Sucking v.s. Blowing : A question about computers

Let us assume we have disconnected a.c. power from a normal computer. Some p.c. mini tower. Let us assume we have taken off the side panels and can easily access the innards.

Is it wiser to suck out the accumulated dust from everywhere using some small nozzled vacuum system, or blow out the dust using something powerful like a Shop-Vac on Blow?

I fear that blowing just forces bits of dust down into the card slots and other recesses, but do not know if it is safer than vacuuming it out.

I know folks like to use canned air, but if it’s Freon or a similar accelerant that is sold as canned air, I feel it’s incredibly dangerous to use because if the can is tipped on it’s side or held upside down even for a few seconds, to access a tight or odd spot, the liquified accelerant comes shooting out, superfreezing anything it hits. Bad, bad, bad.

So, to suck or to blow? Computers, of course. :slight_smile:


The best thing to do would be suck first to get the easy, loose stuff, then suck one one end and blow the other to try to get anything stuck in the cracks.

I take both sides and the faceplate off and blow it out with an air jet on my shop compressor. ShopVac exhaust isn’t strong enough to get all the dust out and I don’t like canned air for the same reason you don’t.

I use the jet to blow out the drive slots, card slots, USB connectors, everything. It’s never caused any damage. Sometimes, if I’ve let it go too long without cleaning, I have to use one of those feathery “magic dusters” on the fan blades, though. The air jet doesn’t get all the clingy crap off them.

DO NOT use a standard vaccuum cleaner, it creates an electrostatic field that can damage sensitive electronics, there are very expensive electronics vaccum cleaners available, 3M makes one, it uses a standard 3-prong grounded computer power cable, and has a grounding tab that touches the suction hose

very loud and powerful, and the only safe kind of vaccuum to use on computers

if you don’t have an electronics vac, take the computer outside and liberally spray it down with canned air, just make sure to keep the can level, you don’t want to release the “freon” propellant onto the circuit boards

I feel I should provide some balance to the “vac is bad” argument: I have cleaned computers about 50 times with a standard vaccuum cleaner and nothing has happened yet, so it’s not that bad. Still, there is a tiny risk involved, as was said.

I’ll second the motion that you don’t need a special vacuum. Don’t vacuum your computer while scuffing your feet on the carpet and you should be fine. Touch the case of your computer or something else metal before touching the delicate bits inside the computer, and stand/sit still while you do it.

Man, usually I have to pay to hear that kind of talk… :wink:

Hey man, I’m just talking about computers here, I dunno what your deal is. Sheesh.

Just remember, before you go sticking strange dongles into your sockets, you should be sure you have protection or you might get a virus.

Yo bitch, you’re payin’ $ 14.95 a year, ! :smiley:

The grounding/static/vacuum issue? Word. I use a wrist grounding strap whenever go and get nasty inside a computer. I also disconnect it from power first and wait a few. I’m paranoid that way. If I don’t have that very appealing grounded vacuum cleaner made by the same folks who invented Duct Tape, can I use a copper wire to ground the computer chassis to something…groundy? I readily agree that a small static discharge could turn a computer into landfill, but it does sound like lots of folks have been…what- lucky?

Speaking of static, I watched a putz fill a gasoline can ( plastic ) while it was sitting on the plastic liner bed of his pricey Apache. God did I drive away fast. Things like that go “boom” in the night. :eek:

Uvula Donor, I might debate the ShopVac poor exhaust flow comment. True perhaps if using the standard size hosing but if using the step-down diameter, the flow is forced through a smaller nozzle and really is rather powerful.

( Sorry for the gap in response since my OP, I’ve been away. -sniffle- )