Cleaning out the dust - suck or blow?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by glynster, Jan 11, 2016.

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  1. glynster macrumors newbie

    glynster

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2016
    #1
    I recently bought a new to me Mac Pro 5,1 and on opening it has more fuzz in it than a 70s porno movie. I dont think it has ever been opened. I gave it a quick blast with the air compressor - from about 2 feet as I was afraid I could damage it. Getting the hoover on it bothers me because of the static but then again I'm worried too much compressed air could damage it or drive the dirt deeper in. The CPUs literally had a beard each - maybe it's the ZZ-Top model - massive tufts of fluff growing out the fans. Amazingly the temps seem reasonable although I noticed in Mac fan Control app that the Intake fan is constantly at zero and marked in red. I have to get this dust off before I try fitting more ram - I did blow off the worst of it but it could really do with a more thorough clean - any advice? or do you think maybe the dirt is now holding it together - as my buddy calls it "load bearing dirt".
     
  2. dmylrea macrumors 68000

    dmylrea

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    #2
    As an IT person for many, many years, I have always used an air compressor with a directional nozzle to blow out dust and dirt. OUTDOORS. For heavily soiled computers I blow the air from a bit of a distance, mostly to blow it out and away. Once I can see what I am doing, I get closer and blow out in all directions the power supply, fans, and interior parts.

    I never point the high pressure directly at any electronic parts for any period of time. Just clean it. I've never had any issues.

    Based on my personal experience you shouldn't have any problems. Canned air does not have enough pressure to do a thorough cleaning of the whole interior. They start to freeze up and before you know it, the can won't blow anymore.
     
  3. MacVidCards Suspended

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    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #4
    tsk, tsk

    I also employ a 3" natural fiber paint brush. Super soft, but gets into places the air has trouble.

    I need to add that I bought it new and it was never used with paint or solvents
     
  4. ScottishCaptain macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    #5
    If you land up sucking, make sure you're using an ESD safe vacuum cleaner.

    If you use a regular old household unit, there's a good change the hose won't be grounded. If you're sucking up any kind of insulator (like dust), you will build up a static charge that will happily cross a 1-2" air gap straight into the nearest conductor, which may or may not be an ESD sensitive circuit board. This happened to me once, and that particular piece of equipment never worked again.

    -SC
     
  5. Demigod Mac macrumors 6502a

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  6. Bytehoven macrumors regular

    Bytehoven

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    Up Shellpot Creek
    #7
    I use either a portable air compressor, or a small vacuum where the hose can be moved to in or out out flow.

    Just make sure you do the dusting OUTSIDE. :)
     
  7. Bubalight macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2015
    #8
    I always use a compressor, I have never gotten anything even close to half as clean when attempting to clean it with a vacuum. The one thing to watch out for is that although it is fun blast fans and they do have a lot of dust, be careful cleaning the squirrel cage fans that are inside iMacs and some video cards. I've accidentally caused it to spin so fast that it exploded from centrifugal force. So with those it is best to blow gently or hold it stationary while you clean it.
    And of course do it outside, on a windy day while standing up wind.
     
  8. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a

    OS6-OSX

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    #9
    It should be clean enough to eat from! :p
    Spring Cleaning.JPG
     
  9. glynster thread starter macrumors newbie

    glynster

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2016
    #10
    Update & solved: I cleaned out the machine - the front intake fan was literally jammed with fluff (though not visually obvious) - hence why the fan control app was showing it as zero and its value in the app coloured red - it was also the cause of an intermittent beep/buzz sound I was hearing every 10 minutes or so - I thought that might have been a failing backup hard drive sound but now I realise it was a MOBO warning sound of some sort about the jammed fan. Thought I'd document this in case somebody in the future has a similar problem. I unplugged, removed my cpu tray for access and safety and very carefully placed the hoover nozzle against the front fan enclosure from inside the machine - after a few seconds it sucked out a couple of XL Furbies that had been jamming it and the fan started to spin due to the vacuum draft. When I replaced all and booted back up the fan span of its own accord, the computer ticking over fan sound now sounds a little more harmonious and more balanced and there is a great through draft - my temps were OK to start with but now they have come down approx 6 to 10 degrees all round. Thanks very much for the advice / encouragement.
     
  10. steveOooo macrumors 6502a

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    #11
  11. firedownunder macrumors regular

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    May 5, 2011
    #12
    Ditto. Bought one years ago, works like a champ. Use outdoors unless you like dust. :cool:
     
  12. raymanster macrumors 6502

    raymanster

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    Feb 13, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #13
    I recently bought a 4.1 and don't think it has ever been cleaned. It's from an office environment.

    Used a can of air duster which removed 90% of the dust.

    The boards still have a very thin layer of dust, what do you guys use to clean this off?

    Some before and after photos:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  13. steveOooo macrumors 6502a

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    UK
    #14
  14. jamesjingyi macrumors 6502a

    jamesjingyi

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    UK
    #15
    A small brush might do the trick?
     
  15. raymanster macrumors 6502

    raymanster

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    Feb 13, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #16
    Thanks for the suggestions, Datavac looks good but pricey. I'll try the cotton buds and a brush.

    Another pic, this is what came out, bathtub was squeaky clean beforehand. I wrongly ignored advice to do this outside:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. scott.n macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2010
    #17
    :eek:!!

    I purchased a 2009 Mac Pro recently with the same "office environment" provenance that was also dusty inside (though not as bad as yours). I think that it would be worth your time to remove the power supply and blow it out, too. A lot of dust can hide in there.
     
  17. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

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    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #18
    Remember to check behind the Optical Drive - there is a blanking plate on the rear wall behind it which can conceal a pile of fluff too and that will allow you better access to the PSU intake.
     
