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Cleaning a PC - Vacuum cleaners, air blowers, static electricity

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Get a cheap non-static brush from ebay or hardware store for a few $. (ideally, get 2. One with long bristles for between CPU heatsink/radiator fins & hard to reach places, one fairly short for going over pcbs)
Brush while using your vacuum cleaner with the little nozzle for max suction. Done.
Blowers just blow dust around. Like those stupid lawn blowers. (Oh the wind doesn't blow that crap back now does it....) Suck it up -its contained- and you can dispose of it accordingly.

As Gilrond said, prevention better than cure but even with filters tiny particles still get in. Good to do a basic tear-down at least once a year. Moreso if you have a dusty environment. Carpet sucks.
 
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Technically a necro...but it's useful info, so it may live. I favor the standard can'o'compressed air. A few puffs is all it takes if you clean the system out a few times per year.

For buildup on fans, heatsinks, and the like...there's not much you can do aside from scrubbing them with a static-free cloth. Just be very gentle. On the whole, I don't worry about that too much. It should be fairly minimal as long as you clean regularly with air.

The forces and static charge that a vacuum can create can ruin your day at the speed of electrons. Even if the chances are a million to one, it only has to happen once.
 
If using a vacuum, for the sake of all that is good, make sure it is meant for electronics. The motor and brushes in standard vacuums can generate static (which can travel down the wand), create too much suction/blowing pressure, as well as have bristles that are too stiff, fray (and leave tiny particulate matter on circuit boards), and all sort of issues. You can buy simple anti-static vacuums designed for computers/electronics for pretty cheap.

Secondly when dealing with fans, lock them in place or disconnect them, in some fan types manually turning them (especially at speeds that can be caused with compressed air or strong suction) can generate a charge which can cause all sorts of issues and even barring the electric charge edge case, allowing the fans to turn while cleaning them can add mechanical strains the fan wasn't designed for through unregulated speeds/directions/alternating directions/etc.
 
This has been some interesting reading. At least once a year, I strip my systems down and do a thorough cleaning, everything comes out of the case. As a former tech, I know how to do this, even the power supply case is opened and cleaned, you would be surprised how many dust bunnies reside in hidden places. The power supply is one area where you need to be careful, it can reach out and bite you if you don't know what you are doing, and I don't recommend this for the average user. I remove and Inspect, clean and wash all of the fans (yes, I wash my fans.), replace if needed and also wash out the radiator for the CPU cooling. It was mentioned not to let the fan(s) spin by using canned air as this can generate a charge, this is true, Don't allow the fan blades to spin and it is easy to 'over spin' them and damage the motor / bearings. Keeping your system clean can really make a difference. As for 'canned air', I use it sparingly and use a small hand held shop vacuum which has a plastic hose and attachments. I would also mention static electricity can be an issue while cleaning. I never do any system maintenance on a carpeted floor, you can build up a good charge just standing on carpet especially if you have shoes and socks on. The human body is a wonderful battery, as I found out long ago. In my case, I use my kitchen as it has roll stock on the floor and I regularly touch the faucet, stove, what ever to discharge any static. In any event, and anti-static wrist strap is a good idea.

I live in a dusty area (farming and seasonal forest fires produce a lot of smoke and tons of dust.) and an old house to boot, so dust happens a lot. Some will disagree with my method of cleaning and that's fine. but I can say that in the last ten years or so I have never had a system failure due to over heating or dust / dirt. Canned air is fine, just use it sparingly and keep in mind, you could blow dust / dirt into something rather then blowing it out. And don't turn the can (canned air) upside down and try to use it, bad things can happen. By the way, if you smoke around your computer, the smoke (over time) can cause damage to your system / electronics.
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This has been some interesting reading. At least once a year, I strip my systems down and do a thorough cleaning, everything comes out of the case. As a former tech, I know how to do this, even the power supply case is opened and cleaned, you would be surprised how many dust bunnies reside in hidden places. The power supply is one area where you need to be careful, it can reach out and bite you if you don't know what you are doing, and I don't recommend this for the average user. I remove and Inspect, clean and wash all of the fans (yes, I wash my fans.), replace if needed and also wash out the radiator for the CPU cooling. It was mentioned not to let the fan(s) spin by using canned air as this can generate a charge, this is true, Don't allow the fan blades to spin and it is easy to 'over spin' them and damage the motor / bearings. Keeping your system clean can really make a difference. As for 'canned air', I use it sparingly and use a small hand held shop vacuum which has a plastic hose and attachments. I would also mention static electricity can be an issue while cleaning. I never do any system maintenance on a carpeted floor, you can build up a good charge just standing on carpet especially if you have shoes and socks on. The human body is a wonderful battery, as I found out long ago. In my case, I use my kitchen as it has roll stock on the floor and I regularly touch the faucet, stove, what ever to discharge any static. In any event, and anti-static wrist strap is a good idea.

