Manuel Mejia Jr - 2001.01.31
From the time the first Macintosh 128 was taken out of its box by its owner in 1984 up to the today's Cube, the same enemy has come to harm the Mac. It is small, persistent, and builds up its forces to titanic sizes. Macintosh users, one and all, low-end and state-of-the-art, beware this enemy - dust.
Dust is likely the leading cause of mechanical breakdown for all Macs. Small amounts of the contaminant get sucked in by the cooling fan. Macs without fans (such as the Mac Plus and the iMac) have the contaminant flow in through the vents and set up a bridgehead. Over time, dust will build up on parts like the fan, the logic board, and the disk drive. In large enough quantities, the dust can stop a fan blade from spinning, short out key components on the logic board, damage disk drive heads, and cause overheating.
To keep this menace from damaging your Mac, Mac users should open up their Macs and blow the dust out using compressed gas from either a blower or an aerosol can. One can also use special vacuum cleaners to suck the critters out. I remember working on a Mac II and finding a small cockroach trying to take up residence near the RAM chips. It found resistance was futile.
In areas of high humidity, it is possible for mold to form. Such was the case for a Mac that resided in a clay shop. Such places are damp due to the clay that is stored and used. The man who used the Mac for spreadsheet work also had to have the machine purged of clay dust on a regular basis.
For those people with newer Macs that may be under a warranty service plan, be sure that the authorized service technician gives the Mac's insides a cleaning. Regular dust-busting will add years to a good Mac.
Mac users, heed this warning.
Manuel Mejia Jr is familiar with Mac IIs, LCs, and older PowerBooks. He uses his Mac LC, PowerBook 145B, and PB 100 with System 7.1 on a regular basis and recently added a Mac Plus running System 6 to his collection. He's quite familiar with both System 6 and System 7. He also owns the Pina books on repairing compact Macs from 128k through the SE. You can read more about Manuel's computers in Manuel Mejia Jr's Four Old Macs.
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