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I have a 36V 8.8 Amp qualtek power supply that I want to bring for a friend. I'm not planning on checking bags so it will have to be carry on. Is this ok to bring on a plane? I can't seem to find any rules on power supplies on airplanes in the US.

Looks like this: power supply image

  • It will depend on how the airport security people see it. If they think the unit's size or mass or sharp edges make it useable as a weapon, they'll say "no." Probably they'll say nothing. How risk tolerant are you? – David Aug 14 at 16:53
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    Note: to a security agent, they'll probably just see it as "computer equipment" or "electrical equipment" or something like that - they probably don't care what kind of equipment. Don't get too worked up about how it's a "power supply" and not "computer equipment". (Disclaimer: I've never had to deal with American TSA) – user29850 Aug 15 at 4:16
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    I would describe this - truthfully - as a "computer equipment spare part" to any layman that would only associate a power supply with some plug-in device. – rackandboneman Aug 15 at 18:52
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    Disguise them as snakes. – Carl Witthoft Aug 16 at 11:34
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I asked them via Messenger and it appears that power supplies are allowed with no restriction image of chat transcript with TSA

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    I'm kind off curious about the second part of their answer. "Power banks must be packed in carry-on ..." ? – DeepSpace Aug 15 at 11:15
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    @DeepSpace There's a nonzero risk of them spontaneously catching fire. If they're packed in the carry-on there's a higher chance someone will notice and put it out compared to if it catches fire in the baggage compartment. – Johanna Aug 15 at 11:24
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    @Johanna Thanks but I meant that I wanted to see the rest of the text, I did not question the content of it – DeepSpace Aug 15 at 11:26
  • A power supply like this is not a significant energy store. A power bank is. Stored energy is what tends to make things kill people instead of people killing people. – rackandboneman Aug 15 at 18:50
  • Some airlines outright ban LiPo supplies. The "USB powerpack", unless it is integral to a device. They consider it to be a loose battery. – mckenzm Aug 16 at 4:56
13

The What Can I Bring page does not list this explicitly but it does list Phone Chargers which are similar in function but also Bread Machine, Laptops, Sewing Machine all of which require AC/DC units. Also power inverter. If you want to be 100% sure

For items not listed here, simply snap a picture or send a question to AskTSA on Facebook Messenger or Twitter. We look forward to answering your questions, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET weekdays; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends/holidays.

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    Excellent find about how to actually ask TSA! – David Aug 14 at 17:24
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    @David but good luck getting a random TSA agent to care what they answered – andrewmh20 Aug 14 at 20:12
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    Hopefully Ask TSA and the agents are reading the same rulebook... of course, as the page notes the final decision always lies with the agent and it can be difficult but if you escalate to a supervisor and can show Ask TSA on your phone, who knows, they might let it pass. – chx Aug 15 at 1:29
  • Print the answer you get and bring it with you.. – user61942 Aug 15 at 18:12
5

If by "power supply" you mean something you connect to a wall socket, and which can then supply DC power to some electronics, then certainly -- people routinely fly with those in their cabin baggage (they might call them laptop chargers instead, but a power supply is what it is).

If you're speaking about a battery bank that doesn't need to be receive grid power while it puts out DC, then different rules apply.

2

In general, electronic devices are allowed, provided they don't contain forbidden substances (anything highly flammable, radioactive, explosive, liquids etc.). Practically, most devices without large batteries in them are OK. Batteries are indeed dangerous, hence the limits and the requirements to keep devices with batteries in carry-on.

Anecdotally, I once travelled with as similarly looking device which weighted about 16kg and occupied most of my checked in bag.

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