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October 18, 2016

Three Electronic Devices Prone to Failure

By Special Guest
David Zimmerman, CEO of LC Technology

We rely on our electronic devices for an incredible amount of transactions and interactions, and when the device doesn’t work properly it can be a jolt. With all of their complexity, electronic devices are still machines, and at some point machines break.  

Here are three types of consumer electronics that are especially prone to failure.

Laptop Computers

Laptops are susceptible to failure because they have so many different parts that rely on each other for proper functioning. They’re also portable, which exposes them to more risks such as falls or liquids.

Consider the various parts of a laptop that make the device prone to failure:

  • Hard drives. These complicated parts involve platters of metal that spin at thousands of revs per second. A dropped laptop could mean a scratched platter and a hard disk that is no longer readable. When the problem is physical, you’ll likely hear a grinding or clicking noise, in other cases the computer will simply crash frequently or function extremely slowly when opening large files.
  • Power supplies. Laptops need a power source to run, and utilize internal power supplies to perform all of the necessary operations. Power supply problems are common, and might cause rebooting, fan failure, and even smoke.
  • Operating system. Whether it’s an update that disrupts the laptop, malware causing crashes, or incorrect drivers, the OS is a frequent source of laptop failures.

Portable Flash Memory Devices

Common in DSLR cameras, tablets, and phones, regular size and mini SD cards are prone to failure. The devices are exceedingly small and

fragile, so when they are removed from a device they are at risk of damage from vibrations and dirt. They’re also affected by changes in temperature and high levels of humidity which can cause condensation inside the parts of the card. While SD cards do not have moving parts, they can become corrupted if used improperly. Here are some tips for proper usage:

  • Don’t be in a rush. If you’re shooting with a DSLR, then give the device several seconds to finish writing the files before you try to remove the memory card. You also want to avoid mixing your memory cards among different devices/cameras because once they are initialized by that particular device it could leave existing data inaccessible as the folder structure changes by the device hiding the old DCIM folder.
  • Avoid editing pictures within the device, instead download them from the card onto a computer (and then back them up) and perform editing through the computer’s editing software.
  • With devices that plug into a USB port, like flash drives, always take care inserting and removing them. Frequent plugging in and unplugging over time can cause micro fractures in the solder joints and PCB, especially when getting hit by the occasional knee sticking while sticking out of a desktop machine with front USB ports.

If a device is corrupted instead of physically damaged, there are companies that offer data recovery products that can safely pull the information from the card.


David Zimmerman (News - Alert),
CEO of LC Technology

Tablet designers and engineers are placed in a difficult spot because consumers demand sleek and stylish looks with a thin design while they also demand extreme durability. Accomplishing these exclusionary goals is not easy, as the thin profile of the tablets can make them more susceptible to breakage. Tablets are also of course extremely portable, so they’re playing videos at the beach, or used to look at schematics on a dirty job site. Exposure to water and dirt are not optimal for any type of electronics. Here are some other reasons for tablet failures:

  • Tablets are meant to run various applications, which might contradict one another. For example, multiple simultaneously-running security applications can cause OS problems.
  • The screens on tablets are not shatterproof, and most are not waterproof. A spilled coffee might appear to be wiped up completely, but liquid can often squeeze in between the outside rim and the actual screen material.
  • High temperatures can affect the inner workings of a tablet, and direct sunlight can warp and fade the screen. Keep tablets in a shady spot, and watch out for performance problems that occur in extreme heat.

When devices fail, many users are stuck with lost data. The easiest solution is proactive data backups to the cloud or external hard drives. Once breakage occurs, then you need the services of a qualified data recovery firm to help retrieve lost files.  

Edited by Alicia Young

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