Question Help me find current leakage source

Apr 11, 2022
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Hello everyone,

I wasn't sure in which subforum to put this so i'm gonna put it here.

The problem started yesterday night.

As i was working on my PC i noticed my mouse disconnecting and connecting every 1 or 2 seconds. I thought that was strange and took off my headphones to see if my mouse is connected properly at the rear end of my PC. As i took of my headphones i noticed a a very faint electric "sparking" noise coming from i think my monitor (not sure because pc case and monitor are close and noise is very faint. I decided not to touch my PC case or anything and got my neon tester screwdriver and touched my PC case with it, the neon light inside my screwdriver was flickering, indicating that there's current in my PC case.

I immediately shut down my PC and turned off my PSU. After that, i could still hear that sparking noise and there was still current present in my PC case.

I decided to unplug my PSU from the outlet and there was still current present (neon light on screwdriver was flickering)
That made me think that its 100% coming from my monitor VGA cable.
I took the monitor this morning to repair shop and they told me everything works normally, they only changed the inductor but otherwise there was no current leakage.

I got home and plugged in everything again and so far i had no issues but then 3 hours later, same thing started happening again, i even got zapped.

(i tested cables too with my screwdriver and there was no issue, hot wire is showing current, neutral and ground are not)

I'm out of ideas as to what could be happening

Does anyone have idea on what more testing i can do to find out where the problem is coming from? I'm also willing to buy a multimeter if that helps, but will need instructions on how to use it.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
You need an electrician with a multi-meter to check all outlets and devices connected to the PC.

Best to leave everything off, unplugged, and wait for a qualified electrician.

With the problem being intermittent that suggests to that there is a likely loose connection somewhere. Or a short that is developing and things could get worse.

This is not the time to learn about multi-meters. That could end badly as well.
 
Reactions: KyaraM
Apr 11, 2022
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I replaced the PSU, so far had no issues but it happend just now, very briefly.

Until i find a solution or money for private electrician, im gonna manually ground PC case with a copper wire
 
Apr 11, 2022
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Guys, i found the problem!

It's the water heater. It's leaking current everywhere in the house when it's turned on, there's current even in the plumbing system.
 
If an electrical shock is being experienced that is not normal in any way.

No matter the source or terminology.

Something is wrong and must be properly fixed.
Umm... Are you actually arguing with me on this? This is text book stuff.

A small tingle when you touch metal if the outlet isn't grounded IS NORMAL. It's called leakage current. That's not a term I made up.

3.5mA is absolutely acceptable as per the IEC 60950-1, except for medical devices, which also have leakage current, but is down around 0.5mA as per the IEC 60601-1.

When you have filters to reduce electrical noise, which most electronics these do have because of EMI/EMC, etc. requirements, you put a Y capacitor between the line and neutral to ground. If you have a proper Earth ground, the current goes to Earth. If you don't, you get a tingle.

Guys, i found the problem!

It's the water heater. It's leaking current everywhere in the house when it's turned on, there's current even in the plumbing system.
Interesting problem.... Hope you get it fixed.

Were you able to determine if your house is Earth grounded at all? Perhaps everything is grounded to the plumbing? Old house with all metal pipes? Are your pipes themselves grounded? This is actually a requirement from the National Electrical Code here in the U.S., whether the pipes are being used for electrical ground or not.
 
Apr 11, 2022
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Interesting problem.... Hope you get it fixed.

Were you able to determine if your house is Earth grounded at all? Perhaps everything is grounded to the plumbing? Old house with all metal pipes? Are your pipes themselves grounded? This is actually a requirement from the National Electrical Code here in the U.S., whether the pipes are being used for electrical ground or not.
The house is from the 50s and we have 2 electric meter panels because it’s a 2 story house.

1st panel is grounded for sure but im not sure about the 2nd one.

plumbing is mostly metal pipes and PVC but im not sure if its grounded

I’m gonna call an electrician tomorrow.
 
Apr 11, 2022
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Yes. Yes you should. ;-)

I have to wonder if the 1st panel is not really Earth grounded, but grounded to the plumbing. NOT uncommon before the NEC put their foot down. If the house is from the 50's and you have PVC in the walls, then obviously A LOT of work has been done over the years and who knows what goes where. :D
Update

Electrician just left.

Apparently my house is not grounded at all, and electricity is leaking from 6 different outlets in the house. He said that i need to ground the whole house and check the whole electric installation because it's old.
It will cost a bit but i will try to do it next week.
 
Update

Electrician just left.

Apparently my house is not grounded at all, and electricity is leaking from 6 different outlets in the house. He said that i need to ground the whole house and check the whole electric installation because it's old.
It will cost a bit but i will try to do it next week.
Yep. That's what I thought, I'm afraid.

Surprised you didn't notice the problem sooner. :(
 

Zerk2012

Titan
Ambassador
Update

Electrician just left.

Apparently my house is not grounded at all, and electricity is leaking from 6 different outlets in the house. He said that i need to ground the whole house and check the whole electric installation because it's old.
It will cost a bit but i will try to do it next week.
Did you have him pull a outlet from the wall to see if your wiring even has the 3rd wire for the ground?
 

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