  18. Machines, Feb 25, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016

    Machines macrumors 6502

    Machines

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Fox River Valley , Illinois
    #19
    Unplug your System first .
    Remove as many parts from the System as you feel comfortable with and blast everything with a compressor at 60 PSI from 6 inches away .
    Observe ESD safety precautions , if necessary (with the memory , video cards, etc.)
    Especially blast the PSU from both sides and all the heatsinks .
    If you remove your CPU Tray for cleaning , observe ESD safety precautions and clean both interconnects . Perform this cleaning operation last, after you are done cleaning anything else . You never want any contaminants on an interconnect . Never touch an interconnect , either .
    Before starting up the System again , let the System dry for an hour (if no moisture has been observed) , three hours (if light spray has been observed) or overnight (if liquid water drops have been observed) during cleaning . All compressors will shoot some amount of water out (even if you do not see it) - it is natural .
    I've been doing this for years without any problem and my Builds are squeaky clean inside .
    Never use a vacuum cleaner or hair drier to clean electronics . You will ZAP something .
    Also, get a filter for the front of your cMP - they are available from TransIntl : http://www.transintl.com/mac-enhancement/ischmutz-air-filter.html
    I would also visually verify all your case fans are spinning . Case fans rarely fail with Apple Professional Desktops - I've only seen three or four failures in the last 15 years .
    I once talked with an user who had a PC server in continuous service for two decades . It was full of dust to such an extent it actually became a part of the chassis . He shut down the System because he was alarmed by it and cleaned it out . The System died right then and there . He waited too long :-(
     
  19. crjackson2134, Feb 26, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2016

    crjackson2134 macrumors 68020

    crjackson2134

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2013
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #20
    Just take the top rack out of your dish washer, load the Mac and run a heavy duty wash/dry cycle. Make sure the side cover is off so it can really get in there. ;) I clean my Glock Mod. 22, iPhone, and the heat exchanger from my Roush supercharged Mustangs that way.

    Of course I'm just joking here, don't do that!

    Really good advice in this thread already.

    I use filtered compressed air and dry overnight.

    I also use the iSchmutz front filter as Machines mentioned. It helps but doesn't block everything.
     
  20. raymanster macrumors 6502

    raymanster

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    Feb 13, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #21
    Yes I took out the optical drive cage and there was more dust! Even the DVD drive tray had a thin layer of dust. Cleaned it up a bit and the DVD drive works, ripped a couple DVDs no problem.
     
  21. Mactrunk macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 12, 2005
    #22
    This sounds like a joke, but I've been using this procedure for many years with excellent results.

    I use a lightweight electric leaf blower.

    I open up the mac pro and place it "open side up" on a towel outside the house.
    The pressure from the leaf blower is fairly diffuse but is still very powerful.
    It is amazing to see the dust fly out... I just go in from different angles and the visual feedback is very clear.
    You will know when there is no more dust.
    I do this every six months or so.

    The end result is a very clean machine.
     
  22. m4v3r1ck, Feb 29, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016

    m4v3r1ck macrumors 68020

    m4v3r1ck

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #23
    I dust it out every 3 months, to keep a clean machine, and NO smoking (and drinks & food) in my workspace. Every week a clean sweep of my whole workspace - desks and floor - helps to avoid a dust pile up in my machine.

    The INTAKE fan of my cMP 5.1 (2012) bought in 2014 is already failing! :eek:

    @0:00 ~1250 RPM
    @0:10 ~600 RPM
    @0:20 ~600 RPM increase to ~2750 RPM @1:00

    Sending it in repair for a new fan... Is it this why Apple's fans by default run at the lowest RPM? I discovered this fail when using Mac Fans Control, to lower the overall temperature in my cMP. See this thread.

    Cheers
     
  23. MrAverigeUser, Feb 29, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016

    MrAverigeUser macrumors 6502a

    MrAverigeUser

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    Location:
    europe
    #24

    Read a time ago that there are issues with the capacitators on the electric side ( NOT: electronic part!) here in the forum, sadly I don't find it, I know only that this came from a Pro living in HongKong.
    These issues are normal, because thiese electric power capacitors always begin to fail after about 4-6 years because they run dry.
    I learned that these electric capacitators die a lot faster when temperatures are high and/or air has high moisture concentrations.
    Perhaps it is just that?

    Until now I haven't cleaned my MP since 2009 - and everytime I open the MP there is definitely nothing worth to clean out...

    Too much "cleaning" might also be contraproductive... Be aware that you also disseminate always air with high positive or negative pressure and that the air is not at all "clean", especially if you lifted up a lot of dust and re- inject it in the computer - perhaps even to parts which would neve had any dust on them without the irregular stream of your wild (too much) cleaning actions...
    There is also a certain risk to damage the fans mechanically, I think...
    Just my 2 cents...
     
  24. m4v3r1ck macrumors 68020

    m4v3r1ck

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #25
    Thanks for your reply,

    The thread I mentioned is all about those capacitors and how they will dry up when the are constantly used at 'hot' temps. I'm by no means an electrical/electronics guy, so I depend on the more techie members here on MR. BTW my machine is only running for about 2 years now (new but open box) since I bought it in 2014.

    Worthy 2cts!

    I never use high pressure air, but always go around gently. Because I have a regular maintenance I don't have to use a F5 windblow force to blow out the dust-pile. When blowing the fans, I always hold them gently and keep them in a 0-RPM state, therefore not forcing any rotation by the airflow. The sound you're hearing is from bad bearing - as I'm told - so called in and the INTAKE fan will be replaced.

    Cheers
     

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