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Transportation Hardware

Ask Slashdot: Transporting Computers By Cargo Ship? 249

JabrTheHut writes "I'll be packing up and moving to another continent soon. Everything I own will be packed up into boxes and loaded onto a cargo container, which in turn will be loaded onto a ship and will sail from Northern Europe, through the equator and then to its final destination. It will be in transit for up to 8 weeks. What do I need to do to ensure my stuff survives the trip? I've got anti-static bags and silica gel for graphics cards and hard disks, which won't be in the computers, mostly, when they move, and some of what I own will be crated in order to protect both against physical damage and humidity. I'll throw in a couple of packets of silica gel into each box or crate. Clothes get moth balls. But what have I missed? Will the printer ink survive? Do I have to worry about batteries? What haven't I thought of?"
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Ask Slashdot: Transporting Computers By Cargo Ship?

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  • by cadeon ( 977561 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @02:09PM (#41569867)

    My main concern would be heat- and there's not much you can do about it, unfortunately.

    Sun on a metal box basically turns it into an oven. Hopefully your container isn't on top.

    • Re:Heat. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by funwithBSD ( 245349 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @02:49PM (#41570243)

      I can't imagine the heat doing much compared to the running tempretures of a normal PC. 70C is not out of the picture in an overclocked system, and it survives just fine.

      Besides, how do you think it got over here in the first place? Shipped by cargo ship from the far east.

      Personally, I would hand carry any media I wanted to protect. The data is important, the hardware is an inconvenience.

      • by gagol ( 583737 )

        Personally, I would hand carry any media I wanted to protect. The data is important, the hardware is an inconvenience.

        Exactly what I was thinking. Are you loading the container yourself? If so, add lots extra padding.

        • Re:Heat. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by bonehead ( 6382 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @03:07PM (#41570397)

          Yep, have a backup of important data that you carry on your person during the trip. The hardware can pretty much be haphazardly stuffed into boxes and not worried about.

          Computers are not the delicate, fragile devices that so many people insist on treating them as. If they were laptops could not exist.

          • Re:Heat. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Hordeking ( 1237940 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @04:35PM (#41571039)
            Carry the media? That's a load of crap. IT'll just get confiscated at the border. Pay someone to put the data somewhere within whatever country you're in now on a VPN and you just copy it over once you get to your destination.
            • by bonehead ( 6382 )

              That works, too. The primary point being that a PC is not a fragile little flower that's going to shatter into a billion pieces if somebody looks at it wrong. Stuff it in a box and load it on the truck/boat. Put some padding around any lcd screens. Call it good.

              Not sure why a VPN is necessary. Just leave a drive behind and have a friend put up a temporary FTP server when you're ready to retrieve the data. Or use cloud storage. Between dropbox, skydrive, google drive, sugarsync, and several others, I

            • Re:Heat. (Score:4, Informative)

              by funwithBSD ( 245349 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @05:43PM (#41571631)

              2000 seizures out of 264 million travelers.

              Somehow I am not too concerned they are going to seize anything.

              I work for IBM, with lots of people that travel out of the country. I have not even heard of anyone getting more than a request to start the laptop to make sure it is real.

              It is not even on the list of things IBM Travel created to worry about on a trip, although certain over-the-counter drugs will get you in deep shit if you are not careful...


      • Exactly, screw the boxes, if they come through fine and if something breaks you can always hit the net and order another,its the data you have to worry about.

        I don't know how much of a markup there would be where he is at but you can get 128Gb flash sticks now for something like $90 USD off of NewEgg. One or two of those on your keyring and you can keep a copy of your data on you the entire trip so if anything happens to the container or the drives he'd not lose anything.

        And if the PC is gonna take 8 week

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by kbrannen ( 581293 )
        My wife works for a company that helps people relocate internationally and according to her, heat/cold/water isn't your problem (although do your best to keep moisture out). Your biggest concern is it arriving at all. :) She says a large percentage (25-50%) of the cargo containers just don't get there at all, getting lost who knows where along the way, or arrive severely damaged. Her company's advice is to ship as much as you possibly can by air and only put the stuff that's easily replaceable in the cargo
  • by ( 1706780 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @02:10PM (#41569873)

    Personally I would have just backed the data up and carried the hard drives with me if I were moving continents. Computer hardware isn't that expensive to replace.

