Question I think my cat is shutting off my computer with static electricity ?

huegidiot

Honorable
Aug 7, 2016
2
0
10,510
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I've got a desktop computer, there's a huge top vent that spans most of the top of the tower and it has a magnetic mesh cover over it. My cat jumps on the tower, pushing the vent cover out of alignment as he gets onto my desk because he sleeps behind my monitor a lot. Problem is, about every 10 or so times my cat jumps up there, my computer completely shuts off. Instantly off, not frozen or black screen or anything, it's just completely off and ready to be powered up again. At first I thought he was hitting the power button so I made Windows "do nothing" when it's pressed. It still continued happening, so I thought there was a short or loose cable somewhere shutting the computer off when he jumps up and shakes it slightly. Nope, everything is fine, I can shake the computer as much as I want and wiggle all the cords and stuff, it never shuts off.

The only thing I can think of at this point is the static electricity my cat is carrying, and we do have a static-y carpeted house and, as a result, static-y cats. I'm not sure how this is happening though, there's a good few inches between the top vent part he's jumping on and the beginning of the motherboard inside the case. There's an exposed 4-prong PWM thing (I think it's called that) at the very top of the motherboard only a few inches under the vent area, not sure if that's what eating the static and shorting it all out? So far no damage or anything, computer turns right back on with no issues, all components work, but now I'm pretty concerned. I don't want to lock the cat out of my room and I don't think what's happening is normal, the computer should deal with some outside static fine shouldn't it? I have it on this cheap little 4-wheeled riser that keeps it like 5 inches off the carpet. I have the PSU power cable going to a surge protector which is going to an outlet (duh), no idea if my home is properly grounded though, probably not because it's old AF.

So I guess, any tips for fixing this issue? Stopping my cat from jumping on top of it is probably not a possibility, and not really my concern in and of itself aside from the computer shutting off. Does this happening indicate an issue somewhere in my build or electrical outlets? I'm not an electrician and frankly don't know what I'm talking about but it seems like the tiny split second of static should be grounded out or something? I've had computers and cats for 20+ years, this is the first time I've had this issue, although I've never had a case with such a huge top vent either. I did also have a magnetic flashlight charger on top of it that my cat knocks around as he jumps up, but I moved the magnet part of it all around the top/sides of the tower and it's not like causing a short or anything I can see (but maybe when combined with static?), I don't know if it's related but I just removed it to see if it helps. Sorry this post is all over the place lmao. thanks
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
That static electricity per se is not likely to harm the computer.

However, depending on the strength of the charge and the path to ground - who knows.... There are some very sensitive components involved.

Of more concern are those sudden shutdowns that will cause problems in and of themselves. Most likely problem being corrupted application and data files.

[As always, be sure that you are regularly backing up all data on the computer at least 2 x to locations other than on the computer. Verify that the backups are recoverable and readable.]

Besides the static charge the cat is also likely bringing along fur, dust, pollen, etc.. And all that debris is likely getting inside the case and will eventually clog vents, coat components, etc. leading to overheating.

Statistically, likely only a matter of time until cat barf and/or urine ends up inside the case. That will not end well.

What must stop is the cat jumping up on top.

You know cats and you know your cat.

Find a way to keep the cat from jumping on top. Put something solid and discouraging behind the monitor "sleeping space".

Offer an improved sleeping space.

Cat may be mad about it for awhile but so be it.

Otherwise one jump too many may prove expensive.....
 

geofelt

Titan
Cats do like to sleep where it is warm.
It is hard to stop them.
Mine likes to sleep on top of my case.
Or, on my lap which becomes a problem when I need to concentrate.
In colder weather, the computer room is warmer and attracts cats.
I keep the door closed when I am doing something that can't be disturbed.
A bios flash for instance.

On your problem, I would first look into the proper grounding and connection to your wall outlet.
Possibly when the cat jumps, it will cause the pc and power cable to move.
Such a jump from a creature that can jump 3x it's height needs lots of power.

I do not have a lot of faith in the protective capability of surge protectors.
If you have a high end surgex unit, that is a different matter.
You could also condition power with a UPS.
A UPS will need a grounded outlet.
 

ScrewySqrl

Champion
Moderator
we had a cat that liked to sleep on top of old, boxy CRT monitors. Right up until we first replaced it with an LCD screen.

Right after we removed the old monitor, he came in, hopped to the chair and thence leapt up to where the monitor had been...and promptly sailed over the LCD screen and down behind the gap between the desk and the wall, landing in a surprised heap on the floor. He never tried to jump on the monitor again.
 

geofelt

Titan
we had a cat that liked to sleep on top of old, boxy CRT monitors. Right up until we first replaced it with an LCD screen.

Right after we removed the old monitor, he came in, hopped to the chair and thence leapt up to where the monitor had been...and promptly sailed over the LCD screen and down behind the gap between the desk and the wall, landing in a surprised heap on the floor. He never tried to jump on the monitor again.
I had the same experience.
We had three cats and three IBM CRT monitors. One for each cat.
If you tell me how to post a .jpg of them on the monitors, I will do so.

And... exactly the same thing happened with my first lcd monitor.
 

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