Has TSA ever fondled YOUR tech

I am considering building custom mobile edit/render/workstations and making it watercooled (think Coluga but alittle bigger), but I have one possible problem.. TSA. Have you taken Coluga on a commercial flight and had problems with check-in at TSA. I am envisioning a TSA agent opening a small watercooled PC case and losing there mind and possibly shooting the owner in the face. Agree? Should I scrap this idea or ??

that would be a good ending to a spy film. you think hes safe and the movies over then he gets shot by the tsa for having a water cooler.

jokes aside the tsa is horrible and wouldnt notice if you had a real bomb in there. probably wont be a problem. one of the studies found they missed 95% of real shit. they might damage your hardware though. some of their scans can wipe certain types drives. and ofc they might drop things. i would just mail it first class by fedex and get it insured, and ofc back up your files.


I recently took a small build on my carry on on Thursday and earlier today. Small build but all I did was put it in its own container and the X-ray scanned it and I just picked it up when it came through and put it back in my carry on.
Not too sure about the water cooling. If the sensor does detect liquids, which I doubt it will, they may have a problem with that.
They treated it like my laptop. No data loss on the hard drive either. I have no clue about xrays on SSD's though.

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The build will be tested to survive pretty brutal abuse and it is one the main rules applied in the build

This is another primary concern in build however I believe that with proper cover and concealment that this issue can easily be avoided. When scanned a liquid can display certain properties that may draw attention but that can be mitigated.

A friend of mine joined the army and was shipped over to germany as a comunnications officer but before he left we built a watercooled mini itx rig and he brought it as a carry on w/o issue... Although he didnt add coolant till he landed. Probly would of went differently if he filled it first lol.

I would refrain from flying with water in a watercooled PC. TSA react differently depending on where you go. I flew out of Columbus OH with an atx powersupply and a bunh of lipo batteries on my carry on (fly rc airplane and quad everything was separated and individually wrapped). I asked TSA if I needed to take everything out of the bag and they said no. It got scanned and I went on my way. I flew out of Newark NJ with the same bag and TSA lost their minds. Funny part was my stuff ran through the sniffer clean and the freaking wheelchair that they use to shuffle the disabled around set off the sniffer. Anywhere that is a major airport hub, expect more checks and caution.

I don't think it would be an issue, but I would recommend that you drain it before moving it, and re fill at the destination. Mostly because it could leak while being moved.

Actually, the cooling loop on my build will have waterless coolant. Waterbased coolants are not an option in what I plan on building. The interesting aspect of waterless coolant is it's odor spectrum would not set off a "sniffers". The other aspect of waterless coolant is that it stable from -40c to +125c.

This issue has been addressed in prototype. The standard height of a overhead compartment on a commercial airplane varies but can be as high as 6 feet. You will be able to drop this unit from that height and have no worries that you hurt any internals.


You will miss your flight.


I used water because it was most common but the TSA will flag anything that contains a liquid or appears to have the capacity to contain a liquid such as an open volume. I brought a miniature steam engine on my carry on because I didn't want to have it damaged. I realized while I was in security line that the boiler probably was going to look weird under x-ray. Sure enough I got my bag pulled. Thank heavens the boiler had never been fired because I cant imagine what is in the fuel pellets or residue from the pellets burning.

There is a good chance even empty tubes will throw some flags and you will still get pulled to secondary inspection.

Good info here; definitely depends on location and day. My bags get pulled about half the time, since they look funny under X-Ray (audio gear), but I've (thankfully) never been held up, only hassled a little and questioned while they swab the gear. This isn't exclusive to the TSA, though- same results with international airport security. I find it helpful to have a haircut and shave.