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Author Topic: Cleaning Inside the Case  (Read 12110 times)
J-Mac
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« on: January 29, 2009, 11:57:00 PM »

I remember about a million years ago or so I had a small handheld vacuum - battery powered - that came with a computer tool kit. It was OK; not too powerful, but then it didn't really need to be. There were better computer vacuums available but in those days I wasn’t spending a lot on those sort of things. Now, however, I don’t even see such animals around anymore.

Today I was swapping out both of my DVD drives and even though I do try to get into the case and clean up regularly, I can always find a few pockets of crud - mostly dust pulled in by the cooling fans or dust that just finds its way in through some vents - that manages to find a dead space and accumulate. I used a Black and Decker handheld rechargeable vacuum to get what I could, but those vacuums are just too large to really be able to get into the nooks and crannies where the dust hangs out. That cheap little battery-driven toy I had years ago did have a tiny little hose attachment that allowed me to get anywhere at all inside a computer case. Of course I also have an Electrolux canister vacuum with a hose, but that would be like a sledgehammer to kill a flea!

Using air dusters inside a case is kind of crazy - they just blast the dust all over the place, and none of it manages to find its way out. I save my air duster cans when they get really low-powered and I have occasionally used them inside the computer case: I hold the dust-buster vacuum, running, right up to the area I am going to dust and then aim the almost empty air duster and let 'er rip. The vacuum catches most of any dust that does kick up.

But I would love to have a little, battery-powered vacuum again that is made for inside computer cases. Does anyone know of any that are currently sold?

Thanks!

Jim
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Gothi[c]
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2009, 08:21:46 AM »

Haven't seen those yet....
However, one thing you might want to consider is to put a filter in front of your case fans. These fans suck in a lot of dust, and putting a filter in front of them would capture all of that.

http://www.xoxide.com/lascutfangri.html
http://www.cooltechpc.com...sku=120mm_fan_filter.html
http://www.quietpcusa.com...-Dust-Filter-P298C22.aspx
etc..
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f0dder
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2009, 09:06:09 AM »

Be very careful when using compressed air inside a computer case - and never on a running machine. Compressed air tends to be pretty cold, and can cause water condensation, possibly resulting in fried PSUs.

If you do use compressed air, the trick is of course to combine it with a regular vacuum cleaner (which is just fine for in-case use in my experience), so you don't just blow the dust around smiley
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2009, 09:08:41 AM »

i want to double what f0dder says -- i destroyed up a power supply by blowing compressed air into it.
i say: never never EVER use compressed air inside a computer case.
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Edvard
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2009, 10:15:21 AM »

I clean my case regularly - every 6 months or so. My house is an older model and it tends to create dust spontaneously. So I unplug my box and let it cool down for about a half hour, then I lean it up against a fence outside and fire up the electric leaf blower!!

Dust-free in seconds and I've never fried any hardware Thmbsup

As for your original request, have you looked at any of the computer gadget websites?
Try the Metro DataVac line: http://www.metrovacworld...._name=computer&page=1
or this USB powered model: http://www.slipperybrick....07/07/usb-vacuum-cleaner/
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techidave
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2009, 11:59:53 AM »

I use a vacum sweeper by putting the hose in the blow side and not the suction side.  works pretty good and don't have to worry about moisture in the cans of air.
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2009, 12:46:50 PM »

My house is an older model and it tends to create dust spontaneously.

 Grin Grin Grin

I have a dog that must be from the same era!

Thanks for the leaf-blower image... boggles the mind!
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Chris
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2009, 01:02:44 PM »

I've used the Metro DataVac Pro for years. Kind of pricey for individual use however. A small hand held hair dryer works well as long as it allows you to completely shut off the heat. Stand back about 2 feet and use a sweeping motion. (You might also want to wear a dust mask if it's really cruddy. Doing it out on the porch, or in your garage, is also a good idea.)

The thing you need to be careful of is using too much air pressure when you vac or blow computer components. Hard air streams can dislodge or damage small electronic components and mechanical devices. Under certain conditions, they can also generate potentially harmful static charges. Moderate air flow is the safest bet. A little dust is far less likely to damage your system than and overly an aggressive cleaning will.

f0dder and Mouser's canned air warnings are spot on. I've seen chips damaged or fried from condensation due to careless use of DustOff. Don't use canned air. It's bad for the environment anyway.

« Last Edit: January 30, 2009, 01:09:55 PM by 40hz » Logged

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cranioscopical
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2009, 01:05:56 PM »

But I would love to have a little, battery-powered vacuum again that is made for inside computer cases. Does anyone know of any that are currently sold?
If you have a spare (or broken) tool for your vacuum, you can cut that down and then improvise a home-made step-down adapter and attach an appropriate length of small-bore flexible plastic tubing to the vacuum pipe.  With that you can get just about anywhere in the case (and clean out your keyboard).  It's easy enough to adjust the amount of air flow from the vacuum cleaner.

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Chris
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2009, 01:19:06 PM »

This might work for you.

It's small, ( rechargeable!) battery powered, made by Metro, and costs about $30.

Dataavac DVR1 Desktop Shuttle Vacuum/ Blower



http://www.cdw.com/shop/p.../default.aspx?EDC=1426580
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Darwin
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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2009, 01:31:09 PM »

Be very careful when using compressed air inside a computer case - and never on a running machine. Compressed air tends to be pretty cold, and can cause water condensation, possibly resulting in fried PSUs.

If you do use compressed air, the trick is of course to combine it with a regular vacuum cleaner (which is just fine for in-case use in my experience), so you don't just blow the dust around smiley

i want to double what f0dder says -- i destroyed up a power supply by blowing compressed air into it.
i say: never never EVER use compressed air inside a computer case.

Yikes! Good tip about using in conjuction with a vacuumn cleaner - I'll do that, and be a lot more careful from now on.

I like Chris' suggestion about making your own vacuumn clearner adatper - I'll be trying that as well. If nothing else, it'll save me money on compressed air AND provide hours of amusement for my kids  smiley
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J-Mac
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« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2009, 01:36:02 PM »

To all concerned about the air duster issue - Yes, the machine is always powered down, unplugged, and cooled down. BTW I always follow that regimen before going into my case. I'm only crazy, not stupid!!  Grin

As I mentioned, when I do use an air duster in the case I always use the cans that don’t have enough pressure left to do much else with, and I keep the handheld vacuum running on high with the nozzle right at the point where I am dusting up the dirt. I realize that a piece or two of dust might "get away" but I get most all of it right into the vacuum. I have done it like this since the mid-1990's and haven't ruined a box yet!  (At least not that way; Of course I can ruin them several other ways!  ohmy )

I honestly can't see the point in blowing into the box with any kind of air unless you try to immediately capture it with suction. Otherwise you're just blowing it around and possibly forcing it into a component that will make the problem worse. My opinion anyway.

Edvard, 40hz: Thanks for the links! I hadn't searched around at all vendors; mostly the Newegg's and Amazon's.

Edvard: I know what you mean about old houses. Mine is 120 years old and no matter how much I clean it, dust appears all over again within a day.

Thanks!

Jim
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J-Mac
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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2009, 01:42:59 PM »

Ouch! Data-Vac Pro is $217+  !!

Don’t want one that much!

Jim
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J-Mac
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« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2009, 01:49:20 PM »

This might work for you.

It's small, ( rechargeable!) battery powered, made by Metro, and costs about $30.

Dataavac DVR1 Desktop Shuttle Vacuum/ Blower
 (see attachment in previous post)
http://www.cdw.com/shop/p.../default.aspx?EDC=1426580

Look at the reviews for this one at Amazon.  1.5 stars average - more 1 star comments than I am used to seeing!

Jim
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Nod5
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« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2009, 04:16:24 PM »

Here in Sweden you can buy a special computer cleaning add-on for 6$ that fits any standard size vacuum cleaner. There's probably something similar elsewhere.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2009, 10:55:08 PM »

Here in Sweden you can buy a special computer cleaning add-on for 6$ that fits any standard size vacuum cleaner. There's probably something similar elsewhere.  (see attachment in previous post)

That sounds pretty cool. Never saw that before.

Thanks!

Jim
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2009, 12:23:25 AM »

Nod5, any online site for that?
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nudone
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« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2009, 12:51:42 PM »

maybe i was unlucky, maybe i was dumb (or both).

but i'm pretty sure i've killed one cpu in one machine and almost certainly killed a stick of ram from cleaning out computer cases with a brush (a soft large paint brush).

so i'd be extra careful when you are using those vacuum cleaner attachments with the brushes on them. maybe they aren't meant to be used inside the case.
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« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2009, 01:42:43 PM »

I lean it up against a fence outside and fire up the electric leaf blower!!

Lmao you can't be serious!!! I'll have to try that one day. Grin

I have a USB powered vacuum, very similar to the one you linked - it isn't ... powerful like one would usually want, but it does get the lighter and bigger dirt (the obvious stuff). I used to put vent filters in my fans (i have 150mm fans so it fits just perfectly), but the air lost a lot of speed (obviously). It did pick up a LOT of dirt though. Kind of disgusting.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2009, 02:09:06 PM »

I'm really liking the Data-Vac Pro model for $69.99 at Amazon. According to the reviews there this has a blower mode which appears to generate about the same or a little more pressure than the canned air dusters. With what I spend on air dusters (~ $7 per can), this could save some $$ in the long run.

Jim
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2009, 02:38:48 PM »

killed one cpu in one machine and almost certainly killed a stick of ram from cleaning out computer cases with a brush

It can be a ticklish operation!
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Chris
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« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2009, 04:16:02 PM »

maybe i was unlucky, maybe i was dumb (or both).

but i'm pretty sure i've killed one cpu in one machine and almost certainly killed a stick of ram from cleaning out computer cases with a brush (a soft large paint brush).

so i'd be extra careful when you are using those vacuum cleaner attachments with the brushes on them. maybe they aren't meant to be used inside the case.
I'd almost certainly attribute your misfortune to static charges that can build up between the fine hairs those nice paint brushes are made of and the most common materials found inside a computer. See here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triboelectric_effect
The farther away two materials are from each other on the Triboelectric Series list, the more likely and larger the static charge they may build up.
The brushes most often sold for use inside a computer case are supposed to be static-neutral (closer together on the Tribolectric Series) WRT the environment you'd be using them in.
Your point is valid, however and just to be safe, it would probably be a good idea to keep one hand on an unpainted area of your case or use one of those geeky wrist straps when doing anything inside there.
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« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2009, 09:13:02 PM »

Nod5, any online site for that?

try Metrovac
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wreckedcarzz
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« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2009, 11:24:31 PM »


http://www.cyberguys.com/...oductID=371&curpage=2

URL fixed smiley
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« Reply #24 on: February 01, 2009, 07:10:15 AM »

Nod5, any online site for that?
I've seen it on sale online, only in physical stores. But techidave's metrovac above looks very similar.
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