How cold is TOO cold for my scanner?

Status
Not open for further replies.

nathancarlson

Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2008
Messages
278
Location
Longmont, CO
I have tried but can not live without taking my scanner to work with me. I really enjoy listening during the commute. ITs nice and warm in the car on the commute each way, but on my route truck, its about as cold in the truck as it is outdoors. I keep my scanner in a camcorder case wrapped in my jacket, tucked away in the warmest hiding place I can find on my truck, but again it is very cold. Am I going to destroy my pro-106 doing this? I would leave it at the "office" but our "office" is just a big bay area with loading docks and desks in a corner. So its not warm there, and I for sure would not leave it in my car all day. Any suggestions? Thanks!
 

rdale

Completely Banned for the Greater Good
Joined
Feb 3, 2001
Messages
11,356
Location
Lansing, MI
Double-check the user manual, it might state in there. Mine gets pretty cold regularly and the only thing that suffers are the batteries losing charge quickly, and the display not doing too well until it warms back up. Nothing permanent.
 

jfab

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 10, 2006
Messages
1,461
Location
Broomfield/Aurora, CO
I had the SAME question this morning! Especially since I have a pro 197 that sits in the car all night. I'd love some advice on this one too!
 

rdale

Completely Banned for the Greater Good
Joined
Feb 3, 2001
Messages
11,356
Location
Lansing, MI
Just google'd "scanner radio temperature range" and this is from Uniden (which I imagine applies to all scanners.)

Operating temperature range: -20°C to +60°C

Which I'll convert for you is -4*F to 140*F
 

datainmotion

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 9, 2001
Messages
2,268
Location
Colorado
Since they are solid state, there should not be cause for worry about damage. The only real item affected is the LCD when its cold, but that's ususally only temporary.

Back in the 90s in Chicago, my Pro-2006 was in my vehicle 24/7/365 for a number of years without anything more than a "slow" LCD until it warmed up. My 996 is mounted in my current vehicle and has been through a couple winters without a problem.

The only exception I can think of is frost getting inside and then melting, but that would be pretty extreme.
 

datainmotion

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 9, 2001
Messages
2,268
Location
Colorado
Just google'd "scanner radio temperature range" and this is from Uniden (which I imagine applies to all scanners.)

Operating temperature range: -20°C to +60°C

Which I'll convert for you is -4*F to 140*F
Curiously, that's the exact same spec for rugged laptops that have HDD heaters (which have been standard on some models for the last couple of years). That range seems to be the "safe" range for many electronics manufacturers.
 

FP5107

Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2009
Messages
3
Location
Carrolltown PA
Cold weather

In the past to cars i have had my BC350C has been bouth cars in the winter time only thing that hapens is the LCD is slow in till it worms up.
 
Joined
Jul 8, 2007
Messages
739
Location
Northeast Nebraska
I was out shoveling snow and -10 with -32 wind chill last night (I work nights at the railyard and sleep all day) with my BC296D portable on my belt. The LCD faded and batteries gave out much quicker, but no problems here.
 

hvscan

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2009
Messages
181
Location
Hudson Valley, NY
Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry9530/5.0.0.328 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/105)

I've had ham equipment in my car for years without any problems. Just slow LCD's during the cold NY winters.
 

abqscan

DataBase Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Dec 8, 2002
Messages
2,633
Location
AOA
The 197 is a lot better than the 2096 in the cold! =) The 2096's display would be super slow until it warmed up. I haven't had any troubles with the 197 yet!
 

poltergeisty

Truth is a force of nature
Joined
May 7, 2004
Messages
3,895
Location
RLG, Fly heading 053, intercept 315 DVV
I was out shoveling snow and -10 with -32 wind chill last night (I work nights at the railyard and sleep all day) with my BC296D portable on my belt. The LCD faded and batteries gave out much quicker, but no problems here.
I have the same thing happen to Kenwood two-way radios. So in light of this I think the biggest concern would be the battery and the LCD. Of course bring it back inside where it's warm and you may have a moisture problem.
 

