Do cold temperatures damage audio equipment?


One would shudder at the thought of placing a $3000 CD player or amplifier in the freezer for a couple of days. I would think that they would never be the same again.

Isn't that what we do when we ship equipment in cold weather? Sometimes it's colder outside than in my freezer.
peet
Electronic components such as transistors and integrated circuits, even in their cheapest commercial grade form, are usually rated for storage (non-operating) temperatures down to -55 degC or -65 degC or thereabouts. Brrr!

I think that the biggest concern would be the quality of the solder joints, and the connections within printed circuit boards. If well constructed, those kinds of temperatures should be no problem. If poorly made, it's anyone's guess.

Of course, as you probably realize, any electronic or electromechanical device that has been exposed to extreme cold should be brought up to room temperature slowly, to avoid both condensation and thermal shock. I make it a practice to not unpack anything that has been so exposed for at least a couple of hours after bringing it inside.

Regards,
-- Al
Also, how do you think the stuff gets from the manufacturer? If its coming from overseas, there is a good chance that it might be air freighted in an unheated cargo hold in the stratosphere at -30 or in a container on the deck of a cargo ship passing through the Panama Canal; 95 degrees, 98% relative humidity outside; 125 degrees inside. I wouldn't worry about it, beyond Al's right on the mark advice about letting it aclimate before starting it up.
I've found both of the above comments to be correct. Last year I moved from Alaska in the dead of winter. The temperature was -15 F when everything was packed into a steel box which went by barge to Seattle, then trucked to up-state New York.

All of the components were given a day in their new home to thaw, I checked closely for condensation, plugged them in, and had no problems.

Dave
Cryo treatment should cost extra. Don't mention to Fedex ;-)
Good one S......how those Merlins treatin ya..
When equipment is really cold, such as being in the trunk of a car when it's been below zero, let the equipment gradually warm to room temperature first before powering up. The reason is that there are metals of different kinds that expand at different rates during temperature change. Componets are designed to handle that fine from room temperature to operating level, but not from extremely low temperatures.
Somebody once told me that you need to let the equipment warm up to at least 40 degrees before you turn it on. I don't know why that number was picked but that is what I usually told customers. Dan
Somebody once told me that you need to let the equipment warm up to at least 40 degrees before you turn it on. I don't know why that number was picked but that is what I usually told customers. Dan

That's a pretty reasonable guideline. Commercial grade integrated circuits are commonly rated for an operating temperature range of 0 to 70 degC. 0 degC is of course 32 degF, so the 40 deg number allows a little margin.

Regards,
-- Al
I'm gald you asked this..I've always wondered, and frankly I've been more concerned about summer heat. As a result when I've bought new I usually pay extra to have shipped overnight or two day if they drop ship. Like mentioned above it just bothers me to know the gear is sitting in a sweltering warehouse or slow truck when its over 100F outisde with high humidity.