Mobile Computers in Cold Environments

lxe mobile computer cold environmentJust as workers need to adjust their outfits to work in a cold storage area, mobile computers must be built to perform in such conditions. Standard mobile computers will deliver less than standard performance if they are consistently used inside freezers or frequently exposed to extreme temperature changes. Let’s take a look at the various conditions caused by the cold that can lead to trouble for some mobile computers.

Frost
Frost can become a big problem for LCD screen visibility and can also cause keys to stick. In addition, if frost covers an image capture devices optical ports, it will not function. In this scenario, workers would have to resort to manual data entry, running the risk of errors.

Condensation
Much like frost, condensation can cause screens and scanners to be unusable. However, condensation is a more serious issue because it can occur inside the screen or scan window, making it difficult to be cleared away and ultimately causing internal parts to corrode or short-circuit.

Cold Air
When the temperature drops below a certain level, batteries are unable to release their energy, causing battery-powered mobile devices to slow down and reduce their overall efficiency. In addition, radio waves travel differently in cold air, so users may experience less range from their wireless LAN systems.

Insulation
The insulation used to keep cold air in can restrict the movement of radio waves because it absorbs RF signals, creating a multipath effect that causes signals to bounce off obstacles and arrive at the access points at different times.

If you take your mobile computer into a freezer or other cold area for a short period of time, your mobile computer won’t stop working. Standard mobile computers will perform with normal function down to approximately -10◦ F. However, the amount of exposure to cold conditions and the frequency of transition from cold to warm need to be taken into consideration for determining if special cold-environment equipment is needed.

This article was based on a white paper from LXE. Download the full version here.