Electronic Sun Screen: Protect your devices from the sun’s rays
Written by Darla Palmer-Ellingson in Home Technology for Your Home
Summer sun is around the corner, and you are probably looking forward to getting outdoors and soaking up some rays. Just like you protect your skin from too much sun exposure and heat, your computer, tablet, cellphone and TVs need safeguards, too.
Electronics are sensitive to heat, and are built with cooling methods to protect them under normal use. But if you leave your phone on the car dashboard for hours on a sunny day, not only do you risk damage to the circuitry, the battery can be damaged or fail.
In your computer, parts such as the hard drive and processor generate heat. Internal fans are designed to keep the computer from overheating and burning out, but are not designed to accommodate the extra heat from sunlight. Keeping computers out of direct sunlight, including indoors, allows internal fans to cool components without being overloaded.
You probably wouldn’t leave a laptop next to a hot radiator, but many people don’t realize how fast a device can heat up in the sun or inside a car. In addition to damaging circuitry, a laptop, tablet or TV screen’s plastic enclosure can be deformed by heat.
Liquid crystal display, or LCD, is the primary display type in TVs, smartphones, and tablets. An LCD screen is made of thousands of tiny dots of liquid crystal, backlit by a fluorescent panel.
Avoid putting your LCD where it will be hit by strong, direct sunlight. The heat from the sun can damage LCD screens by breaking down liquid crystals. High temperatures could cause a phone screen to crack or become unresponsive to touch.
Ultraviolet light—the part of sunshine that causes skin to sunburn—can also interrupt the chain of molecules that make up liquid crystals, shortening the life of your screen. You may not even notice immediate damage, as screens exposed to UV will deteriorate over time, losing definition, contrast and brightness.
Less than ideal conditions
It may seem like a good idea to take your laptop to the park and finish your work while soaking up the sun. Placing a laptop on a soft surface such as a blanket can block fan vents, causing the device to overheat. You also should keep devices away from extremely dusty areas, such as where a lawn is being mowed, to avoid dust getting to internal components and damaging circuitry. Avoid places near water, as an inadvertent splash could fry a keyboard.
Take these 4 steps to keep your tech cool this summer:
- Don’t leave your cellphone or devices in a hot car (even covered and turned off).
- When in the sun, keep devices in shade or in your bag.
- Minimize usage when out in the sun so device doesn’t overheat.
- If your cellphone gets too hot and shuts down, remove the case and battery. Keep it cool and out of the sun.
Have fun outdoors, but remember your devices need sun protection and to keep cool, just like you do.