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-   -   The cold affecting cycle computer (http://www.bikeforums.net/winter-cycling/18001-cold-affecting-cycle-computer.html)

P. B. Walker 11-25-02 03:04 PM

The cold affecting cycle computer
 
Lately I've been having some weird problems with my cycle computer when I first start out in the morning. I commute to work and for the first 20 mins the computer has some weird readings. Sometimes, it'll just stick at a one speed for several minutes. This then throws off my distance traveled.

It's a Specialized Pro computer. It's wireless.

I've only noticed this happening on cold mornings (i.e, the temp is under 45 F). I've started keeping my computer in the refrigerator and then slipping it back into the holder just before I leave my condo. But if it's even colder (35 F and under) it still takes sometime to "wake up".

Has anyone else noticed this on their computers in the cold? It's pretty annoying. I've double checked everything... such as the leads and the magnet and such. It never happens in the evening coming home or if I riding during the day. It's only been in the morning when it's cold.

Thanks for any help. I keep my bike inside because I live on the 3rd floor. I guess I could start keeping the computer in the freezer, but just seems crazy.

PBW

mike 11-25-02 03:45 PM

I don't think the cold is good for the LCD display.

I notice that in sub-zero temperatures, nothing will display.

P. B. Walker 11-25-02 07:03 PM

Well I noticed it was acting funny on the way home today. It would just "freeze" on a speed and stay there. I was going up a hill and hit the little light and it said 9.1 mph, then I crested the hill and started down and it just stayed on 9.1. I'm starting to wonder if it's not the battery. When I researched buying flashlights, they would give references to how different batteries would handle different temperatures. For example, sometimes it would 4 hr light time at 70 degrees F and 1 hr light time at 0 degrees F. So it appears cold weather is not good for batteries.

Does this sound like it could be a battery problem? Guess I should just pick up some extra batteries and try it. They are some pretty common battery size, so it's not a big deal.

PBW

mike 11-25-02 07:18 PM

Of course, most batteries do not work as well at colder temperatures as the chemical reaction that produces the electricity is hindered by cold temperatures. Try a new battery and see what happens. It is a cheap test.

Some folks have noticed that the contacts between their cyclocomputer and the mounting gets corroded (not visually apparent) and needs some help. I have heard of people using electrode contact gel as used in hospitals for hooking up monitors to human skin. You could try that if all else fails.

P. B. Walker 11-25-02 07:22 PM

good idea mike. Thanks.

I'm also wondering if the cold affects how the wireless works.


PBW

absntr 11-26-02 11:35 PM

It happens one and off with my computer. It's definitely the LCD. It will stay on one speed and time for a while but when I get back home I notice that when it "warms up" all the readings come back, as it should be. It still clocks the time, speed, etc. It's the LCD freezing up I suppose.

nathank 11-27-02 05:36 AM

i've experienced the LCD being negatively affected by cold, but usually well below freezing. in this case, it should be OK when it warms back up. i've had this happen with various electronic devices... wristwatches, GPS, etc. i think it's even worse if you somehow get water vapor inside the unit - this can freeze and make it act up.

as to the battery - yes, battery power is greatly reduced by temperature. so if your battery is weak, then it could easily drop to too low power when it's cold.

i used to have the Specialized Pro wireless until i lost it on a major downhill single track - i never had any LCD problems with it in the year i had it - i know i was out in 15-20F at least a number of times for long enough to get it pretty cold.

Juha 11-28-02 03:44 AM

LCD does freeze up in cold temperatures ("cold" here being well below 0C) , but that should just make changes on the display sluggish, not entirely fixed. I've never had a computer totally freeze due to cold weather, and I've used several brands in -15 to -20C. As someone mentioned earlier, they still log all the information, even though the display is way behind of what's happening.

If you have a wireless setup, you might want to replace all the batteries, not just the one in the computer. It's still a cheap test. And keeping your computer in the fridge is not a good idea, IMHO.

--J

RiPHRaPH 11-28-02 01:49 PM

mine fades out a bit and the readings get sketchy.

in the wet and cold (condensation like with eyeglasses) this is a problem long term, so i put a plastic baggie over the computer and rubber band it to keep the moisture out. it helps a bit.

