Hardware

Electric shocks are an undocumented feature in some Dell laptops

Some Dell laptop models with a brushed-aluminum finish, such as the XPS-M1330 and XPS M1530, appear to give out intermittent electric shocks. This is the result of the connection between the mains lead and the power adaptor, which isn't earthed properly because it has only two pins.

Some Dell laptop models with a brushed-aluminum finish, such as the XPS-M1330 and XPS M1530, appear to give out intermittent electric shocks. This is the result of the connection between the mains lead and the power adaptor, which isn't earthed properly because it has only two pins.

When the folks over at Crave rang Dell to complain, they were told that Dell is willing to replace all affected two-pin power supplies with three-pins. Interestingly, the company doesn't seem to publicly acknowledge that there a serious problem.

Excerpt from Crave:

We've discovered a worrying new feature in some Dell laptops: If you touch them, you may get an electric shock. This discharge can vary in strength from a gentle tingle to a sudden jolt. Disturbingly, you could also be shocked when connecting printers, PDAs, and other peripherals to the offending laptops.

Dell's stance, according to its Knowledge Base article, appears to be that this is not a cause for concern:

The electric current on all Dell products have been measured and proven to be well within the safety limits per safety standards — IEC950, EN60950, UL1950, etc., even with an input voltage of 240 volts. The voltage (tingling sensation) does NOT present any risk of injury to the user. It is recommended to unplug the AC adaptor from the parent device before attaching any cables or accessories, as this reduces the possibility of experiencing the tingling sensation.

Suggesting that customers unplug their AC adaptor before connecting their PDAs or other wired peripherals seems ridiculous.

Have you ever experience electric shocks on your laptop?

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

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