Airport x-rays and compact flash cards
I am planning a trip to Italy and want to take my new digital camera. Will the airport x-ray machines erase the images saved on my compact flash memory card?..

Comments (5)

No, flash cards are magnetic media and X-rays won't hurt them.By the same token, going through the metal dectector will, so.

Don't stash any of the cards in your pockets!..

Comment #1


I am an Electronics Engineering Technician working at Rockwell. First I want to correct the previous reply left with this subject. FLASH MEMORY IS NOT MAGNETIC MEDIA!!! An electrical charge is placed on a floating transistor gate. I will continue to investigate what type of non standard methods can erase flash memory either intentionally or unintensionally. What I will say for now is that laptops use flash memory to store the bios information so that may be one avenue of comparision since laptops are being taken on planes frequently I am assuming without any problems...

Comment #2

Robert is exactly correct. Flash memory is not susceptible to problems from magnetic fields. Nor are there any problems from exposure to X-rays. You can safely check your camera and memory cards through at any airport without regard to damage...

Comment #3

I stand corrected re flash cards. However, when the IBM Microdrive and.

Others of it's kind apperar on the scene, I'll still skip the metal detector. The time to break bad habits is before they start!..

Comment #4

You should probably be much more concerned about static electricity when handling any memory device that has exposed or exposable contacts. Inadvertent electrostatic discharge (ESD) can cause latent or immediate failure of components. I don't know what kind of prcautions are built into the various camers or cards or their packaging but don't pick them up by contacts or handle them carelessly such as carrying them loose in a camera bag or in other situations where the contacts could be exposed to a static shock. "Dangerous" voltages are present long before you would be able to feel even the smallest sparks. As to metal detectors, it's my understanding that the typical metal detectors are passive, they sense an induced change in the field they are measuring when metal is introduced into the field. There is no more concern than having your camera near a light buld.

(And would affect laptops, etc. as well) When it comes to x-.

Rays or other actively transmitted electromagnetic radiation, there is a risk of radiation induced failures to electronics as circuitry continues to get smaller and smaller but problems in this area would affect all types of devices, not just cameras. That's why special design steps and features are needed for satellites and nuclear weapon systems. On the odd chance you are shot into space or are close to a nuclear detonation, your camera is the least of your worries. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing: For all you frequent flyers: Which will fail first, your laptop or your body from added exposure to radiation from high altitude flights?..

Comment #5

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