Information Technology

The Secret Behind Radiation Hardened IT Equipment in Space

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The Secret Behind Radiation Hardened IT Equipment in Space

From 1961- 1975, during the worldwide space race and when the United States was making history with successful moon landings, technology at the time was booming. However, the Apollo 11 computer had a processor which ran at 0.043 MHz; meaning the iPhone in your pocket has over 100,000 times the processing power of the computer that landed man on the moon! More than 50 years later, its no secret that technology has developed into something we’d never dreamed possible. So, you’d think we’d at least be using updated systems in space today. Right?! Wrong. The computer hardware on board spacecraft computers is far from the newest and best around. 

Until the recent Space X Flacon 9 rocket, space travel was conducted with outdated processors. Even the International Space Station (ISS) is operating with using two sets of three command and control multiplexer demultiplexer computers from 1988. Even the chips that made up the original Sony PlayStation in 1994 are faster! Well luckily for all future astronauts and space cowboys alike, the Space X Falcon 9 carrying a Dragon spacecraft sent to the ISS was the first commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) high-performance computer to orbit the earth. It just so happens to be among the first supercomputers in space.

What is Radiation Hardening and Why is Necessary?

Radiation hardened electronics can simply be defined as electronic components that have been designed and tested to provide some level of protection against penetrating radiation. If not protected, radiation can cause the computer components to malfunction, damage circuitry or cause the electronic device to completely shut down. Radiation hardening is essential when the electronics are used in environments where they will be exposed to high energy ionizing or space radiation.

There are three types of space radiation concerning electronic computer components used in space: galactic cosmic rays (GCRs), high energy solar radiation, and radiation belts. Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCRs) are electrons, protons or neutrons that originate outside of our solar system. High Energy Solar Radiation are emissions from the sun due to solar flares or explosions of stored magnetic energy. Radiation Belts contain trapped electrons and ions of varying energy levels. GCRs and solar radiation routinely reach the earth; therefore, they are present at all of the earth’s atmospheric levels. 

For manned spaceships and satellite, continuous and reliable operation depends on being able to withstand space radiation. If you don’t already know the answer to the question, then you’re probably asking yourself why do we use spacecraft with such outdated processors? Well, by NASA’s standards and the laws of physics, not just any computer can go into space. Computer components must be radiation hardened, especially the CPUs. Otherwise, they tend to fail due to the effects of ionizing radiation. 

There is more modern hardware in space like the laptops used on the ISS. But those laptops are not high-performance computers. They’re just ordinary laptops that are expected to fail. Actually, there are more than a hundred laptops on the ISS, and most are obsolete. In order to perform serious data mining, we want high-performance computing. Afterall these are the reasons we’re doing experiments on the space station. 

The typical way to radiation-harden a computer that will be used in space is to add redundancy to its circuits or use insulating substrates instead of the usual semiconductor wafers on chips. That’s not only very costly but laborious as well. Scientists believe that simply slowing down a system in adverse conditions can avoid glitches and keep the computer running.

The end goal is to develop a functional supercomputer for operation in space without spending years hardening it. By using off-the-shelf servers and custom-built software, scientists are trying to harden a computer using software by throttling its speed when there’s a solar flare or other radiation hazard. If possible, astronauts will have the latest devices available, increasing their onboard capabilities.

The Effects of Space Radiation

There are a number of ways that computer components designers can radiation-harden their devices. One of the most common is to harden for total-ionizing-dose radiation – or the amount of radiation the device is expected to withstand for its entire life before problems occur. A typical requirement is for 100 kilorads of total-dose radiation hardness. The advancement of today’s advanced electrical components is changing the total-dose picture. Specifically, the shrinking size of circuits on today’s most modern chips is decreasing their exposure to total-dose radiation.

This trend is a double-edge sword because the steady shrinking of chip geometries also makes these devices even more vulnerable to other kinds of radiation effects, namely single-event upset (SEU) and single-event latchup (SEL). If not protected, radiation can cause the computer components to malfunction, damage circuitry or cause the electronic device to completely shut down.

How To Sell Your Used I.T. Equipment

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Knowing the right steps to take when looking to sell IT equipment is an essential part of ensuring you get the most return on your IT investment.

First things first, the more used equipment you have to sell, the more you will most likely get in return. When selling used IT equipment, BULK IS KING!

These are the 5 steps to successfully sell your used IT equipment.

