Static Electricity - Can it Kill a Soundcard?
Feb 28, 2006 at 2:27 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

Aman

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I came home this morning, hoping to listen to some raging Sigur Ros, only to find that my headphones, plugged into my PC, did not work. I took out the headphones and plugged them into my speakers' amp, and they played just fine. "Odd", I thought.

Anyway, I plugged them back into my computer, and still no go. I was not able to get any sound to come out of the computer. Software-wise, the volume levels are at their normal positions and my drivers test fine. Sound is sent to the soundcard fine without any interruptions or warnings.

I keep on feeling static electricity shocks coming from my cables and computer's chasis (it's aluminum). Is it possible that due to the winter, static electricity fried my sound card? I have no ways of testing the card because the only thing I own that can be plugged into the card is the headphone with the mini-RCA cable attached to it.

My setup goes like this:

Headphones --> Mini-RCA Cable --> PC Sound Card

The Headphones and Mini-RCA Cable I've already tested on other sources, and both of them work fine. My sound card is an M-Audio Audiophile 24/96.

Help?
confused.gif
 
Feb 28, 2006 at 2:40 AM Post #2 of 7

Unearthed

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I don't think that is possible because the power supply is grouding the rest of your computer. Most likely this is a software issue, although I guess there could be hardware failure. Once, my gf muted my computer through the windows control (which I never use) and I thought something went wrong for like 2 days.

I would get in there and make sure all is sitting well in the mobo and then uninstall and reinstall your soundcard drivers.
 
Feb 28, 2006 at 2:46 AM Post #3 of 7

Asmo

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Static electricity can kill anything in your computer. I'd even venture to say that most hardware failures, are user caused, due to static electricity when the user installs the hardware.

But, besides the point, once its installed in the system, it is grounded, and should not be in danger of that, just running.

If the card was 'fried' it would probably generate more errors, like not being recognized by the system or causing crashes.
 
Feb 28, 2006 at 2:46 AM Post #4 of 7

Norbert

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I've got phones>amp>usbdac>laptop and static drives me crazy. when it happens the sound stops. I have to cut the power to the dac and turn it back on to get sound back into my headphones. But if I don't stop the song in winamp first then I get an error message from winamp when the dac comes back on. A huge pain. I got a humidifier in my room to decrease the static.
 
Feb 28, 2006 at 3:13 AM Post #5 of 7

RichA

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Unearthed
I don't think that is possible because the power supply is grouding the rest of your computer. Most likely this is a software issue, although I guess there could be hardware failure. Once, my gf muted my computer through the windows control (which I never use) and I thought something went wrong for like 2 days.

I would get in there and make sure all is sitting well in the mobo and then uninstall and reinstall your soundcard drivers.



Whether the system is earthed or not depends on the PSU - don't take it as a given that it is. The fact that the original poster is experiencing static shock suggests that there is an earthing fault.

Static can kill most pieces of electrical equipment. Pull the card from the PC, boot the PC and remove any drivers. Power down, plug the card back in, and reboot - hopefully you'll see 'Updating ESCD...' on the screen at some point between the memory count and booting your OS. If it doesn't, then chances are something on the card is broken.

You could do worse than run a length of wire from one of the screws on the case to a radiator, and see if the shocks continue. Try changing your footwear, wearing cotton clothing, etc, etc. Even discharging yourself on an earth before touching the PC - it's worth investigating and getting sorted, as it'll do you no favours in future.

--Rich
 
Feb 28, 2006 at 4:51 AM Post #6 of 7

richpjr

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I have previously killed two different sound cards by zapping them with static. Once I touched the back of one, got a slight static shock and the card was dead. A second time I was plugging in a cable into a mini jack, noticed a static spark and that sound card was also dead. I am VERY careful now (of course - you'd think I would have been careful after killing the first one!).
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 9:52 PM Post #7 of 7

Drewpy

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Quote:

Originally Posted by RichA
Whether the system is earthed or not depends on the PSU - don't take it as a given that it is. The fact that the original poster is experiencing static shock suggests that there is an earthing fault.
--Rich



No actually, all it means is that the user, and the computer system are at different levels of electrical charge. If you shuffle your feet around on a carpeted floor, you WILL get a static shock touching your computer case. You have accumulated a charge, and it will discharge through the computer (if that's what you touch first).

If you are sitting in front of your computer, not moving (well, definately don't shuffle your feet around while listening to music, as you'll build up a charge) and are continually experiencing static discharges, then that is an indication there could be something wrong with your computer's PSU.

No harm pulling the card, and rebooting as RichA mentioned though. Worked for me when I had a problem with my 0404.
 

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