which is the best way to clean nvidia video card?

Discussion in 'hardware' started by mantra, Dec 21, 2015.

  1. mantra

    mantra Registered Member

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    Hi

    may i know which is the best way to clean nvidia video card without damaging the fan (fans) ?

    in the past i was used to disassemble the fan and clean with canned compressed air

    but i did on several video cards , nvidia , i did not disassemble because it's a nightmare , and i did damage the fan (i guess the "bearings" of the fan )

    thanks
     
  2. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    First - kudos to you for being concerned about dirt and the heat build up it causes.

    I never disassemble them. I just use a wooden Popsicle/glue stick to hold the fans stationary while blasting with compressed air. I do this with all the fans; CPU, case and hard to reach PSU fans too.
    Yeah, especially with an air compressor, you can over-spin the fans, well beyond their design limits and damage the bearings. This is especially true with fans that already have some wear and tear on them. But even if brand new, over-spinning the fans can increase aging and in some cases, break down the lubricant, making it less effective, increasing aging even more. So even if you don't see any immediate damage, it is never good to over spin any motor - no matter how fun that may be! ;)
     
  3. mantra

    mantra Registered Member

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    hi
    thanks
    over-spinning do you mean push the fan to spin too fast or push the fan to spin to opposite direction ?
    in short you block the fan with wooden Popsicle/glue stic and blast with the compressed air from a distance? or do you put the compressed air thin cane (hope it's the right meaning ) between the fans touching the metallic part ?

    ps i tought to use a very good brush for photographers (they don't loose filaments)

    thanks
     
  4. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    It means spinning them faster than their designed limits.
    I never said anything about distance. Holding the blades stationary lets me get up as close as I can without worry - even between the blades if necessary. But that is never necessary with my own computers as I don't let the gunk build up that much. However, with some computers that come into the shop - especially with owners who smoke and have cats - sometimes you almost have to use a chisel to get that stuff off.

    I sometimes use a brush, but typically I take the computers outside and use a big air compressor (with a suitable inline moisture and particulate filter, of course). And at 80psi, you generally don't need a brush.

    If using a brush, make sure it is non-conductive as some with synthetic bristles can build-up static - never good around your ESD sensitive devices.
     
  5. Rainwalker

    Rainwalker Registered Member

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    Once upon a time I used compressed air, but never much cared for it. I now use Metro Datavac Electric Duster and absolutely love it. Just be certain to prevent fan(s) from spinning. For that I use me finger. I blow out everything in the case with the Duster. Worth the money for sure, as it, in time, will pay for itself. VERY powerful. Take box outside before cleaning. You very well might be surprised as to amount of dust it will find.
    http://www.amazon.com/Metro-Vacuum-...id=1450722056&sr=1-1&keywords=electric duster
     
  6. mantra

    mantra Registered Member

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    thanks
    i will look for wooden Popsicle/glue stick :)
    i can get from my nephew seeing how many ice cream she could eat in few hours :)
     
  7. mantra

    mantra Registered Member

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    hi
    cool ,but so exansive here in europe
    usa 57$ , europe 172€ (195$) the lower price :(
     
  8. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    There's no good replacement for a decent air compressor. Those Metro Vacuum blowers will work, but they only put out 70cfm - that's less than many cheap case fans. You need more to "thoroughly" blast out hard to reach places like inside a dirty PSU, or to clean out notebooks that have been neglected for some time.

    Plus, those Metro things are pretty much single purpose devices. For just a few dollars more than that thing, you can get an air compressor with a tank for sustained, high pressure blasting. And with this (or better yet, a little larger unit like this) you can use the compressor to fill up a flat tire, nail up a fence, paint your house, or put a roof on your house.

    The very first time you don't have to change a flat tire in your driveway and can just fill it up to drive down to the tire shop, you will appreciate a real air compressor.

    Mine is similar that Kobalt - a "vertical" compressor which I really like because it does not take up much space in my garage. The only real downside to these real compressors is they are loud. But with a 50 foot hose, no big deal.
     
