X-Ray machine and laptops?

jtrain609

I'm a carnal, organic anagram.
Heya everyone,


Does anyone know what the affects of x-ray machines are on laptops? A girl came into the helpdesk today and said that the TSA had sent her laptop through their X-Ray machine (she carried on her laptop) and now it won't work. Sure enough, she had some physical damage to her screen (though I suspect that was from dropping it) and her hard drive was jacked up. Someone know what the exact effects of x-ray's are on hard drives? I was under the impression that you shouldn't send those things through x-ray machines, though I don't fly commercially enough to know if they normally do it. I wouldn't let them send my box through one of those things, no way.

Cheers


John Herreshoff
 
G

Guest

Guest
I have no clue as to the affects, but I do know that every time I have flown commercially with my laptop our good friends at the TSA have made me put it through the box. I havn't ever noticed any problems with my hard drive though.
 

FalconCapt

New Member
My laptop has been through the X-Ray machine many, many times... No ill effects whatsoever...

If her machine is like you say, she dropped it... There is really nothing in a laptop that could be damaged by the low powered radiation from the x-ray machine.
 

jtrain609

I'm a carnal, organic anagram.
I was thinking less about the radiation and more about any magnets that might be used in the x-ray machine. Magnets=death of a hard drive.
 

rhs

New Member
My laptop goes through twice a week, every week. No ill effects. For what little protection it's worth, I always send it through in a plastic bin so hopefully it doesn't get banged around too bad.

It would be pretty easy to drop a laptop while juggling your bags, taking the laptop out of its case, taking off your shoes, etc., so maybe she dropped it and didn't tell you...
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
There shouldn't be any magnets in those flouroscope machines they use. Technically they aren't really x-rays, it's some other band.

I've been shoving laptops through those things since 1995 and never noticed any ill effects before.
 

SteveC

Really?
Staff member
I think he's talking about the checked luggage x-ray machine, not the carry-on screening.

I don't know what the difference is, though. If any.
 

FalconCapt

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
I was thinking less about the radiation and more about any magnets that might be used in the x-ray machine. Magnets=death of a hard drive.

[/ QUOTE ]

I meant "Radiation" more in the "RF" sense of the word and not the "Uranium" sense of the word.
 

Mike Lewis

Shadow Administrator
Staff member
If you carry a computer or magnetic media through the metal detector, there's a very likely chance that it could be erased; the metal detector, and not the x-ray machine, are where the powerful magnets are.

Shouldn't be an issue with the x-ray machine. That said, here is my experience traveling with a laptop thru MSP last October:

Per TSA regulations, I had to remove my laptop from my carry-on. So, I placed my computer in the plastic bin and then shoved my bag containing the rest of my peripherals in another bin and stepped through the metal detector.

I made sure that I had removed all my metal, but I was still nervous about the metal detector, as it seems as though it might go off over the metal fillings in my teeth...

But, luck was on my side, as nothing beeped. Elated, I quickly went to go grab my computer from the plastic bin.

CRRRRRRRRRACCCCCCK!

A huge spark arced from my finger right into the front of my laptop. I sent maybe 50,000 volts across a device that uses - at max - 5 volts...

"Got a little bit of a shock there?" the TSA woman says.

"Yeah," I replied. I guess the fact that I left the computer in the bin and yanked my hand back quickly might have been the clue. That or the incredibly loud crack that came with the mini-thunderstrike.

"Oh, that happens all the time," the woman says. "You'll be okay."

I'll be okay? I'LL BE OKAY? I'm not worried about me, I'm worried about my laptop!

And if it happens all the time, why no grounding pad? Why no warning sign? Why not just say, "Careful, you probably have a huge build-up of static, so you might want to touch the conveyer before grabbing your laptop?"

Maybe something similar happened. Although that doesn't explain the cracked case/screen/impact damage. And the hard drive should've remained relatively intact, with only the motor inop.
 

danielsexton

Well-Known Member
like everyone else said my laptop has been through the x-ray both checked and carry on many many many times with no ill effects. When you carry it on they usally make you take it out of the case and place it in a plastic bin by-its-self or on top of the the case. Recently, I have even had the "30 second" residue test done by TSA in TUL.

As for the static electricity, not to discount your story, but I get a “shock” all the time when I reach for they keyboard. Maybe your experience was more intense than mine, but so far my laptop is still working fine. I think the most likely explanation was stated above, between juggling her shoes, coats, purse, and everything else the laptop got up close and personal with the floor.
 

Redbirdfan

New Member
How many flights have you been on lately where there has NOT been somebody on board doing something on his / her laptop? I'm willing to bet 1/3 of all pax traffic on weekdays bring a laptop with them. It's safe, she dropped it.
 

danielsexton

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
How many flights have you been on lately where there has NOT been somebody on board doing something on his / her laptop? I'm willing to bet 1/3 of all pax traffic on weekdays bring a laptop with them. It's safe, she dropped it.

