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Let's say you wanted to preserve some electronics for 500 years or more in a museum. What could you do to preserve them in working order for hundreds of years? Deep freeze? Lead lined vaults? Vacuum? I've seen questions about how long electronics would last left unattended, but not how to proactively protect them for 500 years.

Let's say this is a fully functioning world, not a post-apocalyptic world. Think of a museum in the future.

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  • $\begingroup$ You may want to research what happens to a semiconductor or metal-oxide junction over time. Hint: diffusion. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Mar 19 at 20:58
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    $\begingroup$ @farmersteve, Research is considered a mandatory obligation on all Stacks. The downvote button rollover text states, "This question does not show any research effort...." The help center states questions, "should include research." And this Meta answer is very clear. I'm an EE and there's nothing you can do to store electronics for 500 years with any predictable hope of operation. But I'm not a museum curator (nor are any of your respondents), which makes every answer suspect. $\endgroup$ – JBH Mar 19 at 21:29
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    $\begingroup$ You can't. Or well you can't unless you change the storage method rigorously. Even on "tape" data is stored in the the form of potential energy differences. Thermodynamics, and more specifically the second law of thermodynamics indicates that over time this potential difference will lower and mix, even without "damage" from outside just the fact it "being" there causes this. So fundamentally you can't store data in such a way forever: the only way you can store for long time is to make the energetic potential difference large enough. $\endgroup$ – paul23 Mar 20 at 2:31
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    $\begingroup$ @Luaan Apparently they have the original axe that Paul Bunion actually used, in the Smithsonian, in an interactive display. They have replaced the head three times, and the handle eight, but it is still the original ax. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme the Second Mar 20 at 20:41
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    $\begingroup$ @JustinThymetheSecond Oh yeah, the good old ship of Theseus :) I still have the same computer I bought more than ten years ago, but no "original parts" are left in it :) But unlike an ax, a complicated electronic device will rely on replacements of parts that aren't produced anymore, and possibly cannot be easily produced anymore. It's hard to find an ISA graphics card today, for example. Eventually, you'd have to replace the parts with modern equivalents - as with the ax, after all; the head probably wasn't from the same materials and made through the same processes as "the original". $\endgroup$ – Luaan Mar 21 at 8:24

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TL;DR You cannot.

You need purpose-built items, with specially designed components and maybe even ad hoc designs (PSUs without electrolytic capacitors, etc.), capable of withstanding extreme cold.

Otherwise, there are several chemo-physical processes that would require to be halted.

  • Batteries: batteries will degrade over time, and be the first to go. You might want to store the specifications for the required voltage and just hook up a new battery whenever needed.
  • Static memories and hard disks: temperature, background radiation and charge loss are all enemies. You can cool down the apparatuses as far as possible, and shield them. Even so, they'll need to be reactivated and "refreshed" periodically. This is, on a longer timescale, what happens orders of magnitude times faster with DRAMs. Otherwise, the iPad won't boot up, because it no longer remembers how.
  • Solder joints. Most electronics being built today will die within fifty years at ambient temperature and pressure, due to the little-known fact that solder islands on circuit boards no longer contain lead or antimony, two poisonous metals that are nonetheless among the few cheap things that can prevent (rather, delay) the formation of metal whiskers. Nickel or gold-plated finishings aren't available on market electronics (some sailors might be familiar with the "brass fluff" growing out of cheap zinc-plated irons. On a much smaller scale, this is the same thing).
  • Condenser decay. This afflicts electrolytic capacitors, due to aluminum dioxide breakdown. Extreme cold will delay this process as well as it delays whiskering, but only up to a point - and some components cannot take extreme cold.
  • Insulator decay. Several rubbers and plastic insulating compounds are mixed with volatile plasticizers, where "volatile" means that they won't evaporate or significantly run off in fifty or sixty years... but the risk is there and I wouldn't bet on their seeing their hundredth birthday.
  • Semiconductor decay and electromigration. This is much faster when devices are powered and junctions are flooded by current, but still goes on when the devices are unpowered. It is slowed by cold.
  • Humidity will lead to galvanic corrosion. This is the easiest to prevent (use a nonreacting, dry storage atmosphere - nitrogen, or argon).

