kaksi
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Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:42 pm

I left my RPI keyless overnight outside by about -5 Celsius and it stopped working.

Connected to a monitor, it seems to boot OK until I try to use the mouse/keyboard: they do not respond. Neither eth0 is working.

The card works in another RPI, but if I take a perfectly working card from another RPI3, the problem persists.

I know that high temperatures destroy electronics quite efficiently and I thought the lower the temperature the better. Through some googling, I learned that 'lower' is quite relative, if the temperature is too low, electronics stop working (but resuscitate under more clement skies.)

What are the risks if I try another RPI?

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rpdom
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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:02 pm

That sounds like the USB/LAN chip has failed. Perhaps it is less resistant to cold temperatures than the rest of the Pi.

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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:12 pm

From Pi 3B+ datasheet:
Environment: Operating temperature, 0–50°C
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kaksi
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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:23 pm

HermannSW wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:12 pm
From Pi 3B+ datasheet:
Environment: Operating temperature, 0–50°C
That's why I expressly specified in what temperature it had been. However, many people used it such an environment, i.e.

viewtopic.php?t=101351

What I am interested in are the risks.

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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:28 pm

kaksi wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:23 pm
HermannSW wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:12 pm
From Pi 3B+ datasheet:
Environment: Operating temperature, 0–50°C
That's why I expressly specified in what temperature it had been. However, many people used it such an environment, i.e.

viewtopic.php?t=101351

What I am interested in are the risks.
Those people were using the Pi 1B which has a different USB chip to the Pi 3B+.

My only outside Pi (in my garage) is a Pi 1A. It's been exposed to temperatures just below -1°C without any problems, but it doesn't have a USB/LAN chip at all.

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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:33 pm

Condensation kills electronics, not subzero temperatures.

Was the Pi in an airtight enclosure?
Rockets are loud.
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kaksi
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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:41 pm

jdb wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:33 pm
Was the Pi in an airtight enclosure?
No. Just shielded in a way it does not rain/snow on it.

(It run Jessie, so it was something like RPI3A.)

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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:14 pm

jdb wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:33 pm
Condensation kills electronics, not subzero temperatures.
Came here to say this.
Any electronics left in cold temperatures should be left for a few days in room temperature for the condensation to evaporate before powering it back on.
If condensation formed when it was already powered on, you may have a dead pi.

Can you place your pi in a good quality tupperware (or other generic food storage box) if you are leaving it outside? I've seen some that have been modified to add a nice clear perspex window for use with a camera.
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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:28 pm

kaksi wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:41 pm
(It run Jessie, so it was something like RPI3A.)
/nitpick...
There is no such thing as a Pi3A. There is the Pi3A+, which is quite recent. So recent that, unless carefully modified, a Jessie build won't boot on one.

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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:40 pm

scotty101 wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:14 pm
Can you place your pi in a good quality tupperware (or other generic food storage box) if you are leaving it outside? I've seen some that have been modified to add a nice clear perspex window for use with a camera.
As well as that if you can add some insulation around the Pi that might well mean it keeps itself warm enough to not have any issues. You could always just put the camera outside the insulation (or even outside the box) with a small slit made for the cable to pass through. Of course this could lead to overheating issues once it starts to warm up.

Various models of Pi have been flown in the stratosphere where the temperatures can be down to -50C. I think some of the first flights (with a 1B) had overheating issues due to good insulation and limited convection cooling at altitude.

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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:50 pm

tupperware is not good enough as it will expand during the day and at night will suck in moister laden air which will condense out in the box during the next day
holes can be good in this case
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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:09 pm

As for the actual temperature issue...

There is a blog post about a Pi and camera used to study penguins in Antarctica. That worked down to at least -42C (when, IIRC, it was the batteries that froze).

There was also a report beck from a poster working at Cern that had a Pi finally fail to operate at -180C. The camera, however, failed at -145C.

So...-5C shouldn't really bother a Pi at all.

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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:10 pm

W. H. Heydt wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:09 pm
There was also a report beck from a poster working at Cern that had a Pi finally fail to operate at -180C. The camera, however, failed at -145C.

So...-5C shouldn't really bother a Pi at all.
I found 0-50° operating temperature for 3B+, and 0-40° for 3B in datasheets.
I found no similar data for the earlier Pi models.
What I find really disturbing is that this information (datasheets) is not available officially:
https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... /README.md

Anyway, anyone using Pi outside of operational temperature range is doing that at his own risk. Doing so is not supported. That is what operating temperature is provided for in datasheet. You can get lucky, but there is no guarantee. That is the same for Raspberries as for any other product.
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https://github.com/Hermann-SW/Raspberry_v1_camera_global_external_shutter
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https://github.com/Hermann-SW/userland
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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:18 pm

HermannSW wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:10 pm
W. H. Heydt wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:09 pm
There was also a report beck from a poster working at Cern that had a Pi finally fail to operate at -180C. The camera, however, failed at -145C.

So...-5C shouldn't really bother a Pi at all.
I found 0-50° operating temperature for 3B+, and 0-40° for 3B in datasheets.
I found no similar data for the earlier Pi models.
What I find really disturbing is that this information (datasheets) is not available officially:
https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... /README.md

Anyway, anyone using Pi outside of operational temperature range is doing that at his own risk. Doing so is not supported. That is what operating temperature is provided for in datasheet. You can get lucky, but there is no guarantee. That is the same for Raspberries as for any other product.
To the best of my (limited) knowledge, the operating temperature range of the Pi is based on the component specs and the figures are--not surprising--conservative. They are not based on actual tests. This leaves us with anecdotal evidence and that evidence suggests that, on the lower end, the Pi actually capable of functioning well below the specified lower temperature. And--FYI--the Pi that was tested at Cern "failed" in what they were hoping it could do. They wanted to see if it would run at -200C. -180C is still pretty impressive for a piece of consumer grade electronics, though.

