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Can I safely use an air compressor to clean the internal components of a computer or might hardware be damaged if the air compressor is too powerful?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

A few comments from overclock.net:

I still use my 100 psi compressor fill it to like 50 or less and I blast away. After 2 years now nothing has been damaged. I've done it on a variety of motherboards, OEM and Enthusiast.

I haven't personally used it, but I see some people recommend it around here.

I just take my tower out to the garage and blow it out with a big compressor, I'm sure any one would do.

Some more details:

“Canned air” (pressure around 30 psi) may create static electricity, contain gases that are harmful to the environment and contain a chemical (to prevent abuse) that leaves a residue so “an inappropriate choice for cleaning anything users will come into contact with such as keyboards”.

Yet more details available here: Suck or blow? What's better for dust?

Re use of vacuum cleaners: Is it dangerous to vacuum-clean motherboards (and other electronics) where compressed air cans are also considered.

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Ok, I will get an air compressor with 100 psi power, and try it multiple times on my old computer. If everything goes right I will use it for everything. – itmilos Jun 12 '13 at 16:40
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The main risk as I see it is to cables - particularly ribbon ones. So I'd suggest remove these/fix them down (temporarily) if you can, try and blow across rather than on to them and definitely stand back if you see them oscillating or taught. – pnuts Jun 12 '13 at 16:44
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I been using electric duster with power of 70 psi for a week now. So far so good. I didn't make any damages... :) – itmilos Jul 2 '13 at 1:41
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An air compressor killed my DVD-ROM drive, otherwise I've never had an issue in many years of doing this. I just treat the optical drives with extra care now. – user5071535 Aug 14 '15 at 19:38

An air compressor is likely not safe. Although a small one might be OK, use caution.

Compressed air, in a can form is useful tool.

Be careful around moving parts, as to not strip or force them out of their casings (Fans).

Use short bursts at least 8 - 10 inches from the components so you do not produce condensation. This should really only be used for removing dust, not fine cleaning.

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