The adverse weather has really had the UK suffering yet again, non more than me first getting stuck in Europe and then in my own office!!  This week has seen us working with a lot of rugged handhelds and RFID equipment in very low temperature environments where we would not normally be so low. In fact we’ve been hitting working temperature limits on some kit with -10 degrees being easily surpassed some mornings and evenings the past few days.

It made me draw a parallel with the UK weather and all the tricky balance our government has over whether to invest more in winter weather equipment that might not ever be needed again.  Like the UK weather, the minimum operating temperatures of Rugged PDA’s and data capture equipment simply isn’t usually something that’s as well-considered as other elements of “Rugged” when buying Rugged Handhelds or barcode scanners and yet, this week we have actually even been seeing some equipment struggling to function correctly.

With global warming slowly being accepted as the new reality, the UK will actually become colder as the lovely warm Gulf stream collapses so we had better get used to this and perhaps pay a little more attention to minimum operating temperatures of our devices!!

Those lovely warm warehouses, courier vans and depots have simply not been warm enough recently and if the devices stop working due to cold your business suffers.

So what can you do to stop this from happening?

Well Firstly keep your equipment out of the cold.  You can buy heaters, some specific to the device that keep it warm for the minutes of usage you need it for.  You will be amazed at how warm your pockets are too!

Secondly keep it charged up.  Battery performance is particularly hit by the cold so make sure you keep your equipment in top charge condition.

Thirdly don’t leave your equipment in the cold, especially over night.  The storage temperature may well be -40 but when you want to use equipment left in a cold warehouse at -15 all night it might take you hours to get it into the operating temperature range again.

Lastly try to keep your device dry.  It may go down to -20 on a spec sheet, but funny things happen to rugged handhelds if they are subjected to ice.  For a start the casings can suffer and crack, glass may become more brittle and frozen moving parts can break more easily.  IP ratings are one thing, cold is another but together they can be a nightmare.

Just a few little things for you to consider!

Dave

The Rugged and Mobile blog.