The problem only seems to occur in Dell laptops that have a brushed-aluminium finish. These include the XPS M1330 and XPS M1530. It's caused by the two-pronged connection between the mains lead and the power adaptor, which isn't earthed properly because of its lack of a third pin.Source: CNET
The laptop therefore exhibits an electrical potential (voltage) between its exposed metal parts (the brushed aluminium wrist pad) and earth ground. Since there is no earth, the human body basically acts as a wire that can conduct electric current, hence the tingling, jolting sensation.
This can be exacerbated depending on the conditions of a person's skin--whether it's oily or dry--and the surrounding environment. Humidity levels, flooring types or desk material all play a role here.
Dell had not responded to a request for comment at time of publication--we'll update if they ever get back to us. When our colleagues rang Dell to complain, they were told Dell is willing to replace all affected two-pin power supplies with a three-pin connection. But the company doesn't seem to publicly acknowledge there's a serious problem. According to a Dell Knowledge Base article:
"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."
Dell XPS notebook users complain about shocks
Posted on Friday, Jan 18 2008 @ 19:37 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck