Can you use an air compressor to blow off computer equipment?
In other words, do you have to buy the expensive canisters of “computer cleaning” air to blow off circuit boards, mother board, fans etc?
Is compressed air dry and clean enough and can it damage the sensitive computer components?
The answer has to be either YES or NO. It depends on the following.
Without doing a couple of things, I sure would not use an air compressor to blow off my computer equipment, at least, not in the condition the compressed air is that comes right out of most compressor tanks.
The process of compressing air ingests a lot of free air into the compressor pump, and then as compressed air into the compressor tank. Along with that air comes small dust particles and lots of water vapor.
In the compressor tank, this can mix into a liquid mass of crud that potentially can escape the tank and flow down your air line to the blow gun you are about to use to clean your compressor components. Potentially not very good at all.
Further, oil lubricated air compressor all wick some oil into the tank, and then into the air stream.
Use An Air Compressor To Blow Off Computer Equipment
Yet, the cost of canned air for blowing off compressor equipment can be $5.00 a can an up. It won’t take long to use up a chunk of cash that, if used instead to acquire a couple of items for the air compressor, will allow you to blow off your compressor equipment with impunity.
Before we get into that, let’s talk a bit about the compressor regulator that is part of almost every air compressor. That regulator is used to turn the pressure down. Do it. If you are blowing off your computer equipment, adjust the regulator pressure down to 10 PSI. If, when you have prepared your compressor for use as a long-term computer blow off tool, you find that the 10 PSI is too little pressure, turn it up by 5 PSI increments until the dust is blowing away satisfactorily.
Do Not Use Full Pressure Compressed Air
Most air compressors, when they reach their normal cut out setting, will have 100 PSI and more compressed air in the tank. Some compressors can deliver 175 PSI air and some even more than that.
If you use your blow gun will full tank pressure on your computer, you will almost certainly damage sensitive parts, maybe even blowing some components off the circuit boards inside, or over speed the fan blades to the point it might damage the fan motor.
As noted above, adjust the regulator setting to start using the air at 10 PSI and work up from there.
What About the Water and Oil?
What I suggest you do is have a combination compressed air filter and coalescent filter on a quick couple fixture so that, when you are using the compressed air for blowing off sensitive equipment, you can be sure to remove any water and oil right where you use the air. Something like this.
If you install a coupling on one side of the combination filter and coalescing filter unit, and a connector on the other, then run a small air line to your blow gun, you can remove free water, some water vapor, and oil from the air stream.
The general purpose filter removes any air borne debris and free water from the air stream. The coalescent filter removes oil.
Make sure the air from the compressor enters the general purpose filter before it reaches the coalescent filter, or you may have to change elements in the coalescent filter much too often.
With this setup I would have no problem blowing off my computer equipment over and over again as needed, and not have to keep buying those darned expensive cans of air.
Yes, you’ll need to spend $50 – $75 one time to set it up, but then, until you consume the coalescent element, you will not need to spend any more money for clean, dry air.
The purpose of the coupler and quick connect is so that you can easily remove the filtering unit from the air line when you are using air for other than blowing off computer equipment.
Mind you, a general purpose air filter – without coalescent unit – is recommended for your compressed air line anyway.