  9. Bob D

    Bob D Registered Member

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    I've always used cotton swabs & isopropyl for fan / heat sinks. Takes time, but quite effective.
    Also believe in preventative measures: All ventilation openings in chassis are filtered.
     
  10. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    @Bill_Bright I agree with you about the metro vacs. I've got one (which was fairly expensive as there is only one distributor for them in Australia) and am dissapointed about its capacity. It works well for blowing excess dust out of a computer case, but it doesn't do a good job of cleaning dust from overheating laptops - which is what I bought it for. I used to take laptops to work and use an air compressor (using a paperclip to prevent the fan from spinning), and it worked very well.

    Edit: I just do a quick look to see what I could find in Australia. What do you think of this one Bill?
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015
  11. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Well, I have never heard of that brand, but that really does not mean anything. It goes up to 116PSI which is pretty good for a little one. It should let you throttle the output back down to 80 - 90PSI - which is preferred for nail guns and such. And it is oil less, which again is nice - but you still must use a moisture and particulate filter before spraying it on any electronics. The compression process WILL cause condensation to form in the inside walls of the tank where the water droplets will pick up dust and grime that is also drawn in and mix with machines oils from the manufacturing process. That will run down to the bottom of the tank and turns into a nasty, rusty, oily concoction where it can be picked up and spewed out when blasting. That's actually another reason I like the tall vertical models - the pooled muck is farther from the output nozzle though I still see some collected in my filter even though I keep it drained.

    And speaking of drains, that one does have a nice quarter-turn petcock valve near the bottom to drain the tank. Just remember to take it to the street as the spewed rust will stain what ever it lands on.

    Metal heatsinks are not problem but alcohol is actually a solvent so I would be hesitant to use on some plastics. Plus, to thoroughly clean the heatsink fins, it seems you would have to remove the fans and besides being a pain, many mount by the screws actually cutting threads into the metal heatsink. The can result in metal filings getting loose and falling onto the circuit board. I don't like the sound of that.

    If you don't have an air compressor, I recommend cans of dusting gas. You just have to remember to hold the cans level so they don't spew out liquid gas and use in a well-ventilated place. Note that is NOT canned "air". It is actually difluoroethane or related chemical agent which can cause severe damage to the central nervous system and must not be inhaled.
     
  12. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    @Bill_Bright Thanks for the advice, I'll buy one (and a filter) when I can afford to.
     
  13. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Ask Santa! ;)
     
  14. Tyrizian

    Tyrizian Registered Member

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    I clean using compressed air and I use a small paintbrush to get any dust that might be stuck in between hard to reach areas (deep under the fans, ventilation holes, etc.).
     
  15. mantra

    mantra Registered Member

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    hi
    but are the canned compressed air enough ?
    thanks
     
  16. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    @mantra I depends on how much dust has accumulated. For example, compressed air will work well to clean dust from a laptop if there is not a lot of dust. However, if there a significant bulid up of dust - enough to make a laptop overheat, then compressed air won't be very effective. It will dislodge some dust, but probably not enough to make a significant difference.
     
  17. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    As Roger noted, it depends on how dusty, and what is in the dust. If just plain dust, and the build-up is not too thick, then probably fine. But if the user smokes around the computer too, and/or has pets (especially cats), then the dust can be mixed with oily dander and stick to everything like glue. Even an air compressor at 80 PSI with a dust nozzle can't clear all that stuff out. Cat dander in particular is extremely sticky. So if using an air compressor or cans of dusting gas, some times it is still necessary to use a soft bristled brush to stir the dust up to then blast out.

    As for notebooks, the problem with them is there is not ATX Form Factor standard for them so makers are free to design notebooks cases in proprietary ways to make them thinner and lighter, and most importantly, inaccessible. :( At least for normal consumers. With a PC, you can simply remove the side panel to fully expose the interior and almost crawl in to ensure you remove all the dust from all the nooks and crannies. You can position the dust nozzle to blast dust from the inside out.

