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What are the effects of spinning a fan with compressed gas?


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#1 Jungyin

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 03:55 PM

I recently tried cleaning inside my computer after neglecting it for a little over two years since I got it made for me. To my shame, it was a dusty/smoky smell that lit a fire under my behind to get it done. Also to my shame, I neglected to review the proper use of compressed gas when cleaning the dust, and didn't hold the cooling fan blades still when bursting the gas around. As such, they spun a few times, which I recently read could have resulted in damaging parts of my computer by generating an electrical charge. It still seems to be functioning (I'm using it to post this message), but the slight smell from before persists. And it may just be paranoia or me only noticing it now because I'm looking for problems, but the air blowing out from top the vent seems warmer than before. Could my spinning the fan while cleaning have caused this? Or perhaps it was the dust build up from before?

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#2 RolandJS

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 04:07 PM

If this is a desktop, after powering down, after hitting the big red or black switch from on to off, carefully remove cover and very carefully vacuum without the nozzzle touching anything within every piece of dust you can.  Compressed gas - was it compressed air? Probably so, I doubt any damage done.  While the cover is off, carefully remove and reSeat every memory stick, every cable [both ends], maybe even reSeat the processor assembly [clean heatsink with air while it's not on the proc].  There may be youtube videos on how to clean the contact ends of the goodies within. Don't be in any hurry when you do this once every year or every 2 years.  Dusty dirty laptops -- unless one is very good at unassembling / reassembling, take such to a business oriented computer store and pay them a little money to clean up and reSeat inside the laptop.


Edited by RolandJS, 23 February 2015 - 04:09 PM.

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#3 hamluis

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 04:08 PM

I never hold the fan when I blow dust out...and I've never had any problems afterward...been doing it this way since 2000 or so.  I do this several times a year, every year.

 

Louis


Edited by hamluis, 23 February 2015 - 04:10 PM.


#4 zingo156

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 04:18 PM

I never hold the fan when I blow dust out...and I've never had any problems afterward...been doing it this way since 2000 or so.  I do this several times a year, every year.

 

Louis

I do the same. At a computer shop for many years all techs did this as well. We had one fan that shattered (new tech) but never any other issues. The only thing I would ever say is use either low psi (40psi or so) or short controlled bursts of air as you don't want to over speed the fan, that is when bad things happen.


Edited by zingo156, 23 February 2015 - 04:19 PM.

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#5 Jungyin

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 05:01 PM

So I don't need to worry about the fan acting like an electrical generator and frying things while the PC is unplugged? Just need to give the computer a more thorough cleaning?

#6 OldPhil

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 06:05 PM

I also blew out the fans did it for many years with no problem, but in reading about it causing issues I decided to do a test.  I took a brand new fan hooked it to a volt meter and yes the needle did move, not much but it was producing power.  I still believe its not a problem but I do hold the blades still JFS&G's no sense chancing a problem with my stuff or anyone else's.


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#7 YeahBleeping

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 06:56 PM

As OldPhil pointed out 3 wire fans designed to give out their polling fan speed do indeed provide a small amount of power when ' spun ' but as he stated this is very small and will not harm your computer.  The harm can come depending on the fan type being blown out or into.  A lot of laptop fans use sleeve type bearings and its possible that blowing into the fan and spinning it the ' wrong way ' can damage the seal / lubricant and cause the fan to start to fail and make noise. 

 

When I clean my computers I simply avoid the fans and if they need cleaning I usually use alcohol/water mix and cue tips.

 

Just thought I'd add my thoughts to the mix.



#8 mjd420nova

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 07:48 PM

The power supply has its own fan and with the smell persisting, it is just as dirty as the others.  Work with a long nozzle through the vents inside the PC to blow the dust out through the fan.  I use a an acid brush, cut to one half inch brisslte to clean and hold the fan while using the air.






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