Can I vacuum my mac pro?

juliancs

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 24, 2006
419
1
I dust out my macpro every week with a can of air. I was wondering, can I just use a vacuum cleaner to suck it out? I'm wary of sucking in a transistor or something...Any dangers?

Cheers!
 

Queso

Suspended
Mar 4, 2006
11,821
7
Normally a bad move. Vacuum cleaner motors tend to generate quite a large amount of static electricity. You may end up blowing a chip.
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,164
581
Finland
I wouldn't. I only use vacuum to clean the fan area and the case, never touch or clean the mobo with it and the ones we use at work are user-controllable so they are set to the lowest to avoid accidents.

Use the can of air to clean the mobo and then vacuum the dust form the bottom of the case
 

Transporteur

macrumors 68030
Nov 30, 2008
2,729
3
UK
Vacuum cleaners tend to spin the fans really fast which then generates power that might destroy your mainboard.

So no, not a good idea.
I clean my machines with an air compressor once in a while, but every week seems a little too anxious. ;)
 

Apple Corps

macrumors 68030
Apr 26, 2003
2,575
542
California
The internals of my 3.2 year old Mac Pro have been "dusted" twice - and I live in a very dusty area.

What in the world are you doing that has you dusting the internals of your computer on a weekly basis :confused:

I did what you are asking about many years ago on an old G3 - some small components got sucked up and the computer was ruined.

Dumb move to even contemplate.
 

iHateMacs

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2008
651
24
Coventry, UK
An air compressor is your best bet.

Someone mentioned about not letting the fans spin fast as they can produce electricity and damage the MB. It's not something I have thought of, but I can see it's something to be wary of.

My main worry with using compressed air on a fan is catastrophic failure of the blades. They are not designed to run at very high speed and can shatter. I know a man who lost a the tip of his finger when a fan he was rotating with compressed air "exploded".

Keep the nozzle well back and you'll be ok.
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,164
581
Finland
They make ESD compliant vacuum cleaners, but the prices might scare you (example). :eek: ;)

As mentioned, compressed air is your best bet.
We have similar vacuums at work, they work very well. Compressed air is best bet for home use though, as we use those vacuums everyday for several times :cool:
 

666sheep

macrumors 68040
Dec 7, 2009
3,626
229
Poland
My little 5 cents:
I'm always using (regular, not ESD compliant) vacuum cleaner to remove dust from case (my hobby is fixing Macs) and done hundreds of them without any issues. Never blown any logic board or graphics card. G4, G5, Mac Pro – no matter what type it was.
That's what i can tell from my personal experience.
 

KeriJane

macrumors 6502a
Sep 26, 2009
578
0
ЧИКАГО!
Here's what I've found to work best for cleaning out dusty computers, including my Mac Pro:

Get a vacuum cleaner that can have the hose attached for blowing instead of sucking. The low-pressure, high volume airflow works great for cleaning out the messiest computer without the chance of knocking parts loose with the wand. It works far better than those compressed air cans.

I use a Filter Queen Majestic and generally take the computer and vacuum cleaner out onto my porch so as to keep the resulting dust cloud outside.

The dustiest system to date? An Antec 900 build in for Virus removal work. All of those fans really packed the poor thing full of dust. (I recommended a better vacuum cleaner to the owner ;))

Have Fun,
Keri

PS. If you're worried about static discharge, don't do cleaning (or any disassembly) on a dry day! Wait for humid weather or crank up a humidifier.
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
We have similar vacuums at work, they work very well. Compressed air is best bet for home use though, as we use those vacuums everyday for several times :cool:
They're a bit too pricey for a home user to keep around for occasional cleanings. A repair tech/shop or data center for example, can justify the cost of having one around though. ;)
 

MindlessJD

macrumors member
Apr 19, 2006
81
0
Hampshire, UK
They make ESD compliant vacuum cleaners, but the prices might scare you (example). :eek: ;)

As mentioned, compressed air is your best bet.
Ouch! :eek:

They are expensive... I think I'd stick to using a compressor or canned air if it was me. Luckilly my MBP doesn't show what dust is in it, if there is much at all! :cool:
 

monokakata

macrumors 68000
May 8, 2008
1,893
413
Freeville, NY
Vacuum cleaners tend to spin the fans really fast which then generates power that might destroy your mainboard.
I always thought the issue with spinning fans too fast wasn't power generation, but that the speed could cause the fan's bearings to fail.

