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Thread: Getting Wifi working in -40C temperatures

  1. #1
    FLAC
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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. #2
    Maximum Bitrate BarryWoods's Avatar
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    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.
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    Fusion Brain Creator 2k1Toaster's Avatar
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    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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    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.

  5. #5
    Maximum Bitrate BarryWoods's Avatar
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    It'll work. -40C/F is a pretty normal occurrence for me in the winter.
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    It's installed by default on every version of Windows.

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    that is verry cold you can get a fan in oz that will blow and suck air to keep the temp the same.

  7. #7
    Maximum Bitrate BarryWoods's Avatar
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    Quote 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....



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    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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    Maximum Bitrate BarryWoods's Avatar
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    Quote 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.

  10. #10
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    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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