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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Slightly disturbing phenomena observed today...


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EightmanVT
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It's winter...and the air is dry...and static electricity fills the air. I discharge myself regularly - but I don't walk around with an ESD strap attached at home - but maybe I need to. Anyway - I had just started downloading Microsoft Office 2011 (all 900MB) for my new MBP and I touched the trackpad..and zap. The screen went haywire and the computer rebooted.

Did not like seeing that. Seems to be back up and running with no ill effects - but you'd think that given the nature of ESD that the track pad would be relatively immune to this phenomena.
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I doubt it's to do with ESD if all you touched was the trackpad, as the trackpad is glass.

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EightmanVT
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Oh - it's ESD - I know an electrostatic discharge when I see one. That just means that the glass isn't sufficient insulation for the level of voltage I was carrying and clearly there's a discharge path beneath that glass.
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IvanLasston

 
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If it is enough to reboot it - then it was a pretty bad zap. The failure mode of ESD is a kind of creeping death. Feel free to browse these images to get an idea of what ESD does to electronics
esd damage - Google Search
That is part of the problem - is stuff starts failing slowly. Now may be a good time to upgrade your apple care.

I have an old laptop power supply sitting at my couch - with the ground on the outside - so I touch that before touching any other electronics. It is really dry where I live.

You can definitely discharge through the trackpad - I've done it myself. Feel free to do an experiment if you want - go rub your rubber shoes on your carpet for a bit - then go touch your trackpad. That zapping feeling would be you discharging through the trackpad.
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EightmanVT
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Yes - some of the zaps tonight have been rather brutal - just unfortunate that this one went to the trackpad. I actually hadn't been walking...rather was just sitting on the couch, so it caught me by surprise, but this couch seems to be a pretty good generator. I usually discharge myself on the lamp next to the couch before picking up the laptop.

Yes - Apple Care. I've already set a reminder to purchase within 90-day period.
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This time of year here in North Texas is likewise very dry. I can walk across the carpet and pet my daughter's cat and she'll (the cat) leap up when she feels the zap.

At my last employment (computer tech for US Govt) we always wore a wrist grounding safety strap whenever we handled equipment or components. It was not unusual for a tech to get careless and destroy something he was working on by not being grounded.
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RobFERN

 
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increase the humidity inside your house. that should help some.

Rob

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MacShane

 
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Brings back memories of when I was getting my A+ cert and we were taught to always where an ESD bracelet when handling circuit boards, microchips and other components as they are easily fried by ESD.
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Yeah my couch is one of the worst offenders. It is on laminate flooring but the couch is covered in suede. Right now in the winter pretty much any movement on the couch causes static build up. Also, we run humidifiers all the time - otherwise your nose will start bleeding and your throat would get all scratchy. It is still dry.
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EightmanVT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacShane View Post
Brings back memories of when I was getting my A+ cert and we were taught to always where an ESD bracelet when handling circuit boards, microchips and other components as they are easily fried by ESD.
No question. As an EE by education - I'm certainly familiar with the dangers of ESD - just didn't like seeing it happen under these circumstances. It's not as if I was handling ckt bds.
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EightmanVT
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Yeah my couch is one of the worst offenders. It is on laminate flooring but the couch is covered in suede. Right now in the winter pretty much any movement on the couch causes static build up. Also, we run humidifiers all the time - otherwise your nose will start bleeding and your throat would get all scratchy. It is still dry.
Yes - I can imagine it's seriously dry out your way right now. I'm in the process of booking a trip to Breckenridge today - so will find out for myself next month. ;-) Can't wait!
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Originally Posted by chscag View Post
This time of year here in North Texas is likewise very dry. I can walk across the carpet and pet my daughter's cat and she'll (the cat) leap up when she feels the zap.
Haha... As if you don't do this at least twice a day just for chuckles !

D.
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Breckenridge is fun. They got a pile of snow this year. One of my best powder days was there. (Unfortunately it is popular so it was good powder for 2 runs then it was tracked.) Most hotel rooms up in the high country have humidifiers in the rooms.

From one of the pro skiers
Humidifier | Amazing! Grete Eliassen
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Humidifier = key element in Colorado Rockies
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EightmanVT
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Well...I'm no pro skiier - but I love to ski... I've vowed to make the trip west at least once a year...from now on. Just booked my trip for the last week in Feb - skipping the weekend which will hopefully mean short lift lines. :-) Can't wait!
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