MissingRemote Tips and Tweaks – HTPC Spring Cleaning

Apr 22 2011

This tip probably seems rather obvious, but sometimes the obvious can be forgotten or neglected. I was recently called into action to diagnose a system that was running warmer and creating more fan noise than usual. Upon opening the case, this is what I saw:

Dusty Power Supply

Dusty CPU Cooler

All that dirt and dust on the heatsink, power supply, fans, etc. was creating a condition where the cooling was not working at peak efficiency. A generous cleaning using a duster can tidied everything right up. I made sure to blast every nook and cranny in the system including inside the power supply and external connectors.

Duster

Dusted Power Supply

Dusted CPU Cooler

Once the dust was settled (outside), the system returned to its former self and quieted down. This cleaning should be performed periodically to help your HTPC to keep quiet and maintain its cool, especially with summer's warm days approaching.

Comments

Make sure you take it outside before cleaning; then you don't have to wipe down the house afterwards.

babgvant wrote:

Make sure you take it outside before cleaning; then you don't have to wipe down the house afterwards.

I made that mistake once. Now I take it outside and use an air compressor. Canned air ain't cheap and OEM cases like having shrouds and other crap in them that hide a lot of dust.

For side work I've gone in to clean some PCs that run CNC and watercutting machinery and I am amazed that the power supplies weren't burnt out with all the dust caked on them.

A timely article indeed.  Just in time for the invasion of the Easter Dust Bunnies.Laughing

Never never never use a commercial air compressor the process of compression actually creates condensation inside the tanks and lines of the compressor and no one wants water in their pc components.

I've never had water come out of the air compressor I have used but I have seen an air compressor blow out some vapor when it first fires up. I would suggest blowing from a distance and making sure the pressuure isn't cranked up too high. And never make the fan spin with the air.  

I have had  canned air frost over some parts because I tilted it too much. Is that frost not detrimental to parts either directly or causing condensation do to the extreme cold?

Just use caution if there's a lot of moisture. If unsure, don't power on until you know it is completely dry. Moisture can make its way underneath BGA parts and create shorts.

The duster cans I use are moisture-free. The tiny amount of condensation that may occur will evaporate in a short amount of time. If unsure, use caution and play it safe.

Generally, if you let the compressor warm up for 15 minutes or so (whatever the manual says for your model), you won't have any condensation.

I've got cleanable grills on my p180 cases that thankfully catch the cat hairs.  But I suppose it is about that time to crack'em open and spray out everything that's snuck by.

OK, it's time once again to revisit the dirty PC article courtesy of The Register.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/11/13/ventblockers/

 

 

LowTech wrote:

OK, it's time once again to revisit the dirty PC article courtesy of The Register.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/11/13/ventblockers/

ROFL, that link never gets old Tongue

That's clean compared to one I cracked open for my stepson. I built it for him about 2 years ago, and he told me that he had never opened it up. He has a cat, is a heavy smoker and is a complete slob.

 

I was actually disgusted with what I found inside. I had to put on gloves and a face mask before I even tried to clean it. Every heatsink, every fan, motherboard, Harddrives, DVD player were so caked with filth that I was afraid that I would catch something from the dust.

 

I had to take the whole system apart and clean everything separately.

 

What is really bad, he didn't think it was any big deal.

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