I live in a dusty area (farming and seasonal forest fires produce a lot of smoke and tons of dust.) and an old house to boot, so dust happens a lot. Some will disagree with my method of cleaning and that's fine. but I can say that in the last ten years or so I have never had a system failure due to over heating or dust / dirt. Canned air is fine, just use it sparingly and keep in mind, you could blow dust / dirt into something rather then blowing it out. And don't turn the can (canned air) upside down and try to use it, bad things can happen. By the way, if you smoke around your computer, the smoke (over time) can cause damage to your system / electronics.
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I completely forgot about the anti-static wrist strap, great point! It sounds very specialized, but they are pretty inexpensive and readily available from online retailers.
 
The static guards are a worthwhile extra step if you have one. While thinking of other, unexpected ways to get in trouble, here's some other things to think about:

1.) If possible, don't stand on any form of carpet or rug while working with the box open. Also be sure the box is placed on a plastic or laquered wooden surface.

2.) Always be sure to discharge the motherboard completely before opening the case. Power off the system normally. Switch the PSU off using the black switch on the back. Press and hold your computer's main power button until the board "flickers". (It will sort of flash quickly on and off once, then will remain off.) Unplug the computer, then open your case to work on it or clean it.

3.) Never "wiggle" or "shimmy" components to remove them or get them seated. Always apply force directly into or away from the slots. Always use firm, steady pressure. However, I've found that some components may require a surprising amount of force to insert or remove -- especially if they're older. If something seems "stuck", apply continuous pressure, increasing it by small degrees and be patient. It will eventually work. (I stop when I start to see a slight bend in the motherboard -- that's too much pressure, and may mean that something else is wrong: latch isn't opened all the way, damaged slot, wrong slot, etc.) Also, try to handle only the plastic parts of components along the edge. Definitely avoid directly touching the black, silicon chips or metal components with your skin. The oils from your fingers can damage them when they heat up.

4.) Resist the urge to explore "just 'cause". I swear, it will happen. If you start getting comfortable working with the hardware, the curiosity will come. Not that there's anything wrong with taking stuff apart, but it's tempting fate. Just follows along with: "If it ain't broke..." (Wait until you've mostly killed a system, then pull it apart and have a ball.)
 
Good stuff here, I added a few things to this post.

The static guards are a worthwhile extra step if you have one. While thinking of other, unexpected ways to get in trouble, here's some other things to think about:

1.) If possible, don't stand on any form of carpet or rug while working with the box open. Also be sure the box is placed on a plastic or laquered wooden surface.

2.) Always be sure to discharge the motherboard completely before opening the case. Power off the system normally. Switch the PSU off using the black switch on the back. Press and hold your computer's main power button until the board "flickers". (It will sort of flash quickly on and off once, then will remain off.) Unplug the computer, then open your case to work on it or clean it.

3.) Never "wiggle" or "shimmy" components to remove them or get them seated. Always apply force directly into or away from the slots. Always use firm, steady pressure. However, I've found that some components may require a surprising amount of force to insert or remove -- especially if they're older. If something seems "stuck", apply continuous pressure, increasing it by small degrees and be patient. It will eventually work. (I stop when I start to see a slight bend in the motherboard -- that's too much pressure, and may mean that something else is wrong: latch isn't opened all the way, damaged slot, wrong slot, etc.) Also, try to handle only the plastic parts of components along the edge. Definitely avoid directly touching the black, silicon chips or metal components with your skin. The oils from your fingers can damage them when they heat up.

