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Laptops and cold

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by Brother Michael, Aug 4, 2004.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Brother Michael

    Hey all,

    Don't know how familiar any of you are with Bowling Green, Ohio but it's like artic hell up here. It is very flat and a lot of wind. It gets cold.

    So my question is how well to laptops take cold? I am not talking 5 hours here, but I mean some of my walks to class can take a good 20-30 minutes (I am on the complete otherside of my school's campus...it sucks.)

    I mean is that enough time to do sufficient damage to the screen?

  2. macrumors 65816

    Dr. Dastardly

    I don't think you will have a problem with this. They test these in very extreme situations concerning hot and cold.
  3. macrumors 6502a


    I live in the Upper Midwest...

    Very, very cold during the winter. Let's just say I can drive to Canada in 6 hours.

    As long as you have a good, insulating bag you'll be fine. I actually used an old style, college-professor type leather shoulder bag and it kept my Pbook very warm last summer while walking to work. I actually unzipped the compartment sometimes and put my gloved hand in tehre for a little heat. You will be surprised how well your 'Book will do in cold weather.
  4. macrumors 601


    hmm if u keep it in your bag on sleep mode, and you are walking you should be fine, but i dont think it would fair so well if you tried using it out int he cold; nto that it wont function, but snow might fall and wet it stuff like that; i think apple posted optimum temperature range for operation, but your concerned witht transport and that shouldnt be a problem, i know some ppl with ipods in boston and new york get static problems when its really cold, but i those arent very wide spread.
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Brother Michael

    Yea, I meant only travelling. lol I could just see it now, sitting under a building in the cold and an ice sickle falls right through the computer.

  6. macrumors 68030



    Electrical and environmental requirements

    Meets ENERGY STAR requirements

    Line voltage: 100V to 240V AC

    Frequency: 50 to 60Hz

    Operating temperature: 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C)

    Storage temperature: -13° to 113° F (-25° to 45° C)

    Relative humidity: 0% to 90% noncondensing

    Maximum operating altitude: 10,000 ft

    Maximum storage altitude: 15,000 ft

    Maximum shipping altitude: 35,000 ft

    FYI - This for the heat, but just so you know ;)


    Hot Tip

    If you use your iPod or notebook in temperatures higher than its specified operating range, 95°F (or 35°C), you may permanently damage your battery’s capacity. I.e., your battery won’t power your device as long on any given charge. You may damage it even more if you charge the device in these temperatures. Even storing a battery in a hot environment can damage it irreversibly.
  7. Moderator emeritus


    I feel bad to admit it, but driving between Detroit and Dayton in the winter for work last year, I would leave my Thinkpad T series in the trunk, and sometimes forget it when I got to the hotel or be too lazy and leave it there all night. Sometimes when I opened it, the screen had fog / frost on it! :( But it worked without any qualms once I cleaned the screen.... Surprising.

    Anyway, though, I can't vouch for the battery. Shouldn't happen in 20 minutes. People take their laptops around in the wintry states like that all the time. I walked 30 minutes to my office at the University of Michigan in midwinter without troubles with my old Compaq Armada (10.4" TFT).

    You should be fine....

    See, also that's why you cold states get Applecare protection but Florida gets jacked. :p
  8. macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    A worst case is to treat it like a camera, since there are some decent tips out there on handling cameras that make the trip from cold outside to hot humid insides.

    aka, how to prevent condensation buildup on a really cold object introduced into a hot/humid room... which is most likely worse than any hot/cold conditions.

    We are probably very used to seeing this on the outside of our cold drink glass/can/bottle -- and hence the use of drink coasters. ;)
  9. macrumors regular

    You should be all right, but leaving it outside all day (like in a trunk or something) will probably axe your battery. My dad's compaq battery was completely destroyed after leaving his laptop in his freezing truck all day. If you are careful about extended exposure, 20 minute trips in the cold will be just fine.
  10. emw
    macrumors G4


    As superbovine noted, the storage temperature can handle some pretty frigid temperatures. I think the bigger issue is any rapid change in temperature.

    If your notebook does get seriously cold on a walk across campus and you decide to use it in a well-heated classroom, you may have some problems, especially if the room is humid.

    Just make sure you've got a reasonably insulated bag (or throw a towel around the laptop in your backback if you don't), and you should be able to maintain a close-to-room-temperature laptop.
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Brother Michael

    I was basically going to store it in a Targus bag plus a ZeroShock from Shinza...will that be enough?

  12. macrumors 6502a


    That'll be fine. My powerbook survived frigid Wisconsin in a Timbuk2 bag.
  13. emw
    macrumors G4


    It'll be warmer than you are... :)
  14. macrumors 6502a

    6 hours! HA, I can drive there in less than an hour. ;-)

  15. macrumors 68030


    if they posted those specs for the powerbook, they tested as well. i am sure rapid temperature change was on the criteria, and the powerbook will function inside that range. your problem could occur outside that range.
  16. macrumors 6502a

    Brother Michael

    Ok phase one is done.

    I just bought a Targus Elite (I think, the tag is somewhere around here...whatever)

    I looks like it will help out, not to mention that ZeroShock.

  17. macrumors member

    This is good to know! I hadn't even thought about temperature... and my iBook's moving to Vermont with me come September. I was so worried about ME freezing to death that I forgot to take my precious 'Book into consideration! :rolleyes:

    I've got a Tucano second skin that I plan on tossing in my North Face backpack--should this be okay?
  18. macrumors 68030


    so if i were to leave my ipod in the glove compartment of my mom's car while for 8 hours while shopping when it's 100 degrees outside would it severely damage the battery? just hypothetically, cause i certainly didnt do it today while taking advantage of texas' tax free weekend ;)
  19. macrumors 603


    General rule of thumb if the system feels cold to the touch let it warm up. I would say anything less then an hour out in the cold let it warm up for half an hour. Anything above give it a solid hour. There are numerous reasons as to why you should do this. The two biggest being a fast change between a cold state and a warm state could potentially cause condensation in or on the system. I've heard rumors that water and computers are bad. ;)
    Second the hard drive. The only device in your system with moving parts, well other then the optical drive, of course. Given enough time in the cold the platters in the drive can contract slightly. If the heads of the drive aren't aligned correctly or are off this can, again potentially cause a drive crash or if nothing else eat at the life of your drive. There have been many a time where I've removed the hard drive from my Tosh (Toshiba's all have easily removable drives.) and let it sit in the furnace room for 1/2 an hour to warm up while I hit the rest of the computer with a hair dryer.
    I live and work up here in MN where last year we saw one of the coldest places on earth other then Antarctica. We even outdid Siberia, which was freaking NUTS. We were only beaten out by some place in Sweden. DAMN SWEDES! ;) Down here in Bloomington it only got down to around 30 below. Only. :rolleyes: Over the years we have had hard drives go south on us after being out in the cold for extended lengths enough so that every year I put out e-mails to the office stressing at minimum 1/2 hour warm-up periods for any system that has been out in the cold longer then 1/2 hour and around or below the teens. *shrugs* Just my two cents.

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