I’ve done it exactly once, many years ago. There were a surprising amount of large dust bunnies on the inside of the case (an older Apple tower, so easy to open), especially near the lip of the “lid” on the side.
Thus, I’ve become concerned. But I know what static electricity can do, so there’s no way I’m doing this during the wintertime. Besides, I’d want to do it outside so the dust has somewhere to go.
Any tips on doing this?
Canned air. I can’t think of anything else that I’d use to clean out a computer case. I wouldn’t use a feather duster for fear of static or getting wispy bits of duster stuck on components (as well as being fairly ineffective), and I’ve heard a vacuum can also get staticky.
I concur. Canned air is damn near magical. But do use it outside, otherwise you’ll make a mess, and you’ll spend days coughing on fine airborne dust particles.
In the case of dust caked so thick and tight canned air fails, I use plain ol’ toilet paper for scrubbing. In the case of non-electronic components like radiators or fans : yank it out, scrub thoroughly. In the most extreme cases wash in the sink with hot water, then let it dry for a few days. Of course always make sure there’s not a single droplet left before putting it back in.
I take mine outside, crack the case and blow it out with the air compressor. Craftsman. Got to love it.
I’ve used a small paint brush about 1" in diameter, and a vacuum cleaner.
If your computer is on the floor, try to elevate it. Even 4 or 5 inches up helps a lot.
Vacuums generate a hefty static charge. Definitely do not use them near computer parts. The small brush is a help when used with canned air.
Ditto canned air. When my laptop was over heating, I was able to get all the dust out from inside without opening anything. I had to tweeze the dust bunnies out of the output vents, but it worked well.
That’s the ticket. My brother blows mine out like this a couple of times a year.
Canned air, eh? I have it and know of it, but I’ve usually used it just for fans.
With my model of Apple, the entirety of one side is hinged, and the side opens outwards. That “lid,” IIRC, has components set into it. If I were to use canned air, say, on the top of one of the components on the inside, would the blown dust just settle on those components set into the “lid,” making things worse? I ask because I don’t feel comfortable enough with my handling skills to “yank” anything out.
That’s the “El Capitan” style case, originally introduced on the Blue and White G3, and carried forward with minor alterations (Yikes!, Sawtooth, Digital Audio, Gigabit Ethernet, Quicksilver, and Mirror Drive Door models) until the Mirror Door models, it’s, IMHO, the best case design out there, easiest machines to work on, I’d rather do major repairs like logic board replacements on an El Capitan based Mac than on any of the current Mac towers, the G5/Mac Pro cases are a step backwards in service-freindly-ness
Anyway, the El Cap cases are easy to clean, drop the side door, and go at the upright part of the case with the canned air, make sure to keep the can upright to prevent the supercooled propellant from venting out, it won’t hurt anything in quick bursts though
once the inner components, fan, and power supply are clean, go at the logic board components on the side door, make sure to keep the canned air upright
That leads me to another question: I haven’t used my canned air in literal years. Is that a problem? Should I pick up another can?
Yeah an air compressor is ideal. Canned air if you don’t have one. When I built computers at a computer store, we had a compressor out by the loading dock. Man I blew out some nasty computers, particularly from the smoking offices. Canned air just doesn’t hve the force to cut through that grime.
does it still spray air? If it still has a charge it’s fine.
I like vacuum cleaning with the crevice tool and the brush tool. It’s true, vacuums can generate some static electricity, and if I’d thought about that before I might never have done it. But I’ve been doing it for years and have never had a PC work differently after a cleaning.
One could wait for humid conditions to do this. I also think it could help to leave the PC “floating” electrically, meaning it’s not connected to anything. That way it presents a less appealing ground path to discharge through, if the nozzle is getting charged. It would also help to use a metal vacuum cleaner tool and put a ground wire on it, or drain it through maybe a megohm resistor.
I don’t like canned air or compressed air for this, because it can drive dust deeper into things where you’ll never get it out. Though this problem would be much reduced if you vacuum first to get rid of the great majority of the dust, and blow after.
At Tectronics when you would send your oscilloscope in for repair, the first thing they would do is hose it off outdoors. We’re talking big, tube-based oscilloscopes of maybe 5 cubic feet volume and weighing maybe 30 lbs, with multiple racks of solder points and handwired leaded components stretching between them. Lotta nooks and crannies.
There are some low-static vacuums made especially for use on electronic parts, but buying one is probably overkill unless you work on a lot of computers.
If you are going to use something powerful like a compressor, note that blowing air through cooling fans can make them spin too fast and damage them. It’s best to immobilize them first by holding something like a screwdriver between the vanes.
I’ve been taking apart, building, cleaning, fixing friends/relatives/friends of friends computers for like 10 years now. Now on computers that aren’t mine I would probably never do this, but on mine I just pop that thing open while its running and pull the Bissel up to it with the crevice tool. Gets out most of the major dust and any dust bunnies. Keep in mind my desktop is years old and has a few layers of dust that don’t come off with a little vacuum.
In addition to the coating they put on all the boards at the factory the dust provides a nice insulation as well!
The air coming from a regular ol’ air compressor often contains oil, moisture, and/or dirt. Unless you have a good filter on it, I would not use an air compressor. Canned air would be much better.
We have several computers and 8 cats. I do not have dust/cat hair/space problems because:
I just hung it all on the wall.
I have to do this all of the time for my job. A combination of compressed air and a vacuum works best. I will only do it inside if the pc isn’t that dusty. I do prefer to vacuum first, with the power off of course. I’m always afraid of potentially corrupting the hard drive so I like to get rid of the dust bunnies before I use the air. So far no screw ups.