    If you're intent on doing it that way though, it might help to package the stuff in its original boxes, I know many people do keep them. They're suitable for shipping.

    • by Spazmania ( 174582 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @02:37PM (#41570133) Homepage

      We have a winner.

      Hand-carry or air-ship your media. Pack the rest like you would for shipping it UPS and don't overthink it.

    • A separate backup is a really good idea. I ship cocoa beans by container on a regular basis and while I haven't had any significant problems (yet) it will no doubt happen -- and at the most inconvenient time. It is a regular occurrence for containers to be washed overboard or to simply be "lost" (before or after customs). I'd make digital copies of all your most important pictures and paperwork and ship your copies separate (perhaps by FedEx). This way unless a meteor plummets out of the sky wiping out
    • by fm6 ( 162816 )

      Computer hardware isn't that expensive to replace.

      Depends on what country you're in. Buy a computer in some countries and you can expect to pay heavy import duties. But there's often an exemption for computers you bring to the country with you. And in any case, if you've had your computer for even a couple of years, it's depreciated up the wazoo, and you can get away with a very low declared value.

    • by puto ( 533470 )


      I moved from the US to Colombia, SA, and I brought two motherboards, processors, graphic cards, 8 hard drives, and two heavy duty power supplies, plus all the cabling wrapped in bubble wrap. I left my cases in the us because of the weight and the size.

      When I arrived I bought two towers and put them all back together.

      Depends on where you go, sometimes it is hard to find good parts, but you can always find a case.

      Also, customs agents in other countries tend to "lose" things in transit.

    • by jamesh ( 87723 )

      Personally I would have just backed the data up and carried the hard drives with me if I were moving continents. Computer hardware isn't that expensive to replace.

      If you're intent on doing it that way though, it might help to package the stuff in its original boxes, I know many people do keep them. They're suitable for shipping.

      Unless the OP was moving to Antarctica or somewhere where wasn't a local computer store or regular freight deliver I'd suggest doing the same thing. Seems odd that the OP didn't mention that as it's the sort of thing most people are going to leap onto without offering any sensible answer to the asked question.

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      I did the same and didn't give it a second though. Everything came through fine, other than the plugs all being wrong for the new continent.
  • Packaging (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ford Prefect ( 8777 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @02:10PM (#41569877) Homepage

    Simple - put things into packaging approximating what they originally came in. Worked fine for me, with a range of computing hardware and an inkjet printer travelling from Europe to Washington State.

    (How do you think much of your computing stuff made its way from China to begin with?)

    • (How do you think much of your computing stuff made its way from China to begin with?)

      In cases of individual parts?

      • We were discussing the heat, not impact.

        And in that case, just repack it in the original packaging. That was all that was protecting it in the first place.

        You do have your original packing, don't you?

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      And with the printers make sure to secure anything that was secure. In my last big move the only thing I lost was a high end inkjet printer. Three miles unsecured in the car and it never worked again.

      I would make an image of the harddisk and hand carry, and then back up data on some offsite device.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Really, all this transportation is one thing, but you should have a secure backup that isn't transported so far out of your hands.

    Because ships sink, cargo containers break or get stolen, things go bad.

    At least if the internet cables break, that's not your problem.

  • Talk to Missionaries (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @02:13PM (#41569893)

    You should talk to missionaries who go for long term assignments. They typically ship the bulk of houshold goods by ship because it's cheaper. Biggest problem is dealing with the customs workers on the other end. One trick was to put a cute cuddly child's toy on the top of each box or container. The customs guy would often take that and leave the rest. That was 30 years ago.. Don't know what is the best nowadays.

    One lady had to pack 4 years of tampons. Customs guy had never seen them before. Husband went to pick up the barrels (45 gallon drums) and was a bit of a joker. Q. "What are these?". A. "What do you think?" Q "Some kind of new cigarette?"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I packaged the computers in their rack, pulled the hard disks, they were hand carried. I did make one mistake, my container (and computers) were inspected, and I had already set the computers to EU voltage, lost a motherboard and 2 power supplies.

    No real special care needed to be done, the container was loaded by the shipping company, and all my stuff arrived just fine in Finland after about about 2.5 months later. Only real hassle was the car, the rest was just tax free and easy as "removal goods" as per

    • by Gonoff ( 88518 )

      You took a US car away from North America? Why?

