Solved Touchscreen interference issue, CONFIRMED--WEIRD!

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 3' started by dankgus, Apr 10, 2015.

  1. dankgus

    dankgus New Member

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    After returning one of our Surface Pro 3's, three times, I have confirmed a very strange issue.

    We were having a terrible problem with the touchscreen of a fresh unboxed SP3. The unit would not recognize our finger as a finger, it would put a little circle on the screen like we were using the stylus. I saw "we" because I work for the IT department of our local school district. There have been 3 of us trying to figure this thing out. I know that makes us sound bad, that three IT pros are stumped by this issue but keep reading.

    After calling tech support and following their instruction, wiping the device, sending back in for exchange, not once, not twice, but THREE times, I think I have identified the very strange problem.

    Our energy efficiency guy stopped by my office to have me configure his PC for our wireless network. He pulls out a Surface Pro 3! I asked how he liked it, he said he loves it. We get to talking about the touchscreen and he says his always works perfect, no problem at all. As soon as I place it on my desk, the touchscreen no longer functions correctly. This guy swears up and down that he NEVER has problems with the touchscreen and it *must be my desk*. I was not surprised by his suggestion, people suggest ridiculous explanations for problems all the time. I get him setup using the touchpad instead of the screen and send him on his way.

    Later that day, just to follow up, I take our problem SP3 down the hall and guess what? The touchscreen works perfectly. Flawless. Everywhere in the building except my hallway the SP3 is great.

    So, in my office, and my 2 coworkers offices, SP3 touchscreens do not work well at all. The SP3 becomes worthless. I have found no other reference anywhere on the internet to this problem. Has anybody heard of this and do you know of any solution?

    THANKS!
    --Dan
     
  2. leeshor

    leeshor Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forum Dan

    It must be your electric personality. ;);) Definitely some interference somewhere. Maybe someone can pin point it for you.
     
  3. sharpuser

    sharpuser Super Moderator Staff Member

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    A battery charger might be your problem.

    Check nearby chargers for cell phone, or home-brew charger for your Surface, or AC outlets wired backwards (in the US, the AC should have the white wire (neutral) on the left side, if the ground is below).

    The issue is that you could actually have current flowing through your finger. Capactive interference would result. Cell chargers generally do not have a ground (earth) connection, but instead, only a AC black (hot) and neutral (white).

    Unplug all chargers from that desk. Test the Surface. Then re-build your power strips, plugs, and chargers until you find the culprit. With two-pronged non-polarized plugs (both prongs same shape), flip it around so that you check it plugged in both ways. If you've spliced any cords, you may even have reversed the polarity on those. And if the desk is metal, the above problems can be amplified.
     
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  4. leeshor

    leeshor Well-Known Member

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    I call reversed polarity. ;)
     
  5. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    How far from your desk do you have to get before it starts working normally. try this in as many directions as you can in a grid. same with coworkers.

    Are you near an airport or military installation?

    Is there a secret NSA or FBI bldg nearby? You can always tell them because they are immaculately maintained with gorgeous landscaped flawless lawns. :) Is there a strange truck parked outside with one of those *stingray* devices?
     
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  6. dankgus

    dankgus New Member

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    Fluorescent lights. It was the fluorescent lights! Both offices confirmed. Lights on, touchscreen is almost worthless, lights off and it works perfectly.

    If nobody else in the world is having this problem (I can not find a reference anywhere), we must have some AWFUL fluorescent lights in our office!

    --Dan
     
  7. sharpuser

    sharpuser Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Marking solved.

    You had current flow through your finger, resulting in capacitive interference!
     
  8. leeshor

    leeshor Well-Known Member

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    I would have a qualified electrician check the ballasts if they use them or look for some tubes with really dark spots at the ends. There is definitely a problem somewhere with those lights.
     
  9. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    To fluoresce or not to fluoresce that is the question... :D
     
  10. sharpuser

    sharpuser Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The lights are likely improperly grounded. Probably is bad on computer equipment in general. Also, don't spill anything on the floor and step into the puddle while touching anything.
     
  11. bluegrass

    bluegrass Well-Known Member

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    I worked for a point of sale manufacturer (Datatrol) back in the late 70s. We occasionally ran into POS problems in department stores that had flaky florescent lights above them. Occasionally a cash drawer would even open on it's own. We'd get the electrician to change the bulb or do something with the light and the trouble went away. It never occurred to me that this might effect an SP3 computer.
     
  12. leeshor

    leeshor Well-Known Member

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    The one and only time I have ever suggested that a florescent light could be a/the problem with a computer the customer thought I was joking, I wasn't and it was.

    Had a customer back in the late 90s I had sold a computer to and he claimed 2 weeks after taking it home that it wouldn't count all the memory on start-up. It was stereo speakers next to the tower. He didn't believe either when I said it was his environment until I asked him on the phone to move the computer and the problem stopped. He figured it out.
     

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