Same thing as not putting your bicycle wheels unrestrained on the car roof -- even Campy bearings aren't meant to withstand the speeds that a bike wheel can reach when it just up there spinning as you drive 70 mph.

But, like 666sheep, I've blown and vacuumed dozens of motherboards and fans over the last 30 years and have never had a problem of any kind that I could trace to my cleaning procedures.
 

itou

macrumors regular
Jan 16, 2008
222
0
i've vacuumed my mac pro without any problems of static.
never crossed my mind about this problem, sounds legitimate, but i've never had a problem.
 

drewsof07

macrumors 68010
Oct 30, 2006
2,003
415
Ohio
I use the air compressor in my garage (yes the same one I use for air in my tires). Using a slotted/suppressed wand on the end, I can direct the flow at a wide angle to slow the speed and velocity, thus providing enough power to blow the dust off but not harm any components. Also, I never point it directly at any components (other than the gpu). With enough power to blast away dust, but gentle enough to not harm any components, it is the perfect tool. I do this about once every 2-3 months.
As far as vacuuming goes, the only place I would think about vacuuming would be the case (top, door, front/rear grilles).
 

Transporteur

macrumors 68030
Nov 30, 2008
2,729
3
UK
I use the air compressor in my garage (yes the same one I use for air in my tires).
Please keep in mind that home air compressors will produce condensation water that will be blown out with the air. Almost every compressors of that kind have a little nozzle at the lowest part of the tank which lets you drain the water, but still, the air of such home compressors is not completely dry, hence not really suitable for cleaning electronics.

This is why I generally use cans with compressed air instead of a compressor. Industrial compressors are fine, but I doubt that the general household has compressors worth a hundred grand in their garage. ;)
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
I use the air compressor in my garage (yes the same one I use for air in my tires)....
So do I. The cans add up quickly, and the air compressor not only saves money in the long run, it has more uses (things a can can't do, like run air tools). :D
 

Lord Blackadder

macrumors G5
May 7, 2004
13,759
2,824
Sod off
I use both an air compressor and a shop vac to clean out my towers. I set the compressor to a low pressure, and then suck up the dust with the vacuum as it gets blown out of the case. It takes two hands, and is a bit overkill perhaps but I've never had a problem and it's the least messy method I've found.

I know that air compressors can emit some moisture in the air, but I've never had issues.
 

drewsof07

macrumors 68010
Oct 30, 2006
2,003
415
Ohio
Please keep in mind that home air compressors will produce condensation water that will be blown out with the air.
I live in Ohio, so the humidity runs about 70% all the time anyway. lol :eek:
I've been doing it like this for years with no problems on all kinds of equipment (stereos, speakers, towers, laptops), and like I said I never point the end directly at the mobo, so the risk of a short is minimal. Heck, I lifted a can of the compressed air from school and it had more condensation than the compressor ever did. After some investigating, I learned it was because I held it upside down :eek: !
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
I use both an air compressor and a shop vac to clean out my towers. I set the compressor to a low pressure, and then suck up the dust with the vacuum as it gets blown out of the case. It takes two hands, and is a bit overkill perhaps but I've never had a problem and it's the least messy method I've found.

I know that air compressors can emit some moisture in the air, but I've never had issues.
You could add in a water trap to be safe (kit example). There's less expensive as well, particularly if you have an extra hose lying around of sufficient length (compressor - hose - trap - hose for tool).

Just make sure you don't attach it at the compressor end, as the water is still vapor, and the trap is useless. You'd need a long length of hose or pipe (there are articles/forum posts out there that go into detail), but the reason is to cool the air and allow the water to condense back into liquid.
 

skotopes

macrumors newbie
Apr 12, 2010
17
0
default city
It`s always nice to read posts of people who did not learned physics and electronics in school.

First of all: static - yes it`s really dangerous, BUT only when components not soldered to the board. In addition mainly all computer parts contains fool protection: all external buses has terminators and/or other passive protection. All PC cards interfaces designed to be protected from small or/and middle static discharges. And one more: when system is in assembled state it`s much more complicated to kill it with static because circuits has a lot ways to the ground.

So overall: in normal room conditions risk is low. But remember some times **** happens, even if you think that fully protected.
 

drewsof07

macrumors 68010
Oct 30, 2006
2,003
415
Ohio
skotopes said:
It`s always nice to read posts of people who did not learned physics and electronics in school.
We were just so busy learning about less important things, like sentence structure and grammar. ;)
people who did not learned physics
only when components not soldered to the board.
all computer parts contains fool protection:
all external buses has terminators
circuits has a lot ways to the ground.
 
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