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Windows 7: USBs disconnect/reconnect during thunderstorms

23 Nov 2016   #1

USBs disconnect/reconnect during thunderstorms

Hi there.

So I have a problem with my USBs (either keyboard, mouse or webcam) that disconnects and instantly reconnects during a thunderstorm (whenever there's a thunderbolt, my computer makes the USB connect/disconnect sound and then 'stutters' for a second). This is very, very irritating and causes me to not be able to play games during thunderstorms.

Now I've heard that this is caused by the 'extra static electricity in the air, being picked up by the long keyboard/mouse wire, and causing it to disconnect'... but, my questions is, how do I fix this? Should I wrap all my cables in tin-foil? What can be done about this?

Any help will be appreciated and I'll rep if my problem is solved. Thanks.

Windows 7, SP1, 64bit.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Nov 2016   #2

Windows 7 HP

I have a friend that went to see the storm on her small office window.
There were thunders and lightning. Beautiful.
Then the power went out.
When it came back, EVERYTHING that was on (computer, monitor, scanner, printers etc) was irreversibly damage.

So my advice, when it begins a lightning storm, have a break.
Shut down and unplug all devices from the wall.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Nov 2016   #3

Windows 7 Ent. x64

I wonder if going wireless like blutooth, would eliminate the issue?? or open another can of worms.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

24 Nov 2016   #4

Windows 7 x64

There may have a possibility your computer had a spike, but may not be.

To be safe, do get a power surge protector power extension, to prevent damage to you devices.

You can do a simple test.

Ensure the computer is off.

Take a usb cable to insert to the USB port.

Most USB cable tend to be smaller than the USB port.

If the USB cable insert into the USB port and is tight, this is the correct & excellent.

These sound pop-up mean that the connector is not tight, tend to be loose.
That is why there is this sound.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Nov 2016   #5


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Eric3742 View Post
To be safe, do get a power surge protector power extension, to prevent damage to you devices.
To sometimes compromise better protection already inside a computer, get that near zero joule power surge protector. It only claims to protect from surges too tiny to overwhelm protection already inside all computers. Ignore advise that does not include or discuss specification numbers.

Something completely different, unfortunately also called a surge protector, does protect from all surges including direct lightning strikes. But that was not discussed. And is detailed later.

USB stutter is due to noise. Nobody can say anything useful until all connections are discussed. For example, is each USB device powered from its USB cable or via some separate power source. Remember, the noise (not surge) that might cause stutter must have an incoming path to that USB device. And a completely different and separate outgoing path. If both do not exist, then no such noise could exist. Solutions start by first defining a problem - every possible incoming and outgoing current path.

Meanwhile, that noise current creates single digit volts. View numbers on that protector. It does absolutely nothing until an AC voltage well exceeds 330 or 500 volts. Clearly is a major voltage difference between single digit and 300+ volts that others forget to discuss.

If anything needs protection, then everything needs that protection. That stutter would be a canary in the coal mine. It is saying a transient must be averted where it enters a building. To protect everything. And to do protection where protection can be effective.

Two separate actions exist. First is to define incoming and outgoing paths via each USB device. Then others can define a problem BEFORE recommending a solution. Second is to have effective transient protection for all appliances - a 'whole house' solution. Plenty more is to discuss on both action items.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Nov 2016   #6

Windows 7 Profession 64-bit

Now I've heard that this is caused by the 'extra static electricity in the air, being picked up by the long keyboard/mouse wire, and causing it to disconnect'... but, my questions is, how do I fix this?
That's BS!

Lightning might affect a wireless keyboard and mouse, but not wired. Lightning, however, can sure introduce significant surges and spikes in the power coming off your grid - especially if you house has poor or faulting wiring. And that could sure affect your computer, including the USB ports your keyboard and mouse are plugged into.

Ideally, during severe weather, you should power down and unplug all your electronics, not play on it.

Short of that, I would urge you to put your computer on a "good" UPS with AVR (automatic voltage regulation). Note a surge and spike protector is little more than a fancy and expensive extension cord. For extreme high voltage anomalies (extreme surges and spikes) they simply kill power (if lucky and they are working properly) to your connected devices. Never good. For low voltage anomalies such as sags (opposite of surges), dips (opposite of spikes) and brownouts (long duration sags) a surge and spike protector does absolutely nothing.

Also every computer user should have access to a AC Outlet Tester to ensure your outlet is properly wired and grounded. I recommend one with a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupt) indicator as it can be used to test bathroom and kitchen outlets too. These testers can be found for your type and voltage outlet, foreign or domestic, (like this one for the UK) at most home improvement stores, or even the electrical department at Wal-Mart. Use it to test all the outlets in the house and if a fault is shown, have it fixed by a qualified electrician.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Nov 2016   #7


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Itaregid View Post
That's BS! Lightning might affect a wireless keyboard and mouse, but not wired. Lightning, however, can sure introduce significant surges and spikes in the power coming off your grid - especially if you house has poor or faulting wiring.
None defines appliance protection. Plenty of hearsay exists when one only believe a first thing told. Many do not do what is always necessary to learn. A recommendation must say why with numbers. No numbers indicate classic junk science reasoning.

Another indication of a lie: a reply is based in soundbyte rationalizing rather than reality that takes paragraphs and specification numbers.

Begin with BS about damage via wireless. Lightning strikes within maybe 30 feet of a long wire antenna. Antennas maximize E-M (wireless) effects; ie create a highest voltage from an adjacent lightning strike. That antenna lead might be at thousands of volts. An NE-2 glow lamp - a less than 1 milliamp conductor - causes thousands of volts drop to tens. Why? E-M field energy content is trivial. Made irrelevant by a tiniest energy consumer - a neon glow lamp. Damage from E-M (wireless) fields are routinely averted by something that conducts maybe less than 0.001 amps. Protection from lightning fields is that routinely made irrelevant. Tens of times greater threat is to a wired keyboard; not on a wireless one.

