Jump to content

 

1825338873_SNRPN2021banner.jpg.68bf12c7791f26559c66cf7bce79fe3d.jpg

 

When is too cold for a laptop?


MrsR
 Share

Recommended Posts

Sorry if this is in the wrong section - mods feel free to move it if you wish.

Wondering about the good old laptop and when you have it outside - when would it be too cold for a laptop and also for how long should you keep one out for in cold temps before damage coudl be done?

I am using Stellarium as my back up at the moment for when I am stuck and so like to have the lap top out with me, just don't want to damage it.

Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 26
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

The average suggested range is 10-35 Celsius - However if you plan on making a warranty claim then I would stick to the temperature that is stated in the user manual :)

If you get dew inside the laptop, you could be pretty much fubared.

However ......

I have a dodgy old notebook that I've used down to about -4 degrees. Didn't seem to do it any harm.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With the thing running, it's very unlikely to overcool. I've actually had a layer of frost on the screen & it was going OK. Electronics hate heat but tolerate cold very well, it's mechanical components like disk drives that might have difficulty getting started if they were cold to start off with. The casing will go brittle in very low temps too.

Do try to keep condensation from dripping into the thing. Cold & dry, good; warm & wet, bad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can agree with the general point being made. I have used a couple of laptops down to -11C without problem, But they were nowhere near that temperature. In fact the main body of the laptop was still relatively warm. I had frost forming on OTAs and mount (and on my waterproof jacket) but none on the laptop.

Dew will be the problem, but (touch wood) I have often been wiping dew from the screen to read it, and so far nothing has gone phut!

old_eyes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Clean, distilled water is actually a poor conductor of electricity. Dew (water condensed from vapour) will be pretty close to distilled water (unless you live in Moscow or Mexico City), so it shouldn't do that much damage.

Then again, you could do what I do....get a gert long active USB lead and sit inside with a brew:D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You should be alright if you can keep it dryish. I set my Windows power options to "do nothing" when the screen is closed. I find that the laptop generates just enough heat to keep itself dry and any moisture on the outside condenses and drips off harmlessly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Much the same, although when the laptop is running for guiding, it's in a water resistant box, the screen covered with a small towel, and whilst the hard drives are often down at a nice 10 to 15 degrees, they do prefer it cooler, the CPU very rarely drops below 20 degrees. I use VNC either from my iPod or a puter indoors to view what's going on, means I don't have to touch anything on the rig. I also leave the machine running, more often than not, I'll run a defrag on the disk to generate heat internally, and prevent them cooling down and developing condensation inside the case. The screen is the only likely issue (thus the towel to help keep it a bit warmer and drier.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi John,

I like the towel idea! *grabs spare teacloth for the laptop's box*.

I think defrag would kill what little performance my laptop has (Atom N260) and probably reduce battery life too. I'm not worried much about the system temperature and there are benefits to keeping the machine cold - the fan doesn't have to run nearly so often (if at all).

I'd also not be too concerned that it's freezing inside the machine either. My 1000D even when outside in -2 to -5 recorded temperatures of +10 on the EXIF data last December. So while it's getting frosty on the outside of the case, the LCD panel/power/circuitry is keeping warm inside the camera (perhaps it's not such a good thing for camera noise).

All my kit boxes (for camera and laptop) all have big silica gel sachets in them and I let things drip dry inside after observing.

Hope this helps!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing to bare in mind. The hotter the components the less efficient they work. Iv used my MacBook pro and my eeepc netbook outside (netbook when it's verycold as there's no moving parts like a hard drive (uses a solid state disk)) but the MacBook pro gets so hot depending what im doing i have used it as a hand warmer (top left corner where CPU heatsync located) personally I'd let them go down to about -5 maybe one or two lower but when at these temps don't bring it straight into warm as mentioned the dew forms quick thick n if it drools over the screen what else is it over? I place mine in a place like a out house or shed and gradually warm it up. Also if ur using a cold cat screen (TFT or LCD) then I have seen one crack with turning on when freezing cold. My MacBook pro uses a led so not so bad.

Hope this helps:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd be more concerned about dew forming on the power adapter, TBH (240v going in, remember).

I used to use a plastic toolbox to hold bits and pieces in. The Netbook I was using at the time fitted nicely inside if I turned the box on it's side, and used the lid as a wrist rest. That kept the lappie nice and cool and prevented the dew from condensing on it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the CPU very rarely drops below 20 degrees.

Nice 'n' toasty ... I once attched a block of dry ice (-78C) to the cooling surface of a Pentium 4 CPU (with a rated speed of 2.4 GHz) and managed to get it to run reliably at 6 GHz ... until the dry ice evaporated. As I say, electronics like it cold, the nearer you can get to absolute zero the facter they can operate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My MBP is one of the 'doomed' ones where a design fault by the graphics chip manufacturer results in it desoldering itself if it gets too hot. Still going and I think part of that is because I keep an eye on the temps.. currently 40degC and keeping my lap warm :) Hottest I've seen it is over 100degC then it's a bit warm for the lap..

As long as you keep the power away from water/dew then you should be fine.

