Author Topic: Camera, Hard disk and Vibrations.  (Read 2910 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline edopizza

Camera, Hard disk and Vibrations.
« on: May 31, 2011, 12:24:14 pm »
I have been touring for 30000 km with a digital camera and  a netbook.
I heard from other cyclists that the computer hard disk might give up after a certain time due to fatigue from the vibrations. Lucky enough, my netbook has a small solid state hd and it is still working fine. Regarding the camera, the first 25000 (pretty rough) km I carried the camera mostly in a bag on my back. For the following smoother 5000 km I placed it on a light padded bag on the top of the front rack platform. Needless to say, those were its last kms, the inside optic fell apart  :(. It might have been that the camera was just too old, but I suspect that the vibrations of the bike gave it the last hit.

Now, I just bought a DSLR camera, which has a quite more sophisticated optic than the former one.
I am wondering what are your experience on placing a DSLR camera (or a netbook with an hd) in the handlebar bag, in the side panniers, on top of the rack platforms...
Will a DSLR camera survive, or is it better to carry it on a backpack?

Thanks for your hints!


  • Guest
Re: Camera, Hard disk and Vibrations.
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2011, 10:12:40 pm »
I cannot help with the camera, but do know a lot about computer hardware. These days, hard drives are pretty tough when they are turned off and the heads are parked safely away from the disk. Vibrations are not likely to hurt it, although strong vibes could eventually crack some printed wires if the printed circuit board flexes.

When the disk is spinning, the heads fly above the magnetic surface closer than the width of a fine hair. Vibrations then can make it hit the surface--a head crash--gouging out a bit of oxide that eventually comes between the head and the disk, scratching out some more oxide. Things go rapidly downhill from there.

When I carry my netbook, I never leave it turned on and I put it in my pannier, inside a thin foam sleeve that came with it. You can buy those sleeves wherever notebooks are sold.


Offline paddleboy17

Re: Camera, Hard disk and Vibrations.
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2011, 12:31:40 pm »
I would think the worst place to carry a netbook or a camera is on top of the rack.  There is no dampening, and 100% of any shockwaves will go into rour electronics.  A pannier will offer some mechanical isolation. 

I carry my camera in a handlebar bag.  Easy to get to, and some mechanical isolation.  Plus you can carry the bag with you if you go into a restaraunt.

Are you sure that you want to carry a big DSLR?  Point and shoots have gotten pretty good and could fit in a jersey pocket.

For the record, I carry a venerable Nikon E-995 with a wide angle attachment.  But I lust after a Sony with panarama mode.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Camera, Hard disk and Vibrations.
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2011, 08:22:41 pm »
Just butting in. The need for electronics on a tour baffles me but I would carefully examine my needs for communication or entertainment or documentation and compare them against my insane desire for gadgets. For instance, i carry a green laser for no good reason at all except it is a fun thing to have. A computer is easily eliminated or replaced with a smart phone or iPad and simple  cameras are small and cheap compared to a DSLR.
Have fun on your trip.

David bosie Id
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent