Cleaning the Rugged Handheld Computer

2 Apr 2020

Suggestions for sanitizing the rugged handheld computer are described in the following blog post.

Beyond sanitizing, regular cleaning of the rugged handheld computer can help extend the service life of the product. Whether you have a Mesa, Allegro, or any model, rinsing out then fully drying inside ports and keyboards can potentially help maintain functionality. Cleaning methods vary depending on model, such as the Allegro 3 and Allegro 2 are not intended to have the keyboard bezel be removed for cleaning by end users. This is different from the previous Allegro MX and older Allegro models that were described at the older section of this article below. Also see the user manual of each model for further information.

With the Allegro 3 and Allegro 2, you can use a soft detergent and toothbrush while running the keyboard (with bezel installed) under a faucet to scrub the keys and in the edges of the key holes of the bezel.

It is technically possible to use a T-5 Torx bit to remove the six screws for taking off the keyboard bezel, and then use a toothbrush and damp rag to clean it, but you have to be very careful to not unseat the keyboard elastomer from under any edge or corner of the case top as that would void the IP68 seal. Re-installing the screws requires no more than 2 lbs per sq inch of force to avoid damage. Also make sure no edge or corner of an elastomer key becomes partially stuck under the bezel.

Rinsing and fully drying out external port (I/O) modules and connector (docking) pins can also help prevent corrosion over time. Some models even provide field replaceable ports. For extensive details on methods to possibly help prevent corrosion or even how to clean off existing corrosion, please see the following web page.

Potential corrosion on external ports and pins

Original content from 25 May 2006:

Touchscreen (Display) and Case

To clean the touchscreen and case, follow these steps:

  1. Press the power button briefly to suspend the device. Or disable the touchscreen as instructed in the user guide.
  2. If you applied a protector to the touchscreen, carefully remove it by peeling it gently to the side. Peeling it to the side helps prevent stretching the touchscreen layer and reducing tap sensitivity.
  3. Apply water or a mild cleaning solution such as Windex to a microfiber cloth and gently wipe off the touchscreen. Isopropyl alcohol can be used briefly to wipe off the touchscreen, but minimize the time the unit is exposed to it.

    CAUTION: Do not use tissues, paper towels, or harsh cleaning agents to clean the touchscreen.

  4. If you need to clean off tar, pitch, and other compounds, it is recommended to use the Greased Lightning Multi-Purpose Cleaner product.

    Other safe cleaners include:

    * Orange Clean (Orange Glo International)* Fantastik Oxypower (SC Johnson)* Orange Cleaner Oil Eater (Kafko International, Ltd.)* Chain Pro (Midwest Polychem, Ltd.)

    CAUTION: Long term exposure to other solutions may damage your device. Only use the solutions mentioned above.

  5. If you used a cleaning solution, thoroughly rinse off the solution from the touchscreen and case with water and dry it with a microfiber cloth.
  6. Press the power button to resume the device or re-enable the touchscreen.

CAUTION: Exposing the touchscreen and/or plastic case parts for an extended period to the solutions list at the following web page may cause damage.

Chemical exposure can degrade case housing parts

Cleaning Charging and Communication (Serial, USB, etc.) Ports

Before cleaning the charging and communication (serial, USB, etc.) ports, remove the main battery for at least 10 minutes to discharge the device. Once the device is discharged, make sure that card slots, expansion modules, battery compartments, and/or other potentially sensitive areas are tightly sealed.

To clean the ports, remove the rubber stops from the ports and then run the ports under a faucet. Use a soft toothbrush or toothpick to clean out any remaining dirt, and run the ports under a faucet again to rinse out dirt. Dry the ports before re-inserting the rubber stops and battery.