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  • Getting Wifi working in -40C temperatures

    Hi.

    I am considering to put wifi in my carpc. My carpc doesnt actually function properly in the winter right now, but I plan on redesigning my whole system soon. But I want a wifi dongle right now. Although I wont be using it in the winter for now, I will be using it later on. The winters where I live get down to -40C, maybe more with windchill, so obviously temperature is a consideration I must take into account.

    So my question is. Should I worry about the temperature effects on the functionality of a wifi dongle? All the usb dongles seem to list 0C as the minimum operating temperature, but I am not sure what will happen when its -40C. Maybe someone has real life experience with wifi in low temperatures? I had an engineer that told me high frequency stuff is more sensitive to changes in temperature. Can I just get any old dongle and expect it to work in the cold?

  • #2
    For one, wind chill only effects things that are living or wet, so you don't have anything to worry about that. I've had webcams outside at that temperature and they worked just fine. They don't have a display, or drive though. That's what you have to worry about. As long as it's not heating up and cooling off quickly it isn't going to hurt it. That's usually what kills stuff in the cold, the solder joints break.
    Failure is not an option....



    It's installed by default on every version of Windows.

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    • #3
      Also will or is your carpc in the cabin of the car or the trunk? With -40C weather you may want to consider the cabin so it gets the same temperature as you do.
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      • #4
        My carpc is in the trunk. There is no where in the cabin for my carpc. I was just wondering if anyone has actually used wifi in such low temperatures. Wifi involves very high frequencies, and therefore the circuits are probably tuned very precisely. I am just concerned that the low temperatures may somehow affect the components inside the dongle which may affect this tuning.

        Maybe I am just paranoid, but low temperature consideration of all components is something I must consider.

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        • #5
          It'll work. -40C/F is a pretty normal occurrence for me in the winter.
          Failure is not an option....



          It's installed by default on every version of Windows.

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          • #6
            that is verry cold you can get a fan in oz that will blow and suck air to keep the temp the same.
            Design: {0000------}40%
            Parts: {00000-----}50%
            Fab/Install: {000-------}30%
            Front End (RR): {0---------}10%
            TOTAL: 33%

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            • #7
              Originally posted by kleicl View Post
              that is verry cold you can get a fan in oz that will blow and suck air to keep the temp the same.
              At -40 the fans stop working. Actually they stop spinning somewhere around -20. That's pretty much about the same time a hard drive will stop working, even when it's been running. I tried putting a backup server out in my shed once. Didn't work out so well.
              Failure is not an option....



              It's installed by default on every version of Windows.

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              • #8
                BarryWoods, seeing as you live in North Pole AK, I am guessing it gets way colder up there then where I live and you are probably more experienced than me.

                Im trying to design my carpc to function down to -40C. I was wondering...what model lcd screen do you use? How usable is it in the cold? Also, what power supply are you using? I have read that certain psu's dont power on when its too cold. Maybe list other factors that I should be aware of. I am not worried about the harddrive because I plan on going solid state.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by nobb View Post
                  BarryWoods, seeing as you live in North Pole AK, I am guessing it gets way colder up there then where I live and you are probably more experienced than me.

                  Im trying to design my carpc to function down to -40C. I was wondering...what model lcd screen do you use? How usable is it in the cold? Also, what power supply are you using? I have read that certain psu's dont power on when its too cold. Maybe list other factors that I should be aware of. I am not worried about the harddrive because I plan on going solid state.
                  Heh, I use a laptop, and it comes in with me. I also have a garage, most of the time. Depends on how motivated I get cleaning out the wood working equipment. Best I can tell you is to turn on the heat to let the lcd warm up. I've yet to see a lcd freeze and break, so that's probably not something to worry about. I've no clue how you can heat the computer though. Most of my cars I wire a 110 outlet under the dash. Then I plug in one of those little ceramic "bathroom" heaters into that. The outlet is wired to the same plugs as the battery blanket, oil pan heater, and block heater. It doesn't really keep the cabin "warm", but it does keep the seats from becoming frozen concrete blocks.
                  Failure is not an option....