      • Taxes on cars in Finland are crazy high. While he would have to modify the car from the US to conform to ECE specs, if the same car was sold there, it usually just needs the lighting replaced. If he wasn't staying long term, its likely he could get a wavier for the modifications as the car will be re-exported.
    • I did make one mistake, my container (and computers) were inspected, and I had already set the computers to EU voltage, lost a motherboard and 2 power supplies.

      Where do you live, what voltage mains supply did the customs people plug your kit into ? The standard voltage in the EU is 230V, I can't see something being badly blown by under voltage, so the voltage must have been higher -- which areas have higher than about 250V ?

  • Ink and batteries (Score:5, Informative)

    by maroberts ( 15852 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @02:15PM (#41569917) Homepage Journal

    Should be removed for shipping.

    • This is the best answer I've seen in this thread. Anything but the coin cells used for backup should be removed from devices before transport.

      Shipping containers are like UDP, they're lossy. Containers fall off of them, whole container ships are occasionally lost, or "lost" for tax reasons. You can't resend a packet but you can make an insurance claim and order up another container of kewpie dolls. You can't order up another copy of your data unless you make a backup, so the really important thing is to ins

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @02:15PM (#41569921)

    Prepare to lose everything you pack in the container. Cargo ships will pack as many cargo containers into them as they can and whatever won't fit into the hold will be strapped to the deck. It is not unknown for cargo containers to be washed overboard during a storm. A shipment of rubber ducks that were washed overboard ended up helping scientists track ocean currents. See the following link:

    • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @02:29PM (#41570061) Homepage

      Prepare to lose everything you pack in the container. Cargo ships will pack as many cargo containers into them as they can and whatever won't fit into the hold will be strapped to the deck. It is not unknown for cargo containers to be washed overboard during a storm. A shipment of rubber ducks that were washed overboard ended up helping scientists track ocean currents. See the following link:

      Be prepared to get boarded you scurvy dog!

      Come on, bad things can always happen. Container losses are not particularly common and he's not shipping the Mona Lisa.

      Good thing pirates don't make you walk the plank these days. You'd be in a total twizzy.

      • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @03:11PM (#41570427)
        While the subject line is a bit sensational, I do think it's worth warning potentially naive people that they can lose everything in a move, even if unlikely. As a child my family hired a reputable moving company to move almost all of our belongings about 700 miles from a northern US state to a southern one. It was near the end of the year, so unbeknown to us, the driver actually drove the van north to spend New Year's with his family and abandoned it in a shopping center where it was robbed. What they didn't take, the robbers dumped in the snow to get ruined. We lost everything we didn't take with us in the car, including irreplaceable family photos of me and my brother as young children. The moving company fought us in court and in the end since my family was not rich and could not afford a protracted lawsuit, we had to settle for a price that probably didn't truly cover our losses but got most of them. I remember some years ago in school encountering another student with a similar story, but events like this are rare. People just need to understand that while it is probably unlikely that the OP will lose everything, the odds are probably a lot higher than he likely realizes and it's not a "1 in a million" event.
  • Anybody that's served overseas has sent stuff back and forth via cargo containers.

    This is a really dumb question.... just pack your stuff well and stop worrying about it, like the thousands of service personnel have done for decades of shipping personal computers, stereo equipment, etc...

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) * on Saturday October 06, 2012 @02:18PM (#41569955)

    Put it in sealed plastic bags, and forget about it.

    Why bother to remove the hard drives and graphics cards? Just bag the computer and ship it intact with sufficient padding for normal handling.
    Containers aren't totally humidity proof, but they aren't going to have ocean waves flowing thru your stuff either. They are close enough to being
    sealed that simply bagging against humidity is sufficient. Silica gel is unnecessary. Bag it. Tape it. Pad it. Box it. done.

    Pack it like you would for motor freight from one end of your country to the other.
    Ocean passage is five nines uneventful. Occasionally large waves take entire tiers of containers
    off ships, but this is exceedingly rare, and that is what insurance is for.

    Your stuff is more at risk sitting in the freight yard pre and post passage, than it is on the ship. Not from any real damage, but rather from pilferage.

    Moth balls? At sea?

    • by BitwizeGHC ( 145393 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @03:06PM (#41570391) Homepage

      Bag it. Tape it. Pad it. Box it.

      ... strap it, seal it, zip it, ship it.



    • by mcelrath ( 8027 )

      Why bother to remove the hard drives and graphics cards?

