Friday, April 27, 2007


Ok, first, a bit of background to help paint the scenario.

I am now a computer technician by profession and I see all manor of abused/misused/neglected hardware (to say nothing of software) and most of it doesn't work in some manor or another.

Now after 3 months of repairing the endless flow of hardware through the door I have noticed something that I would like to share with the world... or at least the percentage of it that happens to be reading this.

I have started to notice a pattern emerging from machines that have failed due to the environment they were used in, such as extreme amounts of dust/heat/moisture/etc..., the cause of the most catastrophic (i.e.-expensive) problems needing repairs is computers that come from an environment where people smoke.

The smoke and tar particles sticks to the normal dust found in a home and then the dust sticks to EVERYTHING in the computer when it's sucked into the case by the numerous fans used to keep it cool. This causes major problems with overheating as case vents plug up, heat-sinks become clogged, and fans grind to a halt.

It also wreaks havoc with other components such as CD/DVD drives will simply stop working as they have their sensitive lenses coated with a layer of grime. Things also get fun as smoke manages to sneak past the filter in the vent of your hard drive, can we spell "Data is Gone City"?

Now for the REAL kicker, this sticky dust is partially conductive (as per me playing around with an ohmmeter) which would explain the numerous power supply failures that I have had to deal with where the whole system reeks of cigarette smoke and is clogged with this gunk.

Not to mention that the entire case turns brown....

What I'm trying to say is that for your own sanity, and your tech's, please avoid smoking around computers!

*End of Public Service Announcement*

1 comment:

urg said...

Hey Tom. I know what you mean when you say that dust can clog things up. About two weeks ago, my mom's computer just stopped running. I was fearful that it indicated a major hardware failure. Upon inspection, it was just a dirty CPU fan. Upon cleaning, everything worked fine. I've always known that dust was bad for computers, but I didn't know that smoke could make things worse. It makes sense though. Take care.