  1. Make a spreadsheet of the used IT equipment you want to sell

Spreadsheets are helpful when selling bulk IT equipment. We have included some common categories to include for all of your parts as well as the types of equipment that is usually sold.

Common information to include in your spreadsheet:

  • Always include your contact info
  • Age of equipment
  • Condition the equipment is currently in
  • Packaging (if you have original packaging)
  • Model(s)
  • Size (when applicable)
  • Quantities
  • Brand
  • Model or Serial numbers
  • Type (when applicable)

 

Types of equipment we frequently purchase and what to include when trying to sell them.

 Sell Used Servers:

  • System Model #s
  • Hard Drive or SSD part numbers and quantities
  • CPU part numbers or model numbers
  • RAM part numbers
  • Purchase Dates

 

Sell Used Storage:

  • Systems
  • System Model #
  • Disk Array Enclosure Model #
  • Setup: Unified or Block?
  • Drives
  • Physical Disk Inventory Report
  • OR List of Hard Drives by Part #

 

Sell Used Networking Gear:

  • System Model #s
  • Condition
  • Purchase Dates
  • Pictures if available

 

Sell Used Hard Drives:

  • Hard Drive Model Numbers
  • HD Densities
  • Connectors
  • Spindle Speeds
  • Condition

 

Sell Used CPUs:

  • Processor Model Number(s)
  • Quantity
  • Condition

 

Sell Used Memory:

  • OEM Part Number
  • Mfg Part Number
  • Quantity
  • Condition

 

  1. Take Pictures of the IT equipment you want to sell

This will help show the purchaser what condition the equipment is in. Also, pictures of the product numbers can help verify exactly what the equipment is, ensuring a more accurate valuation and quote.

Your pictures don’t need to be Wired Magazine quality, as long as it is clear enough to read.

Here is great example:

3. Choose an ITAD Vendor

When looking into an ITAD partner to work with, we urge you to consider the following:

  • How much do they charge?
  • What are their data erasure policies and procedures?
  • Do they have references readily available?

You should trust that the ITAD company you choose has your best interests in mind, as they should be helping you to get the most value out of your equipment so they can as well.

Learn more about choosing the ITAD partner that’s right for you

4. Ship your Used IT Equipment

It is always best to use the original packaging when you can. Shipping is an important part of the process, and shipping costs should always be discussed early on. If possible, look for an ITAD vendor that covers the cost of shipping or provides on-site services.

5. Get paid for your used IT equipment!

By this point you should be well on your way to getting paid for your old IT equipment. The ITAD vendor you work with, should have given you an accurate value on your equipment. But you’re probably wondering how long it will take until you get paid. That depends on the ITAD vendor you chose as they all have different payment policies. Some even offer a credit towards upgrading your old equipment, if that’s what your looking to do.

If you want help to sell IT equipment, start by submitting your list of equipment here!

How Selling Old IT Equipment Can Increase Your Buying Power

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Once your used IT equipment is ready to be retired, you can start turning it into a brand-new investment to help expand your business. It’s easy to think of the many benefits of buying the latest equipment to grow your IT infrastructure. However, we encourage you to take a minute to think about the countless benefits your company will experience by selling your retired IT assets.

Used IT equipment is almost always valuable to another enterprise looking to grow, and we’ve found that even gear that’s operated in the field for a long time can be refurbished and made beneficial to someone else. Partnering with the right IT asset management firm can make all the difference in getting a high price for your used equipment and even acquiring new equipment you may need.

Working with the right partner can help an organization avoid a long sales process, tough negotiations, and a low price. Just because you’re ready to get rid of old assets that are taking up precious real estate, doesn’t mean you should settle for less.

Take a moment to look at your inventory and figure out a way to sell used IT equipment in a way that’s best for your company. This report will help you with some of that process.

Benefits of Selling Used IT Equipment

When your company decides it time to sell your used IT equipment, don’t just consider the money you’ll get from the sale. Sure, the return on investment is an upside, but there are many other benefits as well. We will go through a few more ways to maximize value that you might not necessarily think of right away.

A few potential areas you can save money by selling used IT equipment includes reductions in maintenance and repair costs, which is common with older equipment. Ultimately, there may also be a reduction in the purchasing of replacement parts. Savings also range from warehousing the equipment and its potential replacements, as well as spare parts and specialty tools that might’ve been needed in the past.