      Because an assembled computer is generally not going to withstand stresses (dropping) very well. The box the case came in is not designed to handle more weight than the case itself, and if you put it in that box with all the cards/hdd/psu in it, it will way 5-10 times as much as the empty case. When it gets dropped (it will get dropped) things will come loose. Now you've got a loose video card rattling around in your case, bending and breaking conne

      • by icebike ( 68054 ) *

        Most people buy computers fully assembled which means that the original box is in fact designed to handle fully assembled machines with drives and processors and video cards all installed.

        Your video card is the LEAST likely thing to come loose, its slotted and screwed in.
        Old school slot mounted CPU-daughter cards maybe, but seriously, those things went out 10 years ago.

        Having moved from one state to another, which included an ocean passage in a shipping container, plus subsequent trucking half way across th

    • Moth balls? At sea?

      - Arrrgh, I take it you have never seen them sea moths, have you? Arrrgh! They will eat your computer and your clothing and whatever is inside the container once they are done devouring the actual container. That's right, they jump out of the sea on their underwater sea wings and then they snatch a container with their huge moths paws and jump back into the sea. Then they swallow the entire container and it forces them to go down onto the bottom of the sea, where they then lay quietly for 300 days, devour

  • Heatsink (Score:5, Informative)

    by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @02:19PM (#41569961)

    Remove the CPU's heatsink from the motherboard, if you haven't. Those things are heavy, and the plastic screws typically holding them on are weak. The last thing you want is a big hunk of metal bouncing around inside the box.

    Source: experience :(

    • by ed1park ( 100777 )

      Mod him up. I just moved my computer upstairs and my heatsink came loose. It's one of those big zalman custom thingies.

    • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) *

      Yep, same thing with the GPU (I assume you have a nice GPU, that's the only thing that would make your PC worth shipping these days)

      Even though mine was screwed in, the PC frame got bent slightly while in airline storage. Now if I nudge my case the wrong way, I start getting video corruption :P

  • Where are you going?

    Australia? New Zealand? Somewhere else? :)

  • Own less stuff (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Magic5Ball ( 188725 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @02:22PM (#41569989)

    Why not take this opportunity to simplify your life by owning less stuff? It would save you from having to pack, ship, track, and store everything.

    There are far more opportunities available if you're mobile enough to fit your life into a couple of suitcases and leave the bulky/sentimental stuff with relatives. More importantly, your spending will naturally shift from things to people and experiences that can't get damaged or lost in transit.

  • What with the "anti-terror" regulations, I'd give serious thought to a full online backup and leaving pretty much just the basics on the hard drives. And I'd zero the "empty" sectors. I know I'm being paranoid, its why I'm "trusted" about this kind of thing, but it removes one more, possible, reason for seizure (or delay).
  • Best bet (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CodeInspired ( 896780 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @02:23PM (#41570003)
    Sell, pawn, or throw pretty much everything away and get new stuff when you get there. If you are paying for the shipping, I'm willing to bet almost everything you are shipping is not worth the cost to ship it. Ship the sentimental stuff (pictures, videos, gifts, etc) and take the super important things with you on the plane. I'm pretty sure a used ink cartridge for your printer is not worth shipping across the globe and waiting 8 weeks for it.
    • by 1u3hr ( 530656 )

      if you are paying for the shipping, I'm willing to bet almost everything you are shipping is not worth the cost to ship it.

      Basically, if you're sending freight, there will be a large fixed cost (for "handling" and port fees, documents, etc.) and then a per cubic foot cost. So you end up paying about the same even if you cut the volume by half for a small "domestic" shipment.

      Obviously back up your hard drives. I'd take them out and take them in personal luggage. May not be safer, but then you won't have to wait weeks to get access to them.

      • by icebike ( 68054 ) *

        I'd take them out and take them in personal luggage. May not be safer, but then you won't have to wait weeks to get access to them.

        You probably will have to wait weeks.
        Carrying loose hard drives is far more suspicious than carrying complete computers.
        Depending on the country of destination, carrying loose drives on board an airplane is far more likely to get them seized for analysis at customs.

  • Most of your stuff probably spent plenty of time on a cargo ship before you owned it. Consider the packaging it came in and how it was disassembled and do something like that.

