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Using leaf blower to dust a PC!

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April 17, 2007 6:25:10 PM

I'm looking for a good way to clean dust from my PC's. The compressed air cost's too much. A friend of mine suggested buying a small air compressor with a blower attachment. Another said he cleans his with a cheap $30.00 leaf blower from Sears. Considering an air compressor is around $90.00 + tax, I'm actually considering a leaf blower. Is there a reason why this is a bad idea? If not I'll give it a try.

More about : leaf blower dust

April 17, 2007 6:46:45 PM

I would not recomend that idea, too easy to blow off chips, mem, ic's etc.
NTM that objects like sand/grit are permitted to blow thru a leaf blower...
April 17, 2007 6:46:56 PM

Easy Case Cleaning instructions:
1. Remove door or outside of case.
2. Inhale.
3. Blow on heatsinks.
Related resources
April 17, 2007 6:47:29 PM

Tho I use an air compressor, with a dryer to dehumidify air...
April 17, 2007 6:54:12 PM

You want to clean dust? Try a Dustbuster. :p  Or the hose attachment on a vacuum cleaner.
April 17, 2007 7:00:52 PM

we use the shop-vac bmb200 wet/dry vac (it's a blower)... it's got a funnel on it that compresses the air in the chamber and shoots it out REALLY WELL... it works better than a leaf blower, imo, because it can be directed easily, and it's about the size of 2 large power supplies stacked on top of each other + funnel...

dunno where you can find one though :(  I don't recommend a leaf blower unless it's small
April 17, 2007 7:05:09 PM

I have to agree that a leaf blower would not be a good idea. It'll shoot dust and any other small debris right at your computer. I also wonder if the high speeds could cause any static buildup???

I'd just get the compressed air and then install some dust filters on the inputs of your computer case fans. Then you won't have to spring for compressed air as much since you can just wash the filter.
April 17, 2007 7:13:20 PM

I got a small compressor from Walmart for 68+tax, and don't regret it. Of course I use it for more than cleaning out my PC too. :) 

If you have a vacuum cleaner and the right attachment that would work for free if money is such an issue.

Honestly the leaf blower isn't going to be strong enough to blow any chips off, good exaggeration, but it may be a bit more than you need, considering you can't really control what you blow into the case while you are trying to get the dust bunnies out of your case.

It will work, but honestly either spend a few more bucks for a 2 gal compressor, which is overkill, or just use your home vacuum to suck the dust out.
April 17, 2007 7:19:09 PM

Quote:
I'm actually considering a leaf blower.


That's awesome.

Other than the danger of it shooting debris at your computer, I can't see how it would hurt.
April 17, 2007 7:25:54 PM

I must be missing something.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1 can of air (perfect for this job) = 5.99
1 Sears leaf blower (doubles for yard work) = 30.00
1 air compressor (to be installed in shop) = 90.00

How much air do you need (or how big is your case) to say canned air is too expensive?
April 17, 2007 7:26:58 PM

Quote:
I'm looking for a good way to clean dust from my PC's. The compressed air cost's too much. A friend of mine suggested buying a small air compressor with a blower attachment. Another said he cleans his with a cheap $30.00 leaf blower from Sears. Considering an air compressor is around $90.00 + tax, I'm actually considering a leaf blower. Is there a reason why this is a bad idea? If not I'll give it a try.





You know why there is canned air for electronics? Because it prevents or close to it, static electricity from friction.

A leaf blower, or other high velocity air mover will cause static build up as the air is circulated. Dust in the air also add to this effect. The risk involved is loosing components from static damage, which does happen more then you think from people using these things. I have a shop and have seen it about a dozen times over the last 3 years.
April 17, 2007 7:33:51 PM

Quote:
I'm actually considering a leaf blower.


That's awesome.

Other than the danger of it shooting debris at your computer, I can't see how it would hurt.

