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Inactive laptop at -25c/-13f temps -- will it break?

Last response: in Overclocking
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February 10, 2012 12:05:29 PM

This is somewhat off topic, but it unites hardware + temps, so I figured it was the best place to ask.

As a university student, a good way to save money is to sleep outside. Problem: I live in Quebec, so it can get very cold. What I wonder is if having my laptop, keyboard & mouse with me, in my backpack, is a bad idea. Will the electronics break? I've experienced some pretty cold temps and so far all's good, but I'm a bit concerned about whether this will ultimately break my laptop etc.

Cheers,
Shane.
February 10, 2012 12:29:30 PM

Can't imagine any of the hardware having an issue being cold except maybe the LCD screen at minus temps.
Best check with the manufacturer however.
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a b D Laptop
a b K Overclocking
February 10, 2012 12:54:41 PM

Holy crap, Holy crap, you live outside?!?!?!?

Your laptop won't break. HOWEVER, don't stress any components with extreme heat if it's very cold (and don't try and tap your screen when it's cold/warming up). Before you use it you might have to at least warm it up to about -5 to 0. Most electronics don't like colder temps than those.

Also - don't let moisture get into your laptop at all. Can be a real killer.
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a b D Laptop
a b K Overclocking
February 10, 2012 1:08:37 PM

NOT RECOMMENDED
Just checked the Specs for My Samsung RF711-S01. (Most Consummer laptops would have a specs very simular)
For Storage (non operational): Neg 5 -> 40 C (the -5 is probably based on the LCD screen as non-operatioal temps for the electronics is probably -20 - Just a wag on my part based on testing space flight hardware)
Operational: 10 -> 32 C.

Then there is the specs for the battery - did not research.

1) -25 C is WELL below the Specs.
2) There are two major issues, excluding the fact that you will void waranttee as you are exceeding the design specs. Assuming you cool the laptop down to below freezing then go indoors:
..A) Condensation inside the laptop. You will have a coating of Water on all the electronics (based on dew point of indoor envirorment). Same as being outside on a real cold day and going inside - instant FOGGED glasses.
..B) from a mecanical standpoint. Repeated Contraction/expansion can cause problems - Consummer products not built to the same specs as equipment designed for that enviorment.

Bottom Line - NO, do not recommend. If you do, when going indoors wait a minium of 1 Hour before powering on the laptop.
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February 10, 2012 5:16:16 PM

Best answer selected by Dussault.
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February 10, 2012 5:26:50 PM

Thank you everyone. It seems that just putting it in my backpack is not a good idea. I've learned some squirrel tricks, so I have a ton of hiding spots inside the library. However, I'm reluctant to hide my laptop, so I wonder if anyone has work-arounds in mind. Would an air tight ziplock do the trick? My guess is no, but I don't understand the physics at play enough to reason this out.

Another trick would be to have an extra-long sleeping bag and just leave it at the foot of the sleeping bag. Then, however, while the laptop would stay warm, there would still be an increase in humidity because we sweat in sleep, and in a sleeping bag + bivy bag, breathability is compromised.
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