Automotive

Leaving electronics in a cold car

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 11th, 2009 1:05 pm
Tags:
None
Deal Addict
Nov 3, 2003
1872 posts
240 upvotes
Toronto

Leaving electronics in a cold car

Is it ok to leave electronic gadgets (e.g., BT headsets, BT car kits, GPS receivers, etc.) in the car in cold weather? If so, is it necessary to let them warm up before using them?
18 replies
Deal Expert
User avatar
Aug 18, 2005
15672 posts
1212 upvotes
GTA West
In many cases, the manuals will list maximum and minimum storage and usage temperatures. This is true for most computer equipment.

DEFINITELY let the equipment come up to room temperature before turning on. Sometimes students kill their own laptops by walking 20 minutes in Winter from residence to the lecture hall, and then turning on the cold laptop immediately. Condensation forms inside on the motherboard...
- Not Collecting AIR MILES Since 2016/07 -
- Casual Gastronomist -
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jan 27, 2006
15072 posts
742 upvotes
Woodbridge
I'm not sure about Gadgets like OP listed but I know Notebook, Home Theater Components need to settle at Room Temperature before turning it on.

I leave/left my BlackBerry Bold, iPod touch/nano's in the car during cold winters and haven't had any problems. *knock-on-wood*
"I'll put up color bars before I'll put you in front of our cameras."

- MacKenzie
THE NEWSROOM (HBO)
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 26, 2005
1464 posts
91 upvotes
Guelph
It's a greater concern with a longer time period. If, for example, you're leaving your car overnight, then yes, actually wait a somewhat lengthy time. But if it's just leaving your phone in your car for a few hours then maybe give it 10 minutes, if that.

Laptops need a little more car. If you have to leave it in a car then wrap it in something.. like a blanket or a shirt.

I'm also fairly sure that the more harmful problem is repetitive temperature changes (Freezing to sauna to freezing - lol ok, you get the point). Try not to go in and out and in and out... etc of different temperature areas..
In all honestly I've never had problems either, but hey, I could just be lucky.
Nom nom nom.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 3, 2003
1872 posts
240 upvotes
Toronto
Thanks for all the replies so far. I'm most concerned about the gadgets that I might need in the car (wireless devices, GPS) so having to wait until they warm up would be quite inconvenient. Of course I could take them with me, but again, what a hassle...

And what about factory installed gadgetry (i.e., onboard audio system, onboard GPS)? Are they designed so that they will withstand extreme temperatures more than other devices?
Deal Expert
User avatar
Aug 18, 2005
15672 posts
1212 upvotes
GTA West
Gigi wrote:
Nov 8th, 2009 9:08 pm
Thanks for all the replies so far. I'm most concerned about the gadgets that I might need in the car (wireless devices, GPS) so having to wait until they warm up would be quite inconvenient. Of course I could take them with me, but again, what a hassle...

And what about factory installed gadgetry (i.e., onboard audio system, onboard GPS)? Are they designed so that they will withstand extreme temperatures more than other devices?
These things are manufactured with the intention of being in the car so it may be different.
I suggest you go into the manual and check. They may have info.
- Not Collecting AIR MILES Since 2016/07 -
- Casual Gastronomist -
Sr. Member
Sep 12, 2006
943 posts
18 upvotes
My ipod never used to turn on in the winter after being left overnight. I'd have to warm it for a few minutes with body heat (ie. with my butt, lol).
Deal Addict
Mar 7, 2009
1297 posts
2 upvotes
Waterloo
I keep my GPS unit in my car in the winter and the summer and haven't had a problem yet.
Member
May 7, 2006
289 posts
19 upvotes
Ontario
Jucius Maximus wrote:
Nov 8th, 2009 7:11 pm
In many cases, the manuals will list maximum and minimum storage and usage temperatures. This is true for most computer equipment.

DEFINITELY let the equipment come up to room temperature before turning on. Sometimes students kill their own laptops by walking 20 minutes in Winter from residence to the lecture hall, and then turning on the cold laptop immediately. Condensation forms inside on the motherboard...
+1

The temperature difference is a problem (condensation). Definitely let it sit and get to room temperature before using it.
Deal Addict
Jan 5, 2003
2875 posts
2271 upvotes
Toronto
Anything with a battery will get shortened battery life being exposed to extreme heat/cold and temperature swings. LCD displays usually refresh slower when very cold. As others have say, the biggest problem is condensation on internal parts.

Either bring them inside or buy stuff that you won't mind having a short life. If you have an attached garage, it might be warm enough that it's okay, but for a detached garage in the winter, consider your electronics disposable. I usually wear the same coat in the winter, so put my electronics into my winter coat when parking for the night.
Deal Addict
Oct 18, 2006
1370 posts
26 upvotes
Toronto
I specifically want to know about a Garmin GPS wiht a touch screen 255w. Anyone leave it in their car all winter?
Deal Addict
Feb 9, 2008
2166 posts
147 upvotes
Gigi wrote:
Nov 8th, 2009 9:08 pm
And what about factory installed gadgetry (i.e., onboard audio system, onboard GPS)? Are they designed so that they will withstand extreme temperatures more than other devices?
Yes, but eventually the temperature will drop low enough that they fail.

My first job some years ago was in military avionics: at the time the only two fields which were considered tougher for electronics design were space and automotive. The environment that cars operate in is really hard on electronics and they have to keep working for years with only limited maintenance.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 11, 2009
3096 posts
251 upvotes
Toronto
well think about it, the standard factory gps units that come with the car are not protect, atleast i don't think so...they just sit in ur car overnight, so does the stereo system...how are u gonna protect those? park ur car in a heated garage? park it underground?...that's about the best protection u can do for it...

if ur worried then just bring it into the house...
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2004
19722 posts
1473 upvotes
jm1 wrote:
Nov 9th, 2009 1:04 pm
Anything with a battery will get shortened battery life being exposed to extreme heat/cold and temperature swings.
Batteries are preserved in the cold, however the problem is in colder temperatures Li-Ion batts which are typically found in small electronics (MP3 players, phones, etc.) can't deliver current well when cold. Hence why you have stories like this one:
alex_d10 wrote:My ipod never used to turn on in the winter after being left overnight. I'd have to warm it for a few minutes with body heat (ie. with my butt, lol).
The lower temperature actually doesn't pose too much danger for the battery, it just doesn't allow it to power on the device (or power the device effectively) until warmed.
Banned
User avatar
Jun 19, 2006
9349 posts
42 upvotes
Jucius Maximus wrote:
Nov 8th, 2009 7:11 pm
Sometimes students kill their own laptops by walking 20 minutes in Winter from residence to the lecture hall, and then turning on the cold laptop immediately. Condensation forms inside on the motherboard...
You've heard of this happening??

Aren't most laptop parts continuously, or near-continuously energized?

I've fired up my laptop hundreds of times in -30C weather, after sitting outdoors overnight. Biggest problem is that the battery really struggles to put out enough power, and hence, battery life is very short.
"I worked with several H1B employees that were/are borderline ********. One of them wanted to spray an electrical patch panel with solvent to see if it would make the “network go faster”". <--- lol (source)
× < >

Top