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  1. #1
    Bronze Lounger Drew1903's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Keeping it clean

    I just cleaned my PC, again and it caused me to talk about this, again & yes, I know it is, again, but, that is just OK.

    I do this periodically and on a regular basis... and everyone should. I feel it is good to mention this, again, as I believe many, if not too many people don't make it practice. Granted, depending on environment & placement some towers may accumulate dust & dirt more & quicker than others yet, they, still, all need it done on some sort of interval.... say, @ least, monthly.

    It is helps performance, longevity and, certainly, operating temps, especially, in regard to the CPU. It is wise to run Core Temp which, shows CPU core temperatures. IF a CPU doesn't get cooled well everything suffers. If it were to get hot enough to hit a certain threshold, the machine would, actually, shut down.

    So, have can of Dust Off in your possession. Shut down the machine, unplug the power cable from it & open it up. Blow the dust out including all vents, fans, fan openings, the GPU fan (if you have one) and the CPU heat sink under its fan.

    And by the way, don't blow towards the CPU. You think you are blowing crud away but, actually, you are blowing down into the heat sink (fins) & doing no good, @ all. Either remove the fan & wipe the fins off with a toothbrush OR remove the heat sink, hold it upside down & blow through the fins from the bottom towards to top.

    The reason I mention Core Temp is if one notices temps are seeming a bit high or seem to be getting higher... and there was dust & dirt on that heat sink, between it & the fan... after it is cleaned those temps will be noticeably lower.

    There are 3 things electronics (and definitely computers) don't like and they are water, dust & dirt and heat.

    People vacuum their carpets and dust their furniture on a consistent, repetitive basis. Just because a tower is closed & therefore what is inside is not visible it, still, collects dust & dirt. Don't forget (about) this or that it, too, needs this kind of attention. Do not neglect this.

    Cheers,
    Drew
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  3. #2
    Lounger PamS's Avatar
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    You are so right! I had been trying to tell a friend of mine about doing this for years and well it finally bit her... her tower literally burned up on the inside... it was clogged with dog hair! So a $2000 computer was trashed, all because she would not pull the tower out of the cabinet that she had it in and open it up and clean it out.

    I got a new Dell tower in December and opened it up last month and was shocked at how clean it still was on the inside. A swiffer across the bottom of the tower picked up what was in there. The canned air did not remove anything additional either. I think the layout of this case is the reason too... the left side of the tower is the one with the vent holes in it instead of it being on the right hand side which is next to me, so the nicotine from my smoking is not getting pulled directly into the tower like it was with my old tower.

    Of course it still has vents holes in the bottom front and the back and the openings in the front are large enough for me to peer in there every night when I power down so I can look and see what is collecting from that vantage point.

    Thanks again for the reminders!

    Pam

  4. #3
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Case designs vary quite a bit too. Some are serious dust magnets, usually your enthusiast style cases with many fans.
    I had an Antec LanBoy Air case I had recently switched out that had a spider web network lodged partially under the motherboard and hard drive bays.

    My CPU water based cooler's radiator was just caked with dust on one side from the push/pull two fan setup I had.
    I was surprised that I had not seen more of a temperature increase from it.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  5. #4
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew1903 View Post
    And by the way, don't blow towards the CPU. You think you are blowing crud away but, actually, you are blowing down into the heat sink (fins) & doing no good, @ all. Either remove the fan & wipe the fins off with a toothbrush OR remove the heat sink, hold it upside down & blow through the fins from the bottom towards to top.
    Actually, the heat sink fan blows in that very direction; the airflow exits the bottom of the heat sink fins and flows across the surface of the motherboard in all directions away from the CPU. There is more than sufficient clearance between the bottom/exit end of the heat sink fins and the motherboard to handle this airflow; the fins couldn't serve their intended function of dissipating heat, otherwise. There is no need to remove the fan or the heat sink; they can be cleaned quite thoroughly in place. Most of the dust collects on the leading edge of the fan blades and the top edge of the fins, and very little elsewhere on the surfaces.

    Canned air with a tube nozzle does an excellent job of blowing the dust out of the fins when the nozzle is placed between fan blades and near the surface of the fins, and it also keeps the fan from spinning. Clean the fan blades first, then the fins. A toothpick can be used to keep the fan from spinning when blowing dust off the blades. Be sure to hold the canned air upright, and sweep the end of the tube slowly back and forth across the top of the fins. The fan mount bracket will get partly in the way; just reposition the tube and work your way around the bracket and the whole surface of the heat sink fins.

    After cleaning the fan and heat sink, continue on the motherboard in a spiral around and away from the CPU, keeping the can upright, to finish removing the dust you've cleaned from the heat sink off the motherboard and out of the case.

    The heat sink should only be removed from the CPU if your intention is to replace it with a different heat sink and/or CPU. This is not for the inexperienced user; the motherboard, heat sink and/or heat sink mounting bracket can be damaged if this procedure isn't done correctly. Also, the old thermal compound must be thoroughly cleaned from the contact surfaces and new thermal compound applied if one is changing the heat sink.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
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  7. #5
    Bronze Lounger Drew1903's Avatar
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    Thank you for adding to keep the fan still. I should have included that. The force of the air can sometimes spin the fan faster than during its normal operation & that is not good for its bearings.

