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Monday, December 8, 2008

Ramblings on keeping electronics working in cold weather...

I just got back from a parade up here in the mountains of NC my little was in. It was rather chilly, overcast, 5mph breeze, and 30F. I know for most of you in the Northern part of the country this is considered a heat wave, but for us in the south when that is the HIGH, that is 'dry' blizzard conditions

So when standing on a street waiting for your little angel to hurry the heck up (the float she was on was 3rd from the last ) your camera batteries are even less cold tolerant than you... So you don't want to miss that all important 15 secs of "Hey Daddy!!!!!" you were capturing for posterity with a cold 'graveyard dead' camera battery.

There are actually 2 solutions to this problem but are dependent on the battery type.

1. If your device is powered by AA's then simply switch them out to Energizers Lithium AA batteries. These batteries work very well in the cold. ALL my gear in my BOB/GHB has lithiums in them (if available), because these don't leak like alkalines, and their shelf life is greater! Only downside is MORE expensive, but what is more expensive the cost of the batteries??? Or the item being useless when you need it???

2. Hot Hands 2 hand warmers...I came up with this technique on a camping trip in the Natahala National Forest. Our ham radios were powered by rechargeable NiMh batteries, but when subjected to below freezing temps, the batteries couldn't take it and they would shut down. Cold and rechargeable batteries don't mix in my experience, so some way was need to keep the battery warm so we could use the darn things! We had a crap load of hot hand hand warmers so stuck these in the radio pouches to keep our radios working. They work EXTREMELY well at this and we got through the trip. No fumes and no fuel or mess. Thin enough to fit in pouches or be temporarily taped/rubber banded to the back of cameras,camcorders, GPS units, ham radios, etc. They also do not get too hot (130F) but you should make sure that your electronics don't super heat by monitoring them while using the hot hands.

Just something you need to consider when working outside in the cold and expect your electronics to do the same...

That is what I used to get the video camera to record those 'precious moments' today!




Samuel said...

This is something I did not know before. I guess that shows I have never used anything electronic in cold weather before. It also shows I am from the south! hah Good information.


ZombieAxe said...

One of the few things that we had extra of on the camping trip was those hand warmers so we had plenty to keep the electronics going :) Worked so good that that became part of our cold WX SOP!


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