For the most part, storing electronics is a very straightforward process. However, just like with your favorite recipe, an error on any one step of the recipe can result in bad food. Or in this case, a broken computer. There are many factors that would normally have some adverse effects on your device (corroded parts and dust buildup come to mind), but using these storage tips and tricks will help you preserve the condition of your electronics for a long time.
Control Temperature and Humidity
When you think about it, temperature affects the aging process of so many things (humans included.) It only makes sense that the same applies to electronics. That is why it is of the utmost importance that you store your computer somewhere which will not be greatly affected by conditions outside, especially if you live somewhere with frequent and dramatic changes in weather. Oftentimes, you will have to keep a room at a constant temperature in order to facilitate the conditions that your electronics need to rest in. This is where self-storage units come in handy. Self-storage units work well for many because they are generally inexpensive, while still providing room to accommodate plenty of items. Several self-storage providers offer units with climate-control, which enables you to set the temperature inside your unit at a constant rate.
For many places by the coast, humidity is a big problem; the last thing you want is for the electronics in your device to start rusting and corroding. While climate control is very effective in maintaining an optimal temperature, it doesn’t help much with humidity. For that, you’re going to need to purchase a dehumidifier, so that the room can stay dry.
Exposure to moisture and extreme temperature can have some absolutely catastrophic effects on a computer or mobile device, so in order to make sure your device is protected, it is recommended to take more action regarding the packing of the device. All electronics you will be storing should have every surface cleaned, and for computers, you will want to get inside and take any dust from out of the fan with compressed air and q tips.
You then want to put your computer or another device in a container that is hermetically sealed, and also surrounded by various sheets of cloth and different types of fabric. Using cloth has two benefits: it prevents dust from building up and damaging the computer and it stops outside moisture from getting inside and damaging the device. Plastic wrap, however, allows more moisture to get into contact with the device, and instead of absorbing it like the cloth, it permits moisture to stay trapped inside.
For extra security against unwanted air, you should purchase silica gel packets and place them inside the container and cloth. Silica gel packets are designed to absorb air, thus taking any moisture in the air that wasn’t caught by the cloth. After this, put the device in a box, and make sure to provide lots of padding (in the event that the box is knocked over, or hit with something very hard.)
One of the most important steps in this process and one that many aren’t aware of is that you need to remove the hard-drive and battery of the computer you are storing. Not only do you have to remove the large lithium-ion battery that powers the computer, there is also a smaller one found that is used to power the real-time clock in the system. A battery that isn’t removed from the computer is likely to leak battery acid, which can harm the other components in your system. Any CDs, DVDs, or flash drives you have plugged in need to be removed from the device. Remember to store the hard drive, battery, and smaller battery in their own separate containers, with the containers properly labeled, so you know what to look for if you ever need to find these parts again.
Ensuring your device is prepared for long-term storage is not only smart, it’s important. Like our old clothes, or a photo album, our old technology is a peek back to a more primitive era, so to speak. Especially with technology playing such a big role in our day to day lives, there is no doubt that our current tech will be seen as culturally significant relics from a simpler time.