Grounding while pregnant

Thread Starter

Annakish

Joined Feb 10, 2022
2
I believe my laptop that I use evey day is grounding through me when it's plugged in. Its a known issue and the manufacturer says it isn't a problem. However, I have just found out that I am 5 weeks pregnant.
Could this have affected my baby in any way????
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
26,807
I believe my laptop that I use evey day is grounding through me when it's plugged in. Its a known issue and the manufacturer says it isn't a problem. However, I have just found out that I am 5 weeks pregnant.
Could this have affected my baby in any way????
Welcome to AAC!

Laptops receive their power from batteries or from a wall outlet through a power adapter.

When the laptop is powered by batteries while not connected to the wall outlet it is said to be "floating".
When the power adapter is plugged into the wall outlet and into the laptop it powers the laptop as well as charges the battery.

There are two types of power adapters, one with a 3-pin power plug which is connected to earth and the other which is 2-pin or 3-pin with no connection to earth.

The "grounded" earth connection provides a means to eliminate any charge build up and to prevent electro-static discharge particularly in low humidity climates (especially in heated homes in winter). An additional safety is that it protects the user should there be an electrical fault in the instrument or appliance.

Whether or not the laptop is "grounded" there is no electric current flowing between the user and the laptop. It is perfectly safe to use the laptop whether or not the user is pregnant.

Sorry for the long explanation. I hope this will help to remove any fears or anxiety you may have.
We wish you all you best on the upcoming new addition to the family.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
14,924
Welcome to AAC!

If "grounding through you" means you're getting shocked, it's not likely to harm your fetus. But you should have the problem corrected because it's not acceptable for it to present a shock risk.

In the US, if the adapter plug has 3 prongs, ground on the output should be connected to earth ground which would prevent you from being shocked. If it's 2 pins, the output should be isolated from line voltage.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
2,111
What part of the laptop are you touching that makes you part of the electrical circuit?
are you also concerned about your phone not being grounded?, a flashlight? Or even an electric car? Or a gasoline powered car that uses much more electric power than a laptop?
Plenty of prevent woman have delivered healthy babies after using battery operated equipment that are not "grounded". Laptops, phones, flashlights, pacemakers, video cameras, cars, whatever.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
14,924
This is the issue I have
That's an electric shock that is unsafe and should not be allowed if the Apple product has the appropriate safety approvals. If you have to buy a special cable to avoid getting shocked, you should complain to the relevant regulatory agency.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
2,111
Buzzing of an inductor that is pushed to the limit is caused by magnetostriction, every transformer does when near maximum load. Because this same (similar) 60Hz sound can remind people of a Frankenstein and many other movies where people get shocked, the sound can give the impression that you are getting shocked. You are not.
If you disassemble your Mac, you will realize there is no "cost cutting" taking place. Apply has had the mantra, every part must be beautiful" by beautiful, they truly mean beautiful in an aesthetic sense (wither the user sees it or not) but it also means every part should be "right" in function, safety, quality, ...

padding an extension cord is not grounding the machine so it is not connected in any power of the world (in the US it is sold with a two pin connector). Plain and simply, there is simply nothing metal on the chassis worth grounding and the stupid big block plug used in the UK is required to have a grounding pin - so Apple put a ground pin on but did not connect it to anything. Not a safety issue unless some UK regulator claims there is - but Apple wouldn't take that risk so, they most likely have approval not to have it connected either by rule or by exceptional procedural review.
 

k1ng 1337

Joined Sep 11, 2020
651
Thank you everyone for your swift responses! That makes me feel better. This is the issue I have - I may not have explained it very well: https://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/9evrtz
I have felt small shocks from my laptops many times probably due to accumulated static charge which gains additional potential near a powered device hence finds it's way to ground. I think TS is referring to the same phenomenon. I don't keep my laptop on my body anymore, I'm convinced a device over 1 year old can cause harm to my body due to limited life components.
 

Jon Chandler

Joined Jun 12, 2008
302
Pardon the esteemed previous commenters but they are incorrect.





Ungrounded switching power supplies frequency if not always have minute leakage current at approximately ½ supply voltage. This is caused by leakage through the noise suppression capacitors.
 

