Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Question about taking a running laptop outside in the cold?

  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 bytesbull

bytesbull

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 65
  • Joined: 13 Jul 2021
  • Loc: Arkansas, USA

Posted 23 October 2021 - 01:15 AM

I just bought a SVBONY SV105 1.25" Telescope Camera and was wondering if I have my laptop on and running inside where it is 75 degrees can I take it outside while still running to 40 to 50 degree fall temps at night without it being damaged? Or, do I need to turn it off and let it reach room temperature and take it outside in those cold temps and THEN turn it on outside and begin imaging?

 

Also should you turn if off after you are done out in the cold before you bring it back in the 75 degree house?

 

Thanks for any experienced astrophotographers help with this.



#2 astrokeith

astrokeith

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,295
  • Joined: 14 Mar 2010
  • Loc: Surrey, UK

Posted 23 October 2021 - 05:47 AM

I would take it out while running.

 

If you let it get cold first, then it will have a bigger shock when turned on and the internals heat up.

 

I would also bring it in running, as this will minimise the chance of condensation forming. Bring a cold laptop in doors and it will quickly get condensation all over it, and inside too. Computers are never really completely off. Even when switched off parts of the circuit board will be live.


  • bytesbull likes this

#3 alphatripleplus

alphatripleplus

    World Controller

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 126,837
  • Joined: 09 Mar 2012
  • Loc: Georgia

Posted 23 October 2021 - 07:21 AM

Moving from EAA to Astronomy Software & Computers for a better fit.


  • bytesbull likes this

#4 GaryShaw

GaryShaw

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,487
  • Joined: 28 Nov 2017
  • Loc: Massachusetts / Wyoming

Posted 23 October 2021 - 07:57 AM

Hi

I’d agree with Keith on bringing it inside while running to inhibit condensation within a more humid indoor environment. I doubt though that there would be an issue turning it on from scratch outside. I live in Wyoming part of the winter and we get routinely down to 0 - 10F many nights. I’ve never had an issue with a cold outdoor start.

 

I guess it’s an obvious point but be sure to check the manufacturers specification regarding operating temperatures. Most will likely stop at 32F but I have routinely run a variety of laptops and NUCs down to 10F. What you need to be sure that you don’t do is to be charging a lithium battery much below 32F. One of my mounts, the iOptron AZ Mount Pro, has a 12 hour battery onboard, in part to minimized the likelihood of a customer wanting to plug the mount in(which initiates charging) while outside. The Tech folks at iOptron were very specific about not charging below 32F and I suspect this applies to all lithium batteries.

Gary
 


Edited by GaryShaw, 23 October 2021 - 07:59 AM.

  • bytesbull likes this

#5 bytesbull

bytesbull

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 65
  • Joined: 13 Jul 2021
  • Loc: Arkansas, USA

Posted 23 October 2021 - 11:07 AM

Thanks guys, this alleviates a lot of my fear about the cold. So I just take it outside while running and do my imaging and bring it back in running.

 

I'll probably use it outdoors in the cold until I get the battery low warning (which usually happens when it has about 30 minutes battery left) then bring it inside still running and wait about 15 minutes to let the battery parts and some other areas have time to heat up more from the warmer inside temp and THEN plugin the power cord and charge back up.

 

Thanks for all the information. I appreciate it guys. coldday.gif  like-button.jpg



#6 alphatripleplus

alphatripleplus

    World Controller

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 126,837
  • Joined: 09 Mar 2012
  • Loc: Georgia

Posted 23 October 2021 - 11:56 AM

 

 What you need to be sure that you don’t do is to be charging a lithium battery much below 32F. One of my mounts, the iOptron AZ Mount Pro, has a 12 hour battery onboard, in part to minimized the likelihood of a customer wanting to plug the mount in(which initiates charging) while outside. The Tech folks at iOptron were very specific about not charging below 32F and I suspect this applies to all lithium batteries.

Gary
 

That is something I had never paid attention to, as I usually leave my laptop battery charging when it is at the scope, plugged into regular power. Of course, here it doesn't dip much below freezing except on really cold nights. I will have to keep this in mind.



#7 APshooter

APshooter

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,437
  • Joined: 14 Oct 2013
  • Loc: Camby, In.

Posted 24 October 2021 - 09:35 PM

Same here. Laptop has power at the scope. I also use a large beach towel to cover the laptop during imaging. It prevents dew buildup and keeps the laptop warm too! Traps the heat inside.
  • Rickycardo likes this

#8 tjay

tjay

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,662
  • Joined: 03 Feb 2007
  • Loc: just outside of Toronto

Posted 24 October 2021 - 10:31 PM

I had a laptop battery fail when trying to use it in cold weather ( approximately - 10c) so I am going to try a seedling mat (basically a 18w heater) this winter.

