How cold is too cold for computers and other devices?

Posted by admin on January 8, 2015

How cold is too cold for computers and other devices?

Jan 08, 2015

We get this question a lot as the weather starts to get colder.  While most tech runs better in a cool environment leaving your computer or tablet in a car overnight during a hard freeze can damage it if precautions aren’t taken prior to turning it on.

A great example would be leaving your laptop in a cold car for an extended period of time then bringing it into your home or office where the air is warmer and turning it on immediately.  For a laptop or desktop computer that was left out in the cold you will want to allow the device to warm up to the surrounding air before using it.  There are a lot of metal parts inside these devices that can cause condensation when exposed to the warmer moister air.  Also, to be on the safe side don’t plug a desktop up and pull the battery out if it is a laptop during this time to make sure no power is going to it.  As the device warms up it will dry out and you can then use it, normally if it feels about the same temperature as the surrounding air.  If you want to speed up this process you can point a fan at it, directly at the cooling vents or keyboard for a laptop and for a desktop remove the side panel to allow the air to circulate.

Using your gear in the cold is a whole different story.  Extreme cold weather will cause your battery to die quicker and cold weather will cause some materials to become brittle.  I haven’t ever seen an LCD screen ‘freeze’ solid but it is possible to have problems with an LCD screen if temperatures dip below the -20 degree range.  Also the backlight can become dimmer in cold weather.

Stay warm out there!

If you have a question you would like answered send it in to Steve or ask on Facebook.

Category: General

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