  • by Gonoff ( 88518 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @02:42PM (#41570187)
    The USA uses a different voltage and frequency from most of the planet. Back all your data online, copy it onto USB devices and sell as much as possible. Unless you are being posted to a desert island, you will be able to buy replacements when you arrive. This will save you transport costs.
  • I shipped a computer, some hard drives and a couple of lcd monitors from Thailand to New Zealand by ship. I packed it in original packaging when possible, and the computer (DAW) was in a rackmount chassis in a metal studio case. Padded it with a couple of blankets. Everything was fine, except the motherboard died about a week after arrival. Could have been the shipping, could have been the arbitrariness of life. It was a couple of years old at that time.
  • Insurance (Score:5, Informative)

    by jkroll ( 32063 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @02:45PM (#41570219)

    As someone who has moved overseas and back four times; you are worried about the trivial details. Take a good hard look at the shipping contract concerning damage coverage. The contract may also prohibit certain hazardous materials like lead acid batteries and cleaning products.

    Have your property packed out by a company experienced in shipping belongings overseas. No amount of silica packages will protect your stuff if the container is lost at sea or gets sea water inside.

    Document the condition of your belongings before they are packed up. Also make backups of important data and papers and keep them separate from your shipment. So that in the event that the worst happens, it's just a matter of getting reimbursed for damages and buying replacements. While that can be time consuming and annoying, it is better than losing irreplaceable photos or legal records.

    Good luck and enjoy your new country.

    • Pay attention to what he said. Insurance, and professional packing and documentation are what you need. I used to work in the freight business, and most of the time all goes well, but there are times it does not, and those can be spectacular failures.
      Truck rolls down the side of a mountain.
      Containers fall off ship.
      Ship sinks due to storm, and you are held partly responsible. Hey, the ship would not have been there if your stuff was not going to that port. Maritime rules have some features you would not b
  • by Smivs ( 1197859 ) <> on Saturday October 06, 2012 @02:48PM (#41570237) Homepage Journal
    Whatever else you do, pack all the spare space in the container with ping-pong balls. At least then if the ship sinks or the container is washed overboard it will float.
  • If your CPU heat sinks are in the largish side, take them off and store them separately. The heavy ones can damage a mobo if the computer is jerked around (like in a cargo container).
  • This is an important question that everyone should ask, regardless of how far they are moving. You mention graphics cards and hard drives that are not installed in computers - are they really worth transporting? I know this can be a hard question to answer but it is important. I would recommend looking at the cost per kilogram you are paying for transport, and then think seriously of which items that you are shipping are worth at least that much per kilogram on their own. Anything that doesn't meet that threshold should probably not be moved.
  • If you have a decent mover (never really know until you get your stuff back...) your stuff should be just fine if you pack it reasonably. A good mover will also pay attention to what you say is fragile and will treat it accordingly (you can also watch them stuff everything in the container to make sure).

    Nevertheless, you always want a backup of your data going a different route. Create a backup and either FedEx it to the destination or take it with you.

  • by Dr_Harm ( 529148 ) <> on Saturday October 06, 2012 @03:08PM (#41570403) Homepage

    Your biggest problem isn't humidity, it's going to be salt. Those cargo containers are not airtight, and if nothing else your crates and pallets may be sitting on a dock for an extended period of time. If things are in well-sealed cardboard boxes, it shouldn't be an issue... but you're not very clear on how your stuff is being packed.

    Consider getting one of the large rolls of cling-film used for shipping (i.e. similar to saran-wrap). For electronics (TV, computer, printer, maybe even the coffee machine) wrap them individually with the cling-film; it's not perfect, but if done well (i.e. tightly and completely) that should choke-off any salt spray from finding it's way inside.

    Also, anything that is on a pallet (but not a crate) should be wrapped and strapped so that the (a) the pallet stays in one piece, and (b) it is tamper-evident.

  • I recently moved from Ireland to South Africa and had a NAS, laptop and two LCD screens shipped over.

    With the NAS ( I put it in the original antistatic bag and then in its box, padded with a bit of bubble wrap and these packaging air bags. I shipped it with all its hard drives inside.

    With the screens I had their original packaging, a simple plastic bag, then placed inside polystyrene packaging then in their cardboard box.