ThePanMan

Joined Mar 13, 2020
475
My wife used to have a plastic floor guard down in front of her computer so her chair could roll around easily. There have been times I've used her computer for whatever reason. When wearing socks and sliding them around on the plastic - I'd get a strong static discharge. Not that anything is improperly grounded, no. It's that darn plastic mat generating static charge. If you're feeling this sort of shock - a sudden, short and intense shock - it's just static. On the other hand if you're getting a continuous shock then the ground is faulty AND you must be touching something that is grounded at the same time. It's an indication that something needs to be repaired. Without knowing more I can't say what. But unless the shock is going through your abdomen your baby is going to be unaffected by it. It's like you getting slapped in the face - - - the baby won't feel it. Getting punched in the stomach - - - THAT the baby WILL feel.

Good luck with the newbie. And welcome to AAC.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
2,111
minute leakage current at approximately ½ supply voltage.
I'm interested but confused. How does current leak at a specific voltage? Does it leak until a specific voltage is achieved? What happens after the voltage is reached? Does the leakage stop? Please advise.
 

Jon Chandler

Joined Jun 12, 2008
302
I'm interested but confused. How does current leak at a specific voltage? Does it leak until a specific voltage is achieved? What happens after the voltage is reached? Does the leakage stop? Please advise.
I'll bet you have a voltmeter. Prove me wrong.

Big Clive has shown this in his videos – it's why he recommends using USB-powered soldering irons with a battery bank rather than a line-powered supply. The tip can be floating at half line voltage.

BTW.... You need to measure AC volts.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
2,111
I'll bet you have a voltmeter. Prove me wrong.

Big Clive has shown this in his videos – it's why he recommends using USB-powered soldering irons with a battery bank rather than a line-powered supply. The tip can be floating at half line voltage.

BTW.... You need to measure AC volts.
I don't need to prove you wrong, I was looking for an answer that clarified the missing parts in your claim. The details are still missing but you just added a chip to your shoulder.
 

Jon Chandler

Joined Jun 12, 2008
302
Here's a sample of one, which is enough to prove the point. This is the first non-grounded power supply I came across (ok, truthfully, it's the second since I didn't have a power cord for the first one handy). It's an Actiontec supply for some piece of long-ago abandoned network gear.

Input: 100 – 120 VAC, 60 Hz
Output: 12VDC, 1 amp max.

The supply put out 13.2 VDC at no load when I tested it.

From either the positive or negative lead, I measured ~ 43VAC to powerline ground.

This is consistent with other switching supplies I have measured.

20220211_171440.jpg20220211_171455.jpg
 

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
6,043
I have, with my newest laptop (Dell, with 3-prong plug) received numerous small shocks. I do not think they were static shocks as the shock continues as long as I make contact; not just a quick 'zap' and gone. It doesn't always happen but it seems to happen more often when I set it on a metal surface. I don't know what causes it. I haven't measured it but I would estimate it somewhere around 40-60v based on other shocks of known voltage I've received.

If this is the same thing you are experiencing, I would understand your concern for the unborn child. Personally I think the risk is extremely low but I am not a medical professional nor have I ever studied the effect of electric shock on unborn children. I cannot say for certain. If you are concerned, then I would suggest if for no other reason than your peace of mind, don't use the laptop.
 

ThePanMan

Joined Mar 13, 2020
475
It doesn't always happen but it seems to happen more often when I set it on a metal surface. I don't know what causes it.
Solution: Wear pants when sitting on a grounded steel bench.

No, really, I've experienced capacitive crosstalk at about 65VAC from a laptop computer that was connected to a grounded module. When soldering a chip to a board the chip would blow out because of the excess AC voltage reaching it via the grounded soldering iron tip. It appears this vagrant AC can come from a power supply that isn't grounded at its source. A two pronged PS usually (or almost always) isn't grounded. Thus, you can get some leakage from somewhere. A properly grounded PS will draw that vagrant current to ground and the user will not experience any sensations.

Will this harm the baby? Probably not. Not unless the charge is going through the baby. Though I was joking with @strantor the best approach is to find a way to isolate yourself from the keyboard. I'm on a MacBook Pro right now. I have a bluetooth keyboard and mouse. So I nearly never touch the MBP. Mine is significantly older than yours and I've never experienced any shocking sensations, so I can't speak from experience. But I can assure you my bluetooth keyboard is 100% isolate from the laptop.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
12,746
So use an ISOLATION TRANSFORMER, and get a good one that is low capacitance between primary and secondary, or better yet, a grounded shield layer between them. And DO NOT ground any connection to the secondary winging of the isolatio transformer.

It may also be possible to buy a "medical grade" power supply with adequate voltage and current ratings. But if the computer has that STUPID setup where it will only function with an OEM supply, then that will not work.
 
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