MacBook Pro 15" - problems in cold weather

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Gremlin photo, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. Gremlin photo, Dec 9, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017

    Gremlin photo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2017
    #1
    Hello,

    I am a news and sports photographer, using Macs since 1996, and had strange situation few days ago:

    I covered soccer match on open pitch, temperature was near 0 Celzius (32 Fahrenheit) and was wet and foggy, but not rain or snow.

    I used my MacBook Pro 15" for approx 30 minutes (before that was in backpack) and everything was OK. After next half-time of 45 minutes, at the end of the match I tried to start it up, after about 30 seconds, it went off completely dead, showing red battery on zero. I forgot charger at home, and when I got it back home, connected charger, laptop started immediately and battery level was 67-68 %.

    Strange to me that latest hi-end MBP doesn't work on not really very cold weather. It's reasonable to reduce battery life on cold, but this happened to few other colleagues wit Macs too.

    Any idea, what is the problem and how to solve ?

    Thanks,


    my laptop.png
     
  2. leman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #2
    The minimal operating temperature for your laptop is 10 degrees C. Too much humidity is also not good. If you are not within those parameters, anything can happen. If you find yourself often in such situations, maybe you should get a system designed to work in low temperatures.

    Source: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201640
     
  3. evec macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    #3
    The Lion battery is easy stop working on low temperature, the Camera and Phone would also instantly switch off in very low temperature.
    As Macbook housed by metal case, it more easy that the aluminum case will lower that amibent temperature especially under chilly wind.
     
  4. Gremlin photo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2017
    #4
    Thanks guys for fast answers,

    It's strange to me that it was dead with battery on "0", and second after charger connected battery level was 67 %.

    So looks like I have to switch to hated PC for winter situations :mad:

    EDIT:
    Other colleagues using PC haven't had any problems with their laptops.
     
  5. jerryk macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #5
    The operation conditions for you mac are:

    "The location you are using your notebook should be within these ranges:
    • Operating temperature: 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C)
    • Relative humidity: 0% to 90% noncondensing"
    You are using your MacBook out of these specification in both areas, below temps and in a condensing environment (foggy). The moisture is worse than the cold. Hopefully there was no inside condensation which tripped the moisture detection tags or dots inside the unit. This would void the warranty.

    Most other laptops have the same specs and would have issues also. The Panasonic Toughbooks are about the only ones that will work in harsh environments.
     
  6. Gremlin photo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2017
    #6
    Thanks again,

    So, there is no good solution to this issue ?
    Remember some old G3/G4 macs working fine in around sub-zero temperature on soccer matches, even with snow falling.
    :(
     
  7. evec macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    #7
    It is because old system is use much power and that keep system hot enough,
    it is better to get a case like this: (just example)
    https://www.booqbags.com/products/viper-case-15-inch-macbook-molded-case
    to preserve the heat.
     
  8. jerryk macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #8
    I have transferred photos to my laptop while it was propped open in a backpack.

    But, isn't the life of your camera batteries also bad in this environment?

    I do nature photography. I remember having to put batteries for a Canon 5D inside my jacket to get decent life. It was at that point I realized why the battery on the 1D was so big!
     
  9. Gremlin photo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2017
    #9
    --- Post Merged, Dec 9, 2017 ---
    Using Nikon D5s, and D750 - there was no single problem with batteries on cameras that day.
    Of course, I had fully charged spare batteries with me-just in case. Checked D5s battery after the match, and it was on about 76 %.

    Looks like it was mixed cause: cold and high humidity

    But wondering, no one with newer PCs had a problem...

    :mad:
     
  10. leman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #10
    Battery is most vulnerable to cold temperatures, so it shouldn't be very surprising. For cold temperature operation, one need to properly insulate the battery etc, which are additional expenses and costs. Since Apple is optimising for battery life, performance and portability, it makes sense that they didn't design the machine for cold temperature usage.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 9, 2017 ---
    Quite ironically, cheaper plastic laptops will have less of a problem, simply because plastics is a better heat insulator than aluminum... It doesn't mean that the cheap plastic laptop will fare better in prolonged exposure to cold though.
     
  11. ZapNZs, Dec 9, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017

    ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    #11
    To my understanding, the lithium battery in both the Mac and most PCs is not designed to function at subzero temperatures. Functionality in this temperature range will be variable, and performance will be reduced (in some cases, by more than half - meaning the power that the system wants can be more than what the battery can supply - this can cause battery failure and is presumably why the Mac was not turning on, to avoid permanent damage). Most likely, the systems will not charge until warmed. As others have noted, a more efficient processor combined with the aluminum casing is, in this case, probably working against you.

    It sounds like you might benefit from a Toughbook, or another laptop with a battery designed specifically for extreme weather performance.
     
  12. Gremlin photo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2017
    #12
    Thanks to all your answers,
    Looks like hi-end and most expensive MBP doesn't guarantee operation in around zero temp, they have to look at Nikon/Canon pro models batteries that works fine on cold.
    Dissapointing from Apple...
    :(
     
  13. JonHob68 macrumors newbie

    JonHob68

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2016
    #13
     
  14. Celedral macrumors 6502

    Celedral

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #14
    I had the same issue but in a different scenario. Was rendering out my video in final cut pro with about 65% battery life, then immediately it shut off. Went to turn it on and it was completely dead. Went home and plugged it in and it booted right back up with about 60% battery life. Not sure if it's a voltage problem on my end, or a bad battery, but it hasn't happened since. This was on my 2014 MacBook Pro 15.

    EDIT: It was room temp.
     
  15. JonHob68 macrumors newbie

    JonHob68

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2016
    #15
    Hi
    I too am a sports photographer and I use a 2015 MBP. Cold weather is a pain in the a$$! Apple told me 10 degrees C is the minimum it will work in. This is wrong! I purchased a Hyperjuice external battery pack and I keep it connected and switched on during football matches. The MBP will stay at 100%, draining the Hyperjuice first (I've never totally flattened the battery).

    The MBP works fine even below Apple's quoted 10 degrees C with an external battery connected. It's a pain and extra weight to carry but it's worth it.
     
  16. Ma2k5 macrumors 68020

    Ma2k5

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    Location:
    London
    #16
  17. fokmik macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2016
    Location:
    USA
    #17
    like they limit the "hotness" to 105C, they also limit the coldest to around 0-10C
    Is for your internals benefit
     
  18. filmbuff macrumors 6502a

    filmbuff

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    #18
    I destroyed the battery in my MBA once by leaving it in my car when it was extremely cold out. The thing froze solid and when I brought it inside a bunch of dew condensed on it in an Apollo 13 situation, shorting out the battery. Luckily replacing that was all I had to do and it still worked. Anyway lesson learned, no Macbooks in extreme cold.
     
  19. SDColorado Contributor

    SDColorado

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Location:
    Highlands Ranch, CO
    #19
    I am not sure which PC's your colleagues where using, but Lenovo claims Extreme Temperature Testing of -25°C–60°C over 3 cycles of 2–hr. duration. It may be a good option for colder weather use.

    https://solutions.lenovo.com/resource-center/pc-solutions/partner-network/mil-spec-tested
     
  20. JonHob68 macrumors newbie

    JonHob68

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2016
    #20
    Footballs often come our way! I have a protective UAG cover on it. It's also in a tent cover. Yesterday it was around 1-2 degrees and pouring down. The external battery saved the day.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 16, 2018 ---
    I've been seriously thinking of a Lenovo myself. Some can be upgraded and as you say, are good in cold conditions and rain! If only Hackintosh would work with WIFI etc....
     

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19 December 9, 2017