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Cleaning a Computer Internals

csogilvie
Grafter
Posts: 5,852
Registered: 04-04-2007

Cleaning a Computer Internals

My computer is 13 months old... today is the first time I've had the case off since I bought it and that was only so I could have a check to see if I could upgrade it which I can.

However, I discovered when I opened the case that a lot of the stuff is caked in dust - including the memory slot where I intend putting another 256MB stick in.

What I am looking for is tips on how to clean some of the dust out of the computer system without damaging any of the components. Any ideas?
21 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Cleaning a Computer Internals

Get a can of compressed air with a long nozzle. You can get rid of the dust etc within componants and clear out the dust within the processors heatsink.

You can also use a small paintbrush with soft bristles. Once I have moved the dust to the case, i use a hoover to remove it. Carefull you don't get the hoover nozzle near any links or wires which may be sucked up.

Also remove all fans and clean them, including the one on the CPU. I use damp qtips to clean the fins but don't get the motor wet!
csogilvie
Grafter
Posts: 5,852
Registered: 04-04-2007

Cleaning a Computer Internals

So just point the compressed air at it and give it a squirt or two?
N/A

Cleaning a Computer Internals

Yep, that's the best way..... Probably a good idea to do it at arms length though, as you can imagine the amount of dust your about to blow around.

Any moisture you might see coming out of the nozzle will soon evapourate, so don't worry.


Dave
csogilvie
Grafter
Posts: 5,852
Registered: 04-04-2007

Cleaning a Computer Internals

I get the feeling doing it on a sheet would be the best idea to save my mother shouting at me Smiley

Cheers... I guess thats a job to-do over the next few weeks then.
N/A

Cleaning a Computer Internals

And watch out for static discharge.

Before touching anything inside the case ground yourself (and any tool you plan to use) by touching something that is electrically well earthed. I usually use a central-heating radiator or table lamp with an earthed metal case.

Electronic engineers and component manuals tend to say use an earthing strap but I'm not aware I've damaged anything with static and I've built several computers. I have broken a CPU socket and fried a processor with a wrong mainboard setting, but that's another story ...
N/A

Cleaning a Computer Internals

You will actualy find the best earthing point is the computer case itself.

Provided the PSU unit comes equiped with a power switch on the back, leaving the power cable in is the best approach.

The case will remained earthed this way, and turning the swithc off will reduce the risk.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,983
Thanks: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Cleaning a Computer Internals

Even if it's not plugged in to the socket and earthed, just touching the case will equalise the potential between you and the case along with its components.
Once this potential is equalized then there will be no current flowing from your fingers to the computer parts.

I too have built many computer and have never "fried" any of them with static.

The only one that ever "smoked" was due to the video card not being seated properly in the AGP slot. (It seems that a couple of the connections are very close together have 12v ond 0 volts on them?) so the moral here is to ensure that the crd is fully seated before powering up.
In fact the latest cards have the rear latch to prevent this happening.
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,878
Registered: 04-04-2007

Cleaning a Computer Internals

I cleaned my missus' computer last year, I used the hoover (but didnt get too close). I also cleaned the PSU (took it apart first, although I wouldnt advice this due to the capacitors and transformers), but I didnt do a good enough job of cleaning it and just moved dust around. Next time I plugged it in the internal fuse exploded and a transformer burnt out.

Chris
csogilvie
Grafter
Posts: 5,852
Registered: 04-04-2007

Cleaning a Computer Internals

Another tip I've heard is that you put a pair of tights over the nozel on the hoover and use that...
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,878
Registered: 04-04-2007

Cleaning a Computer Internals

Why do that? less likely to pick up big bits of dirt and probably add to the dangers of static.

Chris
N/A

Cleaning a Computer Internals

Thats a bit of a wifes tale, the tights thing. It will make no difference. It is really the size of the hoover nozzle that can cause problems, knocking components and vacuuming up jumpers.
A can of compressed air is the best for cleaning PCI and AGP slots of dust. You can get them from Maplin, called an air duster, not cheap but moisture free.
csogilvie
Grafter
Posts: 5,852
Registered: 04-04-2007

Cleaning a Computer Internals

I'll go the compressed air route probably.
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,878
Registered: 04-04-2007

Cleaning a Computer Internals

Certinaly sounds like the best option. make sure u take all the sides off your computer and clean the other side of the motherboard.

Chris
csogilvie
Grafter
Posts: 5,852
Registered: 04-04-2007

Cleaning a Computer Internals

I could be looking for advice in 2-3 weeks on hte installation of more RAM anyway Cheesy