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Dust - The number 1 Killer!
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Dust - The number 1 Killer!

posted in Information guides by Kelly on 14:39 Jul 11th, 2016

Dust - the number 1 killer!

I have been working with computers here about 7 years now and over this time I have seen a vast number of weird and obscure faults. I have also seen a lot of the same thing over and over again. Within this period one thing has become clear...... electrical goods HATE dust. Anything that has a fan on it has the ability to suck in dust and grime from the air into the inside of the machine. Computers and laptops, games consoles, TVs and much more beside ALL suffer with overheating - the number 1 cause of which is dust! This innoculous seeming collection of particles, consisting for a large part of human skin blocks up fans and heatsinks essentially suffocating the device until it cannot function.

With TVs that have inbuilt DVD players this dust ends up sitting on the laser of the DVD unit and then the DVD cannot be read. Most manufactuers and retailers will not warranty the DVD part of the TV for this reason. With games consoles this can also happen where dust can cause the laser to become intermitent and fail. We have had machines where they will read DVDs ok but not games and vice versa. Dust causes many, many issues.

With computers and laptops that cool using a big metal block called a heatsink connected to a fan to blow air over the surface, dust is fatal. It can settle in the fins of the heatsink and in the fans of the fan and stops it turning. When a laptop or computer cannot cool properly it will get progressively slower as the inbuilt protection system tells the machine to slow down in order to cool itself. Processing information generates a lot of heat. I have seen laptops that have melted to the point of having to break them to get into the laptop to repair them where they have gotten so hot they have melted the plastic casing. It is amazing how much heat comes out.

To put it in a way that may help you to understand I will use an analogy I use with our customers quite a bit.... if you imagine your laptop as being like the radiator in your car. When it becomes clogged up with dust it is like you sticking a sheet of cardboard over the radiator that in turn will just cause the temperature gauge in the car to read hotter and hotter and hotter as the car cannot cool down. This is true of your computer equipment too. When it cannot cool it gets hotter and hotter. You can get apps that tell you how hot the CPU (processor) chip is inside your machine when it is running. Like the temperature gauge in the car, when the device cannot cool this app will show the temperature getting warmer. 

You can see from the image above that shows a heatsink how the dust becomes a problem. You are essentially stopping your laptop or computer being able to breathe. With the UK set to experience a heatwave (so the Met Office say!), it is crucial to ensure that the insides of your computer are spick and span. We have known of machines to have burn ups that could potentially lead to fires where they have become so hot that you can see where the machine has failed to cool and the circuit board has burnt up. Not only that but the heat causes other components in the machine to run at a higher temperature. This can include your hard drive. This is the little box inside your machine that holds all your data. When it runs hotter it makes the bearings inside more likely to fail and thus the drive to fail at a more rapid rate than expected.

A couple of years ago, Acer made a line of laptops that were lower budget machines that had atrocious ventillation on. We must have had in the space of a couple of years 30 of these machines in and every one of them had the same issue. They had gotten hot and the hard drives had failed. This wasn't so much down to the user but a bad design on the part of Acer. Still keeping the machine clean on the inside will help to reduce the issue this low level of airflow causes. When you look at your computer you see a metal box but inside it is a finely tuned machine that runs with the precision of a sports car with everything running in sync. When one thing is out of whack (in this case the machine is packed with enough dust to suffocate an asthmatic (trust me on this)) then nothing runs at its best - potentially costing you a Grand Prix win.

In order to keep your machines running at their best we offer a free of charge service where we use a compressor at a really low level to blow the dust out. This is enough that it removes dust but not enough pressure that it causes any damage. We have been doing this for a lot of years and all our staff are trained to do this for you. We like to look after our customers and this is just one of the small ways in which we vow to help those who visit us. The dust that comes from some machines is horrific but knowing that you are sending someone away with a laptop or computer that will run 100% better is well worth it :)

The one thing that computers hate more than dust is cigarette smoke (combined with dust) but that is a story for another day!

Pop your equipment in today for your free clean out and keep your computer happy.


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