Most components aren't engineered to last at all, because the manufacturers know that the items will be replaced anyway inside, at most, of ten years. Just like ol' Henry Ford, who was said to send forensic teams in junkyards to tell him which parts of his cars had not failed so that he could start manufacturing them with cheaper tolerances. Only, this "controlled obsolescence" makes good business sense, and is actually done.

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    $\begingroup$ This is what I figured. Consumer electronics are not meant to last any meaningful amount of time. BUT, if someone (company/government) wanted to make something that lasted a very long time, they could. $\endgroup$ – farmersteve Mar 19 at 22:28
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    $\begingroup$ @farmersteve absolutely. Military-grade hardware already is way sturdier (and more expensive) than average. They, too, do not care for overlong stand-alone endurance (they make do with spare parts). But it can be done and in some instances is being done (e.g. NASA-spec electronics can be stored in extreme cold and hard vacuum, and are much more radiation resistant. Just look at some Martian rovers....). $\endgroup$ – LSerni Mar 19 at 23:07
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    $\begingroup$ @I.Am.A.Guy well, "volatile" is perhaps too strong a term, but I hadn't another to express my meaning. Some plasticizers do evaporate, but so slowly you almost don't notice (you still had better not chew on those plastics, though). Others react, also very slowly, and separate into components which may or may not evaporate, but aren't plasticizing anymore. In some cases, plastic insulation becomes brittle and literally flakes away. $\endgroup$ – LSerni Mar 20 at 6:40
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    $\begingroup$ Don't forget en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_corrosion - Any two metals in direct physical contact will encounter this, at a slow rate. But electronic microchips involve two different types of metal in contact in very particular patterns. Over the timeframes that electronics typically lives, this isn't an issue. Over hundreds of years it will be. $\endgroup$ – Dayton Williams Mar 20 at 6:55
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    $\begingroup$ @DaytonWilliams that would require an electrolyte, but yes, I added that. Thanks $\endgroup$ – LSerni Mar 20 at 7:05
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The five major things that can degrade electronics are electromagnetism, corrosion, excessive temperatures, vibration, and impact.

Electromagnetism is your number-one risk. It only takes a static shock with 1/2 the current it requires to make a visible spark to damage data; also, background EM radiation can degrade data slowly over time. Forensics investigators will often mitigate this risk by putting evidence into a static resistant evidence bag, which can then be placed in a Faraday bag essentially blocking out all external EM influence.

The second risk is corrosion. For a device that you are not regularly handling, the only major outside corrosive agents you need to worry about are humidity, and to a much smaller extent, oxygen. An air-tight evidence bag also works well for protecting against these; however, an off-the-shelf evidence bag may not be rated for 500 years. You would likely need to consult with a polymers expert to design such a container.

  • Batteries (as other answers have pointed out) introduce corrosive elements from within; so, they will need their fuel sources removed and/or be stored separately. Then the fuel would need to be reintroduced prior to use.
  • Galvanic corrosion has also been suggested as a risk, but in an electromagnetically inert environment, such as already described, this would not be a problem.
  • Zinc has also been cited as a problem because it is highly volatile. That said, the corrosion you normally see here in electronics only happens when it is exposed to water vapor and oxygen together; so, storing it in a dry/vacuum sealed or noble gas filled bag will stop this corrosion as well.
  • Completely preventing polymer decomposition may also need your storage area to be dark.

Excessive heat and cold become the hardest part to control over a 500 year gap. You can not exactly rely on an air conditioning system to be maintained for that long, but if you were to store your device in an underground bunker at a depth of at least 30 feet, mother nature will keep your temperature more or less constant at a temperature that is ideal for most electronics.

Vibration mostly just affects things with moving disk drives in them; so, for purposes of preservation, I'm assuming you are talking about stored and not actively used hardware; so, this should be a minimal issue. That said, if you are occasionally powering your device on, it is best to do so on a heavy well secured desk or shelf. Lighter desks/shelves can be vibrated by a computer's fans reducing a computer drive's expected life-time by up to 75%.

Last is impact. If you are storing this device in a room full of engineers going about their daily businesses, eventually someone will knock it off the shelf and break it; so, storing it in a place with very limited human access is also pretty important. This makes keeping an electronic device from breaking within 500 years almost impossible for something that you need to use, but if you're talking about purely storage, you should be able to do this and the above four steps and have a pretty good success rate at storing electronics for that long.

