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Vacuuming and ESD

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by clanderson, Aug 20, 2014.

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  1. clanderson

    clanderson

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    Aug 20, 2014
    Hey guys! I'm looking at purchasing a DataVac computer vacuum. I have, however, been worried about the possible ESD disasters that could arise. DataVac sells an ESD "proof" version, but it is more than twice the cost. It comes with an ESD bracelet and a grounded electrical cord.

    Could somebody please tell me, would purchasing a regular DataVac and using an ESD bracelet be sufficient to reduce my risks of an ESD disaster when cleaning circuit components?
     
  2. Arouse1973

    Arouse1973 Adam

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    Dec 18, 2013
    The strap is for you, and you should be using one anyway really. The vac probably has semi conductive hose and nozzle which is why it is more expensive.
    Adam
     
  3. clanderson

    clanderson

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    Aug 20, 2014
    Thanks for the reply!

    I do use an ESD bracelet normally, but I'm wondering if that would also negate any discharge between the vacuum nosel and circuitry since I'll be touching the nosel the entire time
     
  4. Gryd3

    Gryd3

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    Jun 25, 2014
    Ever rub your head on a fuzzy blanket to make static? You can touch one portion of the blanket and make miniature lightning, then touch another portion for more!
    Just because you are touching the hose or nozzle does not mean that your hand's conductance, and the anti-static wrist-band can dissipate it fast enough.
     
  5. clanderson

    clanderson

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    Aug 20, 2014
    Ahhh I see. Well shoot... I really don't want to spend a ridiculous $200 on a vacuum that probably cost them $10 to make "ESD resistant".

    I spose I could avoid touching anything conductive and discharge the nosel on the chassis now and then. Wonder if there's a better solution..
     
  6. Gryd3

    Gryd3

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    Jun 25, 2014
    Depending on what your cleaning. I use a Vacuum on the casing and external side, and blow the hell out of the inside of my PC with compressed air.
     
  7. clanderson

    clanderson

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    Aug 20, 2014
    Well, I'm working on some older equipment and PCs including one belonging to a heavy smoker... The insides are much too disgusting to merely blow out - I'm afraid I'd just spread it around more than anything. Although I could take them outside and waste ten cans on them hahaha.
     
  8. Gryd3

    Gryd3

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    Jun 25, 2014
    I've had to remove the fan from the processor heatsink to clean underneath... and the compressed air goes a long way ;)
    It helps to have an air compressor though. That said, you can always use the vacuum in other regions like the dvd/harddrive bays. Just keep it off the mainboard, ram, and PCI cards. Youll notice a lot of gunk will settle on the bottom of the case inside.
     
  9. clanderson

    clanderson

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    Aug 20, 2014
    Thanks for all your advice Gryd3! Really helps a lot. Have a lot more confidence in how to handle it now!

    Any other vacuum related suggestions welcome!
     
  10. Arouse1973

    Arouse1973 Adam

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    Dec 18, 2013
    The static is produced by the motor spinning around and also the air and pollution molecules whizzing inside the hover and it's tubes can cause static. If the nozzle is plastic or painted metal then no not really. Plastic is not a very good conductor generally so any static build up on the end of the nozzle will take a while to dissipate the excess charge fully, unless it comes into contact with a conductive surface that covers most of the surface.

    Example why not:
    I was doing some testing on one of our products which was an cash ATM cassette. The outside was plastic and I was charging the outside with +/- 16 KV. I had been testing it for say 10 mins. Then went to the toilet, and then got a cup of coffee. Drank the coffee and was just pondering what tests to do next when I moved the cassette I had been testing, WHAM got me big time, shock of thousands of volts just from the small part I had been touching. It felt like I had dislocated my shoulder.

    See metal is not always the best choice for static preventative material because it can also discharge static very quickly with massive currents that can damage components. The materials used are normally carbon loaded with different amounts depending on their purpose. The best idea is to prevent the static from building up in the first place. If you can't do this then slowly dissipating it is the next step. Violent discharges of static is not good for sensitive electronic equipment.

    So just because you have a wrist band on only means your body is at the same approx. potential (1M resistance) as what the other end is connected to which is normally the safety earth pin on the mains input if not using a matt. But the hoover could be generating large amounts of static and you think everything is fine.

    Cheers
    Adam
     
  11. Arouse1973

    Arouse1973 Adam

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    Dec 18, 2013
    Yes Anti Static spray. Buy the proper stuff but an old trick is clothes washing conditioner which is anti static to help prevent clothing from producing static.
    Adam
     
  12. Arouse1973

    Arouse1973 Adam

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    Dec 18, 2013
    It's better to have the hoover running also to catch as much of the dust as possible. Do not use a standard compressor without a very good moisture trap, your asking for trouble otherwise.
    Adam
     
  13. clanderson

    clanderson

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    Aug 20, 2014
    Thanks for all of your insight Adam! Really appreciate advice from more experienced folks.

    I actually contacted MetroVac (makers of the aforementioned DataVac) and asked about implementing their "ESD safe" vacuum attachments.

    Their reply was the following:

    Hello Clay,

    The MCT-4AS will definitely fit this unit. The parts make it ESD Safe.

    Thank you.

    Ann

    Metropolitan Vacuum Cleaner Company, Inc.
    5 Raritan Road
    Oakland, New Jersey 07436
    Phone: 201-405-2225; 800-822-1602
    Fax: 201-405-2660

    Thoughts?
     
  14. Arouse1973

    Arouse1973 Adam

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    Dec 18, 2013
    Looks like carbon loaded attachments and the brush on the end should also be carbon impregnated. Looks good to me. Don't forget your wrist strap. Remember an ESD event does not always fail components right away. They can fail over time, many months can pass and then it fails. You say oh well something must have gone faulty with it and the throw it away. :)
    Cheers
    Adam
     
  15. clanderson

    clanderson

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    Aug 20, 2014
    Nice! Thank you very much. Some outside approval definitely increases my confidence! I'm gonna swoop up some of those attachments asap!

    Thank you to everybody who replied, you guys have been so courteous and informative!
     
  16. Arouse1973

    Arouse1973 Adam

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    Dec 18, 2013
    No Probs :)
     
  17. Gryd3

    Gryd3

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    Jun 25, 2014
    Thanks for the extra intel Adam.
    It's nice learning more as more people pitch in ;)
     
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