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  1. #1
    Senior Member Strommer's Avatar
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    Question Cleaning dust from inside a computer

    What is the best way to remove dust from the components inside a computer? While replacing a CD-DVD R/W, I was surprised how much dust there was after only 14 months. The fan on the P4 processor was clogged about 50% (which explains that it would go to high revs when doing heavy graphic work).

    For the fan, I used an artist's paintbrush from the $2 shop; the dust easily came off as a layer. For the other components, I was reluctant to use a brush due to possible static electricity, and we had no vacuum cleaner exhaust hose or hair dryer (cool setting), so I blew a few lungfuls but this was not so effective.

    Would it be a good idea to get a can of compressed air, and if so, where is a cheap source? DSE has a "CRC Air Brush 300g" for nearly $20 - it seems like a rip off for AIR !

    BTW, I read somewhere that dust causes something like 50% of computer problems. Is it really this high?

    Thanks.
    .
    .

    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics
    are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.

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  2. #2
    Debiant Myth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cleaning dust from inside a computer

    Forget the vacuum cleaner, produces too much static.

    Some sorts of paint brush are ok (horsehair I think) anyway a cetain type don't produce much if any static.
    Compressed air is good (like the canned stuff from Dick Smith) however spraying in one area too long will freeze the mobo temporarily, not sure what if any damage this does. I have heard of some people using an ordinary compressor, just make sure theres no (minimal) moisture in the air.
    (morganj): 0 is false and 1 is true, correct?
    (alec_eso): 1, morganj

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Cleaning dust from inside a computer

    I mostly use a brush. Generally the problem areas are not static sensitive e.g. fans and air grills/inlets. Be careful with compressed air on fans, though, as I have heard that bearings can be ruined by the air revving them up to very high speed!

  4. #4
    Off Limits...... beetle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cleaning dust from inside a computer

    Apparently if you are a diver, using your tank (compressed air / diving tank) is good for this.
    Not tried it myself, but do know this works pretty good.

    Ask a bit louder and they may see this thread...lol and explain a little bit more....... a pf1 regular i beleive does this........


    beetle

  5. #5
    Baking. bob_doe_nz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cleaning dust from inside a computer

    I use a combination of compressed air and wiping the case itself with a lint free cloth soaked in a partially diluted mix of Isopropyl alcohol and water
    My shutdown application

    Call me Angel Nob Bobstickles. The baking vending builder who can't fix it.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Cleaning dust from inside a computer

    Quote Originally Posted by beetle
    Apparently if you are a diver, using your tank (compressed air / diving tank) is good for this.
    Not tried it myself, but do know this works pretty good.

    Ask a bit louder and they may see this thread...lol and explain a little bit more....... a pf1 regular i beleive does this........


    beetle
    I used to use my buoyancy compensator inlet hose (the hose that connects the regulator on your dive tank to your buoycom) to clear out dust, as you say beetle. However, it seems preferable to buy an aerosol can of compressed air for this purpose, rather than to lug your tank inside, connect it up, and try to manipulate the hose (which is relatively short and inflexible) within a confined space. I also had to use a finger to hold down the valve to release the air, and the finger tip got mighty cold - maybe risking frost nip!

    It was effective though - 3000psi can probably dislodge most things from your computer case unless they are properly nailed down!

  7. #7
    ~ >*()))><( andrew93's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cleaning dust from inside a computer

    Start by dry brushing the outside of the case to clear all of those cracks and vents of dust - a natural fibre brush is better than synthetic (e.g. horse hair paint brush). The electric blowers (like the small hand-held garden variety) are excellent for blowing the dust out of the case and off the mobo etc. Be sure to poke the end of a plastic pen or a pencil into the CPU fan to stop it spinning out of control. Then point the end of the blower at the power supply from inside the case and blow all of the crap out of the PSU, again don't over-do it. Do it outside unless you want all of the dust in your house.....you'll be surprised (or not) at how much dust comes out. Just make sure you don't dislodge any cables etc and also make sure you don't drop any beads of sweat onto the mobo - it's been done before.....
    A

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Cleaning dust from inside a computer

    When you have your nice clean computer put it back at least at table height. Sited just above carpet level and your air intakes will acquire a nice fine mat that will not improve the internal cooling abilities of your fans.
    Curious to know why compressed air does'nt create static but a vacuum does. All vacuum cleaners used in hazardous situations have pretty extensive anti static precautions.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Cleaning dust from inside a computer

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve_L
    Would it be a good idea to get a can of compressed air, and if so, where is a cheap source? DSE has a "CRC Air Brush 300g" for nearly $20 - it seems like a rip off for AIR !
    The "air" is tetrafluoroethane. http://www.crc.co.nz/msds/2066.HTM

  10. #10
    6146-B Billy T's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cleaning dust from inside a computer

    I have never had any problems using a vacuum cleaner, blowing or sucking, but if you want to be super-cautious, use a paint brush to stir up the dust and keep the vacuum cleaner nozzle about 5-10cm away.

    The air alone won't cause static damage, it would have to build up on the nozzle then jump from there to the component to cause damage. Leaving the computer plugged in to a mains socket with the mains switch off would provide an earth path for discharge, and occasionally touching the nozzle to the metal case would discharge any static that might develop.

    I have a couple of static meters so I might do some tests one day and see what voltage I can generate, but I won't be holding my breath in anticipation.

    Cheers

    Billy 8-{)
    Some days it's not even worth chewing through my restraints!

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