Question Ungrounded Laptop Getting Shocked Solutions

Aug 21, 2020
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I'm an American that has lived in SE Asia for over 6 years. For over 2 years I've been using a laptop that charges via USB C. I've dealt always dealt with electrical shock (mostly small like static electric shocks) but for nearly 2 months, in my new location it is MUCH worst. I'm trying to find solutions to this under my varying situations.

I've been in Cambodia over 3 years now. So nearly 2 months ago I moved to a place in the country (before that I was stuck in the US for 4 months because of COVID, and before that had a more modern apartment in the city). First, let me say that NO WHERE in SE Asia has grounded outlets. Even if they have the 3rd plug they are RARELY grounded. I am a web developer so I spend 6-18 hours everyday on the laptop. I spend about half my time on my bed working and half the time under a pavilion outside which is dirt floor.

On my bed I'm safe from shock, but if I stand on the tile floor and touch my laptop it seems I'm always shocked. Or if someone standing on the tile touches my while working on the bed we both get shocked. I guess tile is a decent electric conductor. I've learned to be very careful not to just grab my laptop off the bed, and my fiance has learned to be careful also touching me (plus she doesn't understand the whole issue).

When I'm outside I'm often in sandals and I use a mechanical keyboard through another USB C port and it has a metal base. Wow, I've become very conscious of not bumping that metal base with my leg or arm. It's rainy season and I often find myself in a wet environment. I'll typically continue working during rain except when it is pouring and my laptop starts getting wet from the strong wind/rain.

Before this I would get shocked in my old apartment, or at hotels, etc., but not as much, and normally not as strong, but here it's been a lot and stronger shocks. Like today I was exercising outside, and went to respond to a Skype quickly between sets, and my palm bumped the metal base of the keyboard while my bare leg (wearing shorts) was leaning on the metal weights and I got a STRONG zap. Also, today my dog got zapped (and has happened several times) while I was working and she came and bumped me (a big Doberman that loves to constantly bump me so I throw her toy, but she has become reluctant, whenever I feel the zap knowing she got zapped too she runs off freaked out).

I am going to go ahead and try to find a 3 prong outlet (hopefully GFCI) to install and ground it myself.

1) This is DC, it's a laptop, which I thought was 100% safe. The strong zaps have me worried though. Are there any health risks involved (like could this potentially kill me or do other harm)?

2) Can this damage my laptop (which is my bread and butter)?

3) To ground it can I just take the ground outlet from the receptacle (which is outside on a wooden Lincoln log style pole) and run the wire to the ground and bury it in the ground a few inches so it doesn't pop out (the ground is normally dry but during strong rains can get wet and have water puddle up)? And if so, do I use a bare wire like how grounds are in the US?

4) Is there anything I can do when travelling? NO WHERE has grounded outlets. Is it not a huge concern? I mean EVERYONE here is doing it, and even if you buy a laptop here or desktop it comes with a wire with just 2 plugs (type A or C), and I've never heard of issues.

I really don't want to redo the wiring for the whole house (which I'm sure is a hazard). I'll be moving back to the states once COVID is over any my fiance's K-1 visa is approved. I prefer just to fix the 2 outlets that I plug my laptop into.
 
I'm an American that has lived in SE Asia for over 6 years. For over 2 years I've been using a laptop that charges via USB C. I've dealt always dealt with electrical shock (mostly small like static electric shocks) but for nearly 2 months, in my new location it is MUCH worst. I'm trying to find solutions to this under my varying situations.

I've been in Cambodia over 3 years now. So nearly 2 months ago I moved to a place in the country (before that I was stuck in the US for 4 months because of COVID, and before that had a more modern apartment in the city). First, let me say that NO WHERE in SE Asia has grounded outlets. Even if they have the 3rd plug they are RARELY grounded. I am a web developer so I spend 6-18 hours everyday on the laptop. I spend about half my time on my bed working and half the time under a pavilion outside which is dirt floor.

On my bed I'm safe from shock, but if I stand on the tile floor and touch my laptop it seems I'm always shocked. Or if someone standing on the tile touches my while working on the bed we both get shocked. I guess tile is a decent electric conductor. I've learned to be very careful not to just grab my laptop off the bed, and my fiance has learned to be careful also touching me (plus she doesn't understand the whole issue).

When I'm outside I'm often in sandals and I use a mechanical keyboard through another USB C port and it has a metal base. Wow, I've become very conscious of not bumping that metal base with my leg or arm. It's rainy season and I often find myself in a wet environment. I'll typically continue working during rain except when it is pouring and my laptop starts getting wet from the strong wind/rain.

Before this I would get shocked in my old apartment, or at hotels, etc., but not as much, and normally not as strong, but here it's been a lot and stronger shocks. Like today I was exercising outside, and went to respond to a Skype quickly between sets, and my palm bumped the metal base of the keyboard while my bare leg (wearing shorts) was leaning on the metal weights and I got a STRONG zap. Also, today my dog got zapped (and has happened several times) while I was working and she came and bumped me (a big Doberman that loves to constantly bump me so I throw her toy, but she has become reluctant, whenever I feel the zap knowing she got zapped too she runs off freaked out).

I am going to go ahead and try to find a 3 prong outlet (hopefully GFCI) to install and ground it myself.

1) This is DC, it's a laptop, which I thought was 100% safe. The strong zaps have me worried though. Are there any health risks involved (like could this potentially kill me or do other harm)?

2) Can this damage my laptop (which is my bread and butter)?

3) To ground it can I just take the ground outlet from the receptacle (which is outside on a wooden Lincoln log style pole) and run the wire to the ground and bury it in the ground a few inches so it doesn't pop out (the ground is normally dry but during strong rains can get wet and have water puddle up)? And if so, do I use a bare wire like how grounds are in the US?

4) Is there anything I can do when travelling? NO WHERE has grounded outlets. Is it not a huge concern? I mean EVERYONE here is doing it, and even if you buy a laptop here or desktop it comes with a wire with just 2 plugs (type A or C), and I've never heard of issues.

I really don't want to redo the wiring for the whole house (which I'm sure is a hazard). I'll be moving back to the states once COVID is over any my fiance's K-1 visa is approved. I prefer just to fix the 2 outlets that I plug my laptop into.
Grounding rod should be at least 6 feet deep to do good job, few inches is not good enough. If you have running water with metal pipes it's also a good place for ground.
 

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