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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:39 pm

My RPi2B weather station is running at 4°C right now. Last time we got freezing temps here in Blighty the wind direction and anemometer stopped recording, but the RPi was still OK at: -4.88°C.

That's in the supplied case on the outside wall of my house.
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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:19 pm

jdb wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:33 pm
Condensation kills electronics, not subzero temperatures.
you're aware of 'tin pest' (aka alpha tin or gray tin). I don't know what alloys you use for soldering but it's definitively not always only a condensation issue.. It may not fail immediately but it can happen over time...

So all those really low temperature experiments may work for a short time until good old thermodynamics kills your soldering joints... :P
scotty101 wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:14 pm
Can you place your pi in a good quality tupperware (or other generic food storage box) if you are leaving it outside? I've seen some that have been modified to add a nice clear perspex window for use with a camera.
some thoughts here. Solubility of gases in other gases (and water vapor is a gas) depends on temperature simple rule: the warmer it is, the more water vapor is soluble in air so if it looks dry at room temperature vapor will condense at lower temps are there you'll have condensation issues. If you wear glasses you might know this phenomena if you enter a warm room on a cool day (water will condense on the cold surface of your glasses) the same can be observed by 'burning' a glass at room-temperature with a lighter (burning hydrocarbons generates carbon dioxide and water, the water of this 'hot gas mixture' condenses on the colder glass, don't do it on newer plastic coated classes! :lol: ). The silica bags often delivered with electronics might help to prevent this a little bit (at least for a short time).

kaksi
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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:43 pm

I risked my RPI2 and was pretty unfortunate. Red and green LEDs on, but not seen on network. (About 6 below zero.) I believe it did not even boot - I am eager to consult the SD card, it is heavily logged. For how long time should I leave it inside before I power it on again?

BTW, can someone explain the mechanism of condensation destroying electronics?

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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:50 pm

kaksi wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:43 pm
BTW, can someone explain the mechanism of condensation destroying electronics?
Condensation means water on the circuit board. Water conducts electricity. Condensation short circuits critical components.

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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:58 pm

I have a 2B (a21041) 24/7 with pi camera running for several years -- 44.5 N, USA. Mounted on an inside wall of a open wood shed. . It is -13C right now. Typically, lower than -6c until late February. Never had a temperature related problem.
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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:57 am

rpdom wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:50 pm
Condensation means water on the circuit board. Water conducts electricity. Condensation short circuits critical components.
Actually, pure water isn't very conductive by itself, and doesn't wet metals so doesn't provide a path for current to flow.
Besides that, it'll evaporate pretty quickly, so no harm will be done.

The problem is all the grime that settled on the surface from the moment the Pi was made - sand from the Sahara, fungal spores, bacteria from your breath, even flakes of skin. Plus of course all the nasty stuff from wild-fires in California and what comes out of traffic going past your front door (including bits of rubber from the tyres)

Small droplets of water form on all those things, and dissolve some to form a nasty gunge that will conduct nicely.
And that gunge settles preferencially in all the crevices and can't be washed out easily, because rinsing water will just flow over the top.

kaksi
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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:02 pm

Starring for some long minutes at the board, I have some difficulties to believe that a film of condensation can compete with metals.

Do you want to say that water penetrates the USB/LAN chip and that there the damage is done?

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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:34 am

W. H. Heydt wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:09 pm
There is a blog post about a Pi and camera used to study penguins in Antarctica. That worked down to at least -42C (when, IIRC, it was the batteries that froze).
The outside ambient temperature might have been -42C, but I am not convinced the Pi or the camera was.

People were probably out there in similarly low temperatures; but not without thermal jackets.

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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:12 am

kaksi wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:02 pm
Starring for some long minutes at the board, I have some difficulties to believe that a film of condensation can compete with metals.

Do you want to say that water penetrates the USB/LAN chip and that there the damage is done?
It probably doesn't get inside and into contact with the silicon, but there's all those legs with gaps between, and some of them are in quite high-impedance circuits. It wouldn't take much polution to stop them working properly.

There's another possible problem - tin whiskers https://www.maximintegrated.com/en/app- ... vp/id/5250 which can be exacerbated by thermal stress. See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tin_pest

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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:28 am

kaksi wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:02 pm
Do you want to say that water penetrates the USB/LAN chip and that there the damage is done?
As well as any electrical issues water might pose there's also potential mechanical issues. As water freezes it expands so could physically damage traces, components and contact between them. If the board was running and ambient temperature was only a few degrees below zero I doubt anything would freeze on the board. If the board was enclosed so any moisture was kept to a minimum then that would probably also reduce the risks of damage from freezing water.

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Re: Using RPI with camera below 0 Celsius?

Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:16 pm

Burngate wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:57 am
Actually, pure water isn't very conductive by itself, and doesn't wet metals so doesn't provide a path for current to flow.
I was surprised on that when it happened to Pi Zero mounted on RC airplane and landing in wet grass:
Waterdrops on CPU, connectors and camera board were no issue at all:
viewtopic.php?t=190407#p1196292
Image
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