    Also, thank you, for mentioning that heat sink removal should be a 'last resort' thing & not for novices. If, cleaning hasn't been done (for a long time) and there is a layer of 'crud' on the fins, covering them, sometimes, depending on design, the fan can be removed, whilst leaving the heat sink (still) in place & undisturbed.

    Cheers,
    Drew
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  8. #6
    4 Star Lounger petesmst's Avatar
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    And remember to ensure you are properly "earthed" before starting, in case you accidently touch a component and cause a static electrical discharge which could irreparably damage your PC. (If you don't have an earthing strap (like me!), keep one hand touching the bare metal of the case whilst working with the other hand.
    (My Setup: 3,70GHz Intel Core i7-4820K CPU; MSI Military Class iii X79A-GD45 Plus Motherboard; Win 8.1 Pro (64 bit); 16GB RAM; SAMSUNG SD840 PRO SSD (6GB/SATA III); Seagate 2TB Barracuda SATA6G HDD; GeForceGTX 760 2GB Graphics Card; Office 2013 Prof (32-bit); MS Project 2013 (32-bit); Acronis TI 2014 Premium, NIS 2014, etc). (UEFI-booted). WD My Book 3 1TB USB External Backup Drive)

  9. #7
    2 Star Lounger
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    I've always used a vacuum* with a set of miniature tools.

    *Yes, I know, I've heard all the horror stories. But I've done it for years without a problem.

  10. #8
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    I cannot help to smash a myth:
    Spinning a fan externally will not damage the fan, electrically or its electronics.

    I knew it was not true but needed data/experiment to verify. So ...
    Cut the fan blades out to lighten the load. Connected (glued) the mid section of blade assembly to a powerful 12V toy motor, using rubber tubing as connecting shaft to allow shaft-shaft misalignment. Ran it to nearly same rpm. Measured voltage output...
    No more than 2V. For 5V fan, no more than 1V.
    Logical. Fan is designed to spin. Generator is designed to generate power. Reversing it and the conversion efficiency is low/very low. Otherwise, fan efficiency is low or generator efficiency is low. You design to favor one way to increase efficiency.
    Note: some fans have diode protection and thus cannot access the generated voltage. Need to get one without it. Most small size fans do not have protection. Most 5V fans do not have diode protection also. Interestingly, reverse spinning did not reverse the Voltage polarity.
    After the tests, they still worked.

    Common bearing type is either ball bearing or sleeve bearing.
    In terms of twisting warp force, sleeve type is better because it wraps around the shaft the entire contact area, length wise. Ball bearing type seldom goes beyond 2 bearings (cost matters). That means the shaft is contacted at most at two points, hence more unsupported areas to be warped if forced.
    However, abusive force is applied at the blades. Being plastic, fan blade bends to relieve the pressure, or simply breaks. The strong metal shaft-bearing system should not be so easily warped.

    So far my experimental 'abuses' only caused plastic blade warp/breakage. If there were warping at the shaft-bearing system, it was grossly masked by the warped blade effect.

    My conclusion: Spinning the fan by compressed air or other means do not cause damage or long term reliability problem. Besides, fan is cheap.

    There is one critical mode re PC fans almost across the board: The way it is mounted.
    It is designed to be mounted vertically (fan blade is vertical). Lying flat (fan blade is horizontal) is an afterthought. No issue on vertical mounting.

    When lying flat, which side towards gravity is utmost important. (Case study: Laptop cooling pad with fan(s)).
    To be reliable, the label sticker side should face the sky, if possible.

    The sticker side is the oil reservoir. Through gravity, oil flows to and lubricates rotating surfaces. If the reservoir faces down (sticker side towards Earth), oil has to travel against gravity, to 'climb up' to rotating surfaces. When the reservoir is less than full, less and less oil gets 'stirred' and 'splashed' to the rotating surfaces. Automotive lubrication also depends on splashing, by the crank shaft, to splash oil to the cylinder wall above. The famous pancake horizontal cylinder of Volkswagen-bug era famously demo-ed this oil lubrication problem (less lube on 'upper' cylinder wall).

    For gun-barrel sleeve bearing, the groves (like spiraling groves in a gun barrel), and the rotating force, 'pump' oil to rotating surfaces. Normal types sleeve do not do that.

    If the fan makes noise, you can use a sharp knife to slowly peel off the sticker. Add a tiny amount of oil. Car motor oil is preferred (10W30, 5W30, 10W40,..., all are fine).
    Best is Teflon grease or oil. (Teflon grease tube available at Radio Shack. I have no relation with Radio Shack). Teflon has a tendency sticking to surfaces, enhancing lubrication. For other grease, use very light grease types.
    Why grease? Grease is better in this situation (only this situation) because grease is 'sticky' and gets 'twisted' by shaft towards rotating surface. Very light grease (less 'solid') because start-up torque is low. Too sticky and the fan may not be able to self start.

