Author Topic: cleaning dust from electronics  (Read 3343 times)

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Offline arnoldemu

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cleaning dust from electronics
« on: 13:25, 07 May 10 »
I plan to clean some of my old electronics. Would a clean small paintbrush be ok? (I am thinking the type used for d.i.y). I am not sure if the brushing would cause static electricity and damage components?
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Offline Devilmarkus

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Re: cleaning dust from electronics
« Reply #1 on: 13:28, 07 May 10 »
I am also using a simple brush to remove dust from electronics.
Never had problems with it.

To make sure, that YOU don't have electrostatic voltage, you can connect yourself to a power socket.
Just connect a cable to earth contact in a power plug, the other end you can wire around your arm!
That's no joke!
But be careful and make sure that you use earth contact!
You can also connect yourself to a radiator!
When you put your ear on a hot stove, you can smell how stupid you are ...

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Offline Bryce

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Re: cleaning dust from electronics
« Reply #2 on: 15:34, 07 May 10 »
Paint brushes don't statically charge, they're safe to use.

Bryce.

Offline Gryzor

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Re: cleaning dust from electronics
« Reply #3 on: 18:35, 08 May 10 »
Erm... plugging oneself in a power outlet... NOT recommended. Even if you're an electrician, it's just not a safe practice, at least if you care about staying alive. Just touch a radiator and you should be all set.

Offline ukmarkh

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Re: cleaning dust from electronics
« Reply #4 on: 20:29, 08 May 10 »
Just use an aerosol air spray canister or freezer spray available from any electronics outfit. This will blow away all the crap, really powerful and risk free. We used to use the freezer spray on ic's on motherboards... cleaned away the dust and helped us to reveal chips with dry joints. These come with a bag to capture the dust particles and are very cheap.   
« Last Edit: 20:33, 08 May 10 by ukmarkh »

Offline nurgle

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Re: cleaning dust from electronics
« Reply #5 on: 12:46, 10 May 10 »
Erm... plugging oneself in a power outlet... NOT recommended. Even if you're an electrician, it's just not a safe practice, at least if you care about staying alive. Just touch a radiator and you should be all set.


Of course you use the ground connection of the power socket (don't now the proper english name, it's calles "Schutzleiter" in german). There are commercially available adapters used by electronic workers just do do that:


http://www.tme.eu/katalog_pics/c/2/9/c29343c983f3167fa12f639443dbfc45/cpg300010m-1r.jpg


The adapter in this picture is for a german power socket. It does not connect to the two pins in the middle, but only to the outer shield which goes directly into the earth. The plugs on the front can be connected to an anti-static working mat or to a wrist strap.


http://www.tme.eu/katalog_pics/f/7/c/f7ccdd1647720c45e9bca7ac31697252/band-strappo4.jpg


This is perfectly safe and we had one of these at my former work place. Of course at home I just touch the radiator and thats it, just as you said. Usually this should be good enough, unless you have a problematic carpet or problematic shoes.

Offline Bryce

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Re: cleaning dust from electronics
« Reply #6 on: 13:00, 10 May 10 »
Static build-up is only an issue if you are dealing with CMOS Components. CPCs use mainly TTL components, which are not CMOS and you can't damage them with static. Even CMOS parts are only really vulnerable when they are loose (ie: not yet soldered onto a PCB), so I wouldn't really be worried about static while handling CPC parts. There's very little chance of you breaking anything.

CMOS Logic have names such as CD40XX, the Non-CMOS equivalents are 74LSXX.

Bryce.

Edit: Before anyone askes, CMOS stands for Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor. TTL stands for Transistor-Transistor Logic.
« Last Edit: 14:05, 10 May 10 by Bryce »

Offline ukmarkh

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Re: cleaning dust from electronics
« Reply #7 on: 16:24, 10 May 10 »
This subject of anti static is really taken as serious as cancer these days, and all because someone read it in a book. The unconventional wisdom is "take reasonable ESD precautions, unless you can't, and if you can't, don't get too bothered about it".
 
Even if there's some static damage, the waveforms are still unlikely to be far enough apart for things to stop working. The damage in my experience, and I've been a hardware/software engineer for over 15 years, probably and shouldn't cause your computer to develop instability problems. Your body is not a chip-killer!
 
Of course, there are a few exceptions... If you ran up and down a nylon carpet, and some how levitated in the air and touched your chips... then you might kill the poor feller, but that’s just being silly. Go on try it???
 
I have managed to kill a CMOS component once, with just a single touch. But it was on a very old PC.   
 