What debris? I won't be doing yard work while I dusting my computer.
April 17, 2007 7:48:56 PM

Quote:
I must be missing something.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1 can of air (perfect for this job) = 5.99
1 Sears leaf blower (doubles for yard work) = 30.00
1 air compressor (to be installed in shop) = 90.00

How much air do you need (or how big is your case) to say canned air is too expensive?


I have 4 computers. 2 are full size Lian Li cases and 2 are larger Dell cases. The Lian Li cases suck air like a ninja vacuum along with dust and dog hair. Filters would help. It takes me 2-3 cans to clean 4 computers to my satisfaction. So at $5.99 per can it adds up. I guess I could get a better house keeper. It would still be cheaper in the long run to spend $30.00 on the ShopVac. I hope this clears up any confusion.
April 17, 2007 7:54:27 PM

Did you read what I said about static buildup using such a device.
April 17, 2007 8:01:51 PM

Static electricity. I didn't know that. Lets say I use something other than canned air to dust. Would grounding the computer case first, make any difference against static buildup?
April 17, 2007 8:03:21 PM

:arrow: Spend the money on the compressed air,use it a couple of times a week,a couple of shots on the fans for sure,1 can should last you about a month,thats the safest way(on your components anyway)to keep her clean.I,m sure you can afford about $8.00 per month.
April 17, 2007 8:12:24 PM

Thanks for the advice.
April 17, 2007 8:17:43 PM

Always used my air compressor to clean pc. Never had problems from static that I can tell. Been spraying out my p2 machine since 1998 every month(sometimes miss a month or two), it still works fine.

If you unplug everything from the computer before you do that I dont think you would have any problems.
April 17, 2007 8:30:56 PM

Why don't you just build yourself a homemade "blower" using a spare casefan and some sort of cone shaped material with a narrow opening made from a straw. You could even add a filter too. And it runs straight off your computer's PSU. 8)
April 17, 2007 8:33:00 PM

Well i have been in the shop environment for 13 years give or take and I can tell you that it does cause issues for sure.

Not that common, but it happens and I was informing that it is a risk.


I have 2 machines and every 6 months, I wash one and swap for the other (let dry for about a week).

Canned air for electronics is the best way to go. Shop around I can usually get a full size can for 3$, which is good since we buy 20 of them at a time.
April 17, 2007 8:51:57 PM

Just use your vacume cleaner with special attachments for cleaning computers or keyboards.

Also I had a can that I purchased once that I could compress over and over again but I lost the little hand pump for it. That was failry cheap and using the pump to pump it up was good exercise. :wink:

Yes you can blow on your computer just make sure that you take it outside first and make sure your neighbors are not looking when you do it.
April 17, 2007 8:58:24 PM

Quote:
I have 2 machines and every 6 months, I wash one and swap for the other (let dry for about a week).



Wait... Wash? How are you washing your computer???
April 17, 2007 9:01:50 PM

While its on...


I use distilled water and I flush out the system. Most the time I reapply thermal paste as well. ... and while it is off.

You have to remove the IC cards too, but wash them, its fine.
Also, pull the battery and discharge the caps first.
April 17, 2007 9:10:26 PM

I believe it works... tried it on a few older pieces too...
but, thanks, no thanks. :wink:
April 17, 2007 9:17:36 PM

Quote:

You know why there is canned air for electronics? Because it prevents or close to it, static electricity from friction.

A leaf blower, or other high velocity air mover will cause static build up as the air is circulated. Dust in the air also add to this effect. The risk involved is loosing components from static damage, which does happen more then you think from people using these things. I have a shop and have seen it about a dozen times over the last 3 years.

Add me to the list of those recommending against using a leaf blower or vacuum. Not too long ago I built a new computer for my sister because she killed her last one by cleaning it with a vacuum. She opened the case and carefully cleaned out all the dust, being careful not to touch anything with the vacuum hose. However, when she put the cover back on and turned it on it was dead. It never turned back on again. Static is the best explanation I could come up with.
April 17, 2007 9:20:43 PM

Yep. Moving that much air causes static buildup and discharge. I see it in my shop year after year and its usually the motherboard that was damaged.

