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Machine maintenance tips?

Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:47 pm
by Cody
My machine is overdue for its six-monthly clean-up (yep, time to do battle with the dust&cable monster at the back, and maybe format the C: partition). I'd prefer not to unmount the gfx card, fans etc, and I can clear most of the dust from inside its case fairly easily. It's the clingy dust that builds-up on fan blades that is a little tricky - does anyone have useful tips for dealing with that? Any other useful pro-tips for maintenance would be appreciated too.

Re: Machine maintenance tips?

Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:50 pm
by Tricky
Compressed air and a hoover. :D

EDIT: and a toothbrush.

Re: Machine maintenance tips?

Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:55 pm
by Cody
<grins> A Dyson vacuum and an electric toothbrush... hmm?

Re: Machine maintenance tips?

Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:57 pm
by Smivs
I have a flexible tube that narrows to about 0.5cm diameter that fits on the vacuum. It's perfect for tight spaces. I put a bit of cloth over the end held on by rubber band to avoid sucking up any bridges etc.

Re: Machine maintenance tips?

Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:58 pm
by Diziet Sma
Much as you don't want to pull cards, the constant day-in/day-out heat cycling and associated expansion/contraction events can lead to connector problems, which often don't manifest until the computer is moved from its usual spot. (I've seen computers crippled simply by being moved from one side of the room to the other - a clean and re-seat got them going again)

Cleaning and re-seating the card connectors is good preventative maintenance. Pull the cards, vacuum the slots and clean the edge connectors with a soft pencil eraser (the kind on the end of a pencil are ideal). If the connectors show any sign of build-up or corrosion, go for the mildly abrasive type of eraser instead. Be sure to blow/vac the bits of eraser away, and I presume you don't need to be told about anti-static precautions..

The above can be extended to memory modules as well, if you like. They also undergo loads of heat cycling events, and can suffer similar problems, although much less frequently, as they're locked into position (and now you know why).

Q-tips and cleaning alcohol has its uses at times as well, and as stated above, a plain old toothbrush is invaluable. There's always one in my PC kit. (and in my car/motorcycle toolkit as well, back when I owned a vehicle)

Oh yeah.. and despite the Dyson idea :lol: , Tricky is right about the compressed air. Any good electronics hobbyist store should carry spray-cans of compressed air. They're invaluable, and will move more stuff than a vacuum can. They're good for getting crud out of CPU cooling fins, amongst other things. But be sure to prevent the fan from spinning when you do this. The extreme uneven pressures on the blades can damage the bearings.

Re: Machine maintenance tips?

Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:20 pm
by Tricky
:snickers

Cocktail sticks jammed into the fans to stop them spinning and a proper compressor should dislodge anything! :twisted:

Done that with a 4kW amp system. Stopped the DJ complaining about any heat build up.

Re: Machine maintenance tips?

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:03 pm
by NigelJK
My local £1 shop (PoundLand chain) has started stocking cans of compressed air.

Re: Machine maintenance tips?

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:22 pm
by Cody
Thanks for the tips, guys. I only got around to the job this morning, as I was waiting for new RAM to arrive. It was surprisingly clean inside - the dust filters had done their job well, and were nicely clogged with gunk, so I only had to clear them out, and brush some dust off fan-blades etc (my old shaving brush proved ideal). I refrained from removing any cards etc - my old fingers aren't too good at that anymore. Slapping some new RAM in is about my limit (up to 8GB now - when I recall my first desktop's 4MB, 8GB seems awesome!). I cleaned the monitor screen with purified water (lovely stuff), and added a new keyboard and mouse.

Result: the CPU, GPU and mobo are all running about 4-5 degrees cooler, the fans run smoother, and the machine is quieter.
This all underlines the value of good dust filters and regular internal cleaning. <awards himself a pure Colombian coffee, with cream>

Re: Machine maintenance tips?

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:11 pm
by Diziet Sma
That's great to hear, EV!

<For his own small part in the above saga, Dizzy decides to award himself some Colombian coffee too.. he knows a Colombian restaurant owner who imports his own beans direct from home :mrgreen: >

Re: Machine maintenance tips?

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:13 pm
by drew
El Viejo wrote:<grins> A Dyson vacuum and an electric toothbrush... hmm?
Don't forget to add a hot cup of really fresh tea when you turn it on.

Cheers,

Drew.

Re: Machine maintenance tips?

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:24 pm
by maaarcooose
I tend to use a paint brush and a can of compressed air, outside.

Some of the PCs I have to clean at work are a bit fluff filled.

!m!

Re: Machine maintenance tips?

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:08 pm
by CommRLock78
maaarcooose wrote:I tend to use a paint brush and a can of compressed air, outside.

Some of the PCs I have to clean at work are a bit fluff filled.

!m!
Nothing like here with the dry air - I have to do these clean ups two or three times a year :(.

<Joins in and has himself some Cafe Altura> Edit: it's my routine anyway, and happened to be drinking some already :P.

Re: Machine maintenance tips?

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:43 am
by Thermonuklear
Does anyone have experience on using an air compressor to clean electronics? I could have sworn I read someone using this method earlier in this thread, but can't find it anymore. Blind bastard... I'm asking because I have a small compressor and there's a risk of water condensation inside the pressure tank, and the cheaper models which are normally not perma-lubed(sounds a bit dirty, but I don't know the right term) may draw some lubricating oil from the engine and mix it with the airstream.
For cleaning I use aircans/vacuum cleaner/cotton dabs. Great combo.

---

Now for a little thread-jack, if that's okay...
I bought a new fan(Arctic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo II) for my GPU(Geforce GTX560 Ti), any tips to make the installation as painless as possible?

Re: Machine maintenance tips?

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:49 am
by Cody
Hi-jack away - it's what this thread was intended for really - hardware tips and advice.
Thermonuklear wrote:I bought a new fan(Arctic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo II) for my GPU(Geforce GTX560 Ti), any tips to make the installation as painless as possible?
Good luck - last time I tried to fit a special fan (for the CPU), it was a problem and never got fitted in the end.

Re: Machine maintenance tips?

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:28 pm
by Thermonuklear
El Viejo wrote:Good luck - last time I tried to fit a special fan (for the CPU), it was a problem and never got fitted in the end.
Very comforting! :twisted:

Luckily the Internet seems to provide me lots of idiot's guides to installing this specific hardware. Even the manual that with the fan seems quite good.