Dont Let Your Computer Bite The Dust

By: Josh Sommers
Dust! Have you ever opened up your computer and noticed a healthy sheetof dust dwelling inside? Well, if you live on Maui you probably knowthe dust I'm talking about. The reddish cloud that disperses into theair when you blow on it is genuine Maui dust! So why should this dustconcern you, and what can you do about it?Normal dust finds its way to every surface. Not even the fans, floppydisks, hard disks, and circuitry of our computers are safe from it.Dust on a computer fan isn't necessarily catastrophic but if you noticethe fan has trouble spinning it's time to replace it. Floppy drives arevery vulnerable to dust because of their exposed nature. You may noticestrange errors or an outright failure of your floppy drive if it isdamaged. Hard drives are not nearly as forgiving as floppy drives. Theyare built and sealed in a static and dust free environment but afteryears of use it is possible for a grain of dust to find its way insidethe protective shell.

Once inside the dust can easily send theread/write mechanism to its demise by crashing it into the data sectionof the disk spinning at up to 10,000 RPM. Unfortunately this destroysboth your hard disk and its data, and sometimes beyond repair! Now thatwe have covered normal dust lets discuss Maui's dust.Everyone knows that Maui's weather is unique, but did you know our dustis equally unique? Maui's dust is heavily concentrated with iron. Ironis a conductive, corrosive substance. Once it collects on electroniccomponents it eventually corrodes through the circuitry's protectivecoating and then through the wires themselves. Unfortunately due totoday's advanced micro soldering techniques this type of damage is notrepairable. The entire board must be replaced! I've seen a vast amountof computers bite the dust while working here on Maui. It's anunfortunate but avoidable event. So how can you protect your computerfrom dust here on Maui?FirstScience Articles, do not use a vacuum cleaner to clean you computer! The tiny dustparticles that pass over the plastic nozzle of your vacuum build astatic charge. If the static discharges on your computer (known as anESD or ElectroStatic Discharge) you are sure to destroy something. Thebest way to clean your computer is to use compressed air that you canpurchase from Costco or any hardware store. The air will blow the dustaway without creating any harmful static. Another way to prevent dustfrom getting to your computer is to cover it while it is turned off.Those are the simplest ways to protect your computer from Maui dust andit will help extend the life of your computer.

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