[/ QUOTE ]

Can you imagine, as much as people complain about TSA already (rightfully or wrongfully, personally I think they worry about the wrong things, BUT that’s another post) if all of a sudden all those people got on the plane, pulled out there laptop and discovered it no longer worked? Wow, that would be a mess…
 

jtrain609

I'm a carnal, organic anagram.
Thanks for the replies guys.

I've flown commercially twice in the last 4 years, one of those times when the TSA didn't exist. I've never personally seen a laptop go through, so that's why I asked.

Obviously something is amiss here. The screen looked kind of obvious to be like she dropped it, but the hard drive I did not suspect to be damaged in the way that it was from being dropped. She's got errors in data, not physical problems with the disk.

I'll make sure to tell her what's up if she comes back for some reason. I was really convinced that the TSA had went and jacked up her laptop, though it seems she might not have been telling us everything that happened.

Thanks for the speedy replies guys.

Cheers


John Herreshoff
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
My laptop goes thru the airport Xray device probably 15 to 18 times per month and the only damage it's ever had is when I've dropped it.
 

tonyw

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
My laptop goes thru the airport Xray device probably 15 to 18 times per month and the only damage it's ever had is when I've dropped it.

[/ QUOTE ]

And then there was the damage to your blood pressure when you had to call someone in Bangalore to get it fixed.

 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
And then there was the damage to your blood pressure when you had to call someone in Bangalore to get it fixed.



[/ QUOTE ]

My DVD drive took a dump on me a few weeks ago.

About three days of exchanged email and telephone calls and then Dell mails out a replacement part.

A few days later, it arrives at my front doorstep, I feverishly open the box, WRONG PART!

So I call up Dell tech support and he's trying to convince me that it's the correct part and how it was my MODULAR DVD that needed to be replaced.

"I don't have a modular DVD, I have an internal DVD."

"Well, if you don't have a modular DVD, why did you not recieve an internal DVD?"

"Ahh! And that's why I'm calling you."

So a few days later, they finally get around to mailing the correct part but it arrives during our 4-day Brussels, Belgium TurboTrip (tm). So now Airborne Express is leaving us two messages per day nearly frantic and I've got two nastygrams from Dell in my mailbox about me immediately mailing my old part back to them else they'll charge me.

Ahh! Gotta love outsourced tech support!
 

mtsu_av8er

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]

Ahh! Gotta love outsourced tech support!


[/ QUOTE ]

Doug, the outsourcing of tech jobs is indicative of our steadily improving economy! Can't you tell?
 

FL270

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
Ahh! Gotta love outsourced tech support!


[/ QUOTE ]Doug, the outsourcing of tech jobs is indicative of our steadily improving economy! Can't you tell?

[/ QUOTE ]I actually read an interesting OpEd by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times the other day on this very topic. I was going to link to it but the stupid Times makes you pay for archived articles!

Friedman wrote of traveling to India, specifically to one of these call centers in Bangalore that handle American callers from Dell and other companies. He asked the manager of the facility how this could possibly be good for Americans. The guy's response? "Look around you. All our computers are Compaqs. All our telephones are provided by Lucent. Our office furniture is American. Even our bottled water is provided by an American company. Seventy percent of our stock is owned by American investors."

I want jobs for Americans as much as anybody does, believe me. However, while these call-center jobs have gone to India, our exports to India have more than doubled and are now in excess of $4 billion a year. One wonders how many American jobs that creates. (Heck, how many FedEx pilots did it take to get all those Compaqs to Bangalore?)

</7500>

Back on topic: I see laptops at airports all the time. Sending it through the baggage x-ray machine (at least the one for carry-ons) shouldn't hurt it a bit. Now if you walked it through the metal detector for people, that might have some deleterious effects on it, but not being an engineer I couldn't say for certain.

Russ
 

mtsu_av8er

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
I want jobs for Americans as much as anybody does, believe me. However, while these call-center jobs have gone to India, our exports to India have more than doubled and are now in excess of $4 billion a year. One wonders how many American jobs that creates. (Heck, how many FedEx pilots did it take to get all those Compaqs to Bangalore?)

[/ QUOTE ]

Now, that would be an interesting this to determine. One might think that this could quite possibly balance the financial loss to the U.S, Economy, for a quarter or two (considering that they're only paying these guys peanuts). Any economists want to touch this one?

My thesis is that by buying American products, these overseas companies are doing the same thing for the corporate economy of the U.S. as an American company would - This does little to help the majority of Americans that are left without the jobs that have been sent overseas. More of those "Wall Street Economics" that I'm not smart enough to understand. . .
 
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