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Richard Barish
(rdbarish) - F

Locale: New Mexico
Use of iPods and similar devises above 10,000 ft. on 10/15/2011 22:21:28 MDT Print View

I want to purchase a small devise for reading material, field guides, and PDFs. The iPod Touch seemed like the best choice for me, primarily because of the bird ID and other field guide apps. Then I noticed that the Apple site stated that the Touch had a maximum operating elevation of 10,000 feet. When I am backpacking in the mountains, I am ususally above 10,000 feet.

I did some online research and found a thread in an Apple forum. One problem is that, for hard drive based devises, air pressure is required so that the heads float above the hard drive. At high altitudes, there may not be sufficient air pressure to float the heads. About half of the posters in a long thread seemed to have problems above 10,000 feet, while half did not.

The iPod Touch, however, is apparently not a hard drive based devise. I was told that it is a solid state devise. I did some more research. I found another thread. This much shorter thread stated that the problem with solid state devises is cooling. This makes some sense to me - since the air is thinner, it would not cool as efficiently. However, air temperatures are also lower at high elevations. It was not entirely clear to me what the effect of this was on solid state devises. No one stated that a solid state devise had failed at high elevations. One poster stated that use at high altitudes will reduce the life of the devise due to its operation at higher temperatures.

Does anyone understand what the problem is with using solid state devises like an iPod Touch above 10,000 feet? Is it possible that the devise will stop working? Are e-readers like Kindles hard drive or solid state devises? Also, does anyone have experience using an iPod for reading? The Touch battery is said to last 40 hours for music and 7 hours for video, but I was wondering what I might expect for reading. I would guess a somewhat more than for video, but not a great deal more, since the screen is on.

Richard

Edited by rdbarish on 10/15/2011 22:25:37 MDT.

S Long
(Izeloz) - M

Locale: Wasatch
Re: Use of iPods and similar devises above 10,000 ft. on 10/15/2011 22:55:00 MDT Print View

I also have questions about this. I only found some hearsay that "other" components might have issues (capacitors, LCD screens, etc.) above 10,000 feet. I don't see why?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Use of iPods and similar devises above 10,000 ft. on 10/15/2011 23:07:06 MDT Print View

One possibility is that the warning is based on two simple things:
* the Apple lawyers want to avoid warrantee issues like the plague
* Apple has not tested the device at high altitude.

Granted, the HDD problem of air bearings is real, but aa solid state storage unit won't have this problem.
As for cooling - forget it. Devices that small don't really rely on air pressure for cooling. Mind you, if you let it get down to -20C, all bets are off!

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Use of iPods and similar devises above 10,000 ft. on 10/15/2011 23:13:33 MDT Print View

Anecdotal, but I had my iPhone with me when I did the Teton Crest trek last year, while we weren't always above 10,000 feet were certainly were for part of the trip. Never had a problem with it. FWIW.

Charles Henry
(Chuckie_Cheese)

Locale: Arizona and British Columbia
Re: Re: Use of iPods and similar devises above 10,000 ft. on 10/16/2011 01:39:44 MDT Print View

Ive used my nano at 14k feet. I've also used it continually for days in other altitudes, in hot deserts, etc, never had heat issues, heating issues sounds like a silly myth to me.

William Zila
(Ultralightwillinn.m) - MLife

Locale: Albuquerque
No problems here on 10/16/2011 02:16:32 MDT Print View

I've used my touch at over 14,000 feet with no promblems

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Use of iPods and similar devises above 10,000 ft. on 10/16/2011 03:43:59 MDT Print View

The kindle would also be using flash memory like the ipod touch and not a hard drive.

Fog Mountain
(FogMountain)
Re: Use of iPods and similar devises above 10,000 ft. on 10/16/2011 05:56:35 MDT Print View

The limits for altitude (and temperature and humidity) for iPods are typical of electronic devices made with off-the-shelf components, as opposed to special expensive hardened components made for special military applications or other extreme conditions. There is a standard range of environmental conditions that manufacturers of electronic components rate their parts for, and a device manufacturer like Apple can't rate a device to work in more extreme conditions than the parts it's made from.

However, I agree with other posters that high altitude (where YOU can still breathe, anyway) is unlikely to make an iPod fail, especially the modern iPods with flash-based (solid-state) storage. Only the iPod Classic (which is being discontinued sometime around now) still uses a hard drive.

