Computer in a very warm car?

Discussion in 'Computer Science & Culture' started by weed_eater_guy, Jun 16, 2009.

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  1. weed_eater_guy It ain't broke, don't fix it! Registered Senior Member

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    I'm about to move, which will involve me driving my minivan 1800 miles too my next workplace, which is in an area with very hot summers. Everything's fitting in the van, which will include my desktop computer and some monitors. When out there, I've got to leave the stuff in the van for a few days while I shop around for an apartment. This means there will be good stretches where my car will be roasting in a parking lot in the middle of the day, while all my stuff's in it.

    I'm wondering how hot I can safely leave a computer and some LCD monitors. Will a very hot car damage something in them?

    At the moment, the plan is to insulate the stuff by packing a comforter and some sheets around them, then throwing a tarp over them, which has a silvery reflective side, which will face out and away from the computer and monitor. I might also pack some textbooks next to them to act as a sort of heat-sink.

    Dunno, what would you do?
     
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  3. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    rent a hotel room , cheap one runs about 30.00 a day.
     
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  5. Tnerb Banned Banned

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    Rent a hotel room.
     
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  7. John99 Banned Banned

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    it depends. if you think about it though a pc gets pretty hot. for example when ambient temp is over 80-90F and the pc is running it doesn't suffer any damage. I assume that at those temps the system, while running, is over 120F. I would worry more about the circuit boards than lcd's or hard drives.

    macguyver probably knows for sure.
     
  8. psikeyhackr Valued Senior Member

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    You aren't talking about operating the computer in the car just storing it there. Don't worry about it. I would try to not have it in direct sunlight. I would be more worried about someone braking into the car and stealing it.

    Put your hand by the exhaust vent of the computer when it is running and feel how hot it gets.

    psik
     
  9. weed_eater_guy It ain't broke, don't fix it! Registered Senior Member

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    Exhaust ent never gets too hot on my PC, my case has enough exhaust fans to go airborne

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    But I see where you're coming from about the component temp being potentially higher then the 150 deg F a car can get too in the sun.

    I have known LCD screens to go bad due to exposure to sunlight, and I wonder if the heat itself can harm LCD. Yeah they'll be out of sunlight (buried in the cargo to prevent theft), but the heat, maybe?

    Whenever I can I'll bring the stuff in somewhere, but dragging this bigass case and three monitors into every hotel will not only be a pain but might actually increase the chances of my shit getting stolen: out of sight in my car is much better then in plain sight in a hotel room I figure.

    Thanks for the help guys!
     
  10. Giambattista sssssssssssssssssssssssss sssss Valued Senior Member

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    Interesting question...

    I think the suggestion about hotel room sounds pretty good. Where are you planning on staying for those couple of days, anyway? In the van? Sounds a little weird not having a place in mind before you move, but then again, I've never really moved anywhere, let alone out of state...

    If need be, it would be a good idea to find a place with plenty of shade. And a cracked window WOULD be advisable in ordinary circumstances, but then again, you may not want to risk leaving any openings just in case of burglary. That would TRULY suck being in a new town and having a bunch of your treasured (and probably vital) belongings go missing!

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    As a side note, I think there is a program that monitors hard drives and stuff and if I remember correctly, it also has a temperature gauge to monitor the internal temp of the computer. You could see if you can find that and do a little experimenting to see how hot it really gets in various conditions. I don't think excessive heat is good for hard drives, but I'm not sure if that's mostly while they are in operation. That seems to make more sense.

    I'd be most concerned about the LCD.

    I found this


    By the looks of that, LCD would probably be safe in a hot car.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2009
  11. Giambattista sssssssssssssssssssssssss sssss Valued Senior Member

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    Now I have a question about the opposite end of the temp spectrum!

    My brother's girlfriend had a Mac laptop. It was working fine until she brought it in from a cold car one winter and didn't wait for it to warm up sufficiently before starting it. It didn't work after that. I think that it kind of started up, but there was no screen, and it didn't appear to respond to anything.

    How often does that happen?
     
