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DarkPlatinum
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How do I keep my Pi clean?

Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:21 am

Hi, I opened up my Raspberry Pi case today as it has been running for a year without being cleaned. It has a blower fan on board so there is quite a bit of dust on the Pi. How do I decrease the amount of dust going into the Pi? Is there some sort of air filter I can put on top of the fan? I do have some old clothes at home, would this work as an air filter?
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pcmanbob
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Re: How do I keep my Pi clean?

Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:43 am

If you search ebay , online sales sites or pc parts sites you will find dust filters to fit fans for use in desktop PC's , one of those should help filter dust, but you will need to clean it regularly.

There are metal screen types and foam filer pad types
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DarkPlatinum
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Re: How do I keep my Pi clean?

Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:22 am

pcmanbob wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:43 am
If you search ebay , online sales sites or pc parts sites you will find dust filters to fit fans for use in desktop PC's , one of those should help filter dust, but you will need to clean it regularly.

There are metal screen types and foam filer pad types
What do you recommend? Something that could be cleaned every 5-7months? I can check at my local computer store and see if they sell some.
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pcmanbob
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Re: How do I keep my Pi clean?

Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:58 am

I have both types on my PC's the metal ones tend to be used under the PC's for psu air intakes and can be brushed off for easy cleaning , were as the foam ones tend to be use on case fans , they require more in the way of cleaning , I normally use my garage air line to blow them out.

So you pays your money and takes your choice.
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DarkPlatinum
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Re: How do I keep my Pi clean?

Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:06 pm

pcmanbob wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:58 am
I have both types on my PC's the metal ones tend to be used under the PC's for psu air intakes and can be brushed off for easy cleaning , were as the foam ones tend to be use on case fans , they require more in the way of cleaning , I normally use my garage air line to blow them out.

So you pays your money and takes your choice.

How thick is the foam compared to the metal? If the filter is too thick the 5V fan is not going to do anything at all.
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LTolledo
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Re: How do I keep my Pi clean?

Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:27 pm

My RPi3B (and RPi3B+) case before were laminated acrylic case with fan.
And as mentioned by other forum members, the fan does blow in dust to the heatsink and the board itself.

I clean it once every 6 months, specially before the summer months sets in.
To clean it I had to open it up (of course), then use paint brush and camera lens blower to remove dust from the board and the fan, and the case layers.
then check the board (under 3x lens) to see if most of the dust were removed, then re-assemble the unit again.

Now am using the Armor case (still with fan)..... and as its already a huge heatsink covering the whole board, I do expect the board require fewer cleaning than before.....

There are "canned" air dusters.... may be available at your local hardware store or fave online shops.
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Re: How do I keep my Pi clean?

Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:29 pm

Generally the foam ones start at 3mm thick were as the metal ones are less than 1mm, foam will keep out more dust but restrict air flow more , metal ones keep less dust out but allow more air flow.

All I can say is go look at some for yourself at the different types available and make up your own mind , if you buy them on line they are cheap so you could try both.
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dl324
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Re: How do I keep my Pi clean?

Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:26 pm

DarkPlatinum wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:21 am
How do I decrease the amount of dust going into the Pi? Is there some sort of air filter I can put on top of the fan?
Why bother with a filter? You probably have a lot of things gathering dust. Just dust them off if it builds up enough to bother you.

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Re: How do I keep my Pi clean?

Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:32 pm

dont use a fan ?
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Re: How do I keep my Pi clean?

Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:35 pm

Many people use compressed air cans to blow off the dust and if need be a vacuum cleaner. There are small brush attachments that might help. Dust does not appear to harm ICs. Not since mechanical relays have been removed form electronic digital computes has regular vacuuming of the hardware been necessary to get the bugs out of the system, or at least the dead bugs. Look for the story about Grace Hooper, Adm USN (Ret).
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Re: How do I keep my Pi clean?

Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:36 pm

Use a heatsink case instead of a case + heatsink + fan.

Most of my Pi 3B(+) computers are in generation 2 aluminum alloy Flirc cases, which act as a huge heatsink to keep the computer cool without the noise, additional power requirements or dust problems associated with fans. It even looks cool!

Image

The second generation is made for the Pi 3B or 3B+ models and includes different thickness thermal pads for both. Note that recent production of the 3B has the taller SoC from the 3B+ (so use the thermal pad appropriate for the SoC). There is also an older model Flirc case for the Pi 1B+ and 2B models (they fit in the 2nd gen case, but you won't be able to see the power or activity LED).
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Re: How do I keep my Pi clean?

Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:59 pm

My case came with a fan and heat sinks. I find it odd if the fan is off when the Pi is in use. It's an scruple case for my 3B+.

Would a sucker fan produce less dust than a blower fan?
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pcmanbob
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Re: How do I keep my Pi clean?

Sun Jun 09, 2019 4:08 pm

Does not matter which way the fan blows you are still moving air and hence dust.
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Re: How do I keep my Pi clean?

Sun Jun 09, 2019 4:31 pm

The best brush is an old style wet shave brush. The bristles are firmer than a paint brush and you get a lot more coverage in one swoop.

Never been a fan of air cans due to the cooling effect (both on the boards and my hands) though I need to use them on my sons machine when its really bad :lol:

More and more of the filters have gone to PVC mesh so they can be washed - I've seen fish tank foam filters used but they have a tendency to stop air flow...

If you do not want to clean the case out then look for something like this eBay Uk listing.

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Re: How do I keep my Pi clean?

Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:16 pm

"compressed air" cans don't actually contain air at all, they contain an inert gas that is harmless in small quantities. Don't breathe it in if you can help it though.


My personal solution to this issue is to cover the fan with two layers of ladies stockings/pantyhose.
Stretch the material slightly, but not much at all.

Use super glue to hold it to a piece of cardboard or some other frame you can attach above the fan intake.
In my use, my fan sits on top of the case, so I 3D printed a friction fit cover for the fan and super glued the material to the outside. I can then remove it as necessary and dump it in a bucket of water to clean it.

Although, after almost a year, I'm yet to need to do it even once.
Either I'm lucky, or something else keeps my electronics mostly dust free, as others tend to have problems with dust that I do not.
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Re: How do I keep my Pi clean?

Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:02 am

DarkPlatinum wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:21 am
Hi, I opened up my Raspberry Pi case today as it has been running for a year without being cleaned. It has a blower fan on board so there is quite a bit of dust on the Pi. How do I decrease the amount of dust going into the Pi? Is there some sort of air filter I can put on top of the fan? I do have some old clothes at home, would this work as an air filter?
Just as you would not use old clothes in place of a furnace filter, old clothes do not seem useful in a computer.

I think a good vacuum is all you need to keep things free of dust. I once worked in an office where every year some support people with a vacuum would appear and clean everyone's computer. I always found it surprising that things worked afterwards. Since then, though with less regularity, I've taken to vacuuming my own computers at home.

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Re: How do I keep my Pi clean?

Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:31 pm

If you really need the fan to keep the RPi cool, you should keep in mind that any filter you put in the way of airflow will reduce the efficiency of the fan. More filter = more airflow loss. Keep checking "vcgencmd measure_temp" to be sure. Unless you overheat or throttle due to heat in normal use, you might not need the fan at all, or you might resort to the "flirc case" solution. Fans are noisy and consume power. RPi's are specified to tolerate elevated temps so don't be over-scrupulous. Just because it is hot to your touch means little.

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