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.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

4 comments
Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

How many pieces of equipment have you lost to heat related issues? How often do you check equipment fans etc. to see if they are operating properly?

mjd420nova
mjd420nova

One user was out of desk space so he placed his printer on top of the monitor. Both cases melted. The monitor smoked but the printer would still work if you placed it on two by fours to replicate the monitor position after melting.

robo_dev
robo_dev

Just last week, funny burning smell was sign that power supply fan had failed on one PC in server room. Most of the small switch-mode power supplies run so hot that I'm surprised they don't melt more often. Most of these so-called 'fans' have bearings that last two years under ideal conditions.

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