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The most complex and elusive PC/Hardware issue I have ever encountered. Mouse/Keyboard input lag related

 
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post #361 of 550 (permalink) Old 02-18-2020, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
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This will be my final major update on this topic. I am confident this will provide some clarity to those that observed similar/identical problems.

So it has been a long road to get here. In order to diagnose this problem I have had to spend hours researching and consulting experts in these fields to grasp an understanding of this issue, as well as spent a few thousand dollars (Hardware, hiring professionals- ISP techs, multiple electricians etc). I have dealt with these issues for over two years, some have been going on much more than that.

Over the last week there has been a turn of events in diagnosing this. Essentially I had my electrician come by to replace some outlets, and do one last run through of checking my grounding and connections. Well in the process of doing the work around here he took some measurements (ones he and another electrician had takin before). He found an issue and it has illuminated much of the problem. I will include his write up to me for clarity:

"The issues you are experiencing in your house have at least 2 different causes.

The main cause is that the connections in your meter base are failing and the neutral connection has corrosion and rust forming on the lugs, creating a higher impedance path for the unbalanced return current back to the utility transformer. This connection has been becoming worse over time, and is exasperated when there are higher loads on in your house and how wet the inside of the meter base is (and also the ambient temperature outside to some extent). When a neutral connection heading back to the utility power source (the transformer in the alley) begins to degrade, the current will try harder to get back to the transformer in any way it can.

In a basic electrical setup as with your house, the power comes in from the utility, through the electrical meter, then to your main electrical panel. At the electrical panel the neutral conductor is bonded (electrically connected) to the metal panel enclosure, grounding means (ground rods, water pipes, and others), and other metal systems in the house (again the metal water piping, gas piping, metallic drain lines, etc.). When the main neutral conductor from the utility is compromised, either on the utility side or in your meter base or main panel, the unbalanced return current will have a better path back to the transformer through your grounding means in your house. In your case, the metal water piping is connected to the metal water piping systems in the neighborhood, which also includes the water services that serve your neighbors. Current will travel on all available paths to get back to it’s source, and even with good grounding there is a bit of current that can accumulate from the surrounding electrical services from your neighbors and be imposed on your water lines. This level was measured at levels of 0.5amps to 2.5+amps yesterday when we were at your house. Please note that these readings were done with the power off to your house, so the origin of this current is from your neighbors.

This current is not especially safe for anyone working on the services, but can be mitigated with proper bonding and electrical installation code compliance in your home. The more I thought about your situation, the less I believe that the currents are coming from any one house, but rather a little bit from multiple homes. If the service neutral connection began to fail at a neighbor's house (which may be happening, but will require an assessment of all homes metallically connected to your home via the water piping) then the current on your water piping system will likely increase. As long as all the homes are connected via the metal water piping systems, this scenario is unavoidable.

Now back to your specific situation. Since the neutral connection in your meter base is failing, your house is also contributing to the current on the utility water piping. The currents are increasing on the water piping as the resistance of the neutral connection in the meter base increases. This is because the resistance of the water piping system is remaining constant (and fairly low I’m thinking) and the resistance of the neutral is increasing, which is creating an easier path back to the utility transformer via the water piping/neighbor's electrical service/neighbor’s electrical meter/then their service conductors to the transformer.

These currents your house is imposing on your water piping and grounding system is creating an increased EMF, and is likely the cause of your WIFI interruptions. Either way, you need to replace your meter base. On my first trip out the conditions must have be such that the currents on the grounding system were not high enough to measure, for when I put my meter on these locations there was no current. This type of troubleshooting relies on some minimal conditions to occur so they can be identified."