In response to the first edit:

If you are talking about a museum scenario, the mostly likely case would be to copy the data onto a replica, and then put the replica on display. Museums rarely put items that fragile and rare on display.

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    $\begingroup$ You cannot combat dopant and metal diffusion. Modern processors, flash memory and RAM are made up of very many very tiny electronic devices. Semiconductor and metal-oxide junction will degrade over five centuries, no matter what you do. Modern electronic devices are simply not made to last centuries. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Mar 19 at 20:57
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP If the device is at a very low temperature the diffusion of particles will take longer. $\endgroup$ – user400188 Mar 19 at 23:14
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    $\begingroup$ You apparently (I didn't read every word) fail to include the breakdown of electrolytic capacitors and storage batteries due to the chemical degradation they are constantly experiencing. $\endgroup$ – Hot Licks Mar 20 at 1:04
  • $\begingroup$ All the articles I can find on metal diffusion refer to industrial processes at near molten temperatures. Do you have any resources that cite this as happening at lower temps? $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Mar 20 at 18:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Nosajimiki reverse Frequency Effect: i believed this to be the case, and 'remembered' loads of citations.. but all i can offer after googling is this books.google.de/…. $\endgroup$ – bukwyrm Mar 22 at 16:09
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Locate your museum on a rocket that is accelerated up to a significant fraction of the speed of light, so that time dilation means that the device you're preserving will only experience a small fraction of the 500 years you're preserving it over.

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    $\begingroup$ The main trouble here is that it's rather difficult to visit your museum. It would be a once-in-a-lifetime sort of trip, with a one day visit possibly requiring an investment of years of time passed at home with you gone. $\endgroup$ – Dan Bryant Mar 21 at 15:22
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    $\begingroup$ Send 500*365 rockets with the device at a significant portion of the speed of light, and schedule them to return each day for the following 500 years. $\endgroup$ – facuq Mar 22 at 12:43
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Breaking the device down on a part-by-part basis, and looking at what would be involved in preserving them:

  • Integrated circuits: as far as we know, an unpowered integrated circuit in a controlled environment will last indefinitely.
  • Resistors, solid-state capacitors, and other discrete components: these have the same indefinite lifespan as integrated circuits, and are generally more tolerant of temperature changes.
  • Batteries and electrolytic capacitors: These contain corrosive chemicals that tend to leak on a timescale of decades; lithium-ion batteries additionally tend to destroy themselves if fully discharged. If you're preserving an electronic device in a museum, you're going to need to remove these. When you want to power the device back up, you'll need to install replacements.
  • Circuit traces and wires: these tend to slowly corrode from atmospheric moisture. You'll want to store the device in a dry-nitrogen or argon atmosphere.
  • Plastic wire insulation: the plasticizer tends to evaporate on a timescale of decades. After a century or so, the insulation will be brittle and may be cracking from shrinkage. You'll want to re-insulate the wires or replace them before powering the device back up.
  • Plastic housings: these tend to discolor on a timescale of years to decades. The main cause of this is ultraviolet light, with atmospheric oxygen coming in second. A UV-protected container filled with the dry atmosphere you're using to protect the circuit traces will greatly slow the discoloration, but won't stop it entirely.
  • LCD screens: these are vulnerable to excessive heat or cold, and it's likely that UV light will degrade the dyes that give them the ability to display color. The same temperature and UV protection you're using to preserve other parts should be sufficient to protect them as well.
  • CRT screens: these depend on a vacuum inside the screen to function. Depending on the quality of manufacture, they may leak to the point of unusability over the course of 500 years or so. You may need to re-establish the vacuum before powering the device back up, which requires specialized equipment.
  • Flash/EEPROM memory: the data on these is susceptible to charge leakage on a timescale of decades to centuries. You can reduce the rate of data loss by cooling the device, but the need to avoid freezing the LCD means you can't cool far enough to get a 500-year lifespan. You're going to need to store the data on some more durable medium and re-write it before powering the device back up.
  • Hard drives: the lubrication on the bearings tends to stiffen up on a timescale of years. You'll need to clean and re-lubricate them before powering the device back up, and you'll need a cleanroom to do it in.

