Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Operating a portable ultrasound machine in -30 degrees C

  1. Oct 1, 2016 #1
    Dear friends.

    I am a cardiovascular health researcher writing on behalf of my research team based in Copenhagen, Denmark. We plan to conduct a high-altitude field study on cardiopulmonary function assesed by ultrasound on Aconcagua summit in near 7000 meters altitude. Reports say it will be somewhere around -20 to -30 degrees celsius on the summit. This might brings about issues with the ultrasound-equipment.

    1) Can you turn on a computer and operate it in these freezing temperatures?
    2) Will the battery life (Li-ion) be affected in these temperatures?
    3) Can there be a problem with low air pressure when operating a computer?
    4) What about the LCD display?

    Some technical data on the machine that I have:
    Voltage: 100-240
    Watt: 130
    BTU: 3800
    Monitor: 15,7'' LCD display
    Fuse: 10 A
    Recommended temperature: 3-30 degrees C
    Recommended air pressure: 700-1060 hPa
    Humidity: 30-80%
    93/42/EEC: Class IIa
    IEC/EN 60601-1: Class 1, type BF/CF
    CISPR: Group 1, Class A

    I am very grateful for any kind of help
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 1, 2016 #2

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2017 Award

    1. Depends on the computer. The specs will tell you. Many, perhaps most, will not.
    2. Battery life will be terrible.
  4. Oct 1, 2016 #3
    I'm no expert but I have operated a lot of computers in low temperature since I'm an amateur astronomer who lives in Sweden.
    1. The device that fails to start in the cold is usually mechanical hard-drives. The next thing to fail would probably be the fans if the lubricants gets too cold. Electronics on the other hand like the cold so make sure to use an SSD.
    2. Agree with Vanadium 50.
    3. Computers are air cooled so yes. Cold temps might compensate for low pressure but I have never run a computer much above 2000 m and it wasn't very cold.
    4. LCD displays don't like the cold, the LSD display on my telescope controller becomes unusable at -20C due to extremely slow update rate (several seconds - there are actually 3rd party electrical heating sleeves availible). LCD is however a catch-all of many technologies that have different properties. The display on my iPhone for example becomes sluggish and dim around the same temperature but nowhere near as bad. Also see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid-crystal_display#Disadvantages
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
  5. Oct 8, 2016 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Very low temperature may affect the transducer as well. How long will you need? Can you put in an insulated enclosure with packets of phase change material?

    Is it small enough to fit under an oversized jacket?

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted