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Compressed Air!?? HELP!!!

by Scarfish / September 21, 2008 1:34 AM PDT

Last night I bought a can of Compress Air to blow out my dusty PC with & I was wondering... can a can of compress air burn up your PC the way I did it... I turn the can sideways & upside down and it kinda looked like a fire extinguisher and I was wondering if the can fry my pc?...

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Can't fry it but
by Steven Haninger / September 21, 2008 2:01 AM PDT

I'd be careful in the future as you can damage skin, eyes, etc. by sudden freezing this can cause. I'd say it's theoretically possible that you could experience damage to solder joints or some delicate components as dissimilar materials contract at different rates. What you saw was the liquid state of the gas used and, as it evaporates, whatever it's in contact with gets very cold...very fast. It then will reheat to ambient temperature quite rapidly as well. Materials that expand and contract suddenly might crack. Such is why soldering is a special skill as the heating and cooling of the joint needs to be controlled or the solder crystallizes causing a "cold solder joint" that's fragile and not properly conductive. Such a joint will be affected by widely varying temperatures.

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Not if...
by Willy / September 21, 2008 9:59 PM PDT

No, you're not going to normally fry your PC. However, due to the "cooling effect" you may coat certain parts of the PC if constant spray at one point. As the other poster explained, you will momentary freeze an area, it will recover but may become liquid then gas. If power is applied during short liquid state it may "short out" that component(s) and/or due to rapid heat expansion of components stress an area and break some contact. This won't happen if you allow the PC to simply sit for a few minutes then apply power.

Why, are you asking this question? Did you have a bad experience?

tada -----Willy Happy

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Yes, you can
by helljack6 / September 22, 2008 4:36 AM PDT
In reply to: Not if...

Yes you can fry the PC using a can of compressed air. Since the can/product is designed to be used in the upright position, putting it on it's side or holding it upside down while using changes the orientation of the contents within. This along with prolonged sprays instead of several quick bursts, form a residual that resembles ICE, and due to the rapid warming, produces condensation. So yes if you use compressed air from a can, you can potentially short out your motherboard.

An alternative is using a handheld vaccum that you can change the motor direction from taking in to blowing out. It's more constant and your hands don't get cold from the rapid release of compressed air.

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(NT) Did you read my post?
by Willy / September 22, 2008 5:52 AM PDT
In reply to: Yes, you can
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by Scarfish / September 22, 2008 12:38 PM PDT
In reply to: Did you read my post?

Thanks for helping people & I will be more careful in the future. Grin

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Hold the can upright
by Renegade Knight / September 24, 2008 4:22 AM PDT

Upside down you use a lot more material and waste your money.
You also spray your computer with freezing cold material. That in turn lowers the temp of what you sprayed such that it will crete condensation on your computer just like a can of cold soda will create condensation in the summer.

Water on electronics is bad. Hold your can upgright. If you do like freezing everthing because it's cool, let it all dry out when you are done before you turn your computer back on.

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by kbeelitz / September 24, 2008 11:51 AM PDT

I used compressed air b/c it's cheap and effective. I normally take parts out or off the mobo before using. Hopefully you let you PC cool down before you use compressed air. Sometimes a slight shake of the can causes that liquid to spray out. Becareful.

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All the cans I've seen say ..........
by Dango517 / September 26, 2008 1:21 PM PDT

"hold the can in an "up right" position". This way | <<<< not __ <<< this way. It's a good idea to read the directions. Happy

This thread untracked.

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by Harlans daughter / September 26, 2008 2:19 PM PDT

Best Buy stores recommend you hold the can upright. They told me the reason is that there is freon in with the aerisol and that when you hold the can upside down, only the freon comes out. They also said in the upside down position, the freon can cause serious damage to skin, eyes, etc. and to never joke around with anyone by spraying them with the can upside down... the sales person then showed me a permanent burn mark on his arm where a friend had sprayed him.

I know of someone who works with jewelry and when she can't get a section pryed apart with traditional tools, she will use a can of this and hold the can upside down, spray the connection she needs to break, then hit it and it breaks apart. What she is doing is basically freezing the connection to a sub zero temp by holding the can upside down.

Personally, I stay away from the stuff. I make sure my pc is turned off and then I use the vacuum cleaner on it. I've done this for eight years and had no problems.

