Mysterious mouse problem


by Ivan Seeking
Tags: mouse, mysterious
Ivan Seeking
Ivan Seeking is offline
#1
Apr22-12, 07:51 AM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
Ivan Seeking's Avatar
P: 12,492
Yesterday I was onsite doing computer work with a customer while sitting at a metal [stainless] table. Whenever the computer [my laptop] was on the table, my mouse pad was so glitchy that it was useless - the cursor didn't respond to most finger movements. We eliminated all potential sources of electrical noise but with no effect. If I lifted my computer off the table, the mouse operated properly. I tried sitting the computer on a piece of thick cardboard but even that didn't fix the problem.

I'm guessing this was somehow due to the damping of magnetic fields, but that is hard to believe.
Phys.Org News Partner Science news on Phys.org
Lemurs match scent of a friend to sound of her voice
Repeated self-healing now possible in composite materials
'Heartbleed' fix may slow Web performance
Hobin
Hobin is offline
#2
Apr22-12, 10:18 AM
P: 194
I don't know what laptop you use, but what *could* be the case is that the surface you place your laptop on causes a slight 'bump' in the case, which messes with your touchpad. On the other hand, I find this almost as hard to believe as a damping of magnetic fields, but it's easy enough to rule out: try holding and applying some pressure to the bottom of your laptop, and then see if it's glitchy again.

Other than that, I really have no idea. Have you tried different surfaces other than the table and the cardboard?
Ivan Seeking
Ivan Seeking is offline
#3
Apr22-12, 01:33 PM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
Ivan Seeking's Avatar
P: 12,492
Quote Quote by Hobin View Post
I don't know what laptop you use, but what *could* be the case is that the surface you place your laptop on causes a slight 'bump' in the case, which messes with your touchpad. On the other hand, I find this almost as hard to believe as a damping of magnetic fields, but it's easy enough to rule out: try holding and applying some pressure to the bottom of your laptop, and then see if it's glitchy again.

Other than that, I really have no idea. Have you tried different surfaces other than the table and the cardboard?
Checking for torque on the body was a good thought, but nope. I can apply pressure to both side of the computer [including front to back] and still operate the mouse with no problem.

In my office I am normally working on a standard table surface and haven't had any problems. This was my first visit onsite [anywhere] with my new computer, so I may see more problems in the future. We did finally move the computer to another surface a few feet away and everything was fine again.

It is a Dell Precision... 4600... I think.

Sidebar: There was one job where my computer would fail every time I was onsite. As it turned out, the problem appeared to be altitude [I guess the ventilation was the real cultprit]. This was for a very small control room, about fifteen feet in diameter, located at least 25 feet [or more] underground... not sure now how far down it was any more. I had to climb down a vertical ladder from ground level. Someone back then mentioned that hard drives can be affected temporarily by pressure changes. So after that I went down and set up and then left for coffee. When I got back, my computer would boot properly again.

Ivan Seeking
Ivan Seeking is offline
#4
Apr22-12, 02:02 PM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
Ivan Seeking's Avatar
P: 12,492

Mysterious mouse problem


You know, I'm wondering if this is a problem I've seen before. Perhaps local power is inducing currents in the table top. It is a long surface sitting against a wall.

I was remindeed of a problem I had many years ago where we had overhead power lines causing no end of problems on a mobile CAT scanner. I finally checked and could measure something like 130 to 140 volts AC to ground, on the body of the bus. When we looked up, there they were - big lines feeding the hospital.
sru2
sru2 is offline
#5
May10-12, 04:21 PM
P: 62
It could also be a short in your laptop and the table is Earthing it. Use a multimeter.
rishi.sharma
rishi.sharma is offline
#6
May15-12, 11:46 PM
P: 44
Have you checked it with Charger/AC power cord plugged into the socket ?
Chronos
Chronos is offline
#7
May17-12, 06:01 AM
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
Chronos's Avatar
P: 9,172
Sounds like some kind of loose connection to me. Mice are cheap. I've had the same kind of luck with keyboards and have gone through 3 in the last year or so. The last one got really weird on shift characters. New keyboard, problem solved [at least for now].
Lebombo
Lebombo is offline
#8
May17-12, 11:24 AM
P: 135
Happens to my laptop from time to time. I think its some sort of calibration issue. It always happens after I lift my laptop to carry from one room to the next or from one desk to the next. If I carry it with one hand, the touchpad will no longer operate correctly, even if I'm using one hand to hold it horizontally. I think that some sort of bending pressure I put on the hardware as I hold it with one hand messes up some sensors in or connected to the touchpad. This only happens when I carry the laptop when its on. And when this does occur, a simple reboot fixes the problem. It is a strange anomoly.
mishrashubham
mishrashubham is offline
#9
May17-12, 11:50 AM
P: 605
Quote Quote by rishi.sharma View Post
Have you checked it with Charger/AC power cord plugged into the socket ?
Yes this would also be something that I would check. Does the problem occur only when it is plugged in? If yes, then there micht be a problem with the earthing. The capacitative touchpad won't respond well in such a case. Best solution would be getting a mouse or avoiding use while charging.


Register to reply

Related Discussions
mysterious car accident General Physics 13
Mouse Problem Computers 4
What is wrong with this picture? Brain Teasers 11
mouse problem Computing & Technology 2
mysterious window Computing & Technology 5