Custom electronics as carryon

Old Aug 12, 03, 2:21 pm
  #1  
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Custom electronics as carryon

I'm an audio professional, and work on profesional sound systems worldwide (theatres, performing arts auditoriums, houses of worship, etc). I carry on board with me some pretty expensive test equipment that I use to setup and tune these systems, so far I have had no trouble going through security with this equipment, though sometimes the TSA gets curious with my test microphone that has an odd shape! (see http://www.earthwks.com/ns/m550.html )

Just wanted to get people's thoughts and opinions on the practicality of carrying on a piece of custom electronics with me on the plane. If I could find an off the shelf equivalent, I'd buy it, but it looks like my only option is to cobble together a couple of modules and put it into a chassis that would fit in my carryon. Nothing special, just a couple of switches and connectors on it, no flashing lights, external AC adapter. The chassis looks like this: http://www.rdlnet.com/acc_ru.htm#uc1 and the modules inside won't be seen, but look like this: http://www.rdlnet.com/acc_st.htm#dtb with some interconnecting wiring between them.

I'm not really interested in checking this with my checked baggage, considering that I can't lock my baggage, and I don't feel like losing a $500-600 piece of equipment.

So what do you think? Crazy idea? Should I count on checking in 3 hours before my flight because of potential hassles?
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Old Aug 12, 03, 3:12 pm
  #2  
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If they can't find anything sharp and can't find anything explosive, then there's no reason it should not fly.

Ask for a supervisor if an agent tries to tell you it cannot fly for "security reasons".

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Old Aug 12, 03, 8:36 pm
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I'm a screener and I wouldn't see a problem with it, but like Spiff stated, just get a supervisor if someone gives you a hard time.
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Old Aug 12, 03, 9:37 pm
  #4  
 
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good luck! I travel with audio recording gear (mics, cables, pro minidisc deck, etc) and ALWAYS get hassled.

On my last trip, I was placing the recorder into a plastic bin at security when the tsa employee barked "only computers, everything else can stay in the bag."
Of course, no one recognized the deck for what it was, and the bag was screened twice before they decided to do a closer inspection. The TSA employee reached into the bag, picked up the recorder, misjudged the weight of the deck and was close to dropping it on the stainless table, when I reached out my hands to catch it. (after all, not only is it a 2k deck, I need it for work!) He mumbled "thanks," and then barked for me to stand back and let him do his job. After punching all the buttons and shaking it around, the gear was then jammed back in the case, upside down.

Luckily, it seems to be working just fine. I can only imagine what would happen if I had to call in from the road and say "the tsa broke my recorder, I can't do any interviews."
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Old Aug 12, 03, 11:09 pm
  #5  
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Heh, I'm the same way with my Earthworks microphone. Almost every time I've gone through a security checkpoint, the person manning the Xray machine flags it, and the person doing the hand inspection digs it out and closely examines it. It is a pretty fragile microphone, not something you want to drop--I always take a deep breath when someone else is handling it! Maybe you should get one of those new recorders that use flash cards or microdrives, no moving parts to break!

After explaining that it is a specialized test microphone, they show it to the Xray person, and with a smile I'm off to the plane. I have not been hassled about my equipment so far, just that I am concerned about the recent news of increased scrutiny on electronic items that may have been modified. With my custom wiring inside, and considering that it is non functional on it's own (unlike a computer that you can turn on, or a CD player that can play a CD), I just don't know if this was stretching things a bit. Perhaps I should put a couple of LED's in there to show some action!
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Old Aug 12, 03, 11:50 pm
  #6  
 
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We use some very specialized equipment and it travels a great deal. The nice thing is that some of the items we transport are PUSG: Property of the United States Government. Because of this, we're not hassled as much as some screeners would like

However, we do take precautions to ensure the safety and security of the equipment. We generally use rolling SKB rackmount cases, Hardigg ATA and SKB shockmount shipping cases that are *always* locked.

http://www.casesbymasco.com/series_list_c4-185.asp
http://www.casesbymasco.com/series_info_c1-178.asp

The rolling cases go on board with us and the shipping cases are checked. I would say try getting a case like SKB, Pelican, Hardigg etc to house your stuff and if, er, when the TSA screener tries to open the case, inform him/her that the items inside are very delicate.
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