Over at CNET, they were surprised to discover that using some Dell laptops can get you an electric shock. And they weren’t the only ones. Dell’s forums are littered with user complaints about the same experiences. The shocks reportedly “vary in strength from a gentle tingle to a sudden jolt.” They noticed that the shocks happened when connecting peripherals to the laptops. Apparently they have figured out which ones are the problem devices: The versions that feature a brushed-aluminum finish. Those would be the XPS M1330 and XPS M1530.
The shocks seem to be the result of a power adapter that isn’t grounded properly, the 2-prong connector lacking a third pin. It turns out that Dell’s knowledge base actually acknowledges the problem in an entry titled “A Tingling Sensation May Be Noticed When Touching Metal Components of Dell Devices Equipped with Two-Prong AC Adapters.” The entry also states that “the voltage (tingling sensation) does NOT present any risk of injury to the user.” Somehow, I think we all know that tingling sensations from electricity can never be good.
No one wants to get constantly zapped by their laptop, so Dell told CNET that they are willing to replace the two-pin power supplies with a three-pin version if they get a request to do so. So if you are suffering shocks, at least you can get a replacement from Dell.