Potential Laptop/Electronics Ban - Looking for Opinions/Options

ijm5012

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I thought the lithium battery issue was related to pallets of them being transported as cargo, not individual batteries, but then it just snowballed to batteries = danger.

I have zero trust in any sort of safety regulations though. Too much of it seems designed to just create the appearance of safety.
What do you mean? You mean standing in the security line (potentially for hours) doesn't really make us any safer on flights?

While the TSA does help improve the security of passengers by finding things like guns & knives, and even explosives, I think many people would generally agree that they lack fully trusting the security measures in place. I can't tell you how many times I've gone through security, observed the way TSA agents were behaving, and thought to myself "Really? These are the people that are supposed to be keeping us safe?".
 

ijm5012

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I'd still insure it separately through the post. A friend just shipped a laptop, insured it for $500, and it showed up broken. Instead of honoring the insurance, USPS just refunded the cost of the insurance purchase... roughly $40. Told him to file a lawsuit if he wasn't satisfied.
lol, what? To be fair though, it was the USPS, which is a complete disaster of a company.

Shipping from Germany back to the USA, I would likely be shipping with DHL.
 

Phocal

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I can't tell you how many times I've gone through security, observed the way TSA agents were behaving, and thought to myself "Really? These are the people that are supposed to be keeping us safe?".
Do you expect better when you pay people a terrible wage? The good people are going to find better paying jobs so you are stuck with the lowest of the low taking the jobs.
 

Repp

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Yeah, he is now paying more in legal fees simply so he can hurt them. Still though, lessons learned, always have dedicated camera/high-value-item insurance, and know what it does and doesn't cover.
 

Replytoken

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I thought the lithium battery issue was related to pallets of them being transported as cargo, not individual batteries, but then it just snowballed to batteries = danger.
There have been several issues from the batteries used by the aircraft itself (787 Dreamliner, IIRC) to the recent Galaxy Note fiasco. For the latter, it is at least possible to extinguish a fire in the cabin. I am not sure what safety features exist for fires in the cargo hold (although I would like to assume there is some safety system). In either event, it would be nice if there was more information provided about how consequences possibly impacting safety will be addressed should there be changes.

--Ken
 

Repp

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although I would like to assume there is some safety system
The fire suppression system, outside of the ones for the engine and APU, are the flight crew, probably with normal fire extinguishers. Likely with a camera monitoring the cargo hold that no one is watching. If they can't notice/find a fire in time it becomes a very big problem. The logic with requiring the batteries to be in the cabin is it's easier to smell/spot the fire and to fight it than in the cargo hold. If they can't put it out quickly enough, and the fire spreads, they'll likely end up dumping the cabin pressure at 35,000ft in a last ditch effort to reduce the oxygen going to the fire. Then the O2 masks drop, people panic, it's a good time for all.

btw, I've spent 7 years as an aircrewman. Our planes catch on fire more than you'd like to know.
 

Replytoken

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The fire suppression system, outside of the ones for the engine and APU, are the flight crew, probably with normal fire extinguishers. Likely with a camera monitoring the cargo hold that no one is watching. If they can't notice/find a fire in time it becomes a very big problem. The logic with requiring the batteries to be in the cabin is it's easier to smell/spot the fire and to fight it than in the cargo hold. If they can't put it out quickly enough, and the fire spreads, they'll likely end up dumping the cabin pressure at 35,000ft in a last ditch effort to reduce the oxygen going to the fire. Then the O2 masks drop, people panic, it's a good time for all.

btw, I've spent 7 years as an aircrewman. Our planes catch on fire more than you'd like to know.
This is why I was concerned. Notice I did say I "wanted to assume". I sure hope they figure this out in some rational and functional way.

--Ken
 

ijm5012

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Yeah, the lack of a fire-suppression system in the cargo hold is surprising. You have all those lithium-ion batteries down there, and even if you were to notice the fire before it got out of control, you'd still have a number of passengers that had their checked baggage burn up in the fire.

The good news is that you'll make it to you destination safely without the plane blowing up. The bad news is your camera, laptop, tablet, clothing, gifts, etc. will all be lost in the fire. The worse news, the airline refuses to reimburse you for any of it.

