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PSU Cleaning out PSU

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Behemoth, 2 Oct 2015.

  1. Behemoth

    Behemoth Timelord in training

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    I was working in my PC the other day and I noticed that inside my PSU itself it is absolutely caked in dust. I've got half a mind to clean it out but am quite mindful about doing so as I know that even if it's off and you think things are discharged some components can still harbor a nasty shock if you aren't too careful.

    Is there any suggested amount of time I should wait etc before I start taking apart to make certain that components are properly discharged etc ?

    It does work perfectly fine but I am worried that it may over heat and go bang like one did to many years ago. It's an OCZ Stealth Stream 2 - had it for 5 years so if I do kill it I won't be too upset but I'd rather not kill it (or myself !)
     
  2. johnim40

    johnim40 Minimodder

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    Use a long tipped paint brush and the vac
     
  3. Digerati

    Digerati Minimodder

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    I do not recommend opening up a PSU (for the reasons you state) unless you are a qualified technician.

    If you can pull the PSU great, if not take the whole computer outside. Use a wooden Popsicle/glue stick to hold the fan still, then blast the PSU with compressed air. Cans of dusting gas will work, just be sure you hold the can level so liquid gas is not now spewed out. Better yet is to use an air compressor with a inline moisture and particulate filter.
     
  4. Big Elf

    Big Elf Oh no! Not another f----ing elf!

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    It's worth reading this. The author currently works for Coolermaster.
     
  5. Digerati

    Digerati Minimodder

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    I have seen that article before and I agree with it, except for one thing. It assumes the PSU is in perfect working condition. I won't. So when a PSU comes into the shop I have to open up, I always manually short the caps to ground (connect the two contacts on the caps) with my insulated screwdriver first to make sure they are fully discharged. That may seem overly cautious but I have on more than one occasion seen sparks fly in PSUs when doing that even when they have been unplugged from the wall for more than 1/2 hour.

    So, IMO, while the author recommends up to 20 minutes for PSUs larger than 1kW, I say don't assume there is no residual charge, regardless how long any PSU has been unplugged.

    And since you can thoroughly clean a PSU of dust with compressed air, there's no reason to open it up anyway, unless you are a qualified technician.
     
  6. Harlequin

    Harlequin Modder

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    I use a pool airpump to blow air out of my psu
     
  7. Digerati

    Digerati Minimodder

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    Ummm, is that the right image?
     
  8. Deders

    Deders Modder

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    Televisions have been known to shock people years after being unplugged.
     
  9. Digerati

    Digerati Minimodder

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    Yeah, but with TVs (those with CRTs - not LCD TVs), you are dealing with charges like 20,000 volts using caps that designed as "storage capacitors". But the point is still very valid. People have been killed for failing to discharge CRT TVs properly. Not good.
     
  10. JamesRC

    JamesRC Minimodder

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    That's mentioned in the article... much bigger capacitors in CRT displays ;)
     
  11. Deders

    Deders Modder

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    So PSU's store charge for less time and 20-30 mins should be fine?
     
  12. Digerati

    Digerati Minimodder

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    "Should" is a very relative term. As I noted above, I have seen sparks fly from PSUs after 30 minutes. When digging around inside devices that carry deadly voltages, as PC PSUs do :eeek:, you must not assume the PSU is in perfect working order, or that the voltages were properly bled off.

    Ideally, when you power off a PSU, the capacitors "should" discharge to safe levels in just seconds. But you cannot assume the PSU was designed properly, or does not have some hidden damage through faulty assembly or rough transit.

    So I ALWAYS short the caps if I have to open a PSU. But I am a formally trained and qualified electronics technician. Normal users should not be opening a PSU for any reason. It can be thoroughly cleaned without opening up the PSU.
     
    Deders likes this.

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