Can I (safely) vacuum my computer?

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starchild

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I really have no idea where this fits, but since it involves the "hard stuff" maybe here.

I was thinking about this. At times I've taken the case off, and blown the dust out with canned air (which I think some don't agree with). Sometimes I haven't had canned air ($8-9 a can) and had the case off for something and took a newspaper or something and fanned the dust out. I've even blown it out (think there's also debate about this, because of moisture) I occasionally blow the vent in the back where the fan is, which of course, blows dust in, but clears the fan. I also have a woodstove in the next room, which I've read isn't good, but I've had 2 computers in 7 1/2 years (and the woodstove).

I got to thinking is there a reason why I shouldn't vacuum the inside? I have a shop vac (got it new for Christmas- what I wanted). Not putting it on or close to anything in the PC (like to suck the connections off) but enough to suck the dust out? Or, even putting it up to the back vent where the fan is? Or fanning the dust out and having the vacuum hose there to suck it out of the air as I do it? If it's not safe, what would a safe distance be?

I've never heard of this and maybe there's a good reason. Static, or magnetic field or something? I've never heard/read anything about not vacuuming too near a computer, like the floors, walls, or something. I've heard of vacuuming the keyboard to suck out odd crumbs, dust, etc.

Maybe this is totally silly and obvious, since I've heard about blowing it out with canned air, but never using a vacuum (which seems like it would work good, if safe). Seems like there'd be small (not too powerful) vacuums made just for vacuuming dust out of computers?

I've been asking others about this, and nobody seems to know, of even thought about it.

Thanks,
Carrie
 
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Be aware that the vacum cleaner does generate static electricty and can also wind up fans to a destructive speed very quickly.
 
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I agree with xgerryx, I've ruined a computer fan by vacuming it. I leanered my lesson there (sort of...) but now I vaccumed the inside and it went well. There was no damage to anything but I'm not going to do it again because all the dust just came back again in 2 days.
 

pugmug

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I only vac mine,not going to pay for air.lol. A shop vac is a little large for inside a computer. Try using a small handheld vac with plastic narrow attachment on the hose. Just hold the fan blades with 1 finger while using it. Works great.
 

SirKenin

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Do NOT vacuum your computer!!! As mentioned it generates static electricity which can destroy sensitive components. Don't say you weren't warned.

Don't be a cheapskate. Go buy a can of compressed air for $6 and blow it out. Those cans are very effective. I buy them a bagful at a time for my own use.
 
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I use compressed air cans to blow out all the dust and hold a vacuum away from the computer but close enough to catch all the dust so that it doesn't get all over the place. That has seemed to work for me. =)
 

pugmug

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How may I ask is a plastic attachment on the end of a plastic or vynyl vac hose going to cause static electricity when the vac itself is 3 to 5 foot away from the computer? That I would really like to know as I have cleaned at least 80 computers with a vac and had ZERO problems with any of them. I does a great job cleaning them period.
 
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I don't know the physics behind it, but any plastic with air flowing through it generates heaps of static even to the extent that in some industrial dust extraction systems it has to be grounded to to prevent sparks that can cause fires and dust explosions if the right conditions prevail.
Also, the damage caused by static may not be obvious for sometime down the track.

A bit about static and plastics here:
http://www.electrostatics.com/page2.html
 

pugmug

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So moving air causes static is what you are saying? Well when you have compressed air in a can moving a lot faster than a vac moves air, would that not cause worse static using your theory? Also when you compress air do you not get moisture in that air forced at a high rate blown into your computer?
 
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As I said, I do not know the physics behind it, but know it to be something to be aware of around delicate electronic equipment and have first hand experience with static causing a fire in a dust extraction system.
 

pugmug

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I have no problem with your link or what you say. I am just trying to learn new things also. Have a good day.
 
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The static issue comes from the rapid movement of particles over the surface of the vacuum nozzle or air nozzle.

In the case of the vacuum nozzle, these are dust particles from the computer that cause a localised charge on the nozzle as they enter it.

With canned air it is dry and free of any particles so no charge should be generated, no dust is involved as its travelling in the opposite direction.

Jusicious use of a 1/2" paint brush to dislodge the dust, and a vacuum to pick it up should be all right, just keep the vacuum nozzle away from the circuitry. Having said that, its not all that common for lower powered household cleaners to generate huge fields, it's possible but it's never happened to me.

Beware of using air compressors, as the air is not dry and contains minute traces of oil, which can create static at the blower tip, unlike canned air.
 

pugmug

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Thank you all for the info and I will study this subject futher in depth. Good day to all.
 

JohnWill

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I wait for good deals on canned air and buy it. A couple of years ago, there were tons of "free after rebate" deals, and I'm still working through the dozen or more cans of air that I got for almost nothing. :D

I agree with the masses, the vacuum is not what you want to stick into your computer.
 
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