Second, unplugging is a least reliable solution for so many reasons. For starters, surges too often occur without any warning. Appliances that need unplugging cannot be - ie dishwasher, bathroom and kitchen GFCIs, furnace, clocks, refrigerator, smoke detectors, etc. Best protection operates in microseconds. And costs about $1 per protected appliance.

Your telco's CO computer suffers about 100 surges with each thunderstorm. Using his reasoning, then everyone is without phone service for four days after each storm while they replace that $multi-million computer. Reality. 100 surges with each storm and no damage. Using a proven solution that every homeowner can install for about $1 per protected appliance. One can be scammed with magic box protectors. Or one can never sleep, never shower, never leave the house, etc so as to protect by unplugging. Only wild speculation assumes unplugging is effective.

Third, AC outlet tester says nothing about protecting appliances. Only the uninformed believe a wall receptacle safety ground does what an earth ground must. That safety ground protects humans. It does not protect hardware - for a long list of reasons associated with electrical numbers.

That outlet tester cannot even define safety ground good. It can only report some safety ground defects. Often recommended by many who have no idea what is being reported. Meanwhile appliance protection means a ground connection must be low impedance (ie wire without splices or sharp bends). Low impedance is another critical number completely unknown the many who use a word "BS" as science fact.

Four, back to well proven science. A "$1 per protected appliance" whole house solution is effective because (a) it makes a low impedance (ie less than 10 foot) connection to (b) single point earth ground. As was done over 100 years ago. Then a facility (ie telco CO) suffers about 100 surges with each storm - without damage. That says where hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly dissipate. Then a direct lightning strike (ie 20,000 amps) results in no damage. Every sentence explained with numbers.

If a surge is permitted anywhere inside, then well proven 'whole house' protection (with the always required low impedance connection to earth ground) is missing. Routine should be thunderstorms without any indication that a nearby strike existed (other than noise). Interruptions to USB devices or "irreversible damage" indicates a human mistake exists. Learn starting with how surge protection has always been done. If any wire enter without connecting low impedance (ie less than 10 feet) to earth ground (directly or via a protector), then a consumer has literally invited that surge inside to do damage.

Protection from lightning (and many other surges) is so routine that damage is traceable to a human mistake. Effective protection means one knows where hundreds of thousands of joules are harmlessly absorbed. Even a receptacle safety ground or old wiring is completely irrelevant. Protection is only as effective as its single point earth ground. As demonstrated by so many facts with numbers. And by over 100 years of well proven science and experience.

If numbers were learned, then he could explain why that UPS and AVR do not even claim to protect hardware. Where is one number to justify that wild speculation? Too many are only educated by hearsay, wild speculation, and junk science reasoning.

What many above did not have and need is described - for about $1 per protected appliance and other numbers. And without emotional BS fiction.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Nov 2016   #8


Ok so I've read all the posts and what I'm getting from it is "install surge protectors". My computer already runs on a UPS so that won't need to change. I just find it very strange that when I hear thunder from 5-10 kilometers away, my keyboard/mouse disconnects and reconnects... that's unexplained so far (unless somebody is suggesting that the thunder is causing the power output to increase from 230volt to something higher/lower, and that's what's causing my keyboard/mouse to disconnect? but I highly doubt that an increase/decrease in power from the wall socket, would cause any problems with specifically JUST my USBs)...

So, I'll make sure my computer is plugged in with only surge-protector plugs, and see if that changes anything the next time there's thunder around. I'll mark the threat solved, if everything is fine during the next thunderstorm. Anyone who still feels they can contribute to solving my problem is welcome to offer any info that they can.

(The people who suggested that I plug out my computer and stop playing while there's bad weather around, didn't get the point of my question and didn't provide any useful info pertaining to my USB disconnecting problem.)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Nov 2016   #9
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1

@ westom

You are absolutely correct.

Without the proper equipment and that is a very complex subject in it's self their is a large degree of speculation.

When it comes to lighting the window of what might of happened even gets bigger.

Because this is not a electronic forum but a Windows 7 forum could you suggest a electronics forum one could use for all the electronics and all the equipment needed to get very deep into testing.

It would also be handy if you could let us know where one can find schematics of all the various components of a computer system. Schematics are critical to proper troubleshooting.

Many years ago I did get into some basics using signal generators and oscilloscopes. I don't ever know if they still use such equipment.

As being a retired Master Mechanic I also agree that like any other trade that mechanics come in all levels of knowledge, craftsmanship and ethics. Jane Doe public must find one or more that they trust.

Their are good house painters and their are bad house painters.
Then their are good house painters that their employer doesn't allow the time to do a good job. Their is no one basket to put all house painters in.

Their is no one basket to put all auto mechanics in.

Just my thoughts.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Nov 2016   #10

Win 7 Pro x86

Its a tough one - loads of variables

Protect yourself with good protection, be it heavy duty surge / current regulator or UPS etc

Office should have this covered unless small small office to protect incoming utility supply. re wired interference ?? Not sure the PC / Windows will not be effected so only power from the utility socket can cause changes, electricity is never constant at the best of times so the swing needs to be a bit more than normal - never tested this

I have tested UPS or this and pulled the plug many many times with general office PS and wired keyboard and mouse or laptops main powered with wireless, no problems to report
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 USBs disconnect/reconnect during thunderstorms

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