frost_250.jpgWith the amount of gear I have around I’m sur­prised this does­n’t hap­pen to me more often.

The weath­er in Edmon­ton has been rather cool of late, in the ‑20 to ‑30 degree range in fact. And today, since it’s warmed up to a reas­on­able ‑2, I decided to drive the car, rather than our oth­er, warm­er, SUV.

After dig­ging it out, scrap­ing it off, and jump­ing in to wait for it to defrost, I rum­maged around in the centre con­sole — and dis­covered that I’d left my TomTom GPS in the vehicle since the fall.

Hmmm, this was not good. Weeks of cold-soak­ing the bat­ter­ies at extreme tem­per­at­ures can harm their life, and per­haps even phys­ic­ally dam­age them.

As well, bring­ing the device into a nice warm room also has it’s own haz­ards. As any­one who wears glasses and shovels snow in Canada knows, mois­ture quickly accu­mu­lates on these frozen devices. Wet elec­tron­ics are not a good thing.

So, what can you do to keep your gad­gets safely work­ing through the winter? Here’s a few ideas:

Don’t let them freeze (duh)
Staged Warm­ing — If they do freeze, warm the slowly, in stages, in a humid­ity free envir­on­ment. In my case, I left the GPS in my gar­age for an hour (warm­er than out­side), then moved it to my car (warm­er than my gar­age), and finally moved it inside the house. This reduced the shock to the com­pon­ents, and reduced the capa­city for humid­ity to form as the unit was warmed.

Out­door use
Cam­er­as, music play­ers, phones — keep them in an inside pock­et, next to your body if pos­sible. This’ll keep the bat­ter­ies warm and extend the charge of the unit. Cold temp reduces the power of a charged battery.

While not all elec­tron­ics are designed for Canada’s extreme cold swings, there are things you can do to enjoy your devices in the great out­doors. What do you do to keep your tech work­ing in the weather?
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