from the 3 -pin cable fan from a fan which seems a bit bend in the middle, but other then that I don't see anything big. My motherboard is well screwed in on the standoffs, seperating the motherboard from the metal of the case. PSU seems to be in nicely, all 4 screws, exactly the spots where they have to be screwed in, and not the venting holes. I changed my PSU and GPU a few months ago because I thought they were causing all this. But no, it wasn't. I have to say though, that I used my computer and the computer in the living room in my old house on wall outlets that did not have ANY grounding. I know that this is not safe, but I did read at several sites that it's perfectly fine for a computer to run on a non-grounded wall outlet. I'm not sure though, maybe it did catch something there and I'm still carrying the consequences of it now? Anyway, I'm not having any sort of freezes or lock-ups, or suddenly the PC shutting off, not at all.

I'll refer you to the old thread where I described everything in detail, what I experience in terms of problems, and what I tried in order to solve it. I did alot of windows re-installs thinking it was software, looked in the BIOS for maybe a wrong settings, eventually loading the optimized defaults, same thing. Now the electricity seems to be fine, it has to be something in my PC case not being right then. The most significant thing I feel, is my mouse and keyboard, basically the USB devices having a very inconsistent response. I can have the same slow response for ages, which I'm used to, then my PC performs slower aswell, you can feel it's slower, more sluggish, everything opening slower. But then, if I make a change, for example touching the aluminium, moving the cables at a different place, moving them away from eachother, close to eachother, bundling my USB cables, I can suddenly feel the response getting alot better, and the PC performing better again. I did notice that seperating the power cables from the data cables (HDMI-DP, USB, etc...) did improve it. And ofcourse you don't want them having next to eachother, but I mean, at some point they meet somewhere right, I think this is not normal. Anyways, after certain amount of time, the performance of the PC and response of the USB devices go back to what it was before, slower, unpredictable and inconsistent. I'll also post two photos of a video I took, comparing the photo on my mobile and on my PC. Basically only on videos, livestreams, on any site, any browser, mainly black backgrounds, I can see pixels being unloaded, I don't know what it is really. The photo is a guy holding a guitar, and what is around him is supposed to be a spotlight. Now, don't overthink it, I put the focus with my mobile on that, so it doesn't look that bad in real life, but it's as if it doesn't want to load that particular space, and it basically moves to how it develops. Even when watching sports or anything, I can see little pixels, it's a bit blurry, not detailed and sharp while the video is in 1080p. So yeah for me, this is the most irritating bit, these things I have explained, also I can feel the video and audio are not perfectly in sync.

Now, how can I start to troubleshoot this? I contacted someone on this forum who answered on my thread, he stated that I shouldn't make any ''new grounding'' without knowing the cause of this all. That I could make the problem worse at best and dangerous at worst. He suggests to me to use a multimeter and troubleshoot very carefully. He thinks maybe a standoff or a pinched wire is allowing ''conductor to case contact''. It seems very serious. I don't know where to start, my knowledge about electrical stuff is very very little. Therefore I'm asking help from you guys. Hopefully I can get this sorted eventually.

I also got to say that the PC in the living room seems to be having the same kind of symptoms. I'm not completely sure though but it seems like it. This computer was also in the old house, running on an ungrounded wall outlet. It also has this pixel problem in videos. It's not visible on pictures, so it has nothing to do with monitor settings.

Specs for your information:

ASUS PRIME Z370-A
G.Skill 16GB RAM 2x8GB F4-3200C16D-16GVKB
Intel Core i5 8600K (currently stock)
Gigabyte NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Samsung SSD 250GB
WD Blue 1TB HDD
Corsair RM750X Gold
Corsair H115i
2x Acer K242HQL & 1x Acer K242HL, 24 inch 1920x1080 @60Hz
Razer Blackwidow Ultimate Mechanical Keyboard
Logitech G303 Mouse
Fanatec CSL Elite V1.1 Wheelbase
Fanatec V3 Pedals
Windows 10 Pro x64
Corsair 300R Case

Link to old thread: https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/input-lag-rfi-emi-issues.3642136/#post-21943144
Pixel problem photo, computer one: https://postimg.cc/R3d146kM
Screenshot taken on my mobile, same video: https://postimg.cc/jwjH5qTy

Again, the guy isn't that white and bright on the screen in real life. Just look at the blurry pixels around him, this is what I'm referring to, I focused my camera on that, that is why it is so exaggerated.

