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2012-07-01

A+: Cleaning and Maintenance Tools *

Some of these items clean computers and peripherals to help prevent failures and keep systems in top condition. Other items can be used as spares for replacement testing or to replace missing components. 

• Compressed air— Cleans gunk out of cases, fans, and power supplies
• Keyboard key puller— Safely removes keys to allow effective keyboard cleaning
• Computer-rated mini-vacuum cleaner— Cleans gunk out of cases, fans, power supplies, and keyboards and dust off motherboards and add-on cards
• Wire cutter and stripper— Used to build network cable
• Extra case, card, and drive screws (salvage or new)— Used as spares to replace missing or defective screws
• Extra card slot covers (salvage or new)— Used to replace missing covers to maintain proper system cooling
• Extra hard disk and motherboard/card jumper blocks (salvage or new)— Used to replace missing or defective jumper blocks when needed to configure devices
• Antistatic cleaning wipes
• Replacement ATA/IDE (40-wire and 80-wire), floppy, USB, IEEE-1394, Serial ATA,  parallel, SCSI, CAT 5 network, and modem/serial cables— Customize list as needed for your organization
Recommended Equipment Cleaning Products
To clean equipment safely, don’t reach under the kitchen sink and grab the first cleaner you see. Instead, use materials designed especially for electronic and computer use, or general-purpose cleaners proven to work well on electronics and computer equipment. Some useful cleaning materials include
• Antistatic electronic wipes— Use antistatic electronic wipes for monitor cases and glass surfaces, keyboards, LCD screens, and all types of plastic and metal cases for computers and peripherals. This type of product combines effective cleaning and antistatic properties, which protect your computer investment. You can also use these wipes to clean up gunk after it’s been loosened by compressed air.
• Glass and surface cleaners— Glass and surface cleaners can be used on monitor glass and LCD screens and on other surfaces. However, they are not the preferred choice because they usually lack any antistatic properties. Endust for Electronics in pump or aerosol sprays is preferred for this use because it cleans and has antistatic properties.

Caution


With any spray cleaner, always spray the product onto the cleaning cloth, and never on the product to be cleaned. Spraying any kind of cleaner directly onto a keyboard or monitor can damage or destroy the device

• Isopropyl alcohol— Isopropyl alcohol can be used along with foam (not cotton!) cleaning swabs to clean tape drive heads, floppy disk drive heads, and some keyboards. Some cleaning swabs are pre-moistened for convenience. 
• Specialized device cleaning kits for mechanical mice, tape drives, floppy disk drives, inkjet and laser printers, and CD/DVD cleaning discs—Specialized device cleaning kits, as I have recommended in other chapters, are good ways to clean the devices they are built for. These device cleaning kits enabled me to avoid repairing or replacing at least one floppy disk drive and one inkjet printer 
• Compressed air— Compressed air is a powerful but “brainless” cleaner. Unlike the cleaners mentioned previously, compressed air cannot trap dirt and dust. Instead, dirt, dust, grit, and assorted fuzz are expelled violently out of their hiding places. If you use compressed air, put plenty of old newspapers under and around the device you are cleaning to catch the gunk compressed air expels from the device being cleaned. Use liquid cleaners or cleaning wipes to pick up residue left behind after using compressed air 
• Stabilant-22a— Stabilant-22a (sold by D. W. Electrochemicals) is often recommended for use when assembling or reassembling a system for use in memory module sockets and expansion slots. It cleans the socketsand provides a more effective electrical connection.

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