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Anyone use monitors in cold weather? Do they keep working?

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I'm about to buy a mini-PC and wanted to grab a portable monitor for it. But something I didn't think about was how well they would work in cold temperatures. I had been using a laptop, and frost would form on it without issue. But with winter quickly approaching things are going to get a little rough here. When the thought popped in my mind I went out and did a bit of research and found you aren't supposed to use LCD's or LED's below freezing. I mean I guess the entire "liquid" part makes since. But I know people shoot below 0'C outdoors with computers, so I figured I should ask what everyone's thoughts / experiences were.


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Here is a more convenient solution: a tablet.

I use an android tablet to control my mini-pc (with the remote desktop app). Coldest i ever used it in was -27, with the average imaging temperature being somewhere around -3 and typical winter nights going below -10 regularly, and it still works after 3 years of this tech torture.

Its not the cold that is the problem, its the condensation when you bring it back to a warm place so try to keep it under some kind of cover when it warms back up. The display is a bit unresponsive out in the cold and can have an input delay of a second or so, but it still works.

One major issue is that batteries in these devices do not accept charge when they are too cold (i think below 0c). So you will have to warm it up somehow to charge it in cold weather. Some solutions: put it under your jacket and let your body heat do the work, or sit on it and have your car seat warmer do it. Batteries die pretty damn fast in cold temperatures, so this is not maybe a problem but a guaranteed one.

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I have an obsy with a heated section. I usually don't start the computer unless I have +12 celsius. Below that, my monitors flickr and die. Some are better than others, have replaced one monitor already. And then there are fans and oldfashion harddrives. The display temporarly dying is one thing, a corrupted drive is worse.


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I have a raspberry pi and a monitor mounted on the side of my observatory. Just a cheap one and it has been there for ~3 years with no issues and no protection at all, used in all temperatures without issue. 

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On 16/11/2023 at 20:27, TerryMcK said:

Run an ethernet cable to it from indoor switch/router then RDP to it from your computer indoors. Essentially remoting into your outdoor PC from indoors. No outside monitor needed.

This is exactly what I do and it works perfectly. I am out at the beginning of the session with my laptop which I remote desktop to the mini PC, during that time I check polar alignment focus, slew plate solve. Once everything is working fine I can retreat into the warmth and just keep an eye on PHD2 and meridan flips.



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The simple (but unhelpful) answer about monitors in the cold is - it depends🤨.

The traditional small LCD (used on old handsets) becomes sluggish in the cold. It can also require contrast adjustment to keep viewing.
I think it was Meade who many years sold a rectangular heat pad to keep handset screens warm.

If you buy a standard 'computer' monitor it will generate heat internally. Maybe 10 to 20 watts.

I remember seeing a machine control system being used in a (not very nice factory) that had a standard desk monitor.
First thing in the morning you could see ice crystals behind the screen first protective layer.
Later this changed to water - but not enough to cause circuit malfunctions.
Eventually it dried as the factory warmed.

In my observatory I have an old standard monitor. If not used for a while in winter it displays a few spurious columns of active illumination - or dark columns.
After an hour or two of use (internal heating) these go away. Normal service is resumed.

The big danger comes from bringing any cold electronics into your warm and humid house at the end of a session.
There will be lots of condensation inside and out.
Remember the days of video tape recorders, the instruction was to wait a good hour before use when going from cold to warm.
The danger here was condensation the tape transport preventing the usual sliding and boundary air. Resulting in the mechanism eating tape.

HTH, David.

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I have a Vixen SB10 controller with an LED display screen. I keep it in an insulated wallet when imaging, and put that in an insulated cooler bag with a handwarmer. I'm pretty certain it would otherwise be toast here, when it's -15C

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