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Thread: Cold weather operators, how do you keep the 'puter warm?

  1. #41
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    How about something like this?

    http://www.chromalox.com/products/prodinfo/en/slb.html

    I've used this before on jobs where I've had to place LAN equipment in exterior enclosures. If you could combine the "timer" idea and this, it could heat up the components.

  2. #42
    Newbie Not2Swift's Avatar
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    Here's my 2 cents.

    This is my first winter of having a car computer.

    A month or so ago the hard drive wouldn't spin up (too cold).

    My solution is: I have to plug in the car so it will start so why not split the plug in cable and use an interior heater.

    I don't need the interior to be hot, but warm enough that I'm not doing damage to the computer when it starts.

    I put in a simple in car heater, plugged through a "thermo cube"
    http://www.smarthome.com/7142.html

    Keeps the interior at zero (32F) even through the -30 to -40 days.

    Cost is $20 plus the heater and some cord splitters.

    works for me. Hope it helps for you.

    Cheers
    Mike
    (Calgary)

  3. #43
    FLAC
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    Not2Swift, good to see a fellow member from Calgary! I just moved out of there in August, been running a carputer for 1.5 years in Calgary prior to that.
    Ampie Case
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    2005 Honda Civic

  4. #44
    Self proclaimed spoon feeder TruckinMP3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TruckinMP3 View Post
    -17 C is about 1 F
    SNIP
    In another thread I was asked how cold my system has booted. The coldest I recall seeing in the morning was an air temp of 9 F (about -13 C) no issues. Mostly i do not look at the temp though.

    SNIP

    I can now say 1 F or -17 C and my set up still boots. I guess I am lucky. The LCD seems to be fine as well.

    ** note I am not dismissing cold boot issues, just indicating that some hardware does better than others.
    TruckinMP3
    D201GLY2, DC-DC power, 3.5 inch SATA

    Yes, you should search... and Yes, It has been covered before!

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  5. #45
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    Hey GreatWhite, I'm in Calgary.

    Depending on your enclosure, what about just wrapping a battery blanket around the case and plugging in. Won't get hot enough to damage anything, safe, cheap and 1-2hours on a timer should be more than enough to raise the temp to safe boot levels.

    *Edit: I see others have suggested this already:

    My other thought was to use one of those 12V heaters that Canadian Tire sells. Like this: http://www.12vheaters.com/?gclid=CNC...FSosagodM0lhGw
    To warm the enclosure (faster) or trunk. while the car is warming up in the morning.

  6. #46
    FLAC
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    Wow, I didnt know there were so many Calgarians with carpcs too. Too bad its fairly warm in Calgary right now...I was hoping for some -40C temps so I can test my new setup.

    So greatwhite, did you find a working solution to your weather issues?

  7. #47
    Low Bitrate Salmizar's Avatar
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    I took Scruit's idea about the CCTV heater and ordered one.

    I took the heater and made a bracket that holds it below the HDD about 1-2mm.



    I then made a square hole below the drive so the thermal controller switch would come up and sit 0.5mm from the HDD.



    I installed a relay which is driven by the amplifier control. This way when the carputer is on, the heater is off. I also installed a internal toggle switch so that when it warms up I can easily disable it.

    The unit draws between 220mA and 430mA. So far so good. I will have to wait for a cold snap to see if it can handle the really cold temps (-25c+)

  8. #48
    FLAC greatwhite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobb View Post
    So greatwhite, did you find a working solution to your weather issues?
    Nah, bee out of country for a while. Back for today and gone again for a couple more weeks.

    If this keeps up, it'll be spring before I even get to drive the car again!
    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

  9. #49
    FLAC
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    It got down to -35C and even my automotive grade EE25 wouldnt spin up fast enough to be recognized on the first try. My old Endurastar seemed to have held up better. It seems that that HDD might take longer to spin up to normal speeds because the fluid bearings are too viscous in these temperatures, so one thing you guys can try on your systems is to disable quick boot in the bios. That might give your drive a few extra seconds to spin up to speed.

    I am also wondering if maybe a simple script can be made to put on a bootable usb key that would run for an X amount of time, then reboot the system. By setting the boot device priority such that 1. HDD 2. USB, then when the system does not detect the HDD (because its too cold), it will boot from the usb key > run the script > HDD slowly spins up to speed and warms > script reboots system > HDD detected by BIOS > and system boots like normal. No more fussing around with the reboot or heater switch...everything would be automated (in theory).

  10. #50
    Low Bitrate Salmizar's Avatar
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    My earlier attempt with the CCTV heater was not enough to keep the HDD warm in very cold temps.

    This was my next attempt. And I am happy to say it works all the way down to -30 without issue.

    What I did was buy a 12 volt 150watt heater. Cut out a new side plate for the case out of lexan, leaving a generous hole to expose the HDD.

    I positioned the heater about 4' from the case. I wired up the heater to a 20amp relay and then a small 5amp relay under the dash to send power to the other relay when the ignition is on, but turn it off when I flip the switch for the carputer.

    When it's cold I always remote start my truck and let it warm up for 5 mins. When it starts, the heater is turned in and begins warming the PC. When I get into the truck I turn on the pc which in turn, turns off the heater.

    YaY
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