Cleaning inside of computer

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Monica, Jun 2, 2005.

  1. Monica

    Monica Guest

    Don't laugh or groan too loud <g> 5 year old Dell is going to my daughter.
    I'd like to take the box outside and use an air compressor to blow out 5
    years of cat hair, etc (yes I did clean it during those 5 years). . Is
    that too much air force? The canned air just doesn't get it all.
    Monica, Jun 2, 2005
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  2. You should use your vacuum cleaner...not canned air.
    Cathy De Viney, Jun 2, 2005
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  3. Monica

    Robert Guest

    Use a vacuum to suck up dirt, dust, or hair around the outside case and on
    keyboards. However, do not use a vacuum for the inside of your computer as
    it generates a lot of static electricity that can damage the internal
    components of your computer.
    Robert, Jun 2, 2005
  4. Monica

    Pagan Guest

    Bad idea. The stuff inside a computer is far too delicate for that kind of

    Chances are it doesn't really need that type of cleaning. A little cat hair
    or dust inside a computer isn't going to do much harm. As long as the fans
    and cooling fins on various heatsinks aren't clogged with guck, your
    probably alright.

    If you really want to clean things, use a brand new paint brush. You can
    get a set of them cheap, with different sizes, and clean every significant
    thing on or in a computer. They're also handy for cleaning dust off
    keyboards, car interiors, and whatnot. However, once you use a paint brush
    for actual painting, it's pretty much ruined for the dust cleaning tasks.

    I've been told using a vacuum cleaner inside a computer is a bad idea, with
    static electricity and all. These same folks suggested using canned air. I
    was left wondering how the static electricity knows whether it's being blown
    out of a can or sucked into a vacuum. Anyway, I've used a vacuum and canned
    air without issue, but prefer the vacuum as it doesn't blow filthy dust all
    over the house, and I'm far too lazy to haul everything outside.

    Pagan, Jun 2, 2005
  5. Monica

    SteveR Guest

    Air from a air compressor differs from a can of compressed air, the air from
    air compressor can contain air tool oil that builds up in the air line. Air
    tool oil
    and computer parts do not mix, unless you want to coat the inside of your
    computer with oil. (Not recommended) The compressed air in the can is a
    clean or purified air. Yes the air form air compressor can be to strong
    to safely clean a computer.

    SteveR, Jun 2, 2005
  6. Monica

    Monica Guest

    Thanks everyone. Guess I'll take it outside along with an assortment of
    UNused paint brushes and a can of air :)
    Monica, Jun 2, 2005
  7. Monica

    LandB Guest

    A good way to clean the computer is with a vacuum. To get around the risk
    of static damage, simply plug the computer in to a grounded outlet after
    disassembling it. Then carefully vac. the interior while being mindful of
    not "jarring" any components with the attachment.
    LandB, Jun 2, 2005
  8. Monica

    george Guest

    You don't want to do that! Air flow past G10 (circuit board material)
    creates static electricity (I've measured
    5000 volts on a circuit board on a vacuum actuated test fixture) and static
    electricity kills devices. Better to take
    it somewhere that has a 3M ESD-safe vacuum. Barring that, gently brush it
    out next to an ionizer.

    george, Jun 2, 2005
  9. Monica

    Nick Guest

    It's not a matter of in which direction the air is being moved: it's a
    matter of HOW the air is being moved.

    A simple can with a nozzle isn't likely to generate much static electricity.
    A vacuum cleaner with a motor, hose, etc. can generate a fair amount of
    static charge.

    As others have already said, static electricity can damage electrical
    components. The damage may not be obvious unless you use an electron
    microscope to examine a chip, but it is there and can reduce the reliability
    and life span of electronic components even if it's not enough to cause
    total failure.
    Nick, Jun 2, 2005
  10. Not to mention that it might suck up a jumper or two.

    Kevin Childers, Jun 2, 2005

  11. Ok so I'm going to be the one dissenter that everyone can flame.

    I've used a compressor and air nozzle to clean PCs for years and NEVER had
    any of the problems described in the above posts.
    1) I've never seen or had a static problem with forcing air over the boards
    2) tool oil (if used properly) rarely back feeds into the air lines
    considering the air is always blowing out
    3) PSI can be controlled if you have the proper gauges on your compressor
    4) THE ONLY THING I worry about is built up moisture in the tank from
    condensation. This can be handles with the proper dry air attachments on
    the compressor and the occasional draining of the air tank.

    So Monica, you can do whatever you want with the advice you've been given
    but after years of experience doing exactly what you asked about I can tell
    you that if done properly there is little to no risk to your system. I
    would suggest a low PSI say around 60 (remember that the PSI will go down
    from there because the pump won't keep up with the rate of air blowing out
    the nozzle). I can tell you that I've had my compressor cranked up to
    120psi and cleaned out PCs and have had no problems. I wouldn't suggest
    that however.

    I'd also NOT suggest blowing high pressure air into floppy drives or even CD
    ROMs. Crank the PSI down or don't blow them out at all.

    When it comes to the power supply and case fans you may need a higher PSI
    because the dirt that gets on the fans can sometimes wind up caked on solid.

    Which reminds me, whoever suggested that the PC probably isn't all that
    dirty after 5 years hasn't ever opened a 5 year old PC especially one that
    is in a location with pets. If the PC has been sitting on the floor, I
    guaranty there is loads of filth in that PCs and plenty of dust bunnies to
    go around.

    Don't mean to upset or offend anyone so don't take my comments personal.
    Just offering up my opinion on the subject.

    Robert R Kircher, Jr., Jun 2, 2005
  12. Monica

    Weebee Guest

    personally i use both a vacuum cleaner AND compressed air in a can. I
    keep the vacuum WELL AWAY from any internal parts and boards and
    genrally just use it to suck up the stuff the canned air blows out.
    Havn't ever had any probs with this method but I only do this a
    maximum of twice yearly.

    Again I'll stress the importance of keeping the vacuum welll away from
    any internal componants. I also have a PLASTIC extension for my vacuum
    which ensures that NO metal parts come in contact with the computer,
    or anywhere near it.
    Weebee, Jun 2, 2005
  13. Monica

    Notan Guest

    Forget the impact wrenches, saws, etc.

    I'd say the number one use for an air compressor is cleaning.

    A short addendum to Robert's suggestions:

    - Use a nozzle that has side-holes, so all the forced air
    won't be shooting directly at where the nozzle's aimed.

    - While turning down the pressure is a good idea, another
    is keeping some distance between the nozzle and whatever
    it is you're cleaning.

    Good Luck!

    Notan, Jun 2, 2005
  14. Monica

    Ghostrider Guest

    Adding a fine point about using the vacuum cleaner: Use the
    suction hose end, without any tool. Gentle enough to pull out
    most lint and dust particles. Keep end of hose about 4 to 6
    inches away from any computer parts. OK to use wand suction
    tool to vacuum debris from places where there are no computer
    parts, such as bottom panel of chassis. Make sure that there
    is never any contact between the vacuum cleaner and parts with
    the computer.
    Ghostrider, Jun 2, 2005
  15. Monica

    Louie Guest

    I, too, have used an air compressor to clean clients PCs. Just don't dial
    up the PSI too high. Have a moisture remover between the tank and the line.
    Regarding dirty PSUs, you can take them out and remove the covers to get all
    the junk out, but be dang careful. Those caps can give you a nasty jolt!

    Chiefland, FL, USA
    Louie, Jun 2, 2005
  16. Monica

    SteveR Guest

    SteveR, Jun 2, 2005

  17. LOL. I read it on the internet so it's got to be true!!!

    In any event, I believe I addressed every one of the issues discussed in
    that article relating to the use of compressors.

    I'm telling you I've done this for years and I've never caused damage to any
    PC. Now maybe if I was in Arizona I might worry a little bit about the
    static buildup, and I'm almost certain there is more moisture in the humid
    air in my area then the mist that comes out of my compressor due to

    Look, I'm not saying that all the listed things shouldn't be considered, I'm
    just pointing out that, like anything, when handled properly using a
    compressor to clean out a PC is perfectly fine.

    Robert R Kircher, Jr., Jun 2, 2005
  18. Monica

    SteveR Guest

    LOL your funny......Do you believe DELL?
    Says use compressed air NOT a air compressor in some dirty garage.

    I'm saying I would never recommended a air compressor to clean a computer
    and I stand by it. Your just asking for trouble if you use a air compressor,
    what happens when then next person does use a air compressor and all the
    or oil blows thru the air nozzle? No offense but do you think Monica or most
    know how to properly purge a air compressor of water and regulate the air
    If you use the standard store bought compressed canned air you don't have
    this potential
    problem. Using a can of compressed air is the recommended way, your way is
    and foolish.

    SteveR, Jun 2, 2005
  19. Monica

    Nick Guest

    I agree that using canned air bypasses the potential problems with using an
    air compressor, but what the heck does gender have to do with any of this?

    There are plenty of women around who are quite competent with mechanical
    devices, and plenty of men who are completely incompetent...


    Wake up, guy: this is the 21st century.
    Nick, Jun 3, 2005
  20. Monica

    Ben Myers Guest


    I've used air from a compressor to clean out computers of clients who have a
    compressor. No problem. Also, a soft-bristled brush knocks the dirt and dander
    loose. So do careful fingers... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Jun 3, 2005
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