Selling used IT equipment gives organizations an opportunity to improve their IT capabilities simultaneously cutting costs for legacy and end-of-life gear.

Often, companies retire their IT equipment because they’ve outgrown it or switched to services that no longer require it. Most equipment that gets disposed of still has a lot of useful life, not because there’s something wrong with it. So, by trading or selling used equipment, you are actually supporting another company to grow at an affordable rate with quality equipment.

By selling used equipment — as opposed to throwing it away — a company can highlight its green initiatives and ensure that no equipment ends up in a landfill contributing to the world’s e-waste problems.

There are also ways to limit the number of suppliers you need to work with. This can help a business save both time and money by reducing their team to only trusted and verified partners. When you can find a trustworthy partner to sell your IT equipment to, and buy from the same partner, it creates a one-stop IT shop. Another bonus to selling and buying from the same IT asset partner is that they most likely have an existing network to find other legacy equipment you may need.

We highly recommend finding a partner with experience in used IT equipment because it can make the process easier with a higher rate of return.

Exclusive Benefits of Working With DTC

As a used IT equipment purchaser and IT asset provider, we give businesses considerable access to a full range of equipment and services.

Whether your organization is completing an infrastructure overhaul, or just updating your current set up, we’ve got a wide range of equipment and expertise to help you along the way.

With more than 50 years in the IT equipment industry, we have a thorough knowledge of the procurement process and can work with your team to assist with any data destruction services they may need. We are a family owned company and treat our customers like family.

Data security and customer service have been our top priorities since we opened our doors. Our diverse knowledge-base and experiences, allow our clients to utilize our purchasing and sales personnel as a valued resource for questions, research, and answers.

Another reason companies really like working with us is that our vast database and the contact list of customers, resellers, recyclers, suppliers, and industry partners allows us to find the best price when sourcing your IT equipment.

Our spotless reputation ensures your transactions are handled efficiently, ethically, and securely.  With all of the transactions we’ve processed, we have never had one security breach or data loss.

Things to Look for in an IT Asset Partner

When thinking about how to sell used IT equipment, it’s always best to create a profile of the companies you want to partner with. Building a blueprint allows you to know what questions to ask, identify gaps, compare costs and ensure that they can meet your specific needs.

To help in creating your list, here are some of the considerations we suggest for people who are thinking about selling use IT equipment:

  • What type of excess or used equipment do they purchase?
  • What is their payment process and how long does it take?
  • What types of services do they offer?
  • How long have they been in business and do they have referrals readily available?
  • Do they have flexible payment and other agreement options, including account credit that can be applied to other equipment?
  • What is their warranty and return policy?
  • Who handles the shipping and logistics?
 

These are just a few of the main things we think you should consider for any IT equipment sales partner.

Environmental Benefits of Selling Used IT Equipment

It is a known fact that up to 85% of retired e-waste that gets thrown away ends up in landfills or fiery incinerators, exposing the environment to toxic elements. IT equipment only makes up a tiny fraction of the total e-waste thrown away each year, but accounts for 70% of toxic waste that’s released in the environment.

Only 15% of e-waste was properly reclaimed, meaning companies and governments were able to recover $7.4 billion in 2014. The 85% of e-waste not properly reclaimed or recycled represents a loss of $40.6 billion in assets! That’s a huge economic impact!

Recycling is good for the environment. According to an EPA report, recycling 1 million laptops saves the energy equivalent of the power 3,500 U.S. homes will use in an entire year. Electronics, especially IT equipment, are full of valuable copper, silver, gold,  and palladium. They’re also full of silicon and a variety of heavy metals and chemicals that will leach into groundwater and soil, polluting and poisoning the environment. You can help avoid some of this harm by working with a used IT equipment buyer to limit hazardous materials from entering landfills and dumps.

How to Sell Used IT Equipment

There are many different channels you can use to sell your used IT equipment. Different vendors, personal sale service and recycling options will yield different challenges and returns on your initial investment, so it’s best to consider each option carefully.

DTC has IT equipment experts that are available to work with you to develop a plan to maximize the profitability of your used IT equipment, whether you’re looking to sell it for cash or trade it for the equipment you need to grow your infrastructure.

We provide a reliable way for you to sell excess equipment, remove outdated equipment, or implement the latest tech your customers demand. We handle all the shipping and logistics so your company can save money and difficulties along the way, focusing instead on how to grow your business that matters most to your customers. Never worry about how to sell used IT equipment again.