Offline nocash

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Re: cleaning dust from electronics
« Reply #8 on: 05:05, 12 May 10 »
Yup, the static energy thing is more than 99.99999999999% useless panic. I am fiddling with my fingers on all electronic components that I can get hold of, and never had any problems. And, aside from wearing my anti-static helmet, I never took any precautions. It's actually a bit disappointing - touching a chip and seeing it vaporize in thunder and lighting would be a fantastic experience - nothing to be afraid of, it'd be just cool. I am planning to attach a carpet (if I can find one) to my kitchen wall, so maybe my dreams come true someday :-)

The schutzleiter on german 3-pin wall sockets should be safe to touch, but as far as I know other countries don't have that 3rd pin. I was worried a bit, too, that "connect yourself to the wall socket" could be misleading, better avoid touching it - unless you know what you are doing & why you are doing it.

Offline arnoldemu

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Re: cleaning dust from electronics
« Reply #9 on: 11:45, 12 May 10 »
Yup, the static energy thing is more than 99.99999999999% useless panic. I am fiddling with my fingers on all electronic components that I can get hold of, and never had any problems. And, aside from wearing my anti-static helmet, I never took any precautions. It's actually a bit disappointing - touching a chip and seeing it vaporize in thunder and lighting would be a fantastic experience - nothing to be afraid of, it'd be just cool. I am planning to attach a carpet (if I can find one) to my kitchen wall, so maybe my dreams come true someday :-)

The schutzleiter on german 3-pin wall sockets should be safe to touch, but as far as I know other countries don't have that 3rd pin. I was worried a bit, too, that "connect yourself to the wall socket" could be misleading, better avoid touching it - unless you know what you are doing & why you are doing it.

We've got 3-pin wall sockets as standard here in the UK. They are called earth, live and neutral. So I'll attach myself to that using a suitable anti-static band, but equally metal pipes, radiators are good because they are earthed. In my house there is a strap going from the cold water pipe directly into the wall of our cellar. In another part of the cellar there is an old metal spike in the ground that was used for earthing, but not used now.

In terms of fantastic flashes of light or similar, here are some you could try that I know work ;)

1. have a leaking central heating pump. I had one, and I saw purple flash come from it, smell of burning plastic and it was dead. It warned me a few days before by leaking. I turned off the electrics quickly and a friendly plumber replaced it for me.

2. I fixed a socket in our kitchen, and accidentally the live touched earth. My wife said the flash of light was bright. I never made a mistake again ;)

3. Try to read a cpc+ cartridge using a pc and powering it from a pc power supply. You'll hear a pop, and then smoke will come from it. when you open the cartridge you will find the top of the eprom has broken off, there are black marks around it, and even the silicon inside moved.

EDIT: My daughter seems to be statically charged all the time. So watch out for children and electronics  :P
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Offline ukmarkh

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Re: cleaning dust from electronics
« Reply #10 on: 12:00, 12 May 10 »
The best way to get a good blue flash is if you follow in the foot steps of my boss. He sawed his way through a phase three cable thinking he'd turned the power off. Only shook him up, but the flash was brilliant. Probably lucky to be alive.

Offline robcfg

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Re: cleaning dust from electronics
« Reply #11 on: 12:40, 12 May 10 »
Some years ago a friend of mine called to help him with his computer (a 100Mhz Pentium me thinks...).


The computer did not power on, so I checked everything, took all the cards, cleaned the contacts, etc...
After an hour or two I didn't knew what else to do, and I stood with my arms on the computer without the cover, powered off, but still connected to the mains socket.
I saw my friend's finger pointing something and then a big flash of light appeared! As bright as a camera flash.


I hear my friend complaining "It hurts, it hurts..." while grabbing his finger. When I asked what the hell happened, he said that a small lightning went from my glasses to his finger.


Guess that's a nice amount of static electricity  :laugh:

Offline Gryzor

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Re: cleaning dust from electronics
« Reply #12 on: 20:35, 12 May 10 »
Since we're into electrifying stories: when I was little, there was a socket next to my bed; my bed was adjacent to the wall. Veeeery bad security from my parents there. One night the lamp's plug came a little off and I touched the pins while asleep. I don't remember if I woke up by the shock itself or by the night turning to day from the flash... brilliant!

Offline ukmarkh

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Re: cleaning dust from electronics
« Reply #13 on: 22:52, 12 May 10 »
My dad was terrible at DIY, he once left the cover off a light switch and me and my cousin would dare each other to touch it. The one day my cousin touched it and it threw him across the room. Then it was my turn, so I legged it. He later caught up with me and gave me a dead arm.