    With notebooks, unless you are a qualified technician with the right tools, and with the right know-how, it is nearly impossible to expose the full interior. Typically your only access points are through bay slots, small access covers, and vents. So you can remove some of the dust, but much just gets packed in tighter and tighter. :(

    Much depends on how often you will be cleaning computers. If you have a shop and will be cleaning computers on a daily basis, no question; get a air compressor with a suitable moisture and particulate filter. If you have one computer that needs cleaning 2 or 3 times a year, then you can get by with cans of dusting gas.

    But again, a decent air compressor can be used for many things besides blowing air to clean electronics. With the appropriate attachments, you can even use it to air brush faces or birthday cakes!
     
  18. mantra

    mantra Registered Member

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    hi Roger & Bill
    if there is too much dust , what should i do ?
    thanks
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2015
  19. chrisretusn

    chrisretusn Registered Member

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    I use the As-Seen-On-TV JML Blast Vacuum. It sucks, er I mean blows. Does a fair job, lots of wind, you need to hold the attachment in the vacuum or it will blowout. I've gotten good at doing that and can hold the fan blades too. I really should get a compressor though, around here cleaning the insides in once a quarter or more frequent. Canned air is hard find here.
     
  20. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Not really understanding the question. It seems pretty obvious that you need to clean it out. o_O As noted by the last line in my signature, heat if bad for electronics. A layer of dust acts like a blanket, trapping in the heat. You have been given several options. My recommendation is to take the computer outside and blast it out with compressed air, either from a suitably filtered air compressor, or with a can of compressed dusting gas.

    You don't want to do this indoors. For one, since much of that dust is dead skin (dander), microscopic critters that eat dead skin (dust mites) and all the microscopic poop those critters leave behind, you don't want to be breathing that in as that is a health hazard or at least a serious allergen for many allergy sufferers. You also don't want to be tossing all that dust back into the air in your room where the computer fans will simply draw it back in again. So take it outside.

    Note as a last resort, you can use a vacuum cleaner but here is my canned text on why you shouldn't.

    I do not recommend the use of a vacuum cleaner inside the case as there is a significant potential for destruction from ESD. As the dust and air particles zoom past and crash into the nozzle end (especially with plastic nozzles) extremely high potentials of static electricity can build up in the nozzle. And when the nozzle comes in to close proximity to ESD sensitive devices, such as the CPU, GPU, memory modules and other high density integrated circuits (ICs or "chips), that static can easily be discharged through the device, totally destroying it - often without the user even knowing a discharge occurred.

    For these reasons, vacuuming is NEVER preferred. Taking the computer outside is always better. If it is pouring down rain, and taking it outside is not practical, you can use a vacuum, but EXTRA care must be taken.
    1. Unplug the computer from the wall.
    2. Touch bare metal of the case interior to discharge any static in your body, and most importantly, to put you and the computer "at the same potential".
    3. Wrap your hand around the nozzle end and extend a pointed finger out past the nozzle.
    4. Plant extended finger on to bare metal when reaching in with the nozzle to prevent the discharge and build-up of static.
    5. Use a clean, soft, natural bristle (not synthetic) dusting or paint brush to gently persuade the dust towards the nozzle.
    6. Keep that finger planted, and immediately replant it onto bare metal when re-positioning the nozzle.
    7. Better yet, wait for it to stop raining, then use an air compressor of cans of dusting gas.
     
  21. mantra

    mantra Registered Member

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    thanks Bill
    i mean
    and
    in this case , a brush ?
    sorry for my poor english
     
  22. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Use both. Then if too much dust is left behind after blasting with compressed air, use a soft brush to stir up the rest and blast again to move it out.
     
  23. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    In my cases [sic], I've noticed that with a good fan design, you usually end up with little dust inside. I have computers that didn't need any cleaning 4-6 years down the road, but there's a powerful set front and back and top, with soft mesh filters to keep particles out. For me, the cleaning is mostly about vacuuming the meshes. This does lower the temperature about 5-6 degrees C after the cleaning, though.
    Mrk
     
  24. chrisretusn

    chrisretusn Registered Member

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    Guess my post jinxed my Blast Vac. :)

    Time to start looking for a compressor it seems...
     
  25. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    I just take my hair dryer and blas the card with the heat off. Work as a charm. If that's not enough, then I use a few Q-tips to finish the job.
     
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