                  It's installed by default on every version of Windows.

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                  • #10
                    if you have a engine block heater already, then just wire it like BarryWoods. Install heating wire in your computer case and a temperature switch to turn it off at your preferred temperature. I'm not sure if anyone is still worried about condensation issues. I remember when we first started, everyone was freaked out about it.

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                    • #11
                      Its such a hassle to build heaters and having to plug it in each time I leave my car. I also dont think I would sleep knowing that there is a heater being plugged into my car (fire hazard).
                      I would prefer to use components that just work in these environments. So far, I know that hard drives and lcd screens will encounter issues in low temperatures. I am not sure what other components will fail to operate this winter.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by nobb View Post
                        Its such a hassle to build heaters and having to plug it in each time I leave my car. I also dont think I would sleep knowing that there is a heater being plugged into my car (fire hazard).
                        I would prefer to use components that just work in these environments. So far, I know that hard drives and lcd screens will encounter issues in low temperatures. I am not sure what other components will fail to operate this winter.
                        The heater that I use has an overtemp switch in it. If it gets too hot, it shuts down. It's done that a couple times on me, the fan froze. If you can get a solid state hard drive, then you won't have to worry about that. I've seen some of the guys here booting their pc's from compact flash, that would work pretty well too. Do that with an external usb2 or firewire drive for music, that way it comes inside with you. You'll still need to preheat the screen, either with the car's heater, or it's own. The cold shouldn't really hurt it, it will just look funny for a while until it heats up.
                        Failure is not an option....



                        It's installed by default on every version of Windows.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by nicksmurf111 View Post
                          if you have a engine block heater already, then just wire it like BarryWoods. Install heating wire in your computer case and a temperature switch to turn it off at your preferred temperature. I'm not sure if anyone is still worried about condensation issues. I remember when we first started, everyone was freaked out about it.
                          Brother, at -40 c, there's not enough moisture in the air to worry about.

                          9 years in the prairies (anywhere down to -50c and the windchill drops it to -70's for people) taught me that!

                          Originally posted by nobb View Post
                          Its such a hassle to build heaters and having to plug it in each time I leave my car. I also dont think I would sleep knowing that there is a heater being plugged into my car (fire hazard).
                          You live in Calgary and you don't plug in the car in winter?!? You're braver than I................. When I lived in The 'Jaw, winter came, the car got plugged in all the time.
                          For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.
                          Leonardo Da Vinci

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                          • #14
                            Well I plug in my car at night, but not during the day when I am at school (no plugs). And by fire hazard...I mean a heater that you built yourself. I actually did build a heater for my lcd screen and I wouldnt trust that to run overnight. I have pics if anyone is interested...you can see how big of a mess it looks.

                            I am also looking to upgrade my screen due to temperature issues. So far, this screen looks most promising (too bad its not out yet):
                            http://dynamixcomputers.com/dynamix_...uchscreen.html
                            What do you guys think? Its LED backlight, so it doesnt suffer from dimming issues as with ccfls. Its even rated at down to -20C. I think that is the lowest Ive seen in a screen so far.

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                            • #15
                              why not mount it under the dash and cut a hole in the heater duct work.
                              you coould even get a bezel / adapter and put it in the hole and run a piece of tube to the screen.

                              i know on some cars this would be a nightmare as they dont leave room for a breeding pair of fruit fly's but at least its an option.

                              you gotta warm up the car anyway....

                              im jus toutside of toronto and we get -40 1nce or 2ice a yr too...so nowhere near you guys..but still too cold for a carpc.

                              maybe one of those pipe heaters on the under-dash reinforcement?
                              then mount the mobo case on it?
                              it'll plug in like a block heater?!?

                              other than that its goona haveto be a space heater AND a removable HDD at least.
                              06 Altima..SER front bumper.
                              CAR PC.....soon to be true!!
                              Oshawa Canada!!

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