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CompactFlash Cards; Temperature and Altitude limits?

Povl H. Pedersen
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On 2003-12-14, Andy Williams <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Povl H. Pedersen wrote:
>> I know IBM Microsodrives will ... problem if you go much above 10.000 ft

> It seems this myth is pervasive.

I have seen IBM people say that at like 14-15.000 ft there will
be problems, and at 20m+ under water.
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In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, Ron Hunter
<(E-Mail Removed)> writes
>Junque wrote:
>> In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, Digitalis
>><(E-Mail Removed)> writes
>>>>> Similarly, none of the specs I've found even mention altitude. Is
>>>>>it safe
>>>>> to assume that all/most are good up to 14,000 feet?
>>> Electronics is sensitive to altitude since when? Any examples? Thanks.

>> It is not the altitude but reduced heat transfer in thinner air
>>that can result in overheating.

>Since the temperature decreases as one goes higher, I wouldn't think
>head in a camera would be a problem.

As you go higher the air becomes less dense and so is less able to
conduct heat away from an object which gets hot in use, think of a
vacuum flask.
- to reply directly use ian (at) newbrain (dot) demon (dot) co (dot) uk
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Bill wrote:

> Besides atmosphetic pressure, there is also more ambient radiation at high
> altitudes........UV, ions and other forms. Perhaps they could interfere with
> some electronics. I'm no scientist, but it's a thought.

UV radiation can usually be stopped dead by a single sheet of paper!

However cosmic rays and other such ionising radiation may be more of a
problem. But I suspect that any such radiation high enough to kill a CF card
would kill you a lot sooner!

Brian Rumary, England

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Povl H. Pedersen wrote:

> But the temperature drops 5 degress for each 1 km altitude, which will
> compensate some. I know IBM Microsodrives will fail in the high pressure
> under water, and will have problem if you go much above 10.000 ft

The problem with MicroDrives above 14,000ft seems to be because they are
miniature hard drives. The read/write head in such drives is designed to
use aerodynamics to "fly" just above the disk surface. If the air pressure
is too low, then the head may not get enough lift to "fly" properly, and
you may then get a head crash. This will damage the magnetic surface of
the disk and also loose data in the affected area. However this is only
likely to happen if the disk is actually running at the high altitude. It
will not affect a drive that is switched off, and the head parked off the

So you can transport a MicroDrive above 14,000ft, but not use it while you
are _above_ that height.

Brian Rumary, England

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