There's no way to preserve an electronic device for 500 years in a way that permits immediate re-powering at any time. A museum would, however, be able to preserve one that only requires relatively minor maintenance before using, and the techniques involved are ones that museums commonly employ.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, marking down – ICs do degrade, and on a relatively short timescale. $\endgroup$ – Dan W Mar 22 at 10:15
  • $\begingroup$ @DanW, when powered up, certainly -- I wouldn't expect a running iThing to last more than a couple decades at the outside -- but when powered down? In the absence of heat or an electrical current, I'd expect dopant migration to take place on a timescale of millennia or longer. $\endgroup$ – Mark Mar 22 at 19:45
  • $\begingroup$ this article iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1674-4926/35/4/044006/pdf gives a storage life of 10^5 - 10^7 hours (~10-1000 years) for power switching transistors. I’d expect it to be a lot shorter for the much smaller transistors in a processor. $\endgroup$ – Dan W Mar 23 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ @DanW, it gives the storage life in ordinary storage conditions as extrapolated from rapid-aging conditions (elevated temperature and humidity). I don't have access to the paper, so I don't know what the failure modes were, but it's quite possible that a preservation environment (cool non-reactive atmosphere) will eliminate them. $\endgroup$ – Mark Mar 23 at 20:55
  • $\begingroup$ cooling usually delays but doesn’t prevent failure, and as other comments noted, there’s a limit to how far you can cool most electronics before cooling causes failure itself. I’d also expect processors to be much more affected by degradation than the transistors in that study due to their size. There must be a better study on processors somewhere. $\endgroup$ – Dan W Mar 23 at 20:58
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If powered down, electronics can last as long as they don't take physical harm, with the exception of batteries and the bearings in moving parts like fans or platter hard drives.

Batteries, sad to say, can't be made to last that long -- or at least the kind that are useful for portable devices like tablets,. notebooks, and smart phones. There's a type of rechargeable battery that has been shown to last a century, and can likely last much longer than that -- the Edison iron battery -- but they have rather poor energy density. In English, that means a battery that can run a tablet for four or five hours continuously is closer in size to a car battery than the little lithium wafer cells our tablets have now.

Nothing would keep those devices from working on external power, however, so it might be worth storing dry-charged lead-acid batteries, which can last indefinitely before filling with acid.

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    $\begingroup$ Capacitors and Resistors also degrade when not in use, and present day commercial capacitors likely won't last a century. $\endgroup$ – GOATNine Mar 19 at 19:04
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    $\begingroup$ @GOATNine That's true of electrolytics, for certain, but as far as I know not for ceramic, tantalum, or similar solid-state capacitors. There are few if any electrolytics on the surface-mount circuit boards of a modern phone or tablet. I don't know of a mechanism whereby SMD resistors can deteriorate when not powered. $\endgroup$ – Zeiss Ikon Mar 19 at 19:12
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    $\begingroup$ That is a good point in normal storage scenarios, but Capacitors and Resistors degrade due to corrosion and temperature. If you store them in a cool, dry, sealed system, they should only corrode to the point that the environment has contaminates to degrade them with extending their life indefinitely to the point of how well you sealed them. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Mar 19 at 19:13
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    $\begingroup$ @Nosajimiki Argon purge and constant-temp storage at cool room temp should do it. Might require an archival disassembly and cleaning to ensure there's no (for instance) solder flux left in the device to provide those contaminants. $\endgroup$ – Zeiss Ikon Mar 19 at 19:16
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As @Dave says, it makes sense for archival purposes to separate the physical object from its functionality.

Original manuscripts of Shakespeare plays still exist in libraries, but they are extremely fragile and essentially useless for their original purpose – if an actor tried to keep a dogeared copy rolled up in his doublet, it’d be reduced to dust before the first rehearsal. But the text of those plays is preserved perfectly, and a modern copy works just the same.

An iPad is similar. If you took out the battery and any large capacitors, you’d have a perfect record of what it was physically like to hold one, but to know how it worked, you’d be much better off with a copy of the source code. Bear in mind, the electronics will also exist in a purely digital form (the Verilog / VHDL / etc used to design the components and PCBs), which is, if anything, a more faithful record of how it’s supposed to work than the actual manufactured article.

You might say that a simulation isn’t “the real experience”, but everything in a museum is divorced from its original context anyway – if you had a working iPhone 500 years from now, you still wouldn’t get the authentic experience unless you simulated a 4G network, and Twitter and Facebook, and all their living users. The very act of preserving something in a museum changes it into something else.

