After Hours

If you can't stand the heat stay out of the electronics

Heat is a dangerous thing when it comes to electronic components. Without proper ventilation to dissipate the heat generated we get equipment behavior that ranges from intermittent errors, to plain failure, to outright fire.

Microsoft is still trying to quell a rash of lawsuits regarding the combustible nature of the XBOX 360's power supply (See the video). But the problem of overheating is not confined to video game consoles. Any piece of electronic equipment can overheat if the systems that help it dissipate heat fail.

Small business consultant Erik Eckel recently replaced a client's defective router/switch that failed because the fans inside the housing were overwhelmed by dirt, dust, and gook. This is a good lesson for us all — keeping your electronic equipment operating properly, especially when that equipment is vital to your business, should include a regular examination for clogged fans and other hindrances to the heat dissipating systems.

Erik Eckel used his access to the broken equipment as an opportunity to crack the unit open and has provided us with this TechRepublic Photo Gallery.


Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to,, and TechRepublic.

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