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Cosmic Rays Are Messing Up Your Cell Phone

02/17/2017 1:18 PM

That's what researchers from Vanderbilt have figured out.

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Guru

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#1

Re: Cosmic Rays Are Messing Up Your Cell Phone

02/17/2017 1:37 PM

While I relish the opportunity to use this excuse when I hear the internet keeps crashing or what have you. I don't look forward to hearing it from customer service should I call in a complaint.

"Sir? From what I can tell on my end the service is a-ok.. It's probably cosmic rays that's effecting your connection."

- cosmic

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Guru

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#2

Re: Cosmic Rays Are Messing Up Your Cell Phone

02/17/2017 3:36 PM

Consumer devices are not radiation hardened like military and space electronics. If you fly a lot, sooner or later a cosmic ray will come through. The trail of ionization can do a lot of damage in a dense electronic circuit chip, especially in a powered up circuit.

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Guru
Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - Been there, done that, still doing it. Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

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#3

Re: Cosmic Rays Are Messing Up Your Cell Phone

02/17/2017 3:44 PM

Why do people think that this is news. In April 1980 the IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science published a research paper titled:

Cosmic-Ray-Induced Errors in MOS Devices

The MOS devices (transistors) were relatively huge 37 years ago when compared to the most basic of cell phones. It took much more of an ionization charge to flip a bit back then.

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Guru

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#4

Re: Cosmic Rays Are Messing Up Your Cell Phone

02/17/2017 4:29 PM

Cosmic rays HA! You need to worry about EMP !

I'm onboard...

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Guru

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Placerville, CA (38° 45N, 120° 47'W)
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#5

Re: Cosmic Rays Are Messing Up Your Cell Phone

02/18/2017 12:57 AM

Did you notice: "A person flying in an airplane at 35,000 feet (where radiation levels are considerably higher than they are at sea level) who is working on a laptop with 500 kilobytes of memory may experience one potential error every five hours."

I fly a lot at and above that altitude. My laptop has 16 Gigabytes of memory. One could infer from the above paragraph, that since I have (16G/500k)= 32,000 times as much memory, I should have a potential error every (5*3,600)/32,000= 0.56 seconds.

Most of the time, I work on my laptop from the time we reach 10,000 feet on the way up, to the time we reach 10,000 feet on the way down. Happily, I'm not aware of any problems caused by such radiation. Still, it's a great excuse to keep in mind, just in case...

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Cosmic Rays Are Messing Up Your Cell Phone

02/18/2017 1:24 AM

One more thing. Did anyone ever make a laptop with only 500k of memory? My first laptop was a low-end Powerbook 100, (late '91 or early '92), and it had 2MB of memory.

I suspect that 500k value was an error...

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Guru

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Cosmic Rays Are Messing Up Your Cell Phone

02/18/2017 5:04 AM

The 500k was what was left after the radiation incident.

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