I use my iPod Touch for reading, but I've never read on it all day long so I'm not sure exactly what the battery life is. While you're right that the display backlight is one of the things that uses a lot of power, the wifi transceiver and the CPU and graphics chips also use a lot of power. Watching video takes a lot more work from the CPU and graphics chips than reading does. I suspect you could get at least 12 hours of battery life reading with wifi turned off. Probably more if you're reading in the dark, when the display dims automatically.

Fog Mountain

Paul Osborn
(bcoutdoors) - F
14000 feet and no problems on 10/16/2011 07:53:30 MDT Print View

I'm temporarily living at altitude (14000 feet in bolivia). I see people with Ipods, Ipads, etc. I've never heard of a single problem here.

I'd say your biggest concerns would be damage in your backpack or from moisture, etc.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
Use of iPods and similar devises above 10,000 ft. on 10/16/2011 08:51:29 MDT Print View

I had my Ipod nano video above 10,000 ft. at below 32 degrees worked fine. My brother had really old Ipod with a mono chromatic screen with white screen blue letters and it froze up in him till we got to warmer and lower elevations.
Terry

R S
(rps76) - F
Above 10,000. on 10/16/2011 09:21:49 MDT Print View

I used to live in Telluride, CO. Town sat at 8950. Mountain Village sat at 9545. Most of the resort is above 10,000 and I never had problems with any ipod while there. Even skiing 100+ days each season (cold and at elevation) and multiple backpacking/hiking trips.

I also had a buddy trek to Everest BC. BC sits at 18,000 and he never had any issues while using an ipod hiking from Lukla (9100) to BC.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Use of iPods and similar devises above 10,000 ft. on 10/16/2011 13:29:26 MDT Print View

There are two issues here. One is whether or not such a device will be permanently damaged by use above 10,000 feet. The other is whether or not such a device will function within specification above 10,000 feet. Lots of liquid crystal displays will work poorly or not at all when the temperature gets really cold. However, the display recovers when it is warmed up (e.g. by putting it in an inside pocket for ten minutes).

--B.G.--

Corbin McFarlane
(raven15) - MLife
Just get it... on 10/16/2011 22:02:25 MDT Print View

I violated the specified operating conditions of pretty much every electronic item I own at some time or other, sometimes just by taking them out of the box. Never seemed to bother them...

Adam Leschber
(AxemanACL) - F
Solid State Drive and Cooling on 10/17/2011 15:25:11 MDT Print View

I don't see why the Solid State Drive based ithings should have problems with cooling. In regards to full sized hard drives for computers SSD's use about 2 Watts while a disk Hard Drive uses 15-20 Watts. Therefore the SSD's create way less heat.

I would say who cares about the lower pressure, as the pressure goes down as you go up, so will the temperature. Since cooling is based off the difference between the device temp and the ambient temp, the lower temperature would cancel out the lower pressure (less air to transport heat). It should in theory cool just as efficiently as when you are at sea level with a higher temperature.

Edited by AxemanACL on 10/17/2011 15:26:21 MDT.

Richard Barish
(rdbarish) - F

Locale: New Mexico
Subject:(canot be blank) on 10/17/2011 21:47:14 MDT Print View

Thanks for the feedback. I still have yet to hear of anyone who has had a problem with a SS iPod or other devise at elevation, so that seems like a good sign. I'm going to do a bit more investigation, but the iPod may be the best option for me,

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
How about low altitudes? on 10/17/2011 23:46:06 MDT Print View

When the ambient temp gets around 120F (48.9 C) my iPhone screen gives me a message that the temperature is too hot, and it shuts down.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: How about low altitudes? on 10/18/2011 03:32:11 MDT Print View

> When the ambient temp gets around 120F (48.9 C) my iPhone screen gives me a message
> that the temperature is too hot, and it shuts down.

I do too.

Cheers

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: How about low altitudes? on 10/18/2011 13:13:21 MDT Print View

120 F? That sounds like a pleasant spring day at Badwater.

--B.G.--

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: How about low altitudes? on 10/18/2011 13:51:49 MDT Print View

"120 F? That sounds like a pleasant spring day at Badwater."

Yes it does, but at 120F you will find me under a tarp until it cools down. I don't take my iPhone hiking, but I was working in the yard with it in my pocket. I went to call my wife and got that message from Steve Jobs. It only took a few minutes in the air conditioned house for the phone to start working again.

Rakesh Malik
(Tamerlin)

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Solid State Drive and Cooling on 10/18/2011 15:08:23 MDT Print View

" It should in theory cool just as efficiently as when you are at sea level with a higher temperature."

I agree, and in fact I'd expect the opposite problem, which is that the device's battery would play dead in low enough temperatures, and would require warming in order to function. :)