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Warm desk for that cold computer gear

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#1 Mittag56


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Posted 08 January 2014 - 03:23 PM

So with this latest cold snap it's quite plain that my laptop just will not work right like it does at any reasonable temp.....OK now for the wild idea...if i lined my desk with one of those side walk ice melt mats..the one that keeps things at 40 deg. and draws 2.5 amps with 110..... :question: possibly make a cardboard shroud over gear to hold the 40 and not -20 air contained.....would it be worth it.....or is my old brain havin trouble with rational thoughts again... :grin:...anyone ever try somethin like this...would be cheaper than making a warm room, and my laptops and hand controllers would be happy..

#2 jbalsam


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Posted 08 January 2014 - 03:40 PM

What laptop are you using? I leave my (now "old") lenovo machine out all night in freezing temps and it's never complained.

The warm-box idea sounds fine to me.

#3 Footbag



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Posted 08 January 2014 - 04:12 PM

Last night I was considering using an electric blanket. My laptop screen stops refreshing when it gets this cold. But, I put a regular blanket over my laptop and made sure it was venting itself within the blanket.

An hour later I went out and it worked long enough to focus.

#4 JMW



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Posted 08 January 2014 - 07:42 PM

I use a heating pad. I set it to keep the laptop from freezing when in the 20s or colder. I also put a cover over the back of the screen. My aluminum macbook pro is much happier when not stone cold.

#5 Ed Wiley

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 08:24 PM

I also use a heating pad and a little computer tent.


#6 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 08:16 AM

I just keep my laptop in the drawer of my desk I use in my observatory..

BUT I have 2 7X Christmas tree lights in bottom of the drawer...one does the job ... BUT the second is just in case one bulb burns out...

Now I can read the laptops screen as soon as I fire it up...

Bob G

#7 Mittag56


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Posted 09 January 2014 - 10:11 AM

I use a pair of lenova laptops running XP... and they dont work well in the graphis or should i say display...but you guys are right..all i should have to do is a cheap heating pad and a laptop tent....thanks...i usually get overboard and go all Rube Goldburgish on things i do....i guess i will scale back as the cheapest sidewalk mat i can find is 300 bucks...and i have the old heating pad...thanks :grin:

#8 WillCarney


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Posted 09 January 2014 - 11:12 AM

I make a shield out of foam core board and duct tape. Keeps the laptop from dewing and icing. Without it I've had ice on the keys and top. The computer generates it's own heat you just have to "box it in". Don't point the open end into the wind. Here's the one you can buy.
http://www.dewbuster...eld-laptop.html I just had some foam core board around the house and made my own.

#9 zippeee


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Posted 10 January 2014 - 12:57 PM

When you say your computer won't work right, what do you mean? Typically, the actual 'computer' parts of your notebook will thrive in cold temperatures. It's usually the display or simpler mechanical components (like optical drives and hinges) that have the issues. As long as you're keeping it out of the snow, the solid state elements should be unaffected by any temperature you'll realistically encounter.

What about a warming pad on the back of the display?

#10 Madratter


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Posted 10 January 2014 - 01:09 PM

I just flip a plastic storage container over my ultrabook with its screen folded down when imaging. That protects the laptop from dew and frost, and also traps a little heat from the laptop. If I go out to use the laptop (I run remotely from the house), the touchscreen is working fine. I have my power settings such that the laptop does not go to sleep when the screen is folded down.

It is very cheap and works great.

#11 hottr6



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Posted 10 January 2014 - 02:21 PM

My dogs sleep on outdoor heating pads when they are protecting me from bear and mountain lion at night. At the end of the night, it takes me just as long to pack away their gear as it does mine. Then they (the dogs) come indoors.

The pads are water- and claw-proof as they have to support our 100+lb dogs. Here is a smaller version that would be useful for a laptop.

#12 Mittag56


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Posted 10 January 2014 - 02:36 PM

Now that pet pad is something i may look into....i leave my computers out all the time.....when its under 0 or so the displays do not work up to par....after an hour they warm up enough to work....just need a little warmth to help them along..of course with all the cost and messin around i may just add an inside warm room area to my building...gotta think on it :question:

#13 Praveen


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Posted 10 January 2014 - 06:07 PM

I made a box out of quater inch plywood, large enough to house the 17 inch laptop and a 10 inch notebook. The notebook is used exclusively for PHD guiding and the laptop runs the imaging and sky software. There is a board about 5 inches from the bottom of the box that is drilled with holes. This 5 inch cavity houses a 150 watt bulb, some foil that is glued over and under the lamp and a fan that blows on the lamp to circulate the hot air. In the front of the box I used a curtain rod to hold a light proof blanket. On the top of the box I attached a power strip. Plenty of power and enough heat to ensure the laptop does not freeze. Also when I am done I can remove the blanket and I get enough light to ensure I don't leave anything behind.

#14 Raginar



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Posted 11 January 2014 - 09:50 AM

I always used my laptop as a remote server. I would VNC into it with the lid closed and that worked pretty good in the cold.

Right now I have a desktop in my shed; it doesn't seem to care about anything :).

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