Will the cold affect digital displays?

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Forum topic by JesseTutt posted 02-12-2013 04:12 PM 856 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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854 posts in 2080 days

02-12-2013 04:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: measuring tools lcd temperature

Years ago, in far far away Michigan, I left my calculator (HP 41c), that had a LCD display, out in the car overnight during the winter. Evidently the LCD froze and cracked something and it was expensive to get it repaired. I believe that I was told that there were actually thin glass sheets holding the liquid crystal material in place.

Jumping forward to today; will the current generation of LCD displays in digital calipers, angle measurers, height displays, etc. be damaged or destroyed by cold temperatures? I always forget to gather up the correct digital tool when I go out to the shop and end up having to make (sometimes multiple) trips to get what I need from the house. Besides, I always take the battery out and put it next to the device (this saves the battery). Unfortunately, a small, light weight shiny object attracts cats.
I Missouri the unheated shop rarely gets below 0 degrees in the winter.
I guess the opposite question also should be asked. Will 100+ degree August temperatures damage the tools?

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

3 replies so far

View Mosquito's profile


9280 posts in 2262 days

#1 posted 02-12-2013 04:19 PM

It would depend on the type of digital display in question. A VFD display will function fine in the cold, but LCDs will still have issues in the cold.

100 degree days shouldn’t really be much of an issue for either

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2158 days

#2 posted 02-12-2013 06:31 PM

I think the relative humidity swings that occur with temperature changes are as big an issue as the actual temperature change itself.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 1989 days

#3 posted 02-12-2013 06:35 PM

Interesting question, and the answer is probably maybe. I’ve left my laptop outside on a -20 degree day with no damage. I have a 7” LCD inside my truck that is constantly outside with no issues. These are a bit higher end display devices than what you might find in a cheaper pair of calipers (I think I bought a set for $10), so maybe their could be issues there. Im tempted to toss mine outside just to see.

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