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By darchons
Hey everyone. Sorry if it's the wrong forum.

I'll be gone for three months on internship and I want to bring my unfinished projects with me.
Will it be a hassle when the circuit boards and components pass through airport security?
I don't want them to see something unfamiliar and think it's a threat (maybe I've seen too many movies?)

Also, how about bringing soldering irons and such?

I once had a large ARM development board in my case when I traveled on Eurostar to Paris. When the case was X-rayed at the Ashford terminal I was asked to open it, simply because they had never seen anything like it before. I think they were puzzled by all the holes on the prototyping area. There weren't any problems on the return journey. I flew up to Newcastle a few months ago with two or three PCBs and an amateur band handheld radio and didn't have any problems.
By NleahciM
I flew with a 6 legged robot a number of times. I don't think it ever went through security without getting a thorough examination. A couple times they swabbed it to test it for explosives. Probably didn't help that the case I carried it in looked like it was for carrying a nuclear warhead.

But it always made it through. Worst delay was maybe 5 minutes.
By mac
Never had any problem carrying laptop + dev boards + various debuggers or device + handfull of cables in hand luggages. Various country except US.
At most, they ask what it is only. And I mainly flight from one of the most pain in the a** security airport in France (and no, it's not Paris).
By smbaker
I once put a used mazda RX-7 carburetor double-boxed and checked it into baggage. If there was ever something that looked (and probably smelled) like a bomb, that was it. It arrived at it's destination with "TSA" masking tape re-sealing the box and double-box inside of it. Oh how I long for the days when checking baggage was free....

As far as the tools, I could see how they could be considered a weapon. My soldering iron tip is as sharp as an icepick. Best to go into the checked baggage, I'd think.

Alternatively, you could ship your items with a carrier. You'd get actual tracking information, insurance on damage, and guaranteed delivery time. Many travel experts even recommend shipping luggage domestically here in the US, due to increasingly customer-hostile policies by the airlines.
By newbie123
I have a small board with a 7 segment display I use as a timer for running intervals on my treadmill. I took it on the plane in my carry on luggage when I was vacationing in the US last year. (the resort we visited had a fitness room) When I went through security, I took it out with my keys and change, and placed it in the tray. They barely even looked at it.

All it is, is a small board with a 7 seg display and an avr, some led's, few capacitors, resitors, etc.

I was thinking that they were going to hold me with suspicion that it was a bomb timer or something foolish.
They never even paused to look at the board.

I'm sure they knew the board was not a threat, but I figured I would at least be questioned about it. Nothing.
By Sheepdog
I fly from UK to US and back, three round trips per year, and every time I go I worry that the contents of my checked back will cause hassle... lots of hobbyist electronics bits and pieces.

Okay to date... touch wood... but I take care...

All cables and similar in a clear plastic bag, near the top, and




the bits of electronics.

(And my Garmin GPS in ANOTHER corner of the bag!)

Don't know if my sorting helps avoid hassle, but consider the screener's needs?
By Roko
I flew through a small airport once that x-rayed your checked bags in front of you at the same time as your carry on. They physically searched my checked bag on account of the soldering iron inside.. The let it go through with the checked bags, but if it had been in my carry on, it might have been a different story.

A long time ago I had a clipboard made from a unpopulated PCB in my carry on... that raised some eyebrows until they opened it and saw it was just a clip-board.
By macegr
I think most screeners realize that the more complicated electronics look, the less likely they are to be an actual threat. For carryon explosives you wouldn't even need electronics...just a match. Hollywood bombs are always trying to one-up each other in complicated appearance, but thankfully most people actually looking for bombs are not trained by Hollywood like the general public.

Never had problems getting stuff through, but then I'd always put major electronics in checked baggage.

Probably the worst looking one I did had a flat organizer box full of wires and other components, a few tools, batteries, and a large 4-character 7 segment display in the center. Next to it was a large canister of shaving cream. On top of that for some reason I forget was very large realistic toy tarantula. After closing the suitcase I visualized the screeners having to open the bag due to all the electronics, carefully lifting a few shirts off the top, and seeing a giant spider poised to leap on their face. I opened the bag back up and put in a large note "THE SPIDER IS NOT REAL".

When I got the bag back, sure enough there was a TSA slip in the bag...on my note someone had written "Thanks!"