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* How to Clean PC Parts

 
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wardrich
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Location: Ontario Canada

PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2003 9:31 pm     Post subject: * How to Clean PC Parts Reply with quote

i have a cheap, quick AND easy solution to clean computer keyboards...

Second semester in co-op, i was stuck with a dirty old keyboard. To clean it, i simply took an old paper clip and stuck it in the cracks then slid it from the right side to the left, then brought up all the gunk. This is especially good when there is a large hair buildup in the keys...
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johpower
Way too much free time
Way too much free time


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Joined: 06 Jan 2003
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Location: Colorado North 40

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2003 6:01 pm     Post subject: How to Clean PC Parts Reply with quote

I'll start out this Forum with the proceedures to clean keyboards.

The amount of cleaning depends on the mess and problems you have. All these proceedures assume your KB is disconnected from the PC.

Simple cleaning for pen and finger marks or grease can be taken care of with 409 or Simple Green or Agent Orange sprayed on a cloth or paper towel and then rubbed on the board, followed by a clean water wipe (wetting towel first!) and a dry towel. Don't spray directly if you can help it.

As a PC recycler I know the more serious work requires some disassembly. If you wish/have to open the KB shell you need some tools. My tools to service nearly all of them include: a pair of Phillips screwdrivers, one small and one average. At least 2-3 flat blade screwdivers, one of which should have a small 1/8th" wide blade. The others any size except huge. A set of hex/Allen/torx bit wrenches are less used. A sharp pointed awl and a small but strong wire like a paper clip is handy. A good light and magnafier are nice along side the eraser already mentioned. Magnetic tips are to be used with caution. A small can is good for loose parts.

A sticky key is a sticky problem. Some keys pop out easily to clean contacts. Some pop out with some force applied to both sides at once. The nasty keys can only be broken out of their wells. It's a good idea to find the maker's web site to discover which. If you can get the keys off and can actually see the contact pads or wires, old fashioned pencil form typewritter erasers (w/the little brush at the end) are good for contacts in tight quarters. Spray contact cleaner should be used carefully and sparingly. Some formulas (CRC for instance) take off printing on keys. I personally use the motor cleaners availible for R/C devices. It's $6 a can but worth it. Q-tips may help but watch for cotten residue. Less common "Membrane" KB's require complete disassembly. (There are two types "membrane" KB's. One looks like any other KB and I will discuss them below. The other is a surface touch type that I've never repaired.) You can usually tell a membrane KB by the dead, rubbery, non-click feel.

Dust and dirt under the keys can often be blown out with compressed air or air cans.

So you're going inside. Well 99.99% require flipping them over. You will see screws, clips, tabs or a combination of them. Sometimes a tape or plastic cover obscures the item. The awl helps remove them. If your screws together, great. If clipped or tabbed, the flat blades come out. Release one and wedge a blade between the top and bottom shells. Go to the next, pop, wedge, repeat. It's like getting off a bike tire. Observe any loose part fit and how the cord exits the case. Some clips are completely hidden and are challanging to pop open.

You will now have a top shell, a bottom shell and an electronics board with the keys and some chips attached. 50% will have the board attached to the bottom shell, 20% to the top shell, 5% will be totally weird and the rest will fall out in your hands, so make sure you are grounded. At this point brush and blow off takes care of most cleaning. A minor liquid spill might just need a few wet Q-tips. If you find extensive liquid spills, I recommend getting the board off the shell entirely. I hope your spill is water soluable or only lightly oily, if not I'll talk about that in a future note. If there is a battery, disconnect it. If any wires can be easily removed do so. We have to dunk/rinse the board in a basin big enough for the whole thing. Bath tubs and showwers work fine. Wash warm water over all contaminated areas and the shells too. An old tooth brush trimmed down might be nice here. If dishwashing liquid is necessary for something difficult or oily, put a dab of the goo in your hand and sudds it up good before it goes on the board. When you are satisfied, rinse well, shake out a little and set to drain in a basin or on towels at an angle, keys down, in a dry warm vented place NOT OVER 120 f/50 c. I like a sunny enclosed porch. Allow to rest 3-5 days before reassembly and don't use a hair dryer! Shake or blow air to see if any water comes out. If so dry 3 more days. Reassemble. Make sure your wires are all reattached and exit the shells properly. I cleaned my Northgate with these proceedures.

"Membrane" boards are a pain. The keys are either loose in the upper shell or solidly attached to a grid under it, sitting on the contact baord. This board is in two layers, an upper flexible contact layer and a standard curcuit board under that. Small screws and/or clips hold it together. If the spilled liquids are only on the surface of the top layer, carefully wipe it off with water or thin soapy water and DO NOT get any liquid between the layers. If you need to go beween the layers remove the small screws/clips and separate them. Very carefully clean and wipe off the liquids on both sides of the top layer and AVOID scratching the contacts exposed as you may damage the printed electric traces. (I have not successfully repaired the traces of a membrane but have heard of a liquid repair that applies similar to nail polish.) The bottom layer, shells and keys can usually be cleaned as the standard board is (above). Dry as noted above and reassemble.

Note: if you disassembled and washed to clean sticky keys you can often test the board, once dry, without full assembly of the shells. Make sure the board sits on a non-conductive surface and tap away.

Note 2: I have successfully used a dishwasher for cleaning keyboards. Put the KB in the washer either front (space bar) edge down or the end away from the keypad down. You have less chance of leaving residue on criticaly parts this way. It does a good job on the surface but all the interior gunk gets washed to one end of the shells where it dries (unless you can wedge open the bottom edge). Water temp low to medium and use low amounts of liquid/gel type soap. Be SURE you turn OFF the hot dry cycle!!!!! Dry as noted above, with same precautions, if not longer. This method also works very well for scummy PC cards though. WARNING: it is a bad idea to use this method on "membrane" KB's!

[I will amend this How To as necessary. Feel free to copy and print to your personal PC howto book/file --Johpower]
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John The Ax
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2003 11:26 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Sure. I've been busy helping my uncle move, so I haven't really the time before.
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John The Ax
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2003 3:39 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Offically de-spammed.
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