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No freon
by sknis / September 26, 2008 10:34 PM PDT

Freon is a trade name so it should not be used generically.

There is no freon(r) (CFC) is any spray can for several years due to possible reduction in the ozone layer (good ozone). It is possible that there are some HCFC in some cans since they are degradable in the atmosphere and do not produce bad ozone but these are very expensive and would not normally be used ina low cost product.

Look at the can and I'll bet that the propellant is difluoroethane or similar. Be carefull, under the right condition, it can be flammable.

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Good advice, but prevention is better than cure
by 3rdalbum / September 26, 2008 8:14 PM PDT

My computer case has an air filter at the front. It's just a fine wire mesh that stops dust before it gets into the case. Easy to remove and clean out with just a bit of wiping. Consider installing some sort of filter, even if it's just sticky-taped to the front of your tower.

Also, a lot of store-built computers have fans that run at high speed (and make lots of noise). The stores have their reasons for building the machines this way, but if your computer runs cool you could replace the rear fan with a slower one. A slower fan will suck in less dust and be quieter. Just make sure that your computer runs fairly cool, by downloading a program that can read your computer's temperature sensors.

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Wow - what a lot of bad science!
by Jelly Baby / September 27, 2008 5:07 AM PDT

I'm stunned by the first few posts here.

Using the can upside down is wasteful and I certainly wouldn't suggest that it was a proper way to use it - but it won't do your computer any harm.
Short circuits? "cold" solder joints? Any cold joints would have shown up long ago.

c'mon - if you don't know the answer..........

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Right Jellybaby
by STARSFAN13 / October 9, 2008 4:00 PM PDT

You are exactly right. I was just sitting here reading some of these posts & just cracking up about some of them. Been using the stuff for several years.

Short circuits: NO
"COLD" soldier joints: (lol) NO

If a few of you don't believe Jelly Baby or myself; check out some PC magazines or talk to a computer tech. And I have a very good friend that's a tech. And he will tell you the same thing. He has taught me alot of things I know. I use it on 2 desktops & 2 laptops & they are all running nicely. But I can tell you this. Use the compressed air for awhile. After about 6 months; take your computer to a place where you won't get dust everywhere & take it apart.

Then clean everything inside of the tower. You can use a damp rag & also use a small computer vacuum if you want. Just be careful round the wiring. If you have your puter in a real dusty place; you should do this every 3 months. I do it every three on my desktop in my room; because I have the openings in the shape of a dragon on both sides. So the dust bunnies love trying to take my tower over at times.

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I mentioned cold solder joints
by Steven Haninger / October 9, 2008 11:04 PM PDT
In reply to: Right Jellybaby

but if you go back and read my post properly, you will see it said nothing about compressed air causing this. My mention was to note the affects...or potential affects of heating or cooling that's too rapid. It can cause damage. A cold solder joint is a heat control problem. One cannot make a good solder joint into a cold solder joint by improperly using compressed air after the fact. However, some materials will crack if heated or cooled too quickly and even if to temperatures they might withstand. As well, dissimilar materials that are otherwise bonded can be made to separate by the same process. You can crack a fragile solder joint by rapid cooling and heating because you are dealing with dissimilar metals that are bonded and sometimes to a non-metalic substrate as well. Newer ROHS spec solder will be especially sensitive to lack of perfect technique

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It happens
by Willy / October 9, 2008 11:42 PM PDT

The real world can teach you more than any "short lesson" of a few usage yrs. experience. I've found recent manufacturing techniques just skim the required soldering to make a proper contact. You can practically call it a "film" rather than a solder joint, though that's what it is suppose to be. Understand some solder contacts are "micro" or very small area compared to yrs. past. Constant cooling and heating of system operation will show a weak contact but outside help like during testing or burn-in will make it more obvious, however I've found similar real world problems under extreme conditions like the desert and arctic circle regions, that when returned for storage(next use) or task will break down. The use of cooling/freeze spray can do this too but also some compressed air. Stressed or weak componets do fail and others due to improper use of the spray. It doesn't surprise me to find a broken contact and in some cases solder lands and sockets actually askew or broken. Some IC chips laying around, tubes broken, wiring cracked and exposed or crystallized. Even under the best ideal conditions, crap happens.

tada -----Willy Happy

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