4.) Resist the urge to explore "just 'cause". I swear, it will happen. If you start getting comfortable working with the hardware, the curiosity will come. Not that there's anything wrong with taking stuff apart, but it's tempting fate. Just follows along with: "If it ain't broke..." (Wait until you've mostly killed a system, then pull it apart and have a ball.)
1. This is good, never work on a carpeted surface. As I mentioned in my previous post. Especially if you have shoes and socks on, here's why. Think of your shoes as the 'conductor', your sock as the 'insulator' and you (your body) as the battery. As you move or walk on a carpet, your shoes are conducting or generating static electricity, that passes through your sock...into you and you build up a charge. Think of your body as the battery or even a capacitor if you wish. Then of course you touch something that grounds you and 'snap'! This could happen when your are holding your motherboard. Even if you are not wearing socks as some do at times, just the shoes...you still build up a static charge on carpet. Silly as it sounds, take the shoes and socks off and just go barefoot, this will greatly reduce the chance of building up a charge, and of course a ground strap (wrist) if possible. I should have mentioned this in my previous post. I do the same thing even on my hardwood or roll stock (vinyl) floors when I work at home.

2. Yep, this is very important. And never work on your system with it plugged into power. If you do, bad things can happen.

3. THIS! How many times have I seen other folks do this. I might add that placing your parts on an anti-static bag is also a good thing until you are ready to install. Never force parts into place, if it doesn't feel right, back off and take a look. Plus there will be times you may get frustrated because things are not going right...and if this does happen, walk away and calm down. Seriously, I have seen this a time or two and things get broken, accidentally or some (expensive) part takes a flying lesson. Computer parts do not fly well.

I especially like the last bit, yes exploring can be fun...but not recommended. :oops:
 
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Cleaning a PC - Vacuum cleaners, air blowers, static electricity

OK, so I've always used a vacuum cleaner to clean my PC. I know you're not supposed to, but I live in a hot, humid climate where you don't really GET static electricity, and it's never caused any problems. And there are NO shops selling air-blowers, either the electrical kind or the ones that use compressed air canisters. (I've tried a hairdryer too, but it wasn't very good at it.)

But I've recently seen adverts for several kinds of mini-vacuum cleaners (dust-buster size) that have air blower functionality, and I'm thinking of getting one. The adverts don't explicitly claim PC-safe, but they look as though they should be. Anyone here who can advise?

Example of the type of cleaner:
http://www.lazada.com.ph/kyk-tools-mini-vacuum-cleaner-800w-kmv-800-58468.html
If you live in a climate that is like the Netherlands:
some tips:
* Keep your room dust free (daily vacuuming)
* Don't smoke (it will fuck up your lungs and your hardware)
* Use good filters
* Air conditioning is great (if you can afford it)

If you live in a tropical place close to the sea.....
* Know that your hardware is going to die FAST (a lot faster) if you don't use salt air filters
* Get salt air filters for your computer air intake or for your airco..
* If you can afford it....... get passive (it is cheap but when you want to play games like Cyberpunk... it will get expensive) or liquid cooling

hope it helped.

"prevention is better then cleaning up after"
 
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the fan of my pc makes a horrible noise, I tried to clean it with a cleaner but nothing n do, I do not understand where the noise comes from
 
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the fan of my pc makes a horrible noise, I tried to clean it with a cleaner but nothing n do, I do not understand where the noise comes from
A while ago, I had the same problem, but it turned out to be the power supply. Replacing that, fixed the issue.
 
the fan of my pc makes a horrible noise, I tried to clean it with a cleaner but nothing n do, I do not understand where the noise comes from
Yeah, power supplies rarely die quietly. That could be it.

Tell us more about this noise.
 
Could be the radiator (water cooling?) if you have one, if it fails i think it makes a horrible whine noise you can do a search for failing pc hardware noises on youtube i think, or plug one thing in at a time and see what makes noise then you'll know what is the issue.
 
the fan of my pc makes a horrible noise, I tried to clean it with a cleaner but nothing n do, I do not understand where the noise comes from
the only thing that can make noise in your psu is the fan. and it is prob. the ball baring that is broken. ez fix is to replace the fan. (4 ~ 15 eddies for a new fan)