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Electronic devices : How cold is dangerous?

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Electronic devices : How cold is dangerous?

Postby moodysky » Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:41 pm

Hi there!

I'm renting a place right now which lets a lot of the cold get in. When I'm home the heat is on so it's not really a problem, but when I leave for the week-end it can easily drop to 55°F (and it'll be even worse in one or two months). Having some electronic devices I would like to know if anyone had an idea about the temperature at which it could damage them.

Here's my gear :

Adam A7X
FOcuscrite Isa 2
DSI PRophet Rev 2
Korg MS 20 mini
RME Fireface 400

Thanks a lot for your help!
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Re: Electonic devices : How cold is dangerous?

Postby Folderol » Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:28 pm

When unpowered temperature is not an issue. They can go well below zero. Powered electronics is usually recommended to be kept above 5 deg C

The bigger risk is condensation when the environment is warmed up.
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Re: Electonic devices : How cold is dangerous?

Postby James Perrett » Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:39 pm

As Folderol says, as long as you keep things dry you can store electronics at low temperatures. Most gear has an operating temperature range between 10 degrees C (50F) and about 40 degrees C so 55F won't be an issue.
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Re: Electonic devices : How cold is dangerous?

Postby Arpangel » Thu Nov 21, 2019 11:04 pm

When I lived in my flat in London, it had no central heating, temperatures in the winter regularly went down to minus 5 or more. My girlfriend at the time nearly died of hypothermia but I was used to it, and my synths were.
Don't worry, it's not an issue, most gear is designed to withstand high and low temperatures, unless it's extremely, er......extreme, like -40 or +50.
A friend has a studio in St Lucia, ad it's regularly +40 with no ill effects.
Damp is the killer, as long as you're dry, you should be OK.
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Re: Electonic devices : How cold is dangerous?

Postby Wonks » Thu Nov 21, 2019 11:09 pm

Rapid temperature change is bad. Easy to get cracks in solder joints if items are quickly allowed to warm up from near zero (or below) to room (or above) temperature (and vice-versa). Also condensation forming when going from cold to hot areas. So keep things in cases and let them acclimatise slowly within cases for a couple of hours or longer before getting them out and using.
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Re: Electonic devices : How cold is dangerous?

Postby BJG145 » Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:45 am

Electronic schmelectronic - I was dangerously cold earlier.

Image
Time to break out that birthday voucher for Go Outdoors.
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Re: Electonic devices : How cold is dangerous?

Postby moodysky » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:37 am

Hey there!

Thanks a lot guys for your replies.
I don't think it will go below 5°C so it'll be okay concerning the temperature.
As for the humidity, it doesn't go higher than 60% these days but I'll be extremely careful.

Thanks a lot for your help, what I read is a relief :)

Have a good day
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Re: Electonic devices : How cold is dangerous?

Postby ef37a » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:49 am

Have you ever known your car radio not work even in the deepest freeze?
Not likely for anything remotely modern but I had an old Ford that would not work on Long wave until the car was decently warm!

I would guess the CPUs in engine management sytems are closely related to those in modern synths and AIs? One would expect those to work anywhere except maybe Antartica?

Valve kit of course shrugs off such problems. No, they WON'T crack the glass if used from below freezing! Car radios again, used to use valves and the power amp and supply converter was often installed in the engine compartment. Went on for years!

Don't worry.

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Re: Electonic devices : How cold is dangerous?

Postby Folderol » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:57 am

ef37a wrote: Car radios again, used to use valves and the power amp and supply converter was often installed in the engine compartment. Went on for years!
Dave.

I had one of those! Lovely beast, with some cunning tricks like the synchronous vibrator, 200V DC via this and a transformer with no rectifiers and minimal smoothing. Covered long, medium and 3 shortwave bands.

Got put to one side when the van it had been in was scrapped, then somehow lost over the years :(
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Re: Electonic devices : How cold is dangerous?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:43 pm

Folderol wrote:Got put to one side when the van it had been in was scrapped, then somehow lost over the years :(
It'll turn up as soon as you buy a new one... ;)
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Re: Electonic devices : How cold is dangerous?

Postby James Perrett » Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:08 pm

ef37a wrote:I would guess the CPUs in engine management sytems are closely related to those in modern synths and AIs? One would expect those to work anywhere except maybe Antartica?

They'd better work in Antarctica - otherwise much of the stuff that I used to design would have been useless. The biggest problem we had was the reduced battery capacity when cold so we kept the gear in a warm container until it was about to be used. Once running, the current through the batteries was high enough for them to stay warm.
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Re: Electonic devices : How cold is dangerous?

Postby ef37a » Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:51 pm

James Perrett wrote:
ef37a wrote:I would guess the CPUs in engine management sytems are closely related to those in modern synths and AIs? One would expect those to work anywhere except maybe Antartica?

They'd better work in Antarctica - otherwise much of the stuff that I used to design would have been useless. The biggest problem we had was the reduced battery capacity when cold so we kept the gear in a warm container until it was about to be used. Once running, the current through the batteries was high enough for them to stay warm.

I stand corrected James! I just thought I had seen 'run-of-mill' chips specc'ed down to -40C and I think it gets even colder than that there?

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Re: Electonic devices : How cold is dangerous?

Postby James Perrett » Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:17 pm

ef37a wrote:I stand corrected James! I just thought I had seen 'run-of-mill' chips specc'ed down to -40C and I think it gets even colder than that there?

You are right - parts of Antartica can get much colder than the parts we worked in so I would guess that you need to take extra precautions if you are designing gear to work in those places. According to Maxim, their automotive and extended industrial parts go down to -40C while full Mil spec is -55C. Commercial parts are only specified down to 0C.
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Re: Electonic devices : How cold is dangerous?

Postby MOF » Wed Nov 27, 2019 5:04 pm

The self noise stat’s should be excellent in Antarctica, it could start a new trend - studios at -40C.
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Re: Electonic devices : How cold is dangerous?

Postby Wonks » Wed Nov 27, 2019 5:11 pm

Heated pop filters to stop you sticking to them with an icicle of frozen breath.
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Re: Electonic devices : How cold is dangerous?

Postby ef37a » Wed Nov 27, 2019 5:17 pm

MOF wrote:The self noise stat’s should be excellent in Antarctica, it could start a new trend - studios at -40C.

Actually, if you do the math (Google calculator) you have to get a hell of a lot colder than that to make any real difference to component noise.

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Re: Electonic devices : How cold is dangerous?

Postby MOF » Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:55 pm

MOF wrote:
The self noise stat’s should be excellent in Antarctica, it could start a new trend - studios at -40C.

Actually, if you do the math (Google calculator) you have to get a hell of a lot colder than that to make any real difference to component noise.

I never thought about the Maths Dave, it was just a flippant comment. :D
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Re: Electonic devices : How cold is dangerous?

Postby ef37a » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:31 pm

MOF wrote:
MOF wrote:
The self noise stat’s should be excellent in Antarctica, it could start a new trend - studios at -40C.

Actually, if you do the math (Google calculator) you have to get a hell of a lot colder than that to make any real difference to component noise.

I never thought about the Maths Dave, it was just a flippant comment. :D

Yeah, sorry, I'm just a pedantic old fart!

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Re: Electonic devices : How cold is dangerous?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:19 pm

But I think we can agree that -40 is dangerous, just maybe not to the electronics... ;)
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Re: Electonic devices : How cold is dangerous?

Postby Wonks » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:21 pm

It's the average radiant temperature of a clear night sky.
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