Re: Desperately trying (this is the correct one) ... (Happy) end...


Joe Zeglinski
 

Hi Stuart,

Straying a bit OT, I just wanted to comment about using an old "portable"
laptop in the cold.

Last year I decided to run a series of cold soak test of an old IBM laptop
in my garage, at about the freezing mark. I eventually destroyed the laptop
because the LCD screen hinges broke away from the body. Laptop plastic is
really meant for benign California weather conditions, and is not made of
tough thermo plastic. The springs that hold the screen raised up, are VERY
strong (I had them apart, eventually), and they are typically held to the body
by two tiny screws into a press fitted brass screw socket. There is also an
intentional TENSION or friction brake system to prevent the LCD from slamming
shut, and also to let you adjust the screen tilt angle - more work for the
hinges against that brake pressure. As you open or close the LCD, the springs
really stress these screw connections, on the two barrel tortion springs.

If the case doesn't crack, the brass sockets will break away and rip free
of the plastic base, as in my case. If you have an expensive "ruggedized"
laptop, with a case made of magnesium, then "maybe" those hinges would be
screwed into the metal frame, allowing it to be used "normally" in arctic
conditions in military or industrial applications. Consumer laptops are not
really meant for operation in outdoor winter conditions, without extra care.

My plan for laptop use is to leave the lid always open, and only to close
the laptop LCD screen after it has been warmed up for about 10 minutes in a
heated car, or in the house. It makes it clumsy to carry, screen raised, but
much better than wrecking an expensive laptop in the freezing cold. Then
again, it will likely get soaking wet inside, as it warms up while it is
open - perhaps having it running as it warms up externally, might keep the dew
inside at bay. Remember, the spec on laptops is for use "above freezing" -
perhaps because of this "case fragility"reason.

Joe

----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Carrico" <tom@ccdargo.com>
To: <ap-gto@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 12:34 PM
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: Desperately trying (this is the correct one) ...
(Happy) end...


Hi Stuart,
I have used the wireless (and ethernet wired) route with a laptop local
to the telescope. That has worked and my only real issue is that the
screen updates are always slower than direct connecting a PC. I know I
am whining a bit, as it is a minor quibble. Also, I do worry about
wearing out the laptop at the telescope, as in the winter it often gets
well below zero. I know I could put the laptop in a small box, but since
my current solution does work, I have not gone any further on the
wireless route. However, I do agree that it is a very good solution as
it removes some of the extender and converter issues.

Tom C

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