PC & motherboard damage from vacuum induced static: yes.


B

BC

Just read recent thread where using a vacuum to clean out dust was
discussed.

I recently purchased a new 3 HP shop vac, and did, in fact, use it to
clean out two PCs: my beloved CUSL2-M, which ran rock solid for several
years 24/7/365, and an Athlon XP 1900+ system.

Toasted both of them.

Seems as though the hard drive controller failed on the CUSL2, and more
components failed on the XP system--there wasn't enough info from the
constant blue screens to diagnose that one.

With two systems going belly up at the same time, I thought it was an
electrical problem of some sort--power surge, etc (and yes, systems are
all protected by individual UPS units)--but, having just read that
thread, it makes sense that the damage was caused by my vacuuming.
Unfortunately.

I kept the nozzle of the vacuum at what I thought was a safe distance--I
was more concerned with damaging the cooling fans and such with it--but,
didn't realize that it would set up such a significant static
electricity field.

I fly planes--when fueling them, you have to ground the aircraft, and
pumping the fuel in creates static--and, as a kid I loved zapping other
kids with static after shuffling my feet on the carpet--so, I thought I
was pretty tuned in to sources of static. But, I had never read
anything about that, and, I just didn't think of it.

By the way, on the front of the vacuum, it says "blowing 130
MPH"--that's about how fast the wind currents in a thunderstorm
circulate, and it's pretty apparent that the static charge a
thundercloud produces is pretty significant.

I have been building PCs for myself and others for several years now,
and maintaining them--and, up until my involuntary mobo-slaughter of
these two PCs, I had been doing pretty well. (Not as knowledgeable as
Paul, but, who is?)

So, my School of Hard Knocks class in Vacuum Induced Static cost me two
motherboards, and, since my PCs were pretty old, had to get new CPUs,
and memory. Ouch.

Recommend that vacuums *not* be used to clean PCs.
 
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R

Rob

BC said:
Just read recent thread where using a vacuum to clean out dust was
discussed.

I recently purchased a new 3 HP shop vac, and did, in fact, use it to
clean out two PCs: my beloved CUSL2-M, which ran rock solid for
several years 24/7/365, and an Athlon XP 1900+ system.

Toasted both of them.

Seems as though the hard drive controller failed on the CUSL2, and
more components failed on the XP system--there wasn't enough info from
the constant blue screens to diagnose that one.

With two systems going belly up at the same time, I thought it was an
electrical problem of some sort--power surge, etc (and yes, systems
are all protected by individual UPS units)--but, having just read that
thread, it makes sense that the damage was caused by my vacuuming.
Unfortunately.

I kept the nozzle of the vacuum at what I thought was a safe
distance--I was more concerned with damaging the cooling fans and such
with it--but, didn't realize that it would set up such a significant
static electricity field.

I fly planes--when fueling them, you have to ground the aircraft, and
pumping the fuel in creates static--and, as a kid I loved zapping
other kids with static after shuffling my feet on the carpet--so, I
thought I was pretty tuned in to sources of static. But, I had never
read anything about that, and, I just didn't think of it.

By the way, on the front of the vacuum, it says "blowing 130
MPH"--that's about how fast the wind currents in a thunderstorm
circulate, and it's pretty apparent that the static charge a
thundercloud produces is pretty significant.

I have been building PCs for myself and others for several years now,
and maintaining them--and, up until my involuntary mobo-slaughter of
these two PCs, I had been doing pretty well. (Not as knowledgeable as
Paul, but, who is?)

So, my School of Hard Knocks class in Vacuum Induced Static cost me
two motherboards, and, since my PCs were pretty old, had to get new
CPUs, and memory. Ouch.

Recommend that vacuums *not* be used to clean PCs.

BC,
Excellent advice!! Even if the static don't get you, there's a better
than even chance a jumper could get sucked off the board. An
undocumented one at that. Compressed air can get you too!
Rob
 
L

Leythos

Recommend that vacuums *not* be used to clean PCs.

If you have an Air compressor without a grounded air-line/nozzle you
will have the same problem.

There is also a problem with Air compressor air in that it's often wet,
as compressors often have water in the bottom of their tanks.

If you have dry air and ground the nozzle of the compressor you can
clean with about 30 PSI.

I would never use a plastic type, ungrounded, device to blow out a PC or
any other electronic device.
 
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W

w_tom

Air from a vacuum that creates destructive static
electricity as to damage the motherboard would be too dry. So
dry that other motherboards could also have been overstressed
by static electricity.

Air must be properly humidified so that static electricity
does not form even from moving pant legs or feet on a carpet.
Too often, damage created by static electricity (overstress)
does not appear for days or months later when the user suffers
strange problems. A problem directly traceable to improper
static electric management - that also requires a room of
sufficient humidity.
 

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