It wont happen to everyone, but it is a risk that people should understand. ... and a costly one if they dont know how to diagnose what fried, and how to replace it.
April 17, 2007 9:43:27 PM

I'd take a Vacuum to my computer long before I'd take a sponge to it...


I'd be more worried about oxidation than shorting something out. I also wouldn't feel safe going around my mobo and shorting out the caps.

Seems like a lot more work than taking a duster to it. What's the benefit?
April 17, 2007 9:46:53 PM

I didn't suggest anyone here wash their PC.
April 17, 2007 9:52:27 PM

Quote:
I didn't suggest anyone here wash their PC.


That's fine: I didn't imply you did.


I'm still curious about the benefit over just using a can of air.
April 17, 2007 9:55:25 PM

I can't believe that a vacume that did not touch anything killed a computer. If there was not static discharge that went over to one of the computer's componets then how did the air kill the computer. Then I guess you need to be careful how fast you run your exhaust fan on your case............... :wink:

Sounds like she didn't tell you the whole story. I have take comptuers apart on carpet, in my garage on a dirity floor, when it was wet, dry you name it and I have done it and I have never killed one yet. I did fry a cpu once by putting the heat sink on backwards but that was plain dumb on my part.
April 17, 2007 9:59:14 PM

I've always found my paintball gun works great. High pressured but extremely short bursts of pure air.

For those of you hyping canned air: What is it about being canned that lowers the static? Air is air is it not? Besides, canned air can spit and what not, which is why you are NEVER supposed to use it on more delicate equipment like camera CCD's. If it's just that you're using less air, than short bursts off of a very thin nozzle on an airc ompressor would be even better (higher pressure = less air), and probably nothing would beat a paintball gun. Thoughts?
April 17, 2007 10:02:16 PM

Ever hear "there is electricity in the air". Well thats something different, related to thunderstorms.


Dry air and dust particles can rub together to create a static charge that can discharge inside the computer. When you increase the airflow to much higher volumes such as produced by a vacuum, then this effect is magnified enough to kill parts.

Now dust inside a computer, when it is to the point that it is thick and clumpy can shock and kill easily with the fans inside.
April 17, 2007 10:10:29 PM

AFAIK, Air molecules won't cause static electricity: it's the water molecules in the air that cause/maintain a charge.

As for the vacuum; did she plug the vacuum into the same outlet as the cmoputer? Vacuums use a lot of Amps, and it couldv've blown the PSU. Also, some vacuuma have a "brush"-type attachment. I can see that holding a static charge.

What damages components is NOT static electricity: it's static discharge. This means that something must build up enough of a static charge to discharge and fry a component. Any static electricity that builds up in the computer would be absorbed by the ground (case), and any static charge that builds in the air would be held by small water molecules and eventually dispersed until no charge was left (When was the last time you got shocked in mid-air?).

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I know, it doesn't make sense that blowing fast air on your computer would harm it.
April 17, 2007 10:42:43 PM

The compressor with a de-humidifier is the go, A leaf blower or vacuum will cause ESD and ruin components sooner or later.

On of the first things you'll learn in A+ certification is never use a vaccum on a computer.
April 17, 2007 10:51:03 PM

Quote:
The compressor with a de-humidifier is the go, A leaf blower or vacuum will cause ESD and ruin components sooner or later.

On of the first things you'll learn in A+ certification is never use a vaccum on a computer.


agreed... but I live in Arizona, and there's relatively no humidity in the air... been blowing out PC's across 5 shops for at least 5 years (25 years totalled between the shops) using compressors, and not 1 ESD related death...

who the hell buys canned AIR anyway?! the stuff is FREE HAHAHA LAWL!!

*continues to chuckle as he drinks his imported evian bottle of WATER)*
April 17, 2007 11:45:33 PM

compressed air is the best.

the cans of compressed air are good to.
April 18, 2007 12:19:50 AM

Leaf blower works just fine. Make sure you do it outside and at a distance. The blower creates more volume of air at a lower pressure. As long as you stay at least a foot away their should be no problems.