    One may say sticker-side-up may put undue pressure on the sticker side stop bearing (a flat washer really). Some fans use plastic stop bearing. ('Stop': stop from pulling out the fan assembly). Has no choice in this; all depends on the fan quality. The other side is better: The stop bearing is the blade assembly itself, and it is metal. But still, lubrication is job 1.

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  12. #9
    3 Star Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    The sticker side is the oil reservoir
    .

    Never knew that, thanks.
    I also have always been a bit skeptical of the possibility of damaging a fan by spinning too fast.

    But I still remember not to.


  13. #10
    3 Star Lounger
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    If the fans become noisy why not just replace them? You can buy 80mm, 92mm, and 120mm fans at Newegg for around $5 each or a box of four Coolermaster or other brand fans for $10 - $15. Ignoring the claims of "silent", most case fans are pretty quiet when plugged into fan headers on the motherboard, where they run at about half speed unless the cpu heats up while working hard. Then, of course, the fans speed up to move more air.

  14. #11
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I've got into the habbit of vaccuming the my external case fans too.
    Don't be worried or concerned if they spin. It will NOT harm anything.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

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    To clean PC is very important because to keep PC clean the PC will be working properly and no problem will be face in software and hardware. i clean hard disk, RAM and Processor daily basis due to this my PC working good and no problem appear for a long period of time.

  16. #13
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    Defraggle your motherdisc.

    Quote Originally Posted by alfrid View Post
    To clean PC is very important because to keep PC clean the PC will be working properly and no problem will be face in software and hardware. i clean hard disk, RAM and Processor daily basis due to this my PC working good and no problem appear for a long period of time.
    Begin with removing the motherdisc from the data machine. I'm not going to show how this is done; if you don't know how to do that, you'll ought to stop reading right now, since your knowledge about datamachines is way too low.
    Don't be surprised; it won't look like the disc on your turntable.

    Open the lid of the motherdisc, to be able to reach all the nice stuff inside, and at the same time do a control of the mechanism.

    Now we will the discs inside of the motherdisc. Very often they'll need some force to come off, but if you pry gently with some datachisels, it'll will work out for the best.

    When the discs have finally come loose, keep them in order and don't mix them up.
    If you have Windows on your Data machine, You'll find the OS on the top disc, you'll recognize it easily, it's much heavier then the rest of the discs.

    The manufacturer often cheats a lot and place pieces of heavy metal in the motherdisc.
    This is done to make the motherdisc heavier and make the consumer to think that the motherdisc is bigger than it actually is. A 2 GB motherdisc can contain almost 100 grams of extra weight, and fools you to think it's a 100 GB motherdisc. Remove as much as possible, and throw it away.

    Now it's time to remove the thingy that reads all your data all the time, the "electric- one-eyed-nerd". It looks almost like a pick-up on an old turntable, but it has no needle.
    It has contact with the surface of the discs, and when a "1" spins by, it jumps a little and sends an electric signal to the data machine. And if a "0" comes by, it just ignores it, but that you'd already know.

    The reading-nerd device sometimes becomes dirty, mainly due to junk mail and infections (viruses). To make it shiny and bright again, simply use a toothbrush with some oil, then you'll lubricate it at the same time.
    Don't forget to wash the toothbrush after you're done, data doesn't taste so very good...

    Now it's time for the main event, the data defraggling. As You know, all "1's" and "0's" are small movable magnetic figures placed in the disc. As our problem is that there is some kind of a traffic jam on the disc, we will now place them small pieces in order again.
    The ultimate way to go is to use an ordinary speaker. Put the disc carefully on top of the speaker. Be sure not do any violent moves, we don't want the magnetic pieces to break.

    Let the disc stay on the speaker long enough to straighten out all "1's" and "0's" that have been misplaced and distorted. 10 minutes will do the trick!

    After the defraggling it's very, very important to clean the disc from leftovers.

    Make sure that all fingerprints are wiped away so the surface looks shiny, clean, nice and good.
    Of course we only use the best products. Bleach will do the trick!
    When you're done with the cleaning, you must add a protective coat. Be sure that it's "anti-static", else the disc will wear down very, very fast.

    Put the discs back in the motherdisc in the same order as you picked them out.

    When all is in place again, just screw it.

    If there are things hanging outside the motherdisc when you have put back together, don't fear! Just chop it with scissors. You'll lose some disc space of course, but you wont have to do the whole procedure over again. If you cut away half a disc it's equivalent to around 500MB

    The most colorful parts of the disc is the part where all the graphics are!


    You're welcome everybody! I hope you enjoy your recently defraggled motherdisc.

  17. #14
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Tony,
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    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  18. #15
    4 Star Lounger access-mdb's Avatar
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    Got as far as defraggling the data, but I couldn't see any 1s or 0s - it was all just brown. Have I missed something? What is an 'ordinary' speaker. Is that one which is not in its enclosure? Does the sort of music you play through it help or hinder?

    RG, why are you laughing on the floor?

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