Running arduino in -10 degC?

Hi guys. i am making an outdoor project, which is gonna be outside during the winter. In denmark we get down to -10 degC during winter, so i wanna ask if the arduino can handle it? It is in a plastic casing, with small vent holes to prevent water buildup. Does this temperature prevent the arduino from running ?

The temperature will not be a problem in itself. But the temperature changes might. They cause movement of components, condensation and other problems that might affect the reliability of your circuit

yes. the best way is to use a sealed box closed just after adding an activated dessicant bag or even use tropicalization coating for the board.

Electrolytic capacitors may be an issue. Pay attention to temperature ratings on them.

yes, use tantalum or solid polymer capacitors if you can instead of aluminium electrolytic caps.

I am not using hardware, exept for the arduino and a buzzer. are there any electrolytic capacitors on the arduino board? :slight_smile:

wich model of arduino? the problem is we can't know the temperature range dielectric used for the genuine arduino ceramic caps because the Shematics only contain the value and some voltage values.

On schematic it's best to give the value / voltage /tolerance /ceramic type I'm using this naming method for my schematics: 10uF 16V 10% X5R example

X7R and X5R are ok for -10 temp (-3 % of typical capacity change @-10°C) but if they have used Y5V it's not very good (-40% of typical cap @ -10°C!) but they are cheaper. example a Y5V cap of 10uF typical value @25°C will have only 6uF of capacitance @ -10°C And when you want to make precise timing circuit the best is to use C0G or NPO dielectrics but they have limited max capacitance and they are expensive

more infos here if you want to know :) (page 2) dielectric

I am using Arduino UNO r3. I run this with a Adafruit nfc shield (here) :)

Thanks alot for the help :)

I think your biggest problem will be the batteries. Most batteries don’t work in sub zero conditions.

KenF: I think your biggest problem will be the batteries. Most batteries don't work in sub zero conditions.

No problem. I run it off of net power :)

If you have lots of power you can add a power resistor and use it as an heating element keeping the temperature above zero and avoiding condensating.

Pelle

Pelleplutt: If you have lots of power you can add a power resistor and use it as an heating element keeping the temperature above zero and avoiding condensating.

Pelle

But wont it overheat in the summer then? It is supposed to be yearly maintenance :)

An Uno does have two electrolytic capacitors: they are the silver, metallic cylinders near the power jack. Electrolytic capacitors should be good down to -40C.

I’ve been running a custom linear LED driver circuit for my yard lamp for over two years now. It’s mounted in a plastic electrical box (not lidded) and then attached on the inside of a wooden box/pole. It’s been just fine with temperatures between -25C and 37C. The only problem I’ve had is the ATTiny slipping out of the DIP socket.

Genesis92: yes. the best way is to use a sealed box closed just after adding an activated dessicant bag or even use tropicalization coating for the board.

Hi. What are these tropicalization coatings, how do you apply them, and to what extent do they protect the arduino and components? I have a similar problem as the OP but with high temperatures (60°C and more)...

I am using aerosol lacquer to cover my outdoor PCBs. I used to operate electronics (not an ATmega, but other digital chips) for more than 5 years on my bicycle. I did NOT seal the box, but left some openings on the botton for ventilation. There were no signs of corrosion after that time.

kasperhangard: But wont it overheat in the summer then? It is supposed to be yearly maintenance :)

Measure the temperature with your uC and regulate the power to the resistor.

Pelle

olf2012: I am using aerosol lacquer to cover my outdoor PCBs. I used to operate electronics (not an ATmega, but other digital chips) for more than 5 years on my bicycle. I did NOT seal the box, but left some openings on the botton for ventilation. There were no signs of corrosion after that time.

Hi, i live in denmark, and it doesn't seem we have aerosol lacquer here. Can you provide a link to which type you used? my research tells me there is different kinds of aerosol lacquer :)

Thanks in advance.

in order to be safe to be sure, i would say it would need to be in a pressure sealed enclosure, but the issue there as i think KenF mentioned is that batteries especially (rechargable ones) will encounter issues in a pressure sealed environment.

one way around that would be to have a separate power supply circuit cabled into the sealed chamber where you are housing the microcontroller?

I'm worried i might have not accounted for every issue you may in this description though.

arduidiot: in order to be safe to be sure, i would say it would need to be in a pressure sealed enclosure, but the issue there as i think KenF mentioned is that batteries especially (rechargable ones) will encounter issues in a pressure sealed environment.

BUT

kasperhangard: No problem. I run it off of net power :)