PC Hardware

Preventive Maintenance

For the most part, the MTBF (mean time between failures) of a computer and its peripheral devices is quite long. By following the general cleaning and safety measures just described, you can extend this time. This section describes several components and their special maintenance requirements.

Monitors

Monitors require very little maintenance. To keep a monitor in peak condition:

  • Keep it clean-use periodic cleaning, dusting, and good common sense with a monitor.

  • Use simple cleaning solutions, not aerosol sprays, solvents, or commercial cleansers. DON'T use windows sprays on a monitor screen.

  • Do not leave monitors on unattended for extended periods of time. Use a screen saver or the computer's power-conservation features to prevent burn-in of the monitor screen.

  • Don't attempt to work inside the cabinet unless you are properly tranied to do so.

  • Don't tamper with the monitor. Monitors emit x-ray radiation. Changing the settings or operating the monitor with the cover removed can disable manufacturer's safety devices, thus increasing the hazard.

Hard Disk Drives

Hard disk drives are another type of device that requires very little intervention to keep running. Mechanical failure of hard drives is rare, and when it does occur the solution is generally replacement. The most common problem with hard drives is corrupted sectors. Often they can be repaired with tools such as ScanDisk (part of the Windows 95 and 98 system tools) or one of the many after-market utility software packages available. Here are a few suggestions for preventing problems with hard drives:

  • Avoid rough handling.

  • Never move a hard disk when it is still spinning.

  • Never expose the internal housing to open air.

  • Perform regular data backups.

  • Use software utilities to maintain the condition of the device (CHKDSK and ScanDisk; hard drive defragmentation programs and antivirus programs).

Floppy Disk Drives

Floppy disk drives are highly susceptible to failure. This is due mostly to the fact that they are exposed to the environment (through the disk slot) and are prone to mechanical damage from inserting and removing the disk. When they fail, the best solution is usually to replace them because they are inexpensive and simple to install. Here are a few tips to increase the life of floppy drives and disks:

  • Do not expose the disks to magnets.

  • Never touch the exposed surface of a floppy disk.

  • Do not allow smoking near a computer.

Clean the read/write heads. Special head-cleaning diskettes and solutions such as isopropyl alcohol and methanol that do not leave a residue when they dry are available. Cotton swabs are not recommended because of the fibers they shed. Use cellular foam swabs or a lint-free cloth.

Keyboards and Pointing Devices

Keeping a keyboard and mouse clean is key to prolonging their lives. Never place drinks (coffee, soda, tea, and so on) around a keyboard; spilling liquids is a common cause of keyboard failures. Here are a few tips to increase the life of a keyboard and mouse:

  • Use a hand-held vacuum cleaner to remove dust from the small crevasses.

  • Never use spray cleaners.

  • Clean a mouse or trackball by removing the ball and cleaning the x and y rollers.

  • When using a light pen, never touch the ends with your finger.

Printers

Printers are more mechanical than other peripherals and therefore require more attention. Because they use paper, ink, or carbon, printers generate pollutants that can build up and cause problems. Always check the manufacturer's recommendations for cleaning. Here are a few steps for cleaning the most popular types of printers:

Dot-Matrix Printers

  • Adjust the print-head spacing.

  • Check the tension on the print-head positioning belt. Use a non-fibrous swab dipped in alcohol to clean the print head.

  • Clean the printer's roller surfaces.

  • Clean the surface of the platen.

  • Clean the gear train of the paper-handling motor.

  • Apply light oil to the gears using a foam swab.

  • Turn the platen to distribute the oil.

  • Apply a light coating of oil to the rails.

  • Move the carriage assembly to distribute the oil.

Ink-Jet Printers

  • Adjust the print-head spacing.

  • Check the tension on the print-head-positioning belt.

  • Clean the printer and its mechanism.

  • Clean the printer's roller surfaces.

  • Clean the surface of the platen.

  • Clean the surface of the ink-jet print head.

  • Clean the gear train of the paper-handling motor.

  • Apply light oil to the gears using a foam swab.

  • Turn the platen to distribute the oil.

  • Apply a light coating of oil to the rails.

  • Move the carriage assembly to distribute the oil.

Laser Printers

  • Vacuum to remove dust buildup and excess toner from the interior. Remove the toner cartridge before vacuuming.

  • Clean the laser printer's rollers using a damp cloth or denatured alcohol.

  • Clean the gear train of the paper-handling motor using a foam swab.

  • Apply light oil to the gears using a foam swab.

  • Distribute the oil throughout the gear train.

  • Clean the writing mechanism thoroughly using compressed air. If possible, wipe the laser lens with lint-free wipes to remove fingerprints and stains.

  • Clean the corona wires using a swab dipped in alcohol. Be careful not to break any of the strands because if you do, your printer will be rendered useless until they are repaired!


by BrainBellupdated
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