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

Joe Zeglinski

Hi Stuart,

Thought about that too, in my own winter conditions., in Toronto.
My plan is to tape a red filter sheet inside a large Zip-Lok bag, maybe a
large "turkey roasting" type from the grocery, and slip it (like a pillow
case) over the raised LCD screen. The bag will retain, the heat emitted from
the (really warm) fluorescent back light tubes and power supply/inverter LCD
electronics in the lid. This will keep the LCD crystalline switching material
from slowing down, possibly expanding and cracking the screen, or just turning
from pink (although that colour would be useful here).
If that works well enough, I considered using a second back slipped over the
base, allowing the keyboard to still be used through the bag, while it's heat
is similarly retained on really frigid nights.

I had originally planned on constantly raising and lowering the LCD
screen, so that it's heat would keep the dew (frost crystals) off the
keyboard, and to sandwich the base unit's heat inside, from escaping. Then I
snapped the hinges in the cold - where I learned that repeatedly flexing them
was a bad idea.

Best also to keep the hard drive spinning, rather than allowing energy
saving spin down, since my extensive battery measurements had found that the
hard drive on my Compaq Armada 7800 drains minimal power, while it's heat
would keep the insides from drowning in dew. (The bags could be left on as the
laptop acclimates again, back in the house, keeping the dew off there as


----- Original Message -----
From: "S HEGGIE" <stuart.j.heggie@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 1:44 PM
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] Re: Desperately trying (this is the correct one) ...
(Happy) end...

Joe, these are good points. I did investigate the tolerance of the LCD
screen to cold and was advised that the HP machine I had was probably safe
to -20C and probably -25C (about as cold as it ever gets here). Like you, I
leave the lid open, cover the screen with a dark red film and then, when
heading back to the house, cover the whole affair with a t-shirt to further
block the light and to protect the rig from frost/dew. Seems to work since I
have had it there for two years without a problem (knock on wood!).

I've been considering replacing it with an older XP desktop (my son's - he's
due for an upgrade he says!). I'd have to add a wireless capability to that
desktop but that isn't too much money.


From: "Joseph Zeglinski" <J.Zeglinski@...>
Reply-To: ap-gto@...
To: <ap-gto@...>
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: Desperately trying (this is the correct one) ...
(Happy) end...
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 13:14:21 -0500

Hi Stuart,

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

Last year I decided to run a series of cold soak test of an old IBM
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
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
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
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
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

My plan for laptop use is to leave the lid always open, and only to
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,
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
inside at bay. Remember, the spec on laptops is for use "above freezing" -
perhaps because of this "case fragility"reason.


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