Of late there have been a number of reports of people’s ereaders (mainly Kindles, apparently) no longer working after being passed through X-ray machines at airports, which not surprisingly worries many ereader owners who are going to travel by air.
Is there in fact a real risk?
Well, Amazon and the Airport people say that there is no way that those X-ray machines can produce a large enough electrical surge to in any way damage our ereaders….. But the fact remains that a number of unhappy ereader owners have placed their functioning ereaders into those baskets, watched it disappear into the maw of the X-ray machine, and come out the other side as a dead ereader……
So, what might be happening here?
It has been suggested by people who should know what they are talking about that the root of the problem is not in fact the X-rays but simply a static discharge through our ereaders, which kills them, of course.
This static can be built up in the X-ray machine by the rubber belt that hauls our stuff through the machine rubbing on its various components, and somehow our ereaders cause this build up of static to discharge through our ereader.
This sounds slightly far fetched to me, but I suppose it might be the case. I would have thought that those big plastic baskets we have to use with those machines would have insulated our ereader – and other electronic devices well enough to prevent such a static discharge.
But what to do about this?
Sadly not much. I suspect it might help if you make sure your ereader is completely switched off before entering the security check area, not in hibernation mode, but really switched off. The only other thing I can suggest is that as soon as your trusty ereader rolls out of the X-ray machine, switch it on and check it before you leave the security check area, so if it is broken, you can start the process of getting them to buy you a new one.
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Have you experienced any such problems when travelling by air? Do share them here with us please.