RonH 11-28-02 06:51 PM

I've noticed the LCD display on my Vetta RT77 and Cateye Astrale turning dark when the temperature is below 50-55 degrees. New batteries didn't help.
Makes it hard to read in the shade of overhanging trees or when there's little sunlight (morning or evening).

P. B. Walker 11-28-02 11:00 PM

Well I replaced the battery in the unit and went on a ride today. It worked fine. I forgot about the battery in the wireless unit. I'll have to check that out and replace it too. I've recently read someplace that cold is not good on batteries. So it appears that I'll be changing batteries whenever some "flakiness" happens.... hopefully not that often.


Thanks for the info ya'll. Does anyone know if cold affects the wireless computer from picking up the wireless signal from the unit on the fork? I can't imagine that would be affected by cold.

Anyhoo... thanks again.

PBW

roadbuzz 11-29-02 07:07 PM

You could just pop it off the mount and take it inside, and remount it as part of the pre-ride ritual. Might work until the unit got cold, anyway.

P. B. Walker 11-29-02 07:45 PM

Yeah, I do that. I actually keep my bikes inside my condo. There's really no other place to keep them. Not one I feel safe about. I thought at first it was just the computer freaking out going from 70F down to the outside temp of 45 or 40F. It also worked fine once I had been riding for about 20 mins. But by them, my ride data was hosed up. That's why I started to pop it off the bike and keeping the computer in the refrigerator. I thought it wouldn't take as long to get adjusted to the cold. But the downside to that is that the battery gets worn out 10 times faster.

I just referred back to the manual and it says the working temperature for the unit is 40F upto 104F. So maybe it's not meant to work at these colder temps.

Anyone else's cyclocomputers say they are only meant for plus 40F temps?

PBW

Redbeard 11-30-02 05:30 PM

PB, Since you live in Northern VA, as do I, you may notice the same problems I had with my wireless. The local traffic signals use an inductance loop to sense the presence of a vehicle. I found that, as I sat waiting for a light to change, the wireless computer went crazy on me. It would read 67mph, and give me a really treat average speed:p . This was probably caused by the traffic sensor in the road at the light. It can be so strong a signal that it drowns out AM radio stations!

I gave up on wireless in this area, and I use the old fashioned hard wired versions now.

RB

P. B. Walker 12-01-02 06:17 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Redbeard
PB, Since you live in Northern VA, as do I, you may notice the same problems I had with my wireless. The local traffic signals use an inductance loop to sense the presence of a vehicle. I found that, as I sat waiting for a light to change, the wireless computer went crazy on me. It would read 67mph, and give me a really treat average speed:p . This was probably caused by the traffic sensor in the road at the light. It can be so strong a signal that it drowns out AM radio stations!

I gave up on wireless in this area, and I use the old fashioned hard wired versions now.

RB


Oh man, RB... that's good to know. I've noticed the same exact thing several times while riding to work, and it's always in the same spot, at the top of a hill just before a major traffic light (George Mason Drive and Route 7). Isn't that the weirdest thing. I thought it might be the power lines along the bike path, but it usually works great on the bike path. It really just did that on my old computer, which is why I switched to this new computer. But this new one hasn't done it and it's wireless also. I have made an effort to make sure the computer and the pickup are closer by moving the magnet much much higher. But it is unfortunately getting quirky in the cold... but I have noticed that since I changed the battery it's working fine again.

Live and learn I guess.

Endlessly in search of "the" cyclocomputer. :)

PBW

roadbuzz 12-02-02 11:27 AM

Went for a ride yesterday, temps around 35-38F. I had a Polar S210 and Cateye Mity 3 on the h-bars. The LCD update on the polar was in slow motion, and when the HR number was flashing, it never became solid enough to read. If it were much colder, I think the display would have been completely useless. The temp specs are 14F to 122F, so it may be that its battery is a little weak.
The Cat-eye was solid. Numbers were dark, and updated normally. I couldn't find any temp specs for it. We'll see how it does on one of my morning commutes when temps are in the 20s.


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