    With the laptop (oldish now, so wasn't too fussed), I ju

  • Take out the HD's and carry them with you. If the machines are fucked when they get to you, at least you have all your software/config.
  • What haven't I thought of? drop the apostrophe from "its"
  • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <> on Saturday October 06, 2012 @03:25PM (#41570523) Homepage

    I used to be the head shipper/receiver for a company that shipped million dollar equipment pretty much everywhere in the world. Since their business spanned in various areas from mechanical equipment like computerized hydraulic saws to CNC machines, UPS systems, to custom electric motors, to replacement panels for other machines. Everything had to be packed in it's own way.

    The non-non-rule(aka the most important). Document everything, and prepare your customs and declaration information beforehand. Be clear, be concise. Put an extra copy inside the box, on top of what you packed so if it's opened customs officials will have a full inventory list and hopefully won't destroy everything.

    Rule one: There's no such thing using too little packing material. And your packaging should always be overrated, if you're sharing a shipping container this is doubly true.
    Rule two: If it's important, it goes in the crate. The crate goes in another crate. And between the two crates you use extra padding. You pay for it(by size) but you can help make sure it gets there in tact. Otherwise, just pack smart.
    Rule three: Anything that can cause damage needs to be packed separately from the main components. And any form of capture material(heat sinks, cooling containers, coolant, etc) is stored in it's own box. You'll be putting each of those in their own packing too, unless they're cheap.
    Rule four: If it can go wrong, it will go wrong. An example: $4m CNC machine is being shipped to Dallas, in a box, strapped to the inside of a truck. It was hit by a train. Don't expect everything to go perfectly, even customs can cage your stuff for weeks if you mess up a declaration.

    • Good story about Murphy's Law. Many years ago I was shipping a complete lab from Georgia to New Jersey. Everything in custom crates, properly secured and padded. Somewhere in Virginia a tank truck making deliveries to gas stations hit the truck carrying my stuff, and everything got burned to a crisp. Had to pay well beyond standard shipping rates because I declared the full value of the gear, but the shipping company cut me the check for the stated value in a day or two.
  • Don't put all of your eggs in one basket. Make backups of all of your data and ship the backups differently. Take them with you if possible, but checked luggage is not foolproof either, and if you put them in your carry-on luggage you may run afoul of the TSA or its local equivalent.

  • Backing up your hard drives was already suggested. Additionally, you shouldould either encrypt financial records using PGP or use a secure disc erasing application to remove them from your hard drive. By "financial records", you should include bank statements, tax returns, a list of your logon IDs and passwords, and bookmarks ("favorites") that include financial institutions. You might have other sensitive personal data that should be similarly treated.

    You should also encrypt the backup files to a portab

  • When I moved to and from Hawaii (I think only about 2 or 3 weeks of that time is on a boat but another week or two in storage on each end led to 7 weeks from dropoff to delivery on the other end), I didn't do anything special with my electronics. Just packed computers and electronics in boxes the same way I'd pack them if I were moving across town - surrounded them with sheets, towels, etc for cushioning before putting into a box. I had planned on putting the delicate electronics stuff in a plastic trash ba

  • I moved from the UK to NZ five years back and brought all my computer gear. I made sure I took the laptops and my backup discs in my carry on luggage but shipped everything else. Since power sockets are different here, I also shipped a bunch of distribution boards so I could still use my original cables and power bricks. Over time, I've retired some with replacements but I can't begin to say how much cheaper it was to keep it all. I didn't bring any white goods or my TV, but everything else I brought.

  • by xonen ( 774419 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @04:01PM (#41570781) Journal

    Now you have all time in the world, but seriously. When you arrive at your new home, new job, new everything, you have, and want to have, other stuff on your mind than your old computer collection.

    All you need, most likely, is one working, in a fashionable way, PC or laptop. Printers are not relevant as they are available in any corner of the world for $50. So is all your old data, if it doesn't fit on an SD card it's rubbish anyways.

    Disassembling working hardware is a bad idea too, better leave the computer just as-is, in working order, than to dissassemble. That's only waiting for extra unanticipated problems.

    Meanwhile, you are going to sit and wait 8 weeks without your hardware. You will find some replace, and use that.

    Imho, the only reason to ship your old hardware is if you think over there where you going is a viable 2nd hand market for it. And even then you should wonder.

    When migrating. Bring as little as possible. On bring stuff you have a strong bond with. To me, that would not be a set of computers, that for sure. One, maximum. And better even: just one usb-key with data.

