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Thread: can a bad mouse cord short-out a laptop?

  1. #1
    Engineer maddog's Avatar
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    Default can a bad mouse cord short-out a laptop?

    Strange think happened last weekend. I have a 2 year old laptop, used mostly by my daughter, that went completely brain-dead. No power light (when power cord plugged-in) and the restart button did nothing. I took out the battery and put it back in - and it restarted!! I'm guessing there must be an internal circuit-breaker or surge-protector that tripped, and was reset by taking out the battery.

    Anyway, it happened again a few hours later. My daughter said that both times she just moved the mouse (corded) and the screen went black. The mouse cord by the USB plug does appear to be 'pinched' a bit. I gave her a different mouse and the laptop has been fine ever since.

    Has anyone heard of such a problem? I hope this helps if anyone else encounters this type of situation.

    -Dog ...

  2. #2

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    I never heard of that particular problem, but it seems like the old mouse was definitely the culprit.

    I've had my share of unexplained computer glitches, which is why I keep this photo around:
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    DIY Member Hillel's Avatar
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    Default USB mouse trap

    Quote Originally Posted by maddog View Post
    Anyway, it happened again a few hours later. My daughter said that both times she just moved the mouse (corded) and the screen went black. The mouse cord by the USB plug does appear to be 'pinched' a bit. I gave her a different mouse and the laptop has been fine ever since.
    I am assuming from your post that you are talking about a USB mouse here. Is the new mouse working in the same USB port that the old one was failing in? If not, try it. You want to be sure it was the mouse and not the USB controller.

    USB ports supply power to attached devices. Theoretically, a short on the power feed line could short out the laptop power supply. Still sounds like a poorly made USB controller if a short can travel back to the power supply from the port instead of the controller shutting down power to the port. Sounds like you may have to be a little paranoid of staples and paper clips near the USB ports on that laptop.

    Hope this helps.
    ---Hillel
    Last edited by Hillel; 11-27-2007 at 03:09 PM.

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    Engineer maddog's Avatar
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    Default bad mouse tail ....

    yes - the new mouse uses the same USB port. I also used the same USB port to back up the hard drive to a portable hard drive (got paranoid that the laptop was about to die), and it worked fine. I ran full diagnostics (mother board, memory, cpu, hard disk, etc) and all came out clean. My daughter does move the laptop with mouse around alot, and the 'tail' does appear to be crimped. I really don't want to replace this laptop (running XP) yet, as the new ones all seem to come pre-loaded with Vista

    Thanks much for the replies .... -Dog.

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    Plumber patrick88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddog View Post
    yes - the new mouse uses the same USB port. I also used the same USB port to back up the hard drive to a portable hard drive (got paranoid that the laptop was about to die), and it worked fine. I ran full diagnostics (mother board, memory, cpu, hard disk, etc) and all came out clean. My daughter does move the laptop with mouse around alot, and the 'tail' does appear to be crimped. I really don't want to replace this laptop (running XP) yet, as the new ones all seem to come pre-loaded with Vista

    Thanks much for the replies .... -Dog.
    I would get a wireless mouse if that is the case.
    You could get a nice brand new desktop computer with less problems that could be upgraded as needed and not dropped.
    Ya I have been told Wintrash XP is much better than Wintrash Vista. You could do the best thing ever for your self and instead of switching to Vista you could switch to Ubuntu http://www.ubuntu.com/ I am not a big fan of it but it is a good choice for beginners.
    I'm just starting to work with an old friend of mine to bring solar electric and hot water systems, wind turbines, Flex Fuel Boilers, batteries, hydroponic gardening, books, pellet grills and more. Also the parts for DIY installation.

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    DIY Junior Member tinner666's Avatar
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    I got Vista on my new one. It's slower.

    About the mouse cord. When using low voltage thing like puters, it doesn't take much to short circuit the whole system.
    Frank Albert

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    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tinner666 View Post
    I got Vista on my new one. It's slower.
    How much RAM do you have?

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member tinner666's Avatar
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    Only a gig. Need another gig.
    Frank Albert

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    Plumber patrick88's Avatar
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    If your going to do anything with Vista you need to max out your ram. That is the Wintrash Office eats tuns of ram.
    I would remove: Office and any security that came with it and install.
    AntivirPE: http://www.free-av.com/antivirus/allinonen.html
    ZoneAlarm Personal: http://www.zonealarm.com/store/conte...try=US&lang=en
    SpyBot S&D: http://www.safer-networking.org/en/spybotsd/index.html
    All are free and is what I install to keep what ever Wintrash system I work on and use (if I am forced to)
    I would also not use IE7 because of all the problems it has as far as security. Like the big hole it has any hacker can drive a Mac truck through. FirFox: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/
    Just go into ZoneAlarm and click on the tab that has a list of programs ready for the net and right click the green arrows next to IE7 and turn them to a blue ?

    Now your computer will be a little bit safer.
    If you want a rock solid system that will keep the viruses out and hacker out and pop-ups out run Linux. oh and a fast Linux system has as little as 256megs of ram.
    I'm just starting to work with an old friend of mine to bring solar electric and hot water systems, wind turbines, Flex Fuel Boilers, batteries, hydroponic gardening, books, pellet grills and more. Also the parts for DIY installation.

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member tinner666's Avatar
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    Already have all that and more. I ran AVG and McAfee together for 5 years without a glitch. I got tired of paying McAfee and dropped it.
    When virus hunting, it was a tossup as to which was the first to detect a new virus.

    Virus writers are getting really smart now and using DLL files to hide in.
    Frank Albert

  11. #11
    Plumber patrick88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tinner666 View Post
    Already have all that and more. I ran AVG and McAfee together for 5 years without a glitch. I got tired of paying McAfee and dropped it.
    When virus hunting, it was a tossup as to which was the first to detect a new virus.

    Virus writers are getting really smart now and using DLL files to hide in.
    I fixed a friends pc that was running McAfee. The system was trashed. I believe the best way is to use an antivirus that is open source if possible. That way when a virus shows it gets fixed faster than the pay ones. I have noticed the pay ones tend to hold off till they can do a big patch.
    If you use an email reader don't use outlook or outlook express. They tend to open your mail and let hidden programs run.
    Oh and nothing is perfect but if use your computer for real work not just playing around on like most people that get a computer because they think they need one. the best advise is do your home work and find what is the safest. I don't do any real work on my wintrash box. I do all my work on my Linux box. I don't care if win gets a virus (have not had one in 3yrs) but I do keep my antivirus up to date.
    Oh don't run to many programs that say they will fix your registry because how do they know what you need. These programs are not running on your machine learning. These programs get installed after you start to have problems and try and guess what you need fixed. They also tend to delete stuff.
    Good luck with every thing
    I'm just starting to work with an old friend of mine to bring solar electric and hot water systems, wind turbines, Flex Fuel Boilers, batteries, hydroponic gardening, books, pellet grills and more. Also the parts for DIY installation.

  12. #12

    Default

    And, back to the mouse: laptops in particular, don't have much in the way of spare capacity built into the power supplies - everything is 'tuned' to be as small/light as possible, so it IS very possible for a short in the USB power buss to pull enough current to reduce system voltages below spec.

    Desktop systems, on the other hand, generally have more spare capocity built into the power supply. They are designed to add new cards and drives, after all, so all but the cheapest have to have more spare capacity.

  13. #13
    Engineer maddog's Avatar
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    Just to provide an update - the laptop has been fine since replacing the mouse, so it must have shorted out the laptop somehow. Unplugging the power cord and taking the battery out after going brain-dead appears to have 'reset' the laptop, allowing it to restart again (after putting the battery back in)..... -Dog.

  14. #14

    Smile Wow you saved me alot of time and money!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by maddog View Post
    Strange think happened last weekend. I have a 2 year old laptop, used mostly by my daughter, that went completely brain-dead. No power light (when power cord plugged-in) and the restart button did nothing. I took out the battery and put it back in - and it restarted!! I'm guessing there must be an internal circuit-breaker or surge-protector that tripped, and was reset by taking out the battery.

    Anyway, it happened again a few hours later. My daughter said that both times she just moved the mouse (corded) and the screen went black. The mouse cord by the USB plug does appear to be 'pinched' a bit. I gave her a different mouse and the laptop has been fine ever since.

    Has anyone heard of such a problem? I hope this helps if anyone else encounters this type of situation.

    -Dog ...

    This just happened to me on my Asus G1 laptop. I had a USB cord that my dog bit, and I didnt notice until it shorted out my laptop. I even called the geek squad and just to diagnose it would have cost me $59. Not to mention the down time - I use it for work....the battery thing worked for me.

    Thanks for the quick fix.

  15. #15

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    The same thing happens with one of my cell phones if I don't shut if off for sometime. I need to take out the battery and put it back in, then the phone works, again.

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