OK..so bought new multimeter (the old ones were definitely kaput)...checked for AC and DC voltage and found that there was NONE. Also went out verified that the cable box outside the house was grounded...all connections seem pretty tight. Also, I bought outlet testers and the outlets are supposedly all good.
I removed all the A/V equipment and began to add one by one. Each time I would test that the USB dongle (I bought a new one too - Happauge 850) was not sparking by inserting it into the USB port of an old laptop that I did not care if it died. But it was fine.
So finally, I tried to insert it into the USB jack on my HTPC, which is a Gateway SX 2000. As soon as I brought the USB dongle (to which the coax was attached) close to the USB port on the Gateway...SPARKS!! The USB port on the computer is all black. Haven't checked if my PC is fried or not....it is still booting...The USB dongle still seems to be alive because when I insert it into the USB port of the old laptop, it recognizes a new device.
Could it be that the Gateway PC is the problem? This is the same machine that had also sparked and died when I tried to connect it to an HDMI switch (see my other thread about this issue --> http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...757&highlight=
). The funny part is that the Gateway was already connected to the HDMI switch a few months ago and was working fine. But then I had to move it to another room and this issue with HDMI sparking occurred when I was moving it back.
Could it be that the circuit in that room is getting overloaded? Will it do this? I have the following off of two outlets...all devices are plugged into surge protectors and UPS...
SONY GRAND WEGA 51"
DISH Satellite receiver
Pioneer CD changer
Harmon Kardon receiver
Magnavox DVD player
Windows Home Server (come to think of it ...this is a new introduction)
HAVA Platinum device
SimpleShare NAS device
Prior to starting what I wrote above, I hooked up the PC to another TV in another room using an HDMI cable and there was no sparking.
Am at a loss now.
UPDATE: I just was pulling the coax cable to unscrew it from the splitter when its loose end struck another piece of metal component behind the DISH satellite receiver...and guess what? SPARKS!!