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How cold does it have to be to permanently damage a smartphone LCD?

Discussion in 'Android Help' started by Android Question, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. Android Question

    Thread Starter

    It's been quite cold here in the Northeast recently. Yesterday night I forgot that it was extremely cold, and I accidentally left my HTC One in the car for 2 and a half hours while it was maybe about -5F or lower. (-20C) When I got back, I realized my mistake and pressed the power button to see if my baby still worked. Looking back, that was probably a stupid idea, as condensation could've formed in my phone. It wasn't powered on because the Li-Ion battery had frozen up. It said battery had no charge, so I heated up the phone next to my car heater vent, probably also a stupid idea.

    It's been a day now, I'm not sure if my battery has lost any capacity or my LCD has somehow messed up, but everything seems ok. I know you can permanently screw up phones once they reach like -40 or -50F, but would anything like -5 be cold enough to damage my phone?

  2. Rukbat

    Rukbat Extreme Android User

    The display should survive -40 degrees (which is both C and F). And that's operating, not just "on the shelf". It might survive a bit colder than that - it depends on which liquid is in it.

    The battery won't. NEVER operate a battery below about 35 degrees, and keep it at about "room temperature" (around 65F-80F) if you can. Lead acid batteries (car batteries) can operate in colder temperatures than LiIon batteries can, but starting a car in -5 degree weather is shortening the life of the battery. (Exide loves northern Alaska.)

    NEVER expose a cellphone (or other electronic device iike it) to the direct flow of a heater. From that -5. you should have given it about 3-4 hours minimum at room temperature to warm up and dry the condensation out. (Ideally, it should have been brought up at a rate of no more than about 5 degrees/hour, to avoid condensation, which about like dropping it into water.)

    If you're outside in that weather, keep the phone warm - a shirt pocket or, if you can, a bag with a shoulder strap so it's under your arm close to your armpit.

    I wouldn't worry about the display so much - if you're going to the Antarctic they make special displays that will work there, but the battery (not so much losing capacity, but freezing and the crystals punching holes through the insulators) and the condensation are the biggies.

    Batteries are cheap. Fixing condensation damage isn't.
    theorange and scary alien like this.
  3. theorange

    theorange Lurker

    Yeah, condensation was my biggest worry. The phone seems to be working fine now, I'm not sure how much the battery was affected, is there some way to estimate the capacity of the battery? I know my laptop has something similar. If by now it seems like there's no condensation damage, should I still be worried?
  4. Rukbat

    Rukbat Extreme Android User

    Condensation damage isn't as bad as water damage, because it's almost pure water. Minerals don't condense out of the air. You're probably pretty safe, as long as you didn't bring it into a warm humid building to heat it up, then run it while it was wet. The heated air coming out of the car heater is about as dry as desert air - heating it drives all the moisture out. It's just a bit hot for the plastic parts of a phone.
    theorange likes this.
  5. theorange

    theorange Lurker

    Alright, thanks! Maybe I should stop worrying about stupid things now. It does feel like the battery drains sort of fast now, but that's probably just the placebo effect...

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