I would like to thank you immensly for your efforts in advance,
Tony
 
Last edited:

RealBeast

Titan
Moderator
I agree that your case has a short that is leaking current, which is potentially dangerous. I also agree that you should NOT create a ground for the case.

Since you have little electrical knowledge, you should take your computer into a repair shop to find and eliminate the current leak to your case -- call them first and insure that they are capable of such repairs. I would be somewhat suspicious of the PSU, as motherboard grounds usually cause the system to not even start up.
 
Sep 2, 2020
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I agree that your case has a short that is leaking current, which is potentially dangerous. I also agree that you should NOT create a ground for the case.

Since you have little electrical knowledge, you should take your computer into a repair shop to find and eliminate the current leak to your case -- call them first and insure that they are capable of such repairs. I would be somewhat suspicious of the PSU, as motherboard grounds usually cause the system to not even start up.
Thanks for your very fast answer, I really appreciate it. I see, I will not create a seperate ground then. Yes, will definitely take it in to somebody with the necessary experience and knowledge. You mean that the PSU could be maybe causing it, and that if it were to possibly be my motherboard that the PC shouldn't turn on at all, right? Could be, would really suprise me though, I changed the PSU this summer, thinking it was my old one being bad. Moved from a CX750 to a RM750X. Maybe it is faulty, anyways, we'll see.

Also, is it still sensible to use my computer or could I still damage components (any further) by using the PC? And from my side, I haven't really felt any sort of shocks, maybe thanks to my wall grounding.
 
Sep 2, 2020
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You are probably safe to use it with the ground fault interrupt switch since you have felt nothing.
Alright. Well, I went to my local computer shop. The guy was capable to do this troubleshooting with a multimeter. Said it could take time though, since he had to go through every component. He stated after a week that nothing is wrong with my computer. Everything is well grounded, there is no leak to be found, my PC is completely perfect. He even did benchmarks which were good, if not outstanding. He said that from his side, he has checked everything and that he didn't find anything suspicious and that the PC was operating normally at his place. He says that probably something is wrong with my peripherals. He recommended me to test my PC again away from the aluminium, in a neutral place, living room, and test with the least equipment, monitor, mouse and keyboard. I already said to him that I already did this, even tested with different cables, mouse, keyboard, monitors and was all the same.

Now, I also tested the video I posted above at his place. Turns out that I didn't see anything suspicious there on the monitor, atleast not as close as what I'm seeing in my apartement. On his monitor it was all normal. I did say that I have three monitors, which all have the same thing in videos, unloaded pixels or whatever it is called, and that even the other PC in the living room has this. This really makes me think that some device in my apartement is causing interference.

I didn't really end up much further then I was, but anyway. Atleast now I know that my PC is perfectly fine, everything is well grounded. For him, there was totally no current on the case, and at my place, when the electrician came, there was. I'm not sure if I can do this myself, maybe this is a good way to troubleshoot. Measure if there is current on the case, and turn off all the breakers one by one, or troubleshoot each seperate device in the apartement, and testing the case until the multimeter shows 0. Again, I do not have any experience in terms of electricity, so I'm not sure if I should do this myself. According to the electrician, nothing is causing current loss. But could maybe some device, or a lamp or anything cause interference on our computers, while not creating current loss? Since the earth leakage protection didn't go off yet, which means that no device is causing any loss. Does this mean though that no device is causing interference, no right?

Anyways, good to know that my PC is fine. Now let's hope that I can find what could be causing the problems instead.
 

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