Go Back  Xtreme Visual Basic Talk > General Discussion > Tech Discussions > can a laptop get too cold?


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01-25-2005, 12:14 PM
rex64 rex64 is offline
Senior Contributor
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,171
Default can a laptop get too cold?


I noticed that the minimum operating temperature for a laptop seems to be around 40F. I think this is due to the battery. If I am not concerned about the battery, can I run a laptop colder? Also, would it damage the hard drive or the LCD screen? I would like to boot up the laptop at temperatures aroun 0 F to 20 F. Any thoughs would be helpful. Thanks.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 01-25-2005, 01:03 PM
loquin's Avatar
loquin loquin is offline
Google Hound

Retired Moderator
* Guru *
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 12,396
Default

Unknown. And, probably unknowable, without testing.

There are so many factors involved.

First, the operating temperature of most systems & devices rated for office environments is usually around 0-40 degrees C. (32-104 F)

Your system might operate OK at lower temps, but it might not. Nothing should be physically damaged, but, data on any storage devices may get garbled. For instance, consider this: Almost all physical materials contract when cooled. This would include disk platters. Now, a disk platter is pretty small - 2-3 inches for a laptop. But, the platter would shrink a bit. However, the read-write heads and their supports may not (in fact, probably don't) shrink/expand thermally at the same rate as do the platters. There will be a point at which the data which was read (and verfied at a low temperature) would be unreadable when the disk drive warmed back up, since the tracks would "move" relative to the heads. Conversly, data written at "normal" temperatures may not be readable at low temperatures. And, the higher the drive capacity, the narrower the track-to-track distances, and the more temperature sensitive the drives may be.

also, items with moving parts usually have lubrication, which responds to lower temperatures by getting more viscous and making the moving devices harder to move.

Finally, the electronic circuits themselves "drift" with temperature. And, without analyzing the circuits and the devices (and tolerances of same) there would be no way to predict their behavior over a range of temperatures.
__________________
Lou
"I have my standards. They may be low, but I have them!" ~ Bette Middler
"It's a book about a Spanish guy called Manual. You should read it." ~ Dilbert
"To understand recursion, you must first understand recursion." ~ unknown
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01-25-2005, 01:11 PM
rex64 rex64 is offline
Senior Contributor
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,171
Default thanks

Thanks. That was very useful. I think I will probably just try it out. Winter is coming so we will find out soon. LCDs should not freeze, I know I have noticed my cell phone is blurry until it warms up. Also, how serious is frost/condensation? Condensation is formed from something being warm (computer running) and then cooling (after turned off)?
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01-25-2005, 01:18 PM
loquin's Avatar
loquin loquin is offline
Google Hound

Retired Moderator
* Guru *
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 12,396
Default

Actually, condensation occurs when a cold device is exposed to warm air, which can hold more water vapor than can cold air.

EVERYONE'S specs read "Non-Condensing" when specifying ambient temperature/humidity conditions. So, don't take the laptop from a cold location to a warm location without taking precautions (like sealing the computer in a plastic bag first, and allow it to reach ambient before opening the bag.

Conversly, when moving the computer from a warm location to a cold location, allow air to flow through it, else air trapped inside could condense as it cools. (flush the warm, moist air, iow)

Low storage temps generally are in the 0 degrees F range. So nothing should be physically damaged, but as I said, you system may not even boot up at low temperatues, and if it does, any data (including windows registry settings) that are written to nearly all the time, may preclude your system ever working again without a complete reformat of the hard drive. At the least, be sure to make a complete registry backup on removable media, and make sure all your data is backed up first.
__________________
Lou
"I have my standards. They may be low, but I have them!" ~ Bette Middler
"It's a book about a Spanish guy called Manual. You should read it." ~ Dilbert
"To understand recursion, you must first understand recursion." ~ unknown
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01-25-2005, 01:24 PM
rex64 rex64 is offline
Senior Contributor
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,171
Default cool

