CES: Watch a hard drive get zapped with 1,000,000 volts


You have to love the guys from ioSafe. They make what might just be the most durable and disaster-proof drives outside of a military installation.

They also have a penchant for over-the-top demos at the Consumer Electronics Show that go to extreme lengths to prove that their products can take a beating.

Last year, we took pot-shots at their Rugged Portable Hard Drive with 12-gauge shotguns.

This year, ioSafe President Robb Moore and his courageous entourage decided to literally amp-up their show.

To demonstrate to the media just how much of a hit their drives can take, they hired none other than Dr. Megavolt a.k.a Austin Richards, to zap their new Thunderbolt Edition Rugged Portable with 1 million volts of electricity courtesy of a Tesla coil which apparently Dr. Megavolt never leaves home without.

As you can see from the video, the Doctor didn’t disappoint. We were treated to quite the show. And yes, the hard drive survived to tell the tale.

And though there’s no question that ioSafe builds one heck of a tough product, they haven’t actually designed the Rugged Portable to be electrocution-proof per se.

It’s ability to survive such extreme conditions results mostly from its construction: the case is built from a solid billet of aluminium, and the drive’s internals are insulated from direct contact. Because electricity always flows around the outside of an object (even one being subjected to a million volts), the aluminium case acts as a protective conduit for the massive charge, keeping the guts of the drive from being fried.

The demo was impressive to say the least, but Moore was also quick to point out that despite the drive’s ability to divert the flow of a direct-hit from a Tesla coil, a power surge from your home electrical system would be a different matter altogether. That’s because such a surge – even a minor one – travels directly through the cables connected to the drive and thus can reach those sensitive areas that physically store your data.

So while the Rugged Portable might well be able to survive a lightning strike if it happens to be in your pocket at the time, you should still invest in a decent surge protector and UPS for your gear at home.