As the winter cold weather draws in I thought I’d give you our 5 top tips on keeping your Rugged PDA safe and running in the cold. The weather last year was actually cold enough in places to affect Rugged Handheld equipment, especially RFID and wireless solutions as wind chills swept temperatures down to under -15 degrees and beyond. Most rugged equipment is still susceptible to the standard electronic limits, they might be rugged, but they still suffer in the cold if it gets too much for them!!
Protection from drops
Its cold, wet, slippy and just down-right horrible in the winter and the number of broken bones us humans suffer more than doubles as people slip and slide everywhere! This goes for Rugged PDA’s too so a PDA that is normally uncased, thrown about in and not secured is far more likely to be dropped or even lost in cold weather. All that soft grass and ground suddenly turns icy and hard!
Plastics get more brittle in the cold and only 1 rugged PDA manufacturer actually MIL-STD tests their devices in different temperatures so the message is just try to be a little more careful!
Keeping the Rugged PDA warm
If it’s cold outside and you’re forced to use your Rugged Handheld outside then make sure it’s kept warm when not in use. Put you holster under your coat if out and about as this really does help, move your warehouse cradles away from the cold and if possible nearer a heater which will keep them running far longer when needed and if in the vehicle, make sure the device isn’t in the boot or van load area where its cold.
Batteries are often forgotten and taken for granted in a rugged solution but they actually hate the cold more than anything and need to be kept under optimum conditions as best you can. try to keep your spare batteries warm, dry and safe, keep them topped up all the time and preferably get them charged up at home in the cradle before you go out. There’s nothing worse than an empty li-ION battery, super cold weather and a farty car charger trying to kick them into life!
Even if you look after your batteries their life is significantly reduced in the cold, so be aware of this as it can be a threat to your business solution. That 5200mAh battery might just get you through the day in July, but in January it’s going to lose at least 1/3rd of its normal capacity due to the cold. You might need to consider a spare battery or vehicle charger.
Check you rugged PDA’s operating temperature
Some PDA’s work down to -20 degrees, some -10, some in between. If you’re working in the cold then you need to check this when you buy. However if you’re using the RFID element of a PDA or rely on WiFi then just be aware that the cold can also change the ranges you can get significantly if you get to the limits of their operating temperatures.
That’s it, all set for Christmas and the cold slighty weather we seem to be getting these days. Remember the warmer you can keep your rugged PDA, the better it will perform.
The Rugged and Mobile blog.