Cool. I have no data to worry about. And I am using an older laptop, so I am not super worried about destroying it. I did not want to just be stupid and try something without at least getting someone's opinion. I cant wait for winter to come so I can try how it works when it is real cold If you were curious, i thoungt I would let you know what I am doing. I am setting up a laptop in my car. I am going to use a power inverter and a GPS. The only problems I though about were theft (should not be too bad because I am in good areas, and it is an old laptop). And temperature after it has been sitting all night. Recently it has been around 10F and it gets coler than that. ANd the laptop would be sitting there all night, so it would be freezing by the morning. Then when I get in my car, it takes forever to warm up, not to mention inside the laptop could take 1-3 hours to warm up if it is not turned on (the box insulates it...). So I would be firing up the laptop as soon as I get in the car, and so it would have to operate at pretty cold temperatures. THe only other problems involved would be vibration from driving...
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02-14-2005, 07:12 PM
rex64 rex64 is offline
Senior Contributor
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,171
Default run

What happens if you run your electronics like a laptop when it is in the too hot or too cold. What is the diffrnece between operating and storage temperatures? What is wrong with operating it at storage temperatures? Why do they even post those numbers? Especially the cold number, because cold is good for computer
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 02-15-2005, 06:12 AM
CodeCaster CodeCaster is offline
Freshman
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ter Aar, The Netherlands
Posts: 42
Default

Well, as just mentioned above by Loquin, getting too cold is not good for a computer.

This might though be a bit overreacted, because the thing he mentioned, a harddisk, becomes pretty hot (20-50 C) and periodically re-calibrates its read/write heads.

And when storing a device, no parts will be moving, so can either not be damaged when too cold and forced to move (like, very unlikely, say, your cd-tray has frozen ). This way the temperatures differ from when either storing or using them.

Hope I'm clear, I can't yet express myself in English very well
__________________
Rick, there's someone ringing the front door bell.
- Well, if they are guests, they're too early for the party, so I'll show 'em the door.
I guess they can see it already.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 02-16-2005, 10:30 AM
rex64 rex64 is offline
Senior Contributor
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,171
Default recalibrate

That is pretty intresting what you said about the hard drive recalibrating? Does that mean it will work at any temperature? How does it recalibrate?
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 02-16-2005, 02:21 PM
DKasler DKasler is offline
Newcomer
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Brooklyn, NYC
Posts: 2
Default

Every laptop has a recommended safe range of operating temperature. A laptop is much like you and me: it does not like to work in temperatures outside its 'Comfort range' and usually does not like to work near the outer ranges of that temperature range, either.

A safe operating temperature range is about 41 to 95o F (5 to 35o C). This does not mean that the laptop just needs to be in an environment within that temperature range, but that it must be allowed to warm or cool to a temperature in that range. For example, if you've had the laptop in a cold car and bring it inside, you should allow several minutes for the laptop to warm to room temperature before you operate it (this will also minimize potential problems from condensation).
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 02-16-2005, 04:41 PM
blastoboy1000's Avatar
blastoboy1000 blastoboy1000 is offline
Junior Contributor
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 220
Default

...Just a thought, but if the LCD's liquid crystal is actually liquid, the screen might actually bulge or crack or break or something when frozen. I don't know whether liquid crystal expands or compresses when it's frozen, but you never know.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 02-16-2005, 04:56 PM
Squishy's Avatar
Squishy Squishy is offline
Senior Contributor
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Stratford
Posts: 919
Default

I've had my laptop in the trunk of my SUV in -30C weather, and it still works. Nothing wrong with the screen. Just wrap the laptop in a plastic bag while you're in the cold - that traps the low-humidity cold air so you won't have as much of a condensation problem when it warms up.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 02-17-2005, 10:42 AM
rex64 rex64 is offline
Senior Contributor
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,171
Default cool

Cool! Thanks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Squishy
I've had my laptop in the trunk of my SUV in -30C weather, and it still works. Nothing wrong with the screen. Just wrap the laptop in a plastic bag while you're in the cold - that traps the low-humidity cold air so you won't have as much of a condensation problem when it warms up.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Advertisement:





Free Publications
The ASP.NET 2.0 Anthology
101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks - Free 156 Page Preview. Learn the most practical features and best approaches for ASP.NET.
subscribe
Programmers Heaven C# School Book -Free 338 Page eBook
The Programmers Heaven C# School book covers the .NET framework and the C# language.
subscribe
Build Your Own ASP.NET 3.5 Web Site Using C# & VB, 3rd Edition - Free 219 Page Preview!
This comprehensive step-by-step guide will help get your database-driven ASP.NET web site up and running in no time..
subscribe
 
 
-->