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Bringing water cooler to an aircraft : OK?

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January 8, 2013 2:53:10 AM

I'm going to bring my mini tower case desktop as carry-on. The size is perfect, the weight could be adjusted by tossing PSU and VGA into luggage bag full of soft clothes, however there is one potential problem I might encounter : will I not be able to bring H80i cooler inside since it contains liquid inside? Would it be ok since it is just water, not some kind of explosive liquid terrorists might make use of?
January 8, 2013 3:04:22 AM

You're not going to be able to bring any liquids through the checkpoint that are outside of 3 oz. bottles packaged in a 1-quart freezer bag. You can always check it, but I doubt you'll make it through carry-on security if anyone realizes there's water inside.
a b K Overclocking
January 8, 2013 4:18:15 AM

That depends on the airport lol. Just call them and if they say no just bring it and if they don't let you by make sure you have a backup heatsink :) . That plan would work but can't be too... good so just call them and ask or don't tell them because I don't think they would know, they are airport security not newegg tv.
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a b K Overclocking
January 8, 2013 4:22:50 AM

I would also like to point out that one person (forgot where this was) said their H70 leaked and it smelled like antifreeze and I would not be surprised if Corsair added some biocide (not that antifreeze is not where bacteria would want to live) so it's not just water. Not explosive (I think) but kinda like liquid poison :) .
January 8, 2013 4:32:40 AM

melikepie said:
That depends on the airport lol. Just call them and if they say no just bring it and if they don't let you by make sure you have a backup heatsink :) . That plan would work but can't be too... good so just call them and ask or don't tell them because I don't think they would know, they are airport security not newegg tv.


This is terrible advice.

First, airport security in the US is handled by the Transportation Security Administration. Their guidelines do not vary locally. If they tell you something is not permitted, it's not permitted. You can't just be like, "oh well, I'm going to bring it anyway" and expect that to work. They will either make you check your luggage (which has less strict requirements than carry-on luggage) or throw it away -- or detain you until you're arrested if necessary.

Bringing computers through airport security is not an issue, but bringing liquids is. My advice is just to contact the TSA and find out if liquid CPU coolers are allowed. If they tell you no, you'll either have to check your PC or change to an air cooler beforehand.

http://www.tsa.gov/contact-transportation-security-admi...
January 8, 2013 5:08:56 AM

Thanks for advice guys. Really appreciate it. I once considered air cooling, but the mini tower case doesnt have much room inside which makes my air cooling option very limited.

I'll be using Air Canada domestic line if it helps.
a c 149 K Overclocking
January 8, 2013 5:52:09 AM

Well, it's Ethylene Glycol...
a c 168 K Overclocking
January 8, 2013 1:06:04 PM

I know someone on these forums has brought a computer (Bitfenix Prodigy case) on a plane as carry on luggage. So its possible in a "is it allowed" sense. Not sure if it was water-cooled though.

The other issue I can see with packing it with your luggage will be the change in air pressure, as the cargo hold on most planes isn't pressurized. Fairly sure that a H80 will be able to withstand that, as they do have to be transported around to get to retailers and such. But may want to shoot an email to Corsair to find out if thats an issue.
Would be pretty bad to sit down in a hotel and find that the tubing didn't handle the pressure and exploded, pouring out what is essentially anti-freeze all over your PC and clothes.
a c 324 K Overclocking
January 8, 2013 2:42:24 PM

Airline cabins are pressurized and the pressure difference is fairly minimal compared to what is in luggage and storage although I would doubt that it's significant enough to cause a burst since the entire cooler is filled except for a very small amount of air. The coolant should not be susceptible to air pressure changes but I also recommend contacting Corsair for their shipping recommendations for air travel.
a b K Overclocking
January 8, 2013 3:52:37 PM

The only thing that would be bad is if the people who check what your bringing decides to cut it open and see if it's explosive. They don't care what they do they would throw it in the trash anyway for braking the rules, they just want to see if they can catch you bringing explosives so the airport can sue you can they can get a raise :) .
January 8, 2013 8:00:55 PM

Wow the hose could explode because of air pressure difference? Now that's something I'm surprised to hear D: I may seriously have to consider air cooling then.
a c 324 K Overclocking
January 8, 2013 8:50:52 PM

I doubt 'explode' is the correct term. If anything, you'd get a disconnection of tubing from either the pump or radiator barbs or a slight separation and leak.