You will still need to remove the cpu and case fans for the final cleaning.
April 18, 2007 1:21:14 AM

Quote:


who the hell buys canned AIR anyway?!


As president of Planet Spaceball, I can assure both you and your viewers that there's absolutely no air shortage whatsoever. Yes, of course. I've heard the same rumor myself. Yes, thanks for calling and not reversing the charges. Bye-bye.
:lol: 
April 18, 2007 1:36:03 AM

Quote:


who the hell buys canned AIR anyway?!


As president of Planet Spaceball, I can assure both you and your viewers that there's absolutely no air shortage whatsoever. Yes, of course. I've heard the same rumor myself. Yes, thanks for calling and not reversing the charges. Bye-bye.
:lol: 


YES! :D  (President Skroob was my second choice for my THG profile name, but sirrobin4ever wasn't in use, so here I am.....)

I always use "Perri-Air" to clean out my PC....I mean, it canned in Druidia, and is salt-free, so I don't have any corrosion problems! :D  8) :lol: 
April 18, 2007 1:41:40 AM

Ok now we are going to do lines from movies.....................





Nerds! Nerds! Nerds! Nerds! Nerds! Nerds! Nerds!


:lol: 
April 18, 2007 2:06:45 AM

Get you a Binford 3000 lawn blower, bolt on a Harley Davidson V Twin, arr arr arr ARR arr.....
April 18, 2007 12:50:10 PM

Exactly where can I buy the Binford 3000? Seriously though, I can see there are varied opinions on the subject of using a leaf blower. Once again thank you all for the assistance. I guess its up to me now. Thanks again
April 18, 2007 1:40:14 PM

Anyone ever try an air dryer?
April 18, 2007 6:43:57 PM

If you use an electrical blower, especially and unshielded one, the air can be statically charged which has the potential for damage...

Compressed Air is Simply the Safest and Recommended way...
regardless of which source of propellant is used, ground yourself to the PC and do not go RAMBO cleaning it...
April 18, 2007 7:36:44 PM

Quote:
It takes me 2-3 cans to clean 4 computers to my satisfaction. So at $5.99 per can it adds up. I guess I could get a better house keeper. It would still be cheaper in the long run to spend $30.00 on the ShopVac. I hope this clears up any confusion.


Whoa, dude - you have a housekeeper and yet quibble over $6 cans of compressed air?? :lol: 

Just ask your housekeeper if she does Windows :) 

Seriously, I have a house vac system that I installed myself, and for an extra $15 I got a PC attachment kit which comprises a reducer with variable vacuum bypass attached to a 3' long hose, with tiny brush and nozzle attachments. The vacuum itself is a 2-motor monster sitting in the basement - running all that PVC piping through the attic & walls was a bear, however. Much easier if you do it while the house is being built :) .

Biggest dust-bunny generator I have found is cheap wall-to-wall carpeting, plus having a dryer upstairs near my computer "office" [aka spare bedroom]. Next house I buy is gonna have the fake hardwood flooring instead of carpeting.
April 18, 2007 7:50:42 PM

Air is bad....it moves dust instead of removing it. Dust also has a chance to enter into areas like hard drives, CD Roms, mods, etc.... Air compressors have moisture or oil in the air. You don't want to spray that on your system. You can get filters for compressors but that's still no good...your blowing.

The best thing is a vacuum. If you have a vacuum get a micro attachment kit for cleaning electronics. You can buy them at hardware stores cheap. They are all the same, the one branded Shop Vac should be easy to find. Only $10 for the kit and it has everything you need to get every nick and cranny.

People might claim static with the vacuum, but I never had a problem using that in a computer shop for 10+ years. You can get specialty static free vacuums but they are $300.

I'd go the electronics vacuum accesory package for $10. Works way better than air and is cheaper. If you don't have a vacuum go get a Rigid Shop Vac over at home depot. The price of the shop vac and the kit is less than an air compressor and it would give you a shop vac for cleaning your car :) 
!