Have you ever noticed touchscreen issues when charging your Surface? Does the touchscreen on your device stop responding when your Surface is plugged in But, goes away when you are running on battery? If this has happens to you, “dirty” power might be causing this behaviour.
If it continues to happen after your Surface is unplugged, it could be because of a related but different issue with “leaky” lights or appliances (EM interference). If that’s what you’re experiencing, check out this article: Touchscreen Not Working With Touch for ideas on how to address it.
Touchscreen issues when charging: Causes
Simply put, dirty power is electricity that fluctuates. It can happen anywhere the power grid is old or overtaxed. It can also happen because of old/substandard wiring in a building or, of course, where something is miswired (like a missing ground wire somewhere). This can cause a power fluctuation, sometimes called a “hum” or “noise” that can interfere with your Surface’s touchscreen because of the capacitive technology it uses.
In addition to the possible electrical wiring issues, the problem could be happening simply because your power supply is going bad.
Touchscreen issues when charging: Fixes
The best thing to do is to find a source of “clean” power because it’s not good for your Surface to be exposed to dirty power. Over time, it may cause permanent damage. If the problem is happening in your home, I’d recommend calling a qualified electrician and having it checked out as it could be damaging all of your electronics and/or appliances.
However, that’s not always practical, especially if you don’t own the building you’re living/working in or you’re away from home. In that case, I recommend getting an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) or another device that offers “power conditioning”.
Power conditioning, basically, smooths out fluctuations (removes the hum) in the power flow so that it doesn’t interfere with your Surface. Just so you know, common surge protectors (cheap power strips) DO NOT offer power conditioning. They simply protect against large power spikes.
Here are some solutions that might help:
- Get a portable power conditioner: If you’re on the road a lot, you should have one of these anyway. I like the Tripp Lite 1 Outlet. It’s inexpensive and easy to carry.
- Get a new power supply: It’s possible that your power supply is going bad. So, you may want to invest in a new power supply for your Surface Pro 3/4/Surface Book/Surface 3 or Surface Pro1/Pro2/RT/2. Besides, it’s always good to have a spare.
- Get a UPS: I recommend that you get a UPS for your home and/or office (they’re not very portable). It will offer protection from just about any power weirdness. In addition, if can also keep you working during brownouts and short blackouts as well. I recommend the Cyberpower CP1500AVRLCD. It’s a little less expensive than some other brands but works well.
Of course, even if you’re not having any touchscreen issues on your Surface, you may want to consider getting some or all of the devices above. They’re useful and you never know when they might come in handy.
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.