Happy happy joy joy...
 

Ranger Rick

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Reading an article about cargo bay fire suppression systems and tests the other day, I understood at least some (maybe not all planes) had halon systems. When those halon suppression systems were put to the test vs. a lithium ion fire, they totally failed to even slow the fire. But not to worry, would they ever fail to think things thru?
 

Ranger Rick

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I've been using the WD my passport 1Tb drive now to back up my SD cards for several years on overseas trips ie ever since it became available. It also has wifi built in and so you can download movies, song etc and use that to port to say a mini pad or phone.
The unit functions flawlessly and I now travel just with the WD and an IPad mini. Can easily review keepers on the iPad after wifi transfer.
I had just bought one of those MyPassport drives to travel with it and my iPad, and thought I had my upcoming European trip covered, but if the ban includes electronics (as the current one does), that would drive (and iPad) also have to be checked, as it is larger than a smartphone. I can try backing up to Dropbox and/or iCloud via wifi, but not sure how well that will work with the amount of data generated by m43 camera images (vs iPhone size) and what kind of wifi connectivity I could access. I also plan to keep the images on the cards and to switch cards fairly regularly. Mostly, I have decided I will enjoy the experience and hope for the best.
 

Ranger Rick

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"
  • Photo backup. Initially, I had planned on using my rMBP & SSD to move all the files from my SD cards on to my SSD, but now I'm not certain it'll be worth the hassle to bring my computer with me. I have started to look at WD's My Passport Wireless Pro, and it seems that it could be a viable option. I could simply plug the SD cards in, have it transfer, and check to see that the files were successfully transferred using the WD My Cloud App. I'm thinking this would be a good option, but I'm curious as to whether or not anyone has used this before, and if so, how you felt it worked?"
I recently bought one of these (see above), and thought it worked fine when I tested it on a recent four-day trip. You just need to be sure you have it set up properly and understand how it works. I have mine set up for auto-ingest when a card is inserted, and not to delete the images from the card. Doug Kaye, who co-hosts the Cameralabs podcast, happened to mention he has used one for some time and has been happy with it. It is larger than I expected/hoped (5x5x7/8).
 

ijm5012

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"
I recently bought one of these (see above), and thought it worked fine when I tested it on a recent four-day trip. You just need to be sure you have it set up properly and understand how it works. I have mine set up for auto-ingest when a card is inserted, and not to delete the images from the card. Doug Kaye, who co-hosts the Cameralabs podcast, happened to mention he has used one for some time and has been happy with it. It is larger than I expected/hoped (5x5x7/8).
Thanks for the feedback Rick. For $220 for the 4TB model, it seems like a pretty good deal. The intended use would be daily evening backups of photos off the SD cards, which would then be formatted in-camera. The size isn't a big deal, as it would be packed in a bag for the trip over/back, and left in the hotel safe during the day. I would go through the set-up at home prior to departing on my trip, to ensure that it was set-up and operating properly.

I do have a few questions for you that you may or may not know the answer to.
  1. Is it easy to use the WD My Cloud app to log-in and double check that the files were transferred to the internal storage? I wouldn't want to reformat the card without ensuring that the files were successfully copied.
  2. Do you get any storage space on the WD Cloud when purchasing one of their wireless/cloud back-up solutions? Ideally, I'd like to have a physical copy on the hard drive, as well as a digital copy on the cloud as well.
  3. Do you simply use the SD card import feature, or have you used the USB 3.0 at all? I'm wondering if it's possible to simply plug my E-M1 II in to the USB 3.0 port, and copy the files that way, as it would likely be quicker than the SD card transfer
 

barry13

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Reading an article about cargo bay fire suppression systems and tests the other day, I understood at least some (maybe not all planes) had halon systems. When those halon suppression systems were put to the test vs. a lithium ion fire, they totally failed to even slow the fire. But not to worry, would they ever fail to think things thru?
Lithium battery fires are nearly impossible to extinguish until the stored energy (charge) is exhausted... All one can hope to do is put it somewhere that it won't ignite anything else. Hopefully the Halon would help keep the rest of the cargo from igniting, but being in the cabin and having a stainless steel container, some BBQ tongs, and some ice (to cool the container) would be preferable imo.
 