  12. weed_eater_guy It ain't broke, don't fix it! Registered Senior Member

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    To clarify my situation, I'm having trouble finding a place out there because nobody in the town seems to maintain any realty websites for rentals, hence apartment hunting is being tediously done by phone with people who keep telling me either that "they're full" or "we don't have much we can e-mail ya, I dunno...". A future coworker offered me a couch for a few nights, but I need to drive 1800 miles to get there in the first place, which will involve the car sitting in a few parking lots over lunch and whatever. I am NOT running the computer in the car, it is just cargo.

    Also, giambattista, sounds like the laptop was cold enough that when it came into a warm room (probably with at least some humidity), moisture condensed on the metal bits in the laptop and when it was turned on, something shorted and fried. Had a similar thing happen to a desktop due to a power supply going berzerk (I think...). Motherboard just died, the only physical evidence that something serious went wrong was that in one of the USB disks plugged into the computer at the time (also fried), the plastic case near the chip in the disk was slightly melted such that it was physically visible on the surface of the disk. Opened it up to find that the chip looked normal, teaching me that those thing can get HOT without you ever really seeing evidence of it.

    Kind of a guess theory though. I was taught to never use a cold computer in a warm room until it's had about half-an-hour to an hour to warm up (so that any condensate leaves as the motherboard warms). If there's a battery in the laptop/camcorder/etc, remove that too. I dunno how right this is seeing as I've put my cell phone through this kind of hell and it seems to do fine... I dunno!
     
  13. scorpius a realist Valued Senior Member

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    get one of those drink/food styrofoam coolers and put it in that,as long as its closed tight it shouldnt get too warm.
     
  14. kevinalm Registered Senior Member

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    I would suggest pulling the bios/clock battery from the motherboard. Having the rtc and bios memory powered at 150+ F makes me nervous.
     
  15. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

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    Pity you didn't have a Caravan or Trailer to use if it's just a temporary solution. Otherwise what you should be doing is looking for their "local rag", their newspapers etc. Or if indeed you have contact with someone in the area, get them to go to one of the locations where people put cards in the window for accommodation etc. (Even better get them put a card in the window asking for some accommodation for you)

    As for storing your laptop. You'll have two concerns, Humidity and Heat. You definitely don't want direct sunlight on it because that can actually warp plastic. You also don't want to overheat the battery, as in the rarest of cases they can explode. (Ever seen what happens to a can of Cola left in a car in direct sunlight? First the can expands and distorts under pressure and then eventually it pops, so it gives you an idea how powerful reactives are. )

    So store the battery seperately and be prepared to have to replace it, as if it doesn't explode, it could lose it's life expectancy.
     
  16. domesticated om Interplanetary homesteader Valued Senior Member

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    Actually - I have a MUCH better idea. Don't ride around with all that stuff in your car at all. You should put all your stuff in a rental self storage facility. They are extremely cheap, and secure (and insured). I think you can even get climate controlled storage for a few dollars more. They usually cost around 40 a month.
     
  17. Rick Valued Senior Member

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    Well I traveled from Pennsylvania to Florida (long drive to say the least), took about 18 hours, took my desktop with me ... no problems.

    So I think it should be OK.
    Rick
     
  18. psikeyhackr Valued Senior Member

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    .
    Hard disk drives can have a problem with the cold. I had a customer that had trouble every Monday morning during the winter because the heat was turned way down over the weekend. And this was long ago when they still specified drives in megabytes.

    LOL

    Think about how small the spacing has to be between tracks in 3 1/2 inch drives with 40 gigabytes or more. So any expansion or contraction can cause the misalignment of very tiny parts. Do not try to operate hard disk drives much below room temperature, let them stablize thermally first.

    psik
     
  19. weed_eater_guy It ain't broke, don't fix it! Registered Senior Member

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    Friends and I have been talking and we're thinking that if the computer were allowed to get warm slowly, there's less potential for damage. This'll be easy, I just keep it in a shady spot in the car and wrap it with a comforter or clothes or something fluffy and insulating.

    And as for removing the BIOS battery, that is an excellent idea that I think I'd only see on this forum, thanks much!
     
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