Advice for Freezing in Afghanistan. . .

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by kbuck1984, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. kbuck1984 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2010
    #1
    I am currently deployed in Afghanistan. We're very high (elevation) and it gets extremely cold here in the winter time. I live in a tent, no insulation and no working heaters. I have a Macbook Pro and am wondering whats the best way to safeguard it during the winter months. Can I leave it running almost non stop so it provides itself heat? If it does shut down what would be the best method to turn it back on if it's reached freezing temps?
    Is there any thing I should know about freezing temps and laptops? Screen breakage? Hard drives? Any and all knowledge, there are a few of us with Macbooks here and plenty more with regular PC's.
     
  2. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    #2
    Apple's published specs should provide operating temperature. When you are outside those bounds, your MacBook Pro should be completely powered down (not sleep). You should not restart it until the ambient temperature is within operating spec and the Mac has had ample chance to thaw from non-operating temperature.

    For example, the current MacBook Pro's operating specs are:

    Operating temperature: 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C)
    Storage temperature: -13° to 113° F (-24° to 45° C)
    Relative humidity: 0% to 90% noncondensing
    Maximum operating altitude: 10,000 feet
    Maximum storage altitude: 15,000 feet

    Good luck in Afghanistan. Thank you for serving on our behalf.
     
  3. mulo macrumors 68020

    mulo

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    Aug 22, 2010
    Location:
    Behind you
    #3
    hmmm, only thing I can think of it to have it running during the day, and sleep with it at night.

    buy a heater! :D
     
  4. kbuck1984 thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 1, 2010
    #4
    There has to be a way around this, even if it's not what Apple recommends. If I were to follow that I will need to shut my laptop down in about two months and leave it off until around March. I'm not outside, but living in a regular tent, with no insulation or heat it will pretty much be the same temp as outside.
     
  5. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    #5
    Ask other soldiers what they do. Personally, I wouldn't operate it outside the spec. My biggest worry running it in such extreme cold would be condensation leading to corrosion of parts and hardware failure.
     
  6. mulo macrumors 68020

    mulo

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    Location:
    Behind you
    #6
    that and moisture/frost melting inside the mac short circuting it
     
  7. kbuck1984 thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 1, 2010
    #7
    I would ask them but no one here has been through a cold afghan winter. Most of us have only been to Iraq and it doesn't get cold enough, and the living conditions are better.
     
  8. AdamRock macrumors 6502a

    AdamRock

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    Aug 30, 2010
    Location:
    Toronto
    #8
    dude hes fighting for your country and all you have to say is buy a heater? clearly he cant get a heater HES IN AN WAR...
     
  9. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

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    May 29, 2007
    #9
    I am sorry for you, but I think you risk damaging your MBP trying to run it in sub-zero temperatures. I'll bet the military electronics in use up there are specifically cold-hardened.

    Wow, I hope you get some relief from the cold.
     
  10. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 27, 2010
    #10
    This is just a hypothesis from camping in blizzards

    There are these hand warmers, IMO if you open one and seal it in foil (survival blanket type foil) with the laptop over night it should prevent it from going below -13 F° since most last seven hours or more, I'd also wrap the hand warmer in a paper towel since most operate above 113F° (max storage temperatures)

    Stay safe!

    PS many hand warmers come in 20-40 sets so you Mac users can probably share
     
  11. HLdan macrumors 603

    HLdan

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    #11
    This is one area where the heat on the MBP can destroy your computer. It's not meant to be self-heating in terms of colder climates. Operating it below the required temps and allowing it to heat up will create condensation on your screen and components at the least and ruin it.
     
  12. kbuck1984 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2010
    #12
    Thank you guys for your support and advice. So running it non stop would cause condensation? That's not what I wanted to hear :(
    So run it during the day, and find a way to keep it warm at night. . . I would really hate to go a couple months without my laptop. Bummer.
     
  13. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 27, 2010
    #13
    see my previous post, it worked well for a digital camera (seriously I was an idiot to bring a digital camera when it was -30F°, but hand warmers kept it usable)
     
  14. Zak.V macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    #14
    I would leave it continuously plugged in in a under a blanket with sc2 running the menu with no frame cap using the mac client. My 13" will reach 80 deg C easily and it noticeably warms the room (10x15x8) over the course of 2-3 hrs. The charger is also a good source of heat.