The same applies to preserving technology through a future dark age – a working iPad isn’t much use, but a description of how it works could be much more useful.

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In all honesty, electronics are incredibly difficult to preserve, due to the very nature of their components.

Particularly, batteries have a defined shelf life, even when unused. Capacitors and resistors (key components in most electronics) also have a limited lifespan, though they may degrade much more slowly if not in use. Storage media (such as flash memory or hard disks) have a limited life cycle related to the number of read/write operations performed. To have the electronics active, even just displaying a static screen, would likely severely limit the lifespan of any electronic device.

The solution for museum displays would necessarily be restoration/periodic repair. There would have to exist a manufacturing process to produce replacement parts for the duration of the displays existence in the museum.

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    $\begingroup$ Resistors aren't usually a life-limited part. Electrolytic capacitors, though, definitely are! $\endgroup$ – Shalvenay Mar 19 at 22:56
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Preserving electronics for 500 years in working order dictates that they not be used at all in that 500 years.

Copper, in particular, gets brittle as current passes through it and it heats up, and the copper traces in circuit boards even more so. The resistance of the copper joints also goes up.

Electromigration is also a problem.

Unfortunately, the only way you will know if they still work is to turn them on, but every time you turn them on, you increase the chances that next time they will not work.

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Maybe you can?

LSemi gives a good list of the problems, but may be too pessimistic with "you can't".

Most of the problems can be arrested by cooling the device down close to absolute zero. In physics jargon, the decay processes are thermally activated. The question is whether you can get an electronic device down to that temperature without causing irreparable damage while cooling it or thawing it (exactly the same problem as with cryo-sleep for people in sublight starships).

Electronics is generally tougher than biology.

The obvious exception is data stored as packets of electrons in flash memory and similar. It relies on regularly being powered up so it can check for and repair any bit-rot while powered down. Charge will not leak away because of thermal effects close to absolute zero, but is still subject to corruption by radiation such as cosmic rays. This will accumulate with time, and reach a point where the data is irretrievably corrupted after thawing it out.

Some electrolytic capacitors contain a water-based electrolyte paste. If this expands as it freezes, the capacitor will be destroyed. Most quality motherboards these days advertise solid capacitors, which may be more freezable. The big capacitors in power supplies aren't of this type, though. Electrolytes in batteries, similar questions.

I'd guess that you can cryo-freeze and thaw motherboards, processors, SSDs and probably displays and hard drives (they can go well below freezing point without being destroyed, look at the minimum storage temperatures specified for military grade HDs). Petroleum lubricants do not expand on freezing. About liquid crystals in displays, I would hope that a thin film of liquid in a somewhat flexible container (poke your screen!) would freeze OK.

Freeze-thaw cycles will tend to cause soldered joints to fail, but here we are talking just about one big freeze and one thaw. The frequent heating and cooling of a computer turned on and off daily is probably more damaging.

A museum might well buy several of each item it wanted to preserve. One for display, which would become non-functional within decades. Others, for cryo-preservation, so at least one of each component has a good chance of survival. Power supplies and batteries have a simple specification (voltages and currents required, ATX or similar power button logic), so as long as technological civilisation persists, the simplest preservation answer is to reconstruct a power supply at the time one wanted to thaw and power up the preserved technology. If civilisation fails, so does cryo-preservation.

BTW This sounds like a fun bit of research for anyone with access to a very low temperature freezer or lots of liquid nitrogen.

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  • $\begingroup$ Electrolytic capacitors are still used in the power supplies and power filtering circuits. Electrolytics are still the go-to capacitors for large capacitance applications. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme the Second Mar 20 at 19:25
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    $\begingroup$ The problem with freezing is differential thermal expansion. If you go clear down to absolute zero, you're likely to see things like traces flaking off of circuit boards and integrated circuit packages splitting. Additionally, plastic will become so brittle it'll shatter at a touch, and any glue will lose its adhesive properties. Look up videos of people sticking things in liquid nitrogen for more examples of the problems you'd face. $\endgroup$ – Mark Mar 20 at 20:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Mark - I'm well aware of embrittlement, but if one is freezing something for preservation, it won't be shocked or flexed until it is thawed, so it won't be fractured. Differential expansion - you may be right, but on the other hand people who claim meaningless overclocking records have successfully cooled CPUs with liquid nitrogen. As I said, experimentation might be fun. $\endgroup$ – nigel222 Mar 21 at 8:50
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How about an alternative? Instead of storing the physical device, store the designs of the device and all of its components. When you need a working item, you manufacture it. This is actually possible, though it isn't easy. There are three substantial challenges to it.

