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Prevent Electrostatic Discharge while Cleaning??

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January 30, 2011 1:09:29 AM

Hi,
I've been desperately looking around the internet on ESD (electrostatic discharge) since i need to clean the insides of my tower case and I really don't know how to do it...
I bought an air duster from the brand Fellowes but it states that i should take "precautions on ESD" and since wikipedia says that "They can create static unless a specific ESD-safe compound is added." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_duster#Cleaning) I was wondering if i could safely use this air duster on my pc...

I'm desperate because I dont wanna use it on my pc unless I'm 100% sure that It's safe and that i won't electro-shock my 1200$ pc...

Also, which are the best air dusters to clean a pc? Could I use an electric vacuum to clean it? any other good tips?

Thanks in advance!!! :wahoo: 
a b B Homebuilt system
January 30, 2011 1:15:09 AM

Use any can of compressed air you want, I highly doubt that if you shake it well that it will harm any components. I personally like compressed air but some people use small hand vacuums instead.
January 30, 2011 1:28:20 AM

Good ol' can of compressed air with a vacuum is best. Some say that just the air alone will only spread the dust. Spray the compressed air and then use the vacuum to suck up the dust mid air before it lands. At least that is what I do as it only takes a minute.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 30, 2011 1:30:54 AM

That's a good suggestion, I might try that.
January 30, 2011 9:48:21 PM

so.. it doesnt matter which brand of compressed air you buy? because they are all ESD-safe?

thanks!!
a b B Homebuilt system
January 30, 2011 9:53:47 PM

Yep, please note that you can't sue us if we are wrong but speaking from experience compressed air never killed a system
January 31, 2011 1:45:13 AM

haha thank you!!!
lol I just had bad experiences with pcs so i just wanted to make sure xD
February 1, 2011 7:34:08 PM

If a computer is opened likely the greater threat is that there is a large electrostatic charge on the person and that an electrostatic discharge [ESD] to electronic components could occur. So the best practice would be using a Field Service Kit with the person grounded via a wrist strap.

Field Service Kits (which include a wrist strap, worksurface, and ground cord) are often used not going to an AC electrical outlet (the preferred ground), but utilizing equipotential bonding connecting all items so all items are at the same electrostatic charge potential and a discharge cannot occur.

Here's some pertinent information from the ESD Association ESD Handbook ESD TR20.20:
ESD Handbook ESD TR20.20 section 5.1.3 “When neither equipment or auxiliary grounds are available an equipotential bonding system may need to be used. In this situation, all of the items in the system are bonded together so that the charge that resides on the elements will be shared equally and therefore there will be no potential difference between the items. Once this step has been completed it is safe to handle ESD sensitive parts without inducing damage. A real life example of this is often observed in office equipment field service operations. For safety reasons the service technician will often disconnect the AC power cord which detaches the equipment from ground. In order to safely install ESD sensitive products into the equipment it is necessary to electrically connect or bond together the service technician, the equipment frame and the ESD sensitive product. Once bonded together an ESD event will NOT occur when the technician handles the product or installs it in the office equipment.”

Blowing compressed air to clean the tower should not be a problem unless the air is dirty.
From ESD Handbook ESD TR20.20 section 2.5 “Virtually all materials, including water and dirt particles in the air, can be triboelectrically charged.” Per section 5.5.5 Tribocharging “Tribocharging from equipment can be caused by conveyer belts, hardware sliding on surfaces, and moving fluids (sprays) or solids (sandblasters). Moving gases that are free of particulates, e.g. from air guns, fans, or heat guns do not tribocharge an insulator or conductor. If rapid air movement causes parts or dust particles to rub together, tribocharging might occur. Grounded conductive surfaces can tribocharge an insulative surface. An insulative surface can charge an ungrounded conductor, which is the greatest ESD hazard.”
February 1, 2011 9:38:53 PM

Gene, you are a genius...
That's the best answer i've found!!!!!!

May I ask something else,
Can I plug my pc to an AC electrical outlet (which is 100% grounded) with the switch turned OFF and use only a wrist strap attached to the metal chassis of my PC (this is an advice i founud somewhere else on the internet)

Also, Does it matter if the air duster is an INVERTIBLE air duster, this one:
http://fellowes.com/gb/site/products/ProductDetails.asp...
!