    My bet is that your macbook on a book/magazine inside your zipped up sleeping bag with some kid of video hungry app running will keep your computer nice and toasty. To get it up to temp on the days its not on i would sleep with it and boot it in the morning.

    i snowmobile and live in Canada. I have a second and thrid gen ipods i use while riding. They stay in a outer pocket on my jacket which provides no insulation. The earphones exit a hole left from a partially zipped zipper and into my helmet/ears. I have on multiple occasions ridden for 4-5 hrs in -40 weather in snow dust and not had any issues. The one time i did have it freeze up on me is when i went from -45 to +20ish in the span for 10 seconds and turned on the ipod. There was condensation dripping from it... (it never shut off but wouldnt respond to imputs, once dead i recharged it and it worked perfectly)

    On another occasion it fell out of my jacket and it rode 120 miles on the running board of my sled... under my feet (minor scratches but no problem)

    Personally id give it a shot on a cool night/day and see how it is. Drastic temp change will hurt it others wont affect it as much.

    The coldest my macbook was is -20 from car overnight to +20 house and booted it 1 min after i got it inside, no problems
     
  15. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #15
    Uh, wtf? Wrong. Whether moisture condenses or not depends on both the temperature gradient as well as the presence of moisture in the air to condense in the first place. If you're high enough this might not even be an issue. Operating a Macbook below the given temperature range does not automatically cause condensation as certain forum members would have you believe.

    However, altitude also works against you, as if the air is not sufficiently dense heat cannot dissipate as efficiently and your machine will fry itself.

    Your tent has electricity, but no heat? If there's no electricity how would you leave the MB "on" the entire winter?
     
  16. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #16
    Check these guys out.

    Basically they took a few macbook pros and a camera (and some guts :D) and set up a base camp somewhere on mount everest, and while they filmed, they cut the video back at camp.

    Aside from operating temperature you'll note they have solid state drives. Solid state drives would be an absolute must in extreme environments such as (yours). Otherwise it looks like you should be all right.
     
  17. vant macrumors 65816

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    Jul 1, 2009
    #17
    I'd recommend leaving it on all night. Probably a program like folding@home so at least you can feel better about it.
     
  18. kbuck1984 thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 1, 2010
    #18
    We have electricity but no heat. The power here is different 120V and the heaters we did get were little space heaters that run 210V and didn't work with our power.

    That's very interesting. I've been waffling on a SSD for a while now, this may give me the motivation I need to get it done.
     
  19. HLdan macrumors 603

    HLdan

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    #19
    You're first line is extremely arrogant, not to mention rude, I'm not surprised at all. And the part of your post that I highlighted, you know this as fact from what? Your own experience? I doubt it.
    My theory of what could happen to the OP's computer makes perfect sense. Mixture of heat and cold produces moisture, you know nothing about physics if you disagree with that. Forcing the computer to run extensively in order to keep itself warm when it's operating below recommended temperatures is just asking for trouble. I was giving the OP a fair warning which would save his computer.
    Good, let the OP take your advice and not mine, he can blame you when and if his troubles arise. :rolleyes:
     
  20. TopHatPlus macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2010
    Location:
    Southern Ontario
    #20
    that is quite the compelling issue, if can't get a 110v ceramic space heater, then i would not recommend running it at night unless you can fit it into your sleeping garment, (sheets, sleeping bag whatever you use) your body generates a hell of a lot of heat and so does the macbook so if you can warm it up with your body as your warm up your bed bed it should be alright.

    Good luck over there! from canada =D
     
  21. TopHatPlus macrumors 6502

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    Aug 1, 2010
    Location:
    Southern Ontario
    #21
    i'll vouch this, a few years ago i got a gamecube (quite a few eyars ago) and i had a 13" tv sitting outside in the middle of december (in canada) and i brought it inside, gave it like 2 hours to warm up and then flicked it on, and within a few minutes it was toasted. Apparently going from -25 c to 22 c does that =P haha if he can slowly warm it up or get a different style heater then he should be alright
     
  22. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    #22
    First, in a hard drive, the heads in a HDD don't touch the recording surface. They float above the surface on a small cushion of air, produced by the spinning platters. If the air is too thin to create this cushion, the heads will contact the surface, possibly damaging it.

    Secondly thinner air means the cooling is less effective.

    You must go with an SSD to safely operate above 10,000 feet
     
  23. msavwah macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2010
    Location:
    Oahu
    #23
    Doesn't sound like a good situation for your mbp. I would at least keep it in your fart sac at night. I was able to keep an iPod classic alive for a whole tour but I didn't bring a laptop.
     

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