I really doubt this though- when someone overnights a Corsair H100i unit from Newegg, how do you think it shows up at your house the next day?

They ship it air freight to a local processing facility to be trucked out the following morning.
a b K Overclocking
January 8, 2013 9:56:30 PM

Another thread saw a closed loop cooler freezing and rupturing. Considering that the cargo area on a passenger config aircraft is unpressurized and normally @35K feet it gets down to -40 degrees I'd bet that a closed loop system exposed to an in-flight cargo hold might rupture as well.

Cabins are pressurized at about 6000 feet, so it won’t rupture in the cabin. Rubix, cargo aircraft have pressurized cargo bays. The same aircraft that are used to ship people, ship cargo. The passenger areas are just converted, but they are pressurized and temperature controlled.

I’ve done 20 in the Air Force and a few in the FAA. I know aircraft.
a c 76 K Overclocking
January 8, 2013 10:38:13 PM

Hmmm, OP, contact the concerned authorities. Saves us the guess work :)  However, isn't it better just to ship your stuff than have it lugged around?
January 9, 2013 1:00:14 AM

Did this afternoon, and they said just NO even before I finish speaking. :(  Guess I'm either putting it in my luggage and hope for the best or just switching to air cooling lol.
a c 324 K Overclocking
January 9, 2013 1:17:53 AM

groundrat said:
Another thread saw a closed loop cooler freezing and rupturing. Considering that the cargo area on a passenger config aircraft is unpressurized and normally @35K feet it gets down to -40 degrees I'd bet that a closed loop system exposed to an in-flight cargo hold might rupture as well.

Cabins are pressurized at about 6000 feet, so it won’t rupture in the cabin. Rubix, cargo aircraft have pressurized cargo bays. The same aircraft that are used to ship people, ship cargo. The passenger areas are just converted, but they are pressurized and temperature controlled.

I’ve done 20 in the Air Force and a few in the FAA. I know aircraft.


That would make a lot of sense...glad that someone was able to give some solid answers with experience in the subject. Thanks for clearing it up.
a b K Overclocking
January 9, 2013 1:32:54 AM

hermit1007 said:
Did this afternoon, and they said just NO even before I finish speaking. :(  Guess I'm either putting it in my luggage and hope for the best or just switching to air cooling lol.

Call again! I would guess a closed loop is about 10oz. I really don't see how they would find out though. I wouldn't dare to to bring my custom water cooling setup into a airport check in thingy where they scan your stuff because it's very clear in the front with a nice little window where you can see water, I'd drain my system first... actually I would try and get another PC (maybe a laptop lol). Just explain it's a little amount of water sealed inside of tubing and if they say no I don't think they would notice the water. I have no doubt that they air trained to find that stuff but I don't think they would notice water in it, actually I think a PC is the last place they would find water :) .
January 9, 2013 2:47:12 AM

melikepie said:
Call again! I would guess a closed loop is about 10oz. I really don't see how they would find out though. I wouldn't dare to to bring my custom water cooling setup into a airport check in thingy where they scan your stuff because it's very clear in the front with a nice little window where you can see water, I'd drain my system first... actually I would try and get another PC (maybe a laptop lol). Just explain it's a little amount of water sealed inside of tubing and if they say no I don't think they would notice the water. I have no doubt that they air trained to find that stuff but I don't think they would notice water in it, actually I think a PC is the last place they would find water :) .


Have you ever flown before? You think airport security has never seen a liquid cooler before? You think when they tell you that you can't bring liquids through airport security they're just messing with you? If they tell you it's not allowed, it's not allowed, and there is no way you're going to convince them otherwise.

To OP, my advice is to buy an air cooler and remove your liquid cooler before you leave for the air port. For transit, it might be better to leave it uninstalled until you get where you're going. Shipping is an option, but that will probably end up costing more than taking it as your luggage.
a c 76 K Overclocking
January 9, 2013 3:32:40 AM

hapkido, there is also the possibility of the air cooler getting ripped off of the mobo with a piece of the mobo with it after journey has been performed. Just remove what ever cooler you have and take it with you and upon arrival of destination re-attach the cooler. Voila! Problem solved.

*ignore spammers btw :) 

I approve this message! :lol: 
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