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orypecos (TechnicalUser)
10 Apr 07 23:56
how can I do this safely without damaging the chips with static electricity? Blowing it out will probably not get all the dust and dirt out.
The system has been in storage for years and not powered up.
IllogicallyLogical (TechnicalUser)
11 Apr 07 0:52
The canned air is your best solution.  You could also use a nonstatic vacuum.  If the contacts are extremely dirty, you could use a lint-free swab with denatured alcohol to clean them up.  The best way to avoid ESD is to just be careful when you are handling the parts.  I wouldn't be too worried about ESD, but if you are you could always use a "nerd bracelet".

Joey
A+, MCP

edfair (TechnicalUser)
11 Apr 07 3:26
You can get board cleaning spray washes at an electonic supply store. They are safe to use on stuffed boards.

Ed Fair
Give the wrong symptoms, get the wrong solutions.

paparazi (TechnicalUser)
11 Apr 07 3:50
I use my Compressor and pistol blower!
Much more powerful and cheaper than canned air.
Ask at any garage for a couple of minutes use of an air line and blow off jet, I'm sure they will be happy to help.
The fist thing that I do on any repair/upgrade is to blow out all those dust bunnies from the board/graphics card and power supply as well as the intake vents and cooling fans.
                                                 Martin

We like members to GIVE and not just TAKE.
Participate and help others.

gbaughma (IS/IT--Management)
11 Apr 07 9:28

Quote:


I use my Compressor and pistol blower!

Not the best practice.  The oils and condensation that come from a compressor can do a lot of damage to circuit boards.

I use a product called Lexite PS from ChemSearch.  (I've also used LPS).

According to the can:

Quote:


"Lexite PS is perfect when you want a thorough cleaning without dismantling your equipment; simply spray on and let drive.  No need to wipe down or pick up residue with this nonstaining, noncorrosive, CFC-free formula.  Use it on batteries, controls, guages, motors, regulators, speedometers, cables and more.
Suitable for use as a solvent for cleaning electronic equipment in Federally inspected meat and poultry plants.

Great stuff.  I use it for many applications, including "washing down" circuit boards.

Just my 2¢
-There once was a man from Peru
 Who wanted to write a Haiku
 but...

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com

macten88 (TechnicalUser)
11 Apr 07 11:13
Buy a new 1" wide paint brush at Walmart for less than a buck.  I'll use it first and then use compressed air that I bought on sale.

You may have to re-seat the video card, ram etc. if it doesn't power up.
monksnake (Programmer)
11 Apr 07 12:19
I've had to clean an extremely dusty server before.

Quote:


Not the best practice.  The oils and condensation that come from a compressor can do a lot of damage to circuit boards.

If the boards are as dirty as I messed with, the fastest first thing to do is to use a compressor.  Had I used canned air, I probably would've went through about 30 cans.  It'll get all the excess dust off, there will still be dirt on the boards after the compressor hits it.  Be careful about putting the nozzle too close to the board though.  That's when you can get the condensation on it.  After a rough "one over" with a compressor, do the alcohol-
swab wipe.

That's what I did with that server I cleaned up, and it works just fine.   

I do agree with gbaughma about compressors not being the best practice, but I also see cases in which it would be preferred (extremely dusty).

By the way, this is all my opinion (yeah, really).

monkeysnake <.

Lienori (IS/IT--Management)
11 Apr 07 12:25
We use our air compressor (used for car tyres) on our computers.  Gbaughma might be right, and it probably isn't a 'best practice', but we've never had a problem and it's been used hundreds of times.

jlockley (TechnicalUser)
11 Apr 07 14:29
It must be spring. Everyone is into spring cleaning. See
http://www.tek-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=1349981&amp;page=1

Someone maybe should add lexite to the list, but one of the accidental discoveries was a retractable blush/make up brush (unused). The retractable part lets you control the firmness of the brush. These are quite soft and won't damage even the most delicate circuitry. Use it only for computer parts, works very well.

Second a can of compressed air. Who ever thought you'd be paying for a can of air. Sounds like a joke.

paparazi (TechnicalUser)
12 Apr 07 4:52
bigsmile not the best practice using a compressor.
Firstly mine is oil-less and it has a water trap.
I know what you are saying is correct "strickly speaking" but we have been using a compressor and blow off jet for over five years in the shop, I guess we blow out at least 5 PC's a day and have been doing this for the last five years, that must run into the thousands of PC's we have cleaned and without any damage.
So although I accept that there might be a very slight risk, this risk is surely much LESS than the one posed by a soft brush that could potentially "knock off a cap" if used heavy handedly.
The big advantage though, is the speed and how thoroughly this method cleans, you can blow out a complete box in under 20seconds and there is no need to open power supplies etc as the high pressure blast just blows all the dust build up clean away.
Certainly beats the 5/15minutes required with a brush.
Jamming fans is recommended.
                                             Martin

We like members to GIVE and not just TAKE.
Participate and help others.

wahnula (TechnicalUser)
12 Apr 07 9:02

Quote:

Ask at any garage

Martin, I doubt that any garage has an inline dryer.  My home compressor does not, but it is oil-less.  In fact, they even recommend draining the tank between uses to prevent rust (yeah right, I'm doing that...) here in the humid Texas climate I am afraid to use it for PC cleaning, but it would save a fortune on canned air.  I am looking into an inline dryer...

