Sunday, October 9, 2005

Cleaning the inside of your computer

Originally posted on 9 October 2005 (from one of my many abandoned blogs). I have moved it after updating it with photos. As such, the information may no longer be relevant or up-to-date, the photos and links may no longer exist. When I'm free I'll update these old posts.

It is essential to remove dust from your computer every now and then to prevent air ventilation problems which results in poor heat removal. The heat can cause your graphics card to be unstable, and will shorten your electronic components' lifespan. Start protecting your investments and data(of course you will have to backup your data as well...I might touch on it on another post) by cleaning your computer case at least twice a year.

Remember to discharge yourself of static electricity before and when handling electronic components by wearing an anti-static wristband orby touching the metal casing.

There are basically two ways to clean the inside of your computer. You can either blow or vacuum the dust out. To blow the dust out, you can use a can of compressed air or a hand pump. For vacuuming, the gurus say that you should use a portable vacuum cleaner instead of a standard vacuum cleaner which will produces too much static electricity.

As I am not in the possession of compressed air cans, hand pump or a portable vacuum cleaner, I've decided to use a standard vacuum cleaner. However the attachments are too bulky and are not able to reach certain areas inside the computer case. Hence, I've decided to make my
own attachment. What I do is to take a flexible tube with a small diameter and attach it to the end of the vacuum cleaner tube by using dust tape. With it, I am able to reach many places inside my computer casing without detaching all those cables and removing the graphics

So there you have it. With duct tape, a flexible tube and a standard vacuum cleaner, you can clean the inside of your case with minimal cost.

As for the flexible tube, you can use anything lying around which you do not need instead of buying one. For me, I had extra length of CAT5E cable lying around and so I cut a portion which I need and pulled out the wires to get a flexible at minimal cost. As for the wires, they are still useful: they can be cut to your desired length and used as cable ties.

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Any flexible tube will do. I used a length of Ethernet wire which I cut and removed the wires inside.

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This adapter for the vacuum cleaner is hardly used, so I fixed the flexible tube to this adapter using tape.

Well, the computer which I cleaned using that the flexible tube method is still functioning which means to say that no great harm is done by static electricity or minimal damage is done. My reasoning is that since my vacuum cleaner is grounded, if I do not put the vacuum
cleaner too close to the computer, there will not be static electricity damage. I am not too sure about this so if anyone who reads this post have further insights on the static electricity issue please post comments.

Of course you have to be careful when vacuuming not to suck anything other than air and might want to remove the jumpers first.

That's basically all there is to vacuuming using this method. If you do use this method, remember to take the precautionary measures prescribed. But remember, do so at YOUR OWN RISK. At the end of the day, I think that the best method is to get a hand air pump to blow out
the dust as there is no way to vacuum out the dust in the power supply unit(do not open it even if you think you know what you are doing as high voltages are involved!). Getting cans of compressed air is just too expensive.

Edit: I've since gotten a hand air pump for cleaning my camera lens and now I use both the vacuum and blowing technique to get rid of the dust in my computer.

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