Sent from my SM-T720 using Tapatalk

#9 Tfer

Tfer

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 546
  • Joined: 05 Sep 2019
  • Loc: Northern Alberta, Canada

Posted 24 October 2021 - 11:29 PM

I’ve run a laptop outside in -30°C temps, plugged in, without issue.

 

Batteries don’t last long in those temps, so plugging in is absolutely necessary.



#10 GaryShaw

GaryShaw

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,487
  • Joined: 28 Nov 2017
  • Loc: Massachusetts / Wyoming

Posted 25 October 2021 - 08:35 AM

Hi

Ive had good luck using an Intel Nuc outside at the scope. I place it in a simple small foam cooler along with a Poweroak 19/12 volt battery. I run the mount’s single usb3 cable out to the CEM 70 via a small slot. 
 

Last winter in Wyoming, temps were down to 5-10F outside ( that’s my low cutoff range for scope, mount, camera, focuser,etc) and the interior of the cooler maintained 70-80F just from the heat from the battery and NUC. I track temp and humidity in the cooler and at the mount with 2 Sensor Push Bluetooth Devices. My sessions at that temp range are generally just 3-4 hours…probably could be longer.

Gary



#11 GaryShaw

GaryShaw

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,487
  • Joined: 28 Nov 2017
  • Loc: Massachusetts / Wyoming

Posted 25 October 2021 - 08:41 AM

I’ve run a laptop outside in -30°C temps, plugged in, without issue.

 

Batteries don’t last long in those temps, so plugging in is absolutely necessary.

Just curious…….are you using the laptop outside and not sheltered from temps along with scope, powered mount, camera, focuser….etc.? That would be way below the manufacturers operating specs for all of my gear. Do you have a procedure for when you bring things back inside relative to preventing frost/dew formation?

thank you,

Gary



#12 Tfer

Tfer

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 546
  • Joined: 05 Sep 2019
  • Loc: Northern Alberta, Canada

Posted 25 October 2021 - 08:54 AM

Just curious…….are you using the laptop outside and not sheltered from temps along with scope, powered mount, camera, focuser….etc.? That would be way below the manufacturers operating specs for all of my gear. Do you have a procedure for when you bring things back inside relative to preventing frost/dew formation?

thank you,

Gary

Everything is housed in an SkyShed Pod observatory.

 

The laptop (for now, until it gets replaced with a mini computer) is running with the lid closed.  The only issues I’ve ever had in the past, is the LCD screen freezing and becoming completely unresponsive.

 

I’m controlling all of it from inside our house.


Edited by Tfer, 25 October 2021 - 08:59 AM.


#13 starbuckin

starbuckin

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 397
  • Joined: 03 Mar 2019
  • Loc: Massachusetts

Posted 25 October 2021 - 11:23 AM

I have an Eagle now, but previously used to leave my laptop out in freezing temps in one of these ….

https://www.amazon.c...g/dp/B01DRD060A
  • bytesbull likes this

#14 gmiller123456

gmiller123456

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 234
  • Joined: 25 Dec 2020

Posted 25 October 2021 - 12:52 PM

Odds are your laptop is rated for indoor conditions only, so there's always some risk in taking it outdoors.  That said, one of mine got rained on, heavily, and it worked just fine for quite a while.

 

Back when I had an observatory, I'd replace the laptop every few years, sometimes just to upgrade, and sometimes because it failed.  While laptops kept indoors usually last decades.  So you're definitely stressing it, so I wouldn't invest any serious money in an observatory computer.  But there's no need to baby it either.


  • Tfer likes this

#15 Dan Crowson

Dan Crowson

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 3,147
  • Joined: 08 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Dardenne Prairie, MO

Posted 27 October 2021 - 06:39 PM

Never had any issues with my old Dell laptops out in the cold and heat. I use them between -5F and +110F. One has been running for 10+ years in the Missouri heat, cold and humidity. I have another in a non-climate-controller observatory in NM. USB ports would start acting strange above 113F (during the day) but otherwise no issues.
 
Batteries can be a challenge. I tend to just remove them assuming AC power. Even when I image off the grid with 12V, there is less power consumption when not having a battery and the laptop trying to charge it. I use docking stations so running on laptop battery for awhile and then removing isn't an option.
 
Definitely be more concerned with bringing in optics.
 
Dan




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics