CaseBuy USB Vacuum Cleaner
Written by Michael Larabel in Peripherals on 10 January 2005. Page 2 of 2. Add A Comment

Performance:

There are two main items we were interested in trying out with the USB vacuum; the LED light and vacuum power. We decided to first try the LED light. After connecting the vacuum to an available USB port and switching it over to the pure light mode, we were rather impressed with the brightness. When the vacuum was positioned roughly a meter from a golf ball, we were able to clearly see the object in the middle of darkness.

Next up on the agenda was the vacuum power. We switched the vacuum over to LED light and suction mode. Next, we began testing how well the vacuum could pick up different debris. Unfortunately, we weren't very satisfied with the suction, even when high power mode was enabled. Our first official test with the vacuum was to see how well it could remove some accumulated debris between the keys on a keyboard without removing each individual key. After spending several minutes using a combination of the two head attachments and high power mode, we were able to obliterate some of the debris. However, the vacuum didn't have enough suction to dislodge the fragments that were partially under the keys.

For some testing with a little bit more dust, we decided to clean a heatsink and fan using the CaseBuy USB Vacuum Cleaner. We were able to achieve mild success using the cleaner however, the dirt would often get stuck to the bristles and not sucked into the dust collection housing. It took several swipes at the heatsink fins in order to remove a portion of the dust settled in between the fins. Using compressed air, we were able to clean all of the fins completely in a matter of seconds.


After this cleaning, we looked at the dust filter and collection housing to see how much dust had been collected. A medial amount had been collected. Compressed air was used to remove the dust that was latched onto the filter.

For optimal performance during this cleaning, we held onto the vacuum cleaner with our thumb and fore finger at the top of the device where there are two small impressions in the plastic, which we imagine is to grip onto the unit. Alternatively, you can hang onto the unit at its base as you would a pencil. Using the vacuum either way will make sure the air vents won't be blocked during operation.

In an attempt to get a better understanding for this small vacuum cleaner, after the testing was done, we disassembled the entire unit. Some of the solder joints on the unit were fairly sloppy but what was more shocking was the use of masking tape to keep all of the parts together. From examining the circuitry, a 220µF capacitor provides the power boost when the "high power" button is pushed, thus we can see why the high power button shouldn't be tampered with when the unit is turning on, as the voltage jump would exceed USB limits.

Conclusion:

As with many of the other USB powered gadgets, it's a shame that the vacuum suction is rather weak. When testing the CaseBuy vacuum, we had to take several swipes at the dirt using the vacuum before it would be drawn up into the unit. The LED light on the other hand, was very bright and pleasing. If the decision had to be made between compressed air and an USB powered vacuum cleaner, we would choose the compressed air since the vacuum cleaner isn't able to provide the necessary power needed to clean many of the computer parts. However, the CaseBuy unit is suitable for cleaning small things that don't have deep crevices or a large surface area. Also, this device is very portable so it can be easily lugged around with your laptop while on the road.

Pros:

LED Light
Small
Innovative
Dust Housing
2 Cleaning attachments
High power mode

Cons:

Poor suction
Weakly constructed
Time consuming - compared to compressed air

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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