He worked with my adjacent neighbor to tighten their neutral connection up and although not ideal (neighbor owns a historic home so does not want to replace his connection) this made a large and very noticeable improvement to my problems; Wifi, computers, lights flickering, oven preheat time, etc. They are currently replacing our meter box, and mast connections to the power lines. I suspect this will help as well by lowering the impedance of our connections and getting more of the current across the water pipes off, as well as lowering our ground impedance. So basically from what I understand at times there was up to 15 amps on this piping, both going from my system and coming from neighbors systems. This affect creates fairly powerful EMF fields that seem to affect devices in this way. There could be more to the problem, kind of a compounding affect with the grounding of my devices possibly but I am fully confident this is the source of the issues. My other option apparently is to dig up a section of pipe at least 10 feet from my home and install a portion of plastic piping with dielectric unions in order to break the continuity of the shared piping system to my neighborhood- essentially isolating our pipes on our properly, however this seems to come with its own sets of problems. There are other options to attempt to reduce the high ground impedance, that may be worth exploring- for instance installing more ground rods.

Now for the explanation behind how this affects devices from an electrical engineer:

"As for how all of this works.. impedance is referring to how easy current flows at various frequencies. It does vary with frequency so high frequency stuff will see higher impedance than low frequency stuff. What that means is that when your device generates RF noise the filters will try shorting it to ground. If you have a low impedance ground then you just get RF current on ground, RF current in a wire can radiate into the air and go into other stuff. It's much worse though when you have a high impedance ground. Current into a high impedance ground turns into a voltage on ground. This will also go into your neutral and you'll see a voltage where it will feed into the filters on other devices (they assume ground is zero) and their voltages can swing at RF rates. Essentially most things are designed to assume ground and neutral are zero volts and reference everything to that. RF noise from a device when you have a high impedance ground basically goes into all other devices instead of the actual ground.

So in the end, RF noise can travel through wires, it can jump from wires to the air, interfere with wireless stuff. Also, yea, power is 120V and the noise is typically tiny milivolts, but your electronics has filters that let noise move to ground, so RF voltages can jump right past the filters in many cases without getting reduced (input might be 120V is 30mV of noise and output could be 3.3V with 30mV of noise). The noise can even get amplified if it messes with sensitive parts.

I suspect your problem is likely something is making a whole lot of noise somewhere, because what you describe is pretty rare, but it's going to take work to find out what is causing it."

So basically there is a combination (compounded problems) affect going on here causing the behaivor of devices we have seen. Even if your system measures clean, like my electricians saw the first few times there can still be problems being masked by this "parallel path to the transformer".

I am rather shocked that these levels of EMF can actually cause these problems/affects I have seen with all my devices. Every attempt I had at researching this was of no use, as most information regarding EMF is linked to studies and pseudo science (dare I say) on the affects of EMF on health. Now I am not too opinionated on these subjects as the evidence to me seems rather inconclusive. However I do want to bring some awareness to the other people that experienced their devices malfunctioning in these ways, as to what the cause is.

I just want to say thank you to everyone that offered useful assistance. To those of you experiencing these problems I hope that this offers enough information to make some decisions. You can either spend the money to fix the issues on your property (maybe get some assistance from your neighbors) or you can move somewhere that does not have these problems. And hopefully it gives you some peace of mind, so that you can stop trying to rationalize this with absurd theories (that I too considered at times). Thanks everyone and if you have questions ill do my best to answer them!

Just a dude trying to fix problems
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post #362 of 550 (permalink) Old 02-18-2020, 02:43 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by Straszy View Post
Just quick update from my side, for over month no mouse issues after moving to a different place with PROPER grounding. Good luck everyone.
How did you know when you moved that house wouldn't have those problems?
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post #363 of 550 (permalink) Old 02-18-2020, 03:07 PM
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cool, so the short story is, at least for you, the professionals that said you had "no issues" weren't looking hard enough. seems like something you'd chalk up to "old home issues" I wonder if that's something an inspector even checks when signing a home off for resale.

pretty typical really, when it comes to troubleshooting obscurity. Glad someone stuck with it long enough to figure out an issue. It sounds like a much more extreme version of what was going on in my parent's 1970s home before all lines, meters, etc were replaced for the entire neighborhood.

