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Method for autonomically managing dust levels in a PC . Disclosure Number: IPCOM000022449D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Mar-15
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Mar-15

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One well known problem that can cause premature failure of various components within a PC is the build up of dust/small debris over time. Since high volumes of unfiltered air are constantly being moved through the chassis of a PC, it is inevitable that eventually small foreign particles and dust will build up at various places within the chassis. The most likely area of buildup is around fans and heatsinks, but it can also occur near ventilation holes in the sheet metal of the chassis. There really are no solutions for this problem other than opening up the PC, and using compressed canned air to physically blow the dust around and hopefully out of the chassis. Another soltion could be vacuum cleaners, however this presents major issues with static electricity buildup and static discharge. All of these solutions would require the user to open their system and physically try to remove the dust. Our solution to this problem starts out with a dust monitoring system. The idea is to place a number of sensors inside the PC near areas where dust commonly builds up. Some obvious locations for these sensors would be at/near the CPU heatsink, system fans, power supply fan/vents, and chassis vents. All the sensors would be tied to GPIO's and act as active hardware monitors. When a sensor starts returning a high level of dust or contamination, it reports that via the GPIO back to system monitoring hardware. When several or all of the sensors return high dust level readings, the PC will notify the user that their system is excessively dusty/dirty and that actions should be taken. Beyond this, given the correct type of fans within the system, the system monitoring hardware could instruct these fans to temporarily reverse their direction of spin, effectively reversing airflow with the hopes that the reversed airflow will disperse or dislodge some of the dust.