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?
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.
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.
I tried this exact thing with a Craftsman pancake air compressor and would not recommend it. The dust went every where, which is fine as I was in my garage, but one of the lightweight header connections was loosened. You won't mess up a SATA or molex or big connector, but the little guys might wiggle loose if you are using too much pressure. I've moved back to using canned air (this stuff) which is totally fine. This stuff is 30 psi max, where your air compressor will go much higher.
Can you lower the pressure on your air compressor? Yes, but the volume of air blown out is still very high since the nozzle size is much larger, so I would not recommend this even at lower pressures.