Tony
gbaughma (IS/IT--Management)
12 Apr 07 9:21

Quote:


Much more powerful and cheaper than canned air.
Ask at any garage for a couple of minutes use of an air line and blow off jet, I'm sure they will be happy to help.

OK... but you didn't specify OILLESS and an inline dryer.  In fact, you said go to a garage... which almost guaranteed is going to be a pretty dirty compressor.  winky smile

Just my 2¢
-There once was a man from Peru
 Who wanted to write a Haiku
 but...

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com

Helpful Member!  LawnBoy (MIS)
12 Apr 07 14:02
Tony,

Inline dryers are cheap ($8-$10) and easy to find. You should pass through a water trap first to grab the bulk of the condensation, makes your dryer last much longer.

I prefer to keep the pressure down to 30 psi or so with a regulator. 100 psi is like prying on it with a screwdriver and can peel labels off.
technome (IS/IT--Management)
12 Apr 07 14:07
For a compressor with a high volume nozzle, the air line should have a integrated  ground wire to kill static or you should be touching a ground. Also high volume air discharges can also create static due to fast moving dust. Electronic cleaning spray is the safest, the worst is a high volume Shop vacuum.

........................................
Chernobyl disaster..a must see pictorial
http://www.kiddofspeed.com/default.htm

wahnula (TechnicalUser)
12 Apr 07 20:26

Quote (LawnBoy):

Inline dryers are cheap ($8-$10) and easy to find. You should pass through a water trap first to grab the bulk of the condensation, makes your dryer last much longer.

I prefer to keep the pressure down to 30 psi or so with a regulator. 100 psi is like prying on it with a screwdriver and can peel labels off.

Thanks LawnBoy!  Any brand/make/model/store advice?  How about this:

http://www.amazon.com/Pk-Mini-Inline-Desiccant-Dryer/dp/B000KSV2TA/ref=sr_1_9/002-3315598-4670464?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1176423617&amp;sr=1-9

and this:

http://www.tcpglobal.com/airbrushdepot/ItemDetail.aspx?ItemNo=BDG%2050-2014     

My wife will be thanking you as I drag my 100' 1/2" hose through the house from the garage to my office smile

Hey at least it's clean!

Tony
paparazi (TechnicalUser)
13 Apr 07 3:51
I take your point, although compressors in garage workshops do normally have water traps it doesn't gaurantee clean air.
May I suggest that if this were an option for you? a body shop would be a better option and a gauranteed source of clean compressed air.
The paint spraying process means that much more money is spent on air cleaning attachments to remove water and oil residue.
Just a thought.
                                                 Martin

We like members to GIVE and not just TAKE.
Participate and help others.

LawnBoy (MIS)
13 Apr 07 9:48
Tony,
Both of those look fine but I'd bet you can find them cheaper at your local hardware/tool store. Anybody that sells hoses and connectors should have them.

Remember that dryers are "consumed" as you use them and will need periodic replacement.

At work I use bottles of nitrogen. It's cheap, dry and utterly clean. It's not as portable as it first seems since the bottle must remain upright at all times.

lopes1211 (TechnicalUser)
13 Apr 07 12:00
I use a $15 Black & Decker electric leaf blower.  I have a compressor and water trap but only use it for my airtools.  I use the leaf blower on PC's due to the instant free air (no waiting for the compresser to build pressure) and higher volume/lower velocity compared to the compresor.  It takes about 5 seconds per PC and the air is the same temperature and humidity as the PC.

-CL

firewolfrl (TechnicalUser)
17 Apr 07 0:43
I use the compressor method and the leaf blower method...its all good....LOL

I have washed boards in soap and water before and let them air dry to remove the carbon scum from smokers. I am not out anything if the boards are that bad they need to be replaced anyways.

What really kills computers is corrosion from sitting in a humid area such as a storage shed, storage unit or Garage

I live by the Ocean so I have to add salt air


and I blast the heck of of the boxes....its pretty funny to see the cloud that comes out of some of them. I have see computers so full of lint that it is amazing they even work at all...

the canned air method is crap...the can gets cold very fast and the air quits blowing as hard as the can gets colder



Just remember it may not be Mt. Saint Helens blowing its top but some poor tech that is cleaning out a computer
felixc (Programmer)
17 Apr 07 11:14
Yup, electric air blower does it great!  I use to jam the fans before doing so, but this is another thread.

If the boards have more than just dust, then I use hot water from the tap, "Pine Sol", and a large horse hair brush to clean the board.  Then rinse until the board doesn't smell the pine anymore, and use the electric blower to push the water out.

Be careful not to warp the boards under the pressure of the air blow, as this may cause some solders to crack and cause intermittent problems.

Industrial board cleaners use water, soap, and air.  

BadBigBen (MIS)
17 Apr 07 12:46
I have successfully used WD-40 to clean gunky - dirty boards before using a toothbrush, or like mentioned before, with a larger brush...

Ben

"If it works don't fix it! If it doesn't use a sledgehammer..."

felixc (Programmer)
18 Apr 07 17:24
You're right Badbigben, WD40 is very good to dissolve gunk on pc boards.  Once the gunk is gone then you use soap to remove the oily residues from the WD40 as they can attack some plastics.  I have used it successfully to remove flux stains on many boards.

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