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Last edited by skupples; 02-18-2020 at 03:19 PM.
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post #364 of 550 (permalink) Old 02-18-2020, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote: Originally Posted by skupples View Post
cool, so the short story is, at least for you, the professionals that said you had "no issues" weren't looking hard enough. seems like something you'd chalk up to "old home issues" I wonder if that's something an inspector even checks when signing a home off for resale.

pretty typical really, when it comes to troubleshooting obscurity.
Yup essentially, along with the countless folks online that told us we were making it all up. There is discussion out there of whether having current on the shared parallel path to the transformer (the water pipes) is good or not. But certainly having this much is bad and it can mask many other issues such as intermittent neutrals and high impedance grounding. It is also not necessarily "old homes" as much as it could be adjacent older homes, and older metallic (very low impedance water mains). The connection to the power transformer is obviously degrading in my case, but it is still possible to have these issues if your connection is good to go.

Just a dude trying to fix problems

Last edited by CrucialNUG; 02-18-2020 at 03:19 PM.
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post #365 of 550 (permalink) Old 02-18-2020, 03:15 PM
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It is somewhat surprising an Earth Leakage test did not pick it up.

Regardless congratulations on finding a solution.
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post #366 of 550 (permalink) Old 02-18-2020, 03:20 PM
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i never thought YOU were specifically making it up. it just has a way of bringing out the crazies. Did some digging thru archiver, and found posts of myself ranting about it when living in said 1970s home. most folks simply chalked it up to TOO much power, cuz i was running 3x titans & a 3930k.

your comments of lights flickering, and specifically OVEN PREHEAT TIME jogged my memory. (as you can see, my memory's rather shot full of holes )

still weird the issue returns on inline online super duper fancy tier always online UPSs.

R.I.P. Zawarudo, may you OC angels' wings in heaven.
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post #367 of 550 (permalink) Old 02-18-2020, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote: Originally Posted by skupples View Post
i never thought YOU were specifically making it up. it just has a way of bringing out the crazies. Did some digging thru archiver, and found posts of myself ranting about it when living in said 1970s home. most folks simply chalked it up to TOO much power, cuz i was running 3x titans & a 3930k.

your comments of lights flickering, and specifically OVEN PREHEAT TIME jogged my memory. (as you can see, my memory's rather shot full of holes )

still weird the issue returns on inline online super duper fancy tier always online UPSs.
I never implied you were one of the folks saying we were making it up . People want to blame this issue on all sorts of things, for instance I truly thought it was a problem from the power company, so I can understand why they can come off crazy. The affects do really make you question your mental state. Id wager a few folks on here, r0ach especially have a very similar thing going on. The reason the issue persists on Online UPS, is because the high impedance ground is messing up filtering techniques like the engineer told me. It wants to short that interference to ground but it is not working as intended.

Just a dude trying to fix problems
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post #368 of 550 (permalink) Old 02-18-2020, 03:34 PM
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no way, r0ach is just a god.

R.I.P. Zawarudo, may you OC angels' wings in heaven.
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post #369 of 550 (permalink) Old 02-19-2020, 01:02 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by CrucialNUG View Post
I just want to say thank you to everyone that offered useful assistance. To those of you experiencing these problems I hope that this offers enough information to make some decisions. You can either spend the money to fix the issues on your property (maybe get some assistance from your neighbors) or you can move somewhere that does not have these problems. And hopefully it gives you some peace of mind, so that you can stop trying to rationalize this with absurd theories (that I too considered at times). Thanks everyone and if you have questions ill do my best to answer them!
Okay, I've been to 2 different houses and 2 apartments that opened in 2016.

My biggest concrete proof:

I was in a gaming house where 10 other PCs worked perfectly (because professional players were using them) normally, and the PC I was on was delayed and was horrible like my home after 2 days at the gh.
in this case, discarding ALL possibilities of being electrical, or improper grounding.

So people who have not had their problems solved with a change of location, we will continue looking for solutions.

Thank you for your stay.
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post #370 of 550 (permalink) Old 02-19-2020, 06:59 AM
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I'm elated that you finally nailed down a cause for your issues after so much hardship. If I can raise a question about some of your earlier attempts at a fix: Why do you think that when you took your PC to your other property the problems didn't go away? Is that location also suffering from electrical issues or did the electrical issues in your home damage your components somehow?

the feel when you're stuck using a 10 year old office mouse because you can't aim with anything else... FeelsBadMan
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