Recently--like last week--we got Direct TV installed in our home on a Tuesday. On that Thursday my brother went to plug an HDMI cable into the TV so that he could play the PS3. There was a big ball of orange light, a bang sound, and his fingers received burns. The TV and game system were in use for three months prior to the installation of the Direct TV equipment. What would have caused the jolt to come out of the TV from plugging in an HDMI cable? Not only did it burn my brother, but we believe it fried the TV as well.

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    Electrocution is death by electric shock. I am sorry to hear your brother was injured, but he was not "electrocuted", he was shocked. Jan 23, 2017 at 5:59
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    Is could have been a static electrical discharge. The Direct TV installer(s) should have grounded the coax cables from the satellite dish, and the equipment should be plugged into a grounded outlet so that everything is at the same voltage potential. Whatever the satellite installers grounded the coax cable to should also be electrically bonded to the grounding bus in your service panel. Jan 23, 2017 at 6:14
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    Is the receptacle where the equipment is plugged in grounded? And I don't just mean does it have three prongs, I mean is the receptacle actually connected to the grounding system. Does the TV, have a 3 prong cord? Did the cable installer ground the dish? There should either be a grounding wire running down from the dish, or the coaxial cable coming from the dish should have a grounding conductor built in to it. That grounding conductor should be connected to the grounding system.
    – Tester101
    Jan 23, 2017 at 11:28
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    You're probably going to have to have an electrician (or somebody with the knowledge and tools) troubleshoot this problem. This is a difficult problem to solve through the internet.
    – Tester101
    Jan 23, 2017 at 11:30
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    @Craig It's absolutely impossible to have that size static charge. Shorting a fully charged cap could have done it, but not surface charge. Jan 23, 2017 at 18:24

1 Answer 1


If he received burns, it doesn't sound like static electricity. Another common source of sparks is the so called Y-filtering capacitors in ungrounded power supplies, but I've never heard of them causing burns, just a mild tingle.

It sounds more like he ended up shorting mains phase to ground or neutral. Which would most likely mean that one of your safety ground wires is actually connected to mains power, an installation mistake that is very dangerous. I suggest you get an electrician to check it out as soon as possible, and avoid touching the equipment in the meanwhile.

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