Travel Tip: Electronic Devices Will Eventually Fail

Being a Systems Administrator by trade, a good chunk of my job is dealing with failed electronics. It’s something I see every day. It’s why I strongly recommend backing everything up. I know how easy it is for something to break to the point that I pretty much expect things to break. When it comes to electronics, they will fail at one time or another. Besides seeing it on the job, I have had plenty of experience to reaffirm this.

The biggest failure I encountered so far was my phone security fail. This failure might as well have been the phone being destroyed, because I lost all my pictures. This obviously made writing some of my blog entries much harder.

Another failure I had was when I wiped the operating system off of my Mac. This time everything was backed up, but I still had to scramble to run the recovery console. Luckily, I had enough high-speed data on my phone to download what I needed, or I would have been without a computer.

Finally, I’ve even had SD cards and CDs fail brand new out of the box. This is the reason I recommend testing your electronics before even leaving the store parking lot. You might as well be able to return it right away instead of finding out it doesn’t work later.

Most likely brand new electronics will work out of the box. It is rare they don’t. With that being said, it’s pretty common that somewhere down the line, it’ll break. The more an electronic device is used, the more wear and tear it receives. Just like other physical objects, that wear and tear will ultimately lead to failure.

In my experience, it seems storage devices such as SD cards or hard drives tend to wear out the fastest. I’ve had countless times I’ve lost dash cam footage due to a faulty SD card. The most recent was a trip to Thunder Bay. I was only able to get half the drive there due to an SD card failing on me.

The easiest way to make sure something is going to work is testing it before you leave. If you get a chance on the road, test it again and make sure there aren’t any early warning signs of failure. If there’s any sign a device will fail you, just count that it will fail and act accordingly.

Another thing that will help is having spare devices as a backup. Since SD cards fail all the time, having a couple more than you need will make things much easier if one fails. You won’t end up scrambling to make due, or worse, lose data.

Finally, it’s always good to have a separate backup. Even if you have spares, you will lose data if a device fails. Having a backup will allow you to restore that data on the spare device. If you backup frequently enough, the data loss should be minimal and you should be able to pick up where you left off.

With all this being said, the most important thing to remember is electronic devices will eventually fail. You will be relying on it to work and all of a sudden, it won’t. It’s happened countless times to me. It’s really just a matter of being prepared. If you do this, you’ll limit the impact of a failed device and your trip will be more enjoyable.

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