lenshoarder

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I'd still insure it separately through the post. A friend just shipped a laptop, insured it for $500, and it showed up broken. Instead of honoring the insurance, USPS just refunded the cost of the insurance purchase... roughly $40. Told him to file a lawsuit if he wasn't satisfied.
Don't damn all shippers just because of USPS. Fedex and UPS will honor insurance claims with a minimum of hassle. In my experience, never use USPS if at all possible. Dealing with them is a hassle that leads no where. I've shipped packages that have gone missing. Every single time, I get into a endless loop where my local post office that I shipped from says I need to talk to the post office in the area where I shipped it to. That post office says I need to talk to my local post office where I shipped it from. In the end, it's gone and USPS takes no responsibility even if insured. They will not even refund the postage or various confirmation fees.
 

Ranger Rick

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I do have a few questions for you that you may or may not know the answer to.
  1. Is it easy to use the WD My Cloud app to log-in and double check that the files were transferred to the internal storage? I wouldn't want to reformat the card without ensuring that the files were successfully copied.
  2. Do you get any storage space on the WD Cloud when purchasing one of their wireless/cloud back-up solutions? Ideally, I'd like to have a physical copy on the hard drive, as well as a digital copy on the cloud as well.
  3. Do you simply use the SD card import feature, or have you used the USB 3.0 at all? I'm wondering if it's possible to simply plug my E-M1 II in to the USB 3.0 port, and copy the files that way, as it would likely be quicker than the SD card transfer
1. I have only checked via the computer-based app. Since I have several times verified via the computer that the transfer works as advertised, I am not too worried about that given that I do not reformat the cards. In the new environment, I would suggest keeping the data on the cards as insurance, and "retiring" them every few days.
2. I don't know- I planned to use Dropbox or iCloud as cloud backup (again, not sure if/how this will work at the speeds/times I will have internet connection). I don't think there is any WD cloud storage included. I am also putting the image files on my iPhone via the Apple SD card reader (new version), so I wind up (hopefully) with a copy on the SD card, one on the iPhone, one in the cloud (and one if I take the MYPassport).
3. I use the SD card import- insert the card into the slot, and import starts. When blinking blue Drive Activity light stops, your import is done. I found that went pretty quickly- the card reader is SD 3.0, so probably as fast/faster than the camera route ?

While this is all still up in the air (pardon the pun), if tablets and things like MyPassport have to be checked, I am thinking of just taking my iPhone 7+ and the Moment W.A. lens for it, and letting it go with that. While I have over an hour more than suggested allowance to connect between flight arrival and TGV reservation, what if there is a flight delay or delayed/lost luggage and I can't collect the luggage and make the reserved train seats? Could lose a day or more, not counting expense. While disappointing, I'd rather leave the gear home and not sweat the experience. I could always buy the postcards!
 

lenshoarder

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Lithium battery fires are nearly impossible to extinguish until the stored energy (charge) is exhausted... All one can hope to do is put it somewhere that it won't ignite anything else. Hopefully the Halon would help keep the rest of the cargo from igniting, but being in the cabin and having a stainless steel container, some BBQ tongs, and some ice (to cool the container) would be preferable imo.
Hm... if you mean the stored energy in terms of free hydrogen until exhausted. That's what burns when a lithium battery cooks off. It's the hydrogen that's released when the battery overheats. That's where halon comes into play. Halon is a catalyst. It scrubs hydrogen out of the air by converting it to H2. So halon can stop a li-ion battery fire by removing all the hydrogen from the air. No hydrogen, no combustion. No combustion, no heat. No heat, no lithium battery fire. Now of course this depends on how large this fire is. Large fire and not enough halon and it keeps burning.
 

lenshoarder

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Reading an article about cargo bay fire suppression systems and tests the other day, I understood at least some (maybe not all planes) had halon systems. When those halon suppression systems were put to the test vs. a lithium ion fire, they totally failed to even slow the fire. But not to worry, would they ever fail to think things thru?
Hm... halon is the recommended way by the FAA to put out a lithium ion battery fire. They have thought it through. It does work.

Battery fires: keeping the Li-ion caged

Halon is an excellent fire extinguisher. Really effective yet non toxic to people. I used to have a bunch of halon fire extinguishers. Unfortunately, for the same reasons it's a great fire extinguisher it's also a great ozone destroyer.
 

Ranger Rick

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Hm... halon is the recommended way by the FAA to put out a lithium ion battery fire. They have thought it through. It does work.

Battery fires: keeping the Li-ion caged

Halon is an excellent fire extinguisher. Really effective yet non toxic to people. I used to have a bunch of halon fire extinguishers. Unfortunately, for the same reasons it's a great fire extinguisher it's also a great ozone destroyer.
What about this: "Lithium ion battery fires can lead to a “catastrophic explosion,” which fires suppression systems are “incapable of preventing,” the FAA said in the alert."

Lithium Batteries Could Spark ‘Catastrophic’ Plane Fires, FAA Warns
 

lenshoarder

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What about this: "Lithium ion battery fires can lead to a “catastrophic explosion,” which fires suppression systems are “incapable of preventing,” the FAA said in the alert."

Lithium Batteries Could Spark ‘Catastrophic’ Plane Fires, FAA Warns
As I alluded to in my other post, any large enough fire will be impossible to put out in due time to prevent a "catastrophe". The beauty of halon is that it's a catalyst. It's not one and done. It'll keep working. The problem is you need time. The solution to that is high concentrations. I think the FAA determined that at about 8.5% vol concentration of halon in the air that it will knock down a lithium ion battery fire. Short of either preemptively putting all batteries into fire suppressing bags or filling cargo holds with water, I don't know of a better way.
 

ijm5012

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1. I have only checked via the computer-based app. Since I have several times verified via the computer that the transfer works as advertised, I am not too worried about that given that I do not reformat the cards. In the new environment, I would suggest keeping the data on the cards as insurance, and "retiring" them every few days.
2. I don't know- I planned to use Dropbox or iCloud as cloud backup (again, not sure if/how this will work at the speeds/times I will have internet connection). I don't think there is any WD cloud storage included. I am also putting the image files on my iPhone via the Apple SD card reader (new version), so I wind up (hopefully) with a copy on the SD card, one on the iPhone, one in the cloud (and one if I take the MYPassport).
3. I use the SD card import- insert the card into the slot, and import starts. When blinking blue Drive Activity light stops, your import is done. I found that went pretty quickly- the card reader is SD 3.0, so probably as fast/faster than the camera route ?

While this is all still up in the air (pardon the pun), if tablets and things like MyPassport have to be checked, I am thinking of just taking my iPhone 7+ and the Moment W.A. lens for it, and letting it go with that. While I have over an hour more than suggested allowance to connect between flight arrival and TGV reservation, what if there is a flight delay or delayed/lost luggage and I can't collect the luggage and make the reserved train seats? Could lose a day or more, not counting expense. While disappointing, I'd rather leave the gear home and not sweat the experience. I could always buy the postcards!
Thanks for the info. The thing is, baggage handlers with sticky fingers are much more likely to steal a laptop or a camera than they are some 5"x5"x1" black plastic box. So I wouldn't be as concerned about putting the hard drive in the check baggage (at least when it comes to getting stolen). Also, are TSA agents (or whatever their European counterparts are called) really going to require that I check a hard drive? They don't know it's electronic. I would think they're looking for more cameras (possibly), laptops, iPads, Kindles, etc. They wouldn't require me to check a standard USB hard drive, so how would they know this one is any different (especially if I carry a USB cable with it)?

As for the "buy more memory cards" that theory works, until you start shooting 4K video and using UHS-II SD cards. The E-M1 II's C4K with its 237 Mbps codec will chew through a 128GB SD card in just over an hour. A 128GB UHS-I Sandisk card costs ~$120 from B&H. A 64GB Sandisk UHS-II SD card costs $120. So for the price of duplicating what I use in my E-M1 II, I could buy a 4TB WD wireless hard drive.

If all I needed to use were UHS-I cards and all I shot was 1080p video, then I would agree. But with the advent of 4K video and UHS-II cards, it's not so economical anymore. Having said that, I will be bringing spare SD cards, but my primary plan will be to back up to the hard drive each night.
 

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