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Old 01-20-2009, 03:18 PM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Beware of the cold or your e-reader may die

Joshua Bilmes made the unfortunate experience of his Amazon Kindle reader to die in the ghastly frigid weather that has plagued many of us these days. It's not that he didn't know that electronic devices were sensitive to the cold; it's the discovery of how very sensitive E Ink devices apparently are that made him write a letter to no one else but Mr. Bezos himself. And so Josh describes the last moments of his failing Kindle:

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And then last Thursday I took the Kindle with me on a family trip to Hartford on the coldest day of the year. I tried very hard to tend to the Kindle’s needs. I didn’t read it outdoors. I tried to keep it in the warm part of my backpack while waiting for a bus from downtown to my hotel or walking a bit to the hotel. I believe I may have had it in a pants pocket for a 5-minute walk each way from my hotel to an old-fashioned book store when the temperature may have been near the 14 degree storage temperature. Maybe I shouldn’t have. I went to turn on my Kindle that night in the hotel and could tell even before I turned it on that something was wrong. It wasn’t dust in the pointer window on the right of the Kindle but rather the dead remnants of the pointer, and the Kindle screen was no longer usable or functioning.
Find his full letter over here.

Question: How many of you, including yours truly, take your e-book reader everywhere you go, without even considering that a 10-minutes walk in the cold may cause permanent damage to its batteries, its internals or its E Ink display?
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:36 PM   #2
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I live in the south, Georgia, so temps like that don't happen to me. I do not take it out in the rain or even if it's damp. I do not take it on walks. I use it at my lunch break at work, in traffic (if it's bad I get off the road and go into some store parking lot) and at home in bed.
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:38 PM   #3
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I've been leaving my iPod Touch in the car when out and about... But not for any length of time longer than a couple of hours. No problems yet, but now that I know that a Kindle can die in 10 minutes or less, I guess I'll start carrying the Touch inside more often.
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:41 PM   #4
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I go outside a lot with mine in the very cold, but only for ten minutes. It ghosts more, but reverts back to its happy self in a few minutes.

Now you have me worried though...
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:49 PM   #5
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I wonder what failed? The specs for the Vizplex screen (based on EInk's Prototype Kits) are:
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Operating Temperature Range: 0º – 50º C
Storage Temperature Range: -25º – 70º C
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Old 01-20-2009, 04:01 PM   #6
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I live in Finland, and I have lost two digital camera batteries due to cold weather. I try to keep electronic equipment close to my body (inside jackets, for instance) to prevent freezing, but sometimes you just have to use them outside... I will probably lose my CyBook one day, reading at a bus stop...
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Old 01-20-2009, 04:05 PM   #7
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I returned from vacation in warm Florida this past Friday to a blistering cold New England. My Sony PR-505 was in my suitcase in my car for about an hour and a half while we ate at a local restaurant "celebrating" our return home.

Oddly, I did think about my Sony at the time and worried about the effects of the cold on it. I'm glad this thread wasn't around yet!

Seems to be working OK at the moment, thank goodness!

Tim
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Old 01-20-2009, 04:17 PM   #8
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Me! I take my Touch & my Sony everywhere I go. What is the temp range for eReader safety?
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Old 01-20-2009, 04:22 PM   #9
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I typically have been leaving my Sony in the car, but I have noticed that the screen works none too well when it is very cold. It certainly cuts into battery life as well, but I haven't seen signs of it dying or anything.

The problem with me leaving it in the house is that I keep forgetting the darn thing.
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Old 01-20-2009, 04:22 PM   #10
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I live in Alaska and two or three weeks ago it was averaging -20 to -30. My Sony PRS-505 seemed to survive the walk to my car and kind of freezing on the drive to and from work...but I do worry about it. but I didn't turn it on while I was outside or in the car.
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Old 01-20-2009, 04:38 PM   #11
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wow, this is not so much a problem for me (it doesn't get too cold in paris usually) but it's a bit scary nonetheless ! recently there was a thread talking about ghosting in the cold but i wouldn't have expected any freezing to death. it will make me think a bit before i drag mine around with me if the temperature falls below zero again. luckily i don't really spend very much time outside in circumstances where i might have my liseuse when it is that cold. but last weekend i went to an expo and put the (pdf) map to the location on. so i was consulting it outside a bit. good thing the temperature went back up before !
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Old 01-20-2009, 05:04 PM   #12
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I carry mine around most of the time. I have a small computer case for my Asus Eee pc, planner, and Sony Reader. Occasionally, an additional electronic gadget or two makes it in there as well such as a camera or camcorder or whatnot.

I don't usually worry about the cold temps as I don't tend to spend much time outside. I typically plan to give my electronics a short time to warm up to room temp before using them.

But on the occasions that I do know or suspect that they'll be outside for any length of time, I'll pack a couple of those chemical hand warmers and leave an activated one in the bag. Works well enough to keep them from an icy grave.
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Old 01-20-2009, 05:41 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by xianfox View Post
But on the occasions that I do know or suspect that they'll be outside for any length of time, I'll pack a couple of those chemical hand warmers and leave an activated one in the bag. Works well enough to keep them from an icy grave.
ah, trust somebody living in "the icebox" to know all the good tips for survival of cold.
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Old 01-20-2009, 05:41 PM   #14
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I carry my Kindle with me everywhere and in the hideously cold weather we have had here in the Ice Box the last week. No problems. I think that he got a defective unit, personally.
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Old 01-20-2009, 05:51 PM   #15
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I agree with Pshrynk, this must have been a defective unit. If you carry the reader near your body or even in your hand, the unit takes on a temperature that is nowhere near the cold outside. And if you have it in a pants pocket or even in a bag that is hanging from your shoulder or back, you will not subject it to that frigid air that has reigned in the Northeast of late. I should know because I take my Kindle everywhere and even had it outside in 10 degree weather.
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