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Hardware Thread, Desktop/Laptop Cleaning in Technical; Hi folks, We're looking at getting a number of old desktops cleaned internally. Is anyone aware of a combined compressor/vacuum ...
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    Gongalong's Avatar
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    Question Desktop/Laptop Cleaning

    Hi folks,

    We're looking at getting a number of old desktops cleaned internally.

    Is anyone aware of a combined compressor/vacuum that does a decent job of clearing out the dust?

    TIA

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    Do not stick a hoover nozzle inside the PC. I've seen too many killed this way due to the static.

    Compressed air in a can is best IMO.

    Also make sure the fans don't spin when you're blowing. this can also cause problems.

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    Gongalong (26th January 2012)

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    3s-gtech's Avatar
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    Don't use a normal air compressor either (with a steel tank) as they collect condensation which comes out with the air, not good on electrical components. You can get anti-static vacuum cleaners, or just use compressed air cans.

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    Gongalong (26th January 2012)

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    I once managed to suck a key off an RM laptop using a vacuum cleaner.

    It was after I'd gone through the contents of the Henry that someone told me we had a spare keyboard.

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    CrazyK1tten (2nd March 2012), Gongalong (26th January 2012)

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    I use these:

    LCD, TV, and PC Screen Cleaning Equipment, Training and Consumables - Datavac Electric Duster ED-500
    LCD, TV, and PC Screen Cleaning Equipment, Training and Consumables - Atrix Omega Supreme ESD Toner Vacuum C/W Free tools

    The only problems with the vac / duster is its a bit of a hassle lugging the stuff around if you are working in different locations and the motors do get quite warm but I think they are the best options currently available.

    I use the odd can as well but they are getting very expensive, dont last very long and you need to be very careful how and where you use them as most of them are extremely flammable.

    RE compressors and moisture build up - the tanks should have a drain valve so you can empty the water out, I've never tried using one for cleaning PCs so I dont know how bad the condensation is but I dont think the compressed cans are brilliant either if you're not careful you can end up freezing what you are trying to clean.

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    Gongalong (26th January 2012)

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    3s-gtech's Avatar
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    The drain valve helps - but the moisture is still present in the compressed air - it's not 'dry' air. The cans can give you an immense freeze burn if you shake them though, and if you tilt it the propellant can come out which can damage components.

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    you can get moisture traps for compressors that give you air as dry it needs to be... also, check your compressor is oil free as that will also kill components!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ToyHeartsFan View Post
    The only problems with the vac / duster is its a bit of a hassle lugging the stuff around if you are working in different locations and the motors do get quite warm but I think they are the best options currently available.
    Model shops tend to sell dinky, portable air compressors for airbrushing models, those should be just the thing. As well as any drain on the compressor itself I understood you could get moisture traps that fitted where the airbrush paint tank usually goes.

    The propellant used in air duster cans these days tends to be propane, which is rather flamable, especially if you're using it to clear out dust somewhere hot, like a projector - make sure you wait until the bulb cools down, and you're probably better off using a toner vaccume on projectors instead anyway. If you're blowing dust, and especially if you're blowing toner (which, really, you should be using a proper toner vacume for) you're probably best off wearing a dust mask and remember that many fire alarm systems can't tell the difference between clouds of dust and smoke - I've set the school fire alarm off before now blowing plaster dust out of a cupboard.

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    Gongalong (26th January 2012)

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    Thanks all so far for the replies.

    We're looking at potentially cleaning 200+ PCs, so canned air isn't really appropriate unfortunately.

    I guess it's a bit of a niche industry, but wondered if someone had created something suitably powerful to blast (or suck) air out of heatsinks, which seems to require a lot of power. No point just blasting it away though as it needs to be collected somewhere (or just gets sucked into the PC again).

    Of course it can't be anything expensive as we don't have any money etc. etc.

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    if you're blowing toner
    - OMG no don't do that; I'm not sure if all toners are as bad as each other and modern toners might be safer but they used to be classsed as a low level carcogenic. I only use the Vac I linked which has a highly rated filter desiged fot toner and some special toner cloths the toner clings to when working on printers.

    probably best off wearing a dust mask
    - I use cheap disposable ones and when I can I use the vac at the same time as the blower to reduce the dust in the air.

    and remember that many fire alarm systems can't tell the difference between clouds of dust and smoke - I've set the school fire alarm off before now blowing plaster dust out of a cupboard
    - lol

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    Gongalong (26th January 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gongalong View Post
    Thanks all so far for the replies.

    We're looking at potentially cleaning 200+ PCs, so canned air isn't really appropriate unfortunately.

    I guess it's a bit of a niche industry, but wondered if someone had created something suitably powerful to blast (or suck) air out of heatsinks, which seems to require a lot of power. No point just blasting it away though as it needs to be collected somewhere (or just gets sucked into the PC again).

    Of course it can't be anything expensive as we don't have any money etc. etc.
    You could nick Henry from the cleaner just dont use it inside the case because of the static (which is why I use the vac I linked) and get the blower I linked (or a small compressor) and use them at the same time - I know you said you had no money but they are cheaper than cans so tell your bursar it will save the school money especially if it stops a PC powersupply overheating and going bang!

    Note: I would only use Henry and the like for normal dust I wouldn't want to use it for toner as it would go straight through the filters.

    And do buy some masks you really don't want to breathe the stuff in
    Last edited by ToyHeartsFan; 26th January 2012 at 02:50 PM. Reason: typo

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    We purchased one of these a couple of years ago, they are fantastic.
    But remember all the blasted dirt goes airbourne, and settles on everything else around you and a face mask is recommended.

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    I always thought about some sort of enclosure similar to a sand blasting cabinet. It would have a a moveable nozze for air and built in extraction.

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    They might stretch to the vacuum based on the number of PCs that require servicing. Is the vac alone powerful enough to pull "embedded" dust from heatsinks?

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    Quote Originally Posted by K.C.Leblanc View Post
    I once managed to suck a key off an RM laptop using a vacuum cleaner.

    It was after I'd gone through the contents of the Henry that someone told me we had a spare keyboard.
    I did the same with a Toshiba laptop. Not to mention several projector filters.



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