  1. While all you are storing is data, storing data for long periods does have its challenges. The basic procedure of making copies frequently should work just fine.

  2. Making electronic gadgets today involves a number of large, expensive factories. Making them in the future may be very expensive but it might be cheaper. And, it may be possible to create something with the same electrical or logical properties with newer techniques.

  3. Gathering the data you want to store is much more difficult than simply getting your hands on the gadget. You would have to convince all of the manufacturers involved to part with information that they think is extremely valuable.

So, it may not be practical, but at least it isn't impossible.

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I think the thing to do would be to separate the software and electronic function from the mechanical interaction. That is, you could have museum visitors hold and play with dead or dummy iPads that do not turn on, and separately interact with a virtual machine on a touch screen if they wanted to "use" it. This is more or less done today as I've seen multiple websites running vintage operating systems where you can relive the joys of Windows 95 or 3.1.

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    $\begingroup$ "Oh, mommy, mooomy, mommmmy, can I interface with Windows 95?" "No, dear, I would rather you try the 'self-mutilate-by-body-piercing' exhibit, far less traumatic." $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme the Second Mar 20 at 19:28
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What everyone else says about certain components breaking down is correct as far as I know. That said instead of using a neutral gas you might consider submerging the device to be stored in oil. Pick your oil that does not hurt the plastic. Right now some devices are built to be used with the circuit boards submerged in mineral oil even while the device is being used.

For what you are doing oil would have the advantage over a neutral gas in that an oil bath will help limit any damage caused by components leaking.

The main down check is that you would have a bit of work to clean up an Ipad to use it, but that would be true no mater how you stored it.

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Virtual Reality

In addition to the (well-written) Answer "you cannot":

If it is not possible to stay the hardware in usable order for this time, you could try to save the software and write emulators for the hardware. You could present the (non-working) hardware in the museum and have some modern computers with emulators for the old software. You will have to update the emulator park from time to time and maybe you need an emulator to get the 2400er software running, on that one for the 2300er software and so on, until you get your 1983 IBM PC Software running on the mega-quantum-computer-mainframe from 2495.

Now add Virtual reality to this. You will not simply use an emulator, but a VR simulation. In this case it would be best to update all software to the most modern VR simulation system (as automatic as possible).

If you do like this, you have no problems with degrading Hardware, but you still have to keep all VRs up-to-date. And you have to have a VR model of your 1983 IBM PC to run your IBM PC software.

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I believe all the "No you can't" answers are simply not taking into account the question you are asking--what can be done to preserve them. They all mention easily preventable things like corrosion and batteries. (With the notation that if you won't be able to preserve the batteries, but that shouldn't be an issue in a museum environment)

Here's how you preserve an iPad for the future:

  1. Start with a brand new iPad--no pre-existing wear, tear or corrosion
  2. Take the batteries out and throw them away. We will have better batteries later.
  3. Discharge any capacitors.
  4. Place it in a display case with
    1. UV & electromagnetic protection
    2. All the oxygen replaced with some inert gas.
    3. No humidity (Might come free with #2 if you do a good enough job)
  5. I'd recommend preserving 3 of them this way just in case

With these precautions taken, I am certain that you would have at least 1 and probably 3 working iPads at the end of 500 years--and once re-powered they would likely work for years.

I don't think the low temp stuff is required or useful... it's oxygen that decays everything, remove that and even a slice of meat will just sit there for years and not decay.

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  • $\begingroup$ This ignores the fact that the iPad's flash memory will go blank due to charge leakage. Pull it out, plug it in, and it'll sit there doing nothing, assuming you don't have any exploding capacitors. $\endgroup$ – Mark Mar 21 at 20:19
  • $\begingroup$ You might have to bootstrap an os. Shouldn’t be too bad. I don’t know why the capacitors would change? $\endgroup$ – Bill K Mar 21 at 20:37
  • $\begingroup$ Electrolytic capacitors tend to lose their electrolyte over time, and if unused, tend to lose the protective oxide coating on the plates. Either condition is a good way to turn a capacitor into a short circuit. $\endgroup$ – Mark Mar 21 at 20:40

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