My plan for SGL6 is to put the power adaptor in a sealed box as it has a detachable lead and therefore a way for water to get to 230V..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used to get a ton of dew and frost on mine and was worried about it so I got a little space heater that I now put underneath the table it sits on. I keep it just warm enough to avoid the dew and has worked well for me. As far as the cold temperature itself, it seemed to not mind the cold at all - it was just me worried about the condensation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice 'n' toasty ... I once attched a block of dry ice (-78C) to the cooling surface of a Pentium 4 CPU (with a rated speed of 2.4 GHz) and managed to get it to run reliably at 6 GHz ... until the dry ice evaporated. As I say, electronics like it cold, the nearer you can get to absolute zero the facter they can operate.

I think the record is 9Ghz for a Pentium 4, however that was done using liquid nitrogen.

As far as I'm aware if your hard drive is a mechanical one, you wouldn't be able to take it down to cold. Then again if is was a Solid State Hard Drive then in theory you shouldn't have any problems. As stated before, pure water doesn't conduct electricity too well or at all, and condensation is close to it. However it's the impurities in the water that conduct the electric charge. So if you have a dirty rig I wouldn't like your chances at all. Saying that, the netbooks with the Intel Atoms have mostly (to my knowledge) got SSDs in them and Ive been strongly recommended not to defrag on them at all. Saying that, playing a high quality video like an 480p one should keep the rig warm.

Dazz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At SGL5 last year I packed my laptop up and put it in the car when I had finished for the night. The following morning I got it out and when I turned it over water ran out of the case there had been that much condesation. It still works though...

Manufacturers specs are provided to ensure you don't abuse your kit so they can honour the warranty, but most stuff can function way outside of it's specs on the odd occasion. My 30 year old Nikon F3 SLR still works in heavy rain, temperatures varying from -20C to +50C and being bounced around in the back of a leafsprung landrover crossing the Sahara.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I avoid getting dew in my laptop by placing it in a suitably sized cardboard box (with the front cut away). So far it works pretty well at keeping the lappy warm enough that dew doesn't form on the keyboard and I haven't had any frost on the screen - which used to be the issue, esp. when it melted after a session.

Plus, I can put things on top of the box. I am considering making something a little more permanent (preferably collapsible, that would also serve as a padded transport container) as I've gone through a few boxes now, as they tend to get soggy and lose their strength after a few nights.

Edited by pete_l
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Saying that, the netbooks with the Intel Atoms have mostly (to my knowledge) got SSDs in them

Mine hadn't (Asus eeepc 1000H) it had an ordinary 2.5" 9.5mm 80GB SATA hard drive. I know because I ripped the drive out & replaced it with a 250GB ... lunar/solar/planetary imaging with a DMK camera soaks up disc space very fast ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have two Dell laptops in the observatory, both old XP machines.

The Inspiron 8200 doesn't seem to notice the cold at all, but the other one, a Latitude D620, slows to an absolute crawl when it gets chilly.

It now sits on top of one of those heated mats that you use for brewiing beer or wine....keeps it warms so it works fine, and you can warm your hands on it too :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mine hadn't (Asus eeepc 1000H) it had an ordinary 2.5" 9.5mm 80GB SATA hard drive. I know because I ripped the drive out & replaced it with a 250GB ... lunar/solar/planetary imaging with a DMK camera soaks up disc space very fast ...

To be fair I did say "mostly (to my knowledge)". Also I was referring to the new ones not ones that where released in 2008 like the 1000h model was. :)

The Inspiron 8200 doesn't seem to notice the cold at all, but the other one, a Latitude D620.

Oh man, I had to fix an Latitude model once. I hated it so much, there was so many things wrong with it. I had to fix an Dell netbook that had a massive 7GB hdd and XP SP1... needless to say the updates where fun.

Dazz

Edited by Dazzio
Link to comment
Share on other sites

my 2p:

> I put my (RCD-protected) power-supply inside a bucket, keeping the lead off the damp grass

> I put the laptop in a side-turned box (the waxy-cardboard type)

> I rest the autostar guider on the keyboard to get it a bit of warmth as rolling LED displays are notoriously rubbish at low temps.

> I put the scope and laptop out in late afternoon to let them cool slowly and then leave the scope and laptop in the garage afterwards, never in the house, until the next day

Interestingly, my new laptop has a waterproof (coffeeproof) keyboard, but I've never tried that outside.

Cheers

Edited by mikeknowle
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm, my RCD is inside the house on the extension.

As far as laptops (or even desktops inside observatories) go, just make sure you start em up before you need them and before it gets real cold and the heat generated generally keeps them happy.

I once had to drain a desktop I had in an observatory once a week due to the puddle of dew inside it!!! The old vdu I had on it had to have a towel over it however.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had my Aspire One out for about three and a half hours last night and it was quite happy. Dew doesn't seem to be a problem on the main body, perhaps because of the heat and I have a red cellophane cover for the screen so that stays dry (I did have to wipe the dew off the cover a couple of times though).

The battery ran flat faster than I was expecting, but that may well be normal for near-freezing temperatures.

James

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.