[svlug] Should dust be busted?
joel at emlinux.com
Sat Mar 6 13:26:33 PST 2010
You are correct about cleaning out dust.
Dust reduces the cooling efficiency of heat sinks and blocks vents.
Heat is a big circuit killer.
Also frequent failure mode for chips is caused by thermal cycling the
plastic packaging and connectors on the chip. This causes micro-cracks
in the plastic that let oxygen leach into the actual circuits which
More heat -> more thermal cycling.
Other thermally sensitive parts are the capacitors. These are
the little round cans that typically have a Y stamped on the top.
(If you see the top bulging out, the cap has failed or is about to fail.)
Keep these dust free.
Dust also combines with moisture to corrode connectors.
I just use a vacuum cleaner and paint brush to "carefully" extract the dust.
Fans, particularly on CPUs and graphics cards require special care.
Be careful not to "spin" the fan blades with vacuum air or brush -
and shorten life of bearings. Never the less, be sure that the heat sink
fins under fans are not blocked.
Don't forget the power supply.
If you don't want to unscrew the covers, just vacume the holes
that pull the air through.
I personally, don't recommend using compressed air (such as from a can)
because it makes a mess and just blows the dust around.
The vacuum gets the dust out of the connectors.
Skip Evans wrote:
> I've read several places that dust buildup in hardware can cut
> lifespan by retaining heat and thus forcing components into early
> So I like to periodically open up boxes and blast the dust out with
> air cans.
> Is this useful, practical and beneficial really? I'm heading to
> hardware store soon and figure I'd pick up a couple of cans. I have
> two 1U servers here that haven't been blown out in over a year and
> wonder if it's worth the time.
> What do big data centers do? Just keep really clean environments? My
> place is definitely dusty, as when whether permits here in now
> perma-frosted Madison I keep the windows open.
More information about the svlug