    You will have other things on your mind when you get there. Now you have all time of the world bothering this issue, even asking for it on /. In two months, you'll regret giving yourself the extra hassle of re-assembling your computer farm. Chances are it'll keep in boxes for the next year. And that you only unpack you furniture, and other comfortable stuff.

  • Your biggest problem is not heat or moisture. But sea water. Your biggest risk is that your container is going to get hit with ocean waves and it might leak. Sea water changes computer hardware into useless junk in no-time. So your best option is to backup all your data on hard-drives that you take with you when you move. Rest of your belonging is something that you just have to hope for the best during this 8 weeks at sea.

    I am planning my own long distance move in few years time. This was one of the risk f

  • Insurance on the contents.

    • Or state the full value of the contents and be prepared to pay higher shipping rates. Standard contracts, at least for shipping domestically in the US, limit the shippers' liability to a few dollars per pound.
  • Everything you're shipping has been on a container ship or equivalent before, when it was shipped from China to you. Don't over think it.

    However, having done several moves across the Pacific I would say this: Mail your valuables. You get tracking, you get insurance, and someone just might read the "FRAGILE" sticker on the outside. Better yet, travel with them. If it's truly valuable, a carry-on bag is the best way.

    (Note: Depending on your country of destination you may have import especially when mailing

    • by Animats ( 122034 )

      Everything you're shipping has been on a container ship or equivalent before, when it was shipped from China to you. Don't over think it.

      Exactly. Pack it like it was packed when you bought it. When you got it new, it was in a heat-sealed plastic bag, in a cardboard box with some styrofoam around it, and that got it across the ocean last time. The only special precaution is to wrap everything in plastic bags with some silica gel inside.

  • Backup your data online, sell the hardware.
  • The risks you will face:
    1) The obvious, it may be lost or stolen. Can you afford to lose family photos and you personal info?
    2) Vibration. It addition to having your boxes roughly handled, ships will expose your gear to low frequency vibration for weeks on end.
    3) Temperature. Most shipping isn't climate controlled, so you may get condensation.
    4) Incompatibility. Chances are where you are going will have difference power, communications, space and environmental

    Recommendation. Sell everything you can't re

  • Cosmoline. Coat everything with cosmoline. It'll keep out the seawater and give you something to do when the stuff arrives (if it ever does).

  • how do you think that this stuff usually gets around the world? in containers, on ships. What makes you so special? Packed the way that you received them when they were new and you should have few problems. But the handy hints are,
    Remove Expansion cards, if you can.
    Shake the box and if you hear a rattle, repack.
    Back stuff up and ship the back-ups in hand luggage or just get someone to hold onto them.
    Photocopy serial numbers and software activation code, in-case you need to rebuild.
    buy Insurance and read the

  • I've packed lots of gear for many deployments. Not much to it other than use sealed, tough containers.

    Ammo cans (ensure lid gasket is good) work very well. Plastic tubs taped shut with nylon packing tape work decently for larger items.

    If you can score some drums with removable lids, they work a treat too.

    I like ISO containers, and would if practical arrange to buy the container so I could drop it at destination and use it for an outbuilding. They are easy to work with, tough, and highly weather resistant.

  • Make sure it is loaded on the right ship. Many years ago a friend of mine had a crate shipped from N. to S. America. It showed up ... 2 years later, having been loaded on the wrong ship and circling the world.

  • The forgotten U boat of the lost Atlantic wolf-pack.
  • Back up everything onto usb-powered drives (they come in 1TB size these days; you can fit 20 in a makeup case!), sell the hardware, put the drives in hand luggage, take a netbook with to show $customs$ that it's just data or whatever, and don't worry about shipping something that's gonna cost more to ship than it's worth. Buy new gear at the other end with the proceeds and buy Tiger beer by the case with what's left.

  • by Wierdy1024 ( 902573 ) on Sunday October 07, 2012 @07:21AM (#41575827)

    Having shipped something once, if your container happens to end up on the top of the ship, it can get _very_ hot.

    One of the devices I shipped had a thermometer in, and it got to 83 C (181 F). Lots of things melted, and all the rubber seals became all sticky and useless. Lots of other bits of plastic became hard and cracked. Lots of bottled products either expanded and split or evaporated. Lots of batteries split and broke the things they were in. The shipping company didn't care...

    I'd say, make sure you have some kind of data logger in there logging at the very least pressure, temperature, and wetness, and then if they drop your container in the sea you at least know what happened to it...

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