How can I keep my laptop well-maintained when I DJ in smokey clubs?
November 17, 2006 7:05 PM   Subscribe

How can I keep my laptop well-maintained when I DJ in smokey clubs? I DJ and play live music w/ my laptop in clubs, and usually there's a lot of smoke. What kind of preventetive measures and regular maintenance can I do to keep the smoke from really jankin' my lappy up?
posted by itchi23 to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Keep your warranty paid up. Not a whole lot else you can do honestly. A USB laptop cooler that sits under the laptop might help keep it cooler, and require the internal fans to suck in less crap.

What kind of license do you need to DJ with music off your laptop?
posted by SirStan at 7:10 PM on November 17, 2006

Well, I wouldn't quite say that...

You're basically looking to keep ash/dust/whatever from getting inside your laptop. This means you need to address the parts of the laptop that allow matter to enter I would take a three step approach:

1) Take a look at your fans. Can you lay a filter either behind or in front of the inlets? You probably don't need anything as snazzy as a HEPA filter, and you should consider the increased load a filter will put on your laptop fans, possibly shortening their lifespan. You can compensate for this by adjusting the fan speed, or just keep in mind that you may have to replace the fans sooner rather than later.

2) Look into keyboard covers. I know i've seen third party companies who market these kinds of covers.

3) If your savvy, you can take the case apart and spray it out with canned air. This works pretty well, and it's what the stuff is sold for (rather than inhallation...)

Or else you can go whole hog and get one of those all-conditions, bounce it off an alligator's back and into a tank full of pirahanas dealies that the troops are so fond of.

Too much dust and particulate matter does increase your chances of shorting the motherboard, and can killl moving parts (fans). Personally, I think doing #3, along with maybe 1 or 2 should extend the life of your laptop considerably.
posted by WetherMan at 7:31 PM on November 17, 2006

The heck with your laptop. What about your lungs? You can buy another laptop, you know.
posted by LeisureGuy at 8:18 PM on November 17, 2006

"What kind of license do you need to DJ with music off your laptop?"

You should be covered by the venue's license, no?
posted by jaysus chris at 8:35 PM on November 17, 2006

jaysus: you'd be surprised. Cover bands are often required to pay BMI/ASCAP fees. A cover band I played in when I lived in Seattle had to cough up agent fees on a weekly basis.
Fucking music gestapo.

itchi: will propping a sheet up over your stuff help out a little bit? It might reduce the amount of cruft floating down onto the laptop.
posted by drstein at 10:16 PM on November 17, 2006

attach an external keyboard then u can cover the laptop case.
keyboards are easy to keep clean and replace
posted by edtut at 1:56 AM on November 18, 2006

I've been performing with a laptop in clubs for about 7 years now and never really had a problem with this. I have a few things I'm very good about, though, like I always clean off the spot where I set my laptop before I set it down (to make sure there's no ash, dust, whatever to get sucked into the fan), I always make sure the laptop is a little away from the crowd so that it won't get messed with by people walking by or whatever and I always make sure that nobody gets a drink anywhere near it.

Honestly, though, this is the best thing you can do: Safeware Laptop Insurance. I can't tell you how much better I feel knowing that I have this. Especially when I'm touring outside of the country and have to leave my laptop in clubs or hotel rooms (or, more accurately, I allow myself to do this instead of constantly hauling it around out of fear), this allows me to actually relax somewhat about it.

Also, I have an MP3 player that I use as a backup HD. I keep a copy of my WAVs, Ableton Live files, an Ableton install and the driver for my soundcard on there. I've only had it happen once, but it was awesome being able to install my soundcard and Ableton and play my whole set off somebody else's laptop when mine wouldn't work for some reason.
posted by atomly at 7:54 AM on November 18, 2006 [2 favorites]

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