B_Mitchell

Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2002
Messages
39
I have only had trouble with cold weather and one scanner,
a Radio Shack PRO-37 handheld.
Cold weather would erase the memory, pain in the neck to re-program the entire thing.
I have had several other scanners in my vehicle when the temperature is below freezing
without any trouble.
 

sking128

Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2004
Messages
190
Location
Colorado Springs, Co
I've had my 2096 in my Explorer all the time since around 2005. the LCD is slow, but it works fine. it was -7F last tuesday when I went to work. Damn heater in the truck didn't work, but sure could hear everyone. :)

Steve
 

n0nhp

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 1, 2005
Messages
727
Location
Grand Junction
Having done communications in Antarctica for several seasons (including one winter) there are a few things that have already been pointed out and a few work-arounds.
LCDs don't like the cold, the new ones generally will not totally fail the way the old ones did. Batteries don't like the cold. Lithium primary (non-rechargeable) do the best. NiCads are probably the worst. We did find that a couple of hand-warmer packs rubberbanded to the radio would help as would keeping it in an inside pocket.
DO NOT try to rapid charge a cold battery! Most of the rapid rechargeable batteries use a temperature sensor to judge the current and cut-off.
The only other concern is rapid temperature cycling, especially with today's ROHS compatible boards, this can cause broken solder joints as the copper and solder change temperature at different rates.
Avoid bringing a cold radio into a warm-humid environment, condensation is a killer especially for SMD devices. If you notice condensation taking place, remove the battery and let everything dry out (twice as long as you think it needs).

That will be $0.02 and worth everything you paid for it.
:)
Bruce
ps the picture is me the winter of 2000 McMurdo station Antarctica
 

Kennrth

Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Messages
143
Location
Bay Shore Long Island NY
4*F to 140*F - Never turn your radio on outside this temperature range. Failure rate at both extremes will always be higher. These numbers are usually based on the temperature ranges of the components inside. IC's Resistors Caps etc. Storage temp ranges are typically 20 % wider. These radios are commercial products and you can be sure they have not been individually tested for turn on and continuous operation at these temperatures. Typically operating at higher end the temperature range is far more likely to cause component damage to the radio. Turning on electronics at low temps may cause a malfunction but not often damage components. It typically will work again when warmed up. Catastrophic failures would be much higher at the high end of the temp range.
There actually is wind chill factor to electronics. When the radio is operating it does create heat internally so when it’s working keep it wrapped up even insulated. Keep it out of the wind. The opposite is true on the high end. Blowing air across it will keep it cool decreasing its mean failure rate do to heat. These are generalities. There are always exceptions to the rule.
Cold makes thing typically harder and easier to crack. Certain parts dependent on chemical reactions will be sluggish in the cold. Resistances tend to be lower so inrush may be higher. Inrush currents typically will be higher usually in the cold. Inrush can cause damage in the severe cold. The good part is inrush is self limiting because inrush cause junction temps to rise fast.
All radios have operating biases and tuned circuits. They are designed and aligned typically at ambient temps 70 degrees F. So when they change temp they tend to drift. Today radios are Phase locked looped and use XY cut crystals so they strongly effective against drift with temp change. But they are apt to be off freq and bias at the extremes but functional.

As the man said above avoid rapid changes in temperature and condensation,
He's so right about the drying out part. Water gets trapped in between tiny places where surface tension increases, vapor pressure increases and evaporation rate slows way down.

The Pro106 is an portable so use an external speaker and ext antenna and keep the Radio on your Body. Use your body heat.

N2MAC Ken C.
 
Last edited:

nathancarlson

Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2008
Messages
278
Location
Longmont, CO
Thank you guys so much! That was a great help! I will be careful with my radio and am not as worried about storing it in the cold weather now, with it protected. You guys are great!
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top