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Last night I was playing a gig in temps of between 35 and 45 degrees (perhaps colder), and suddenly I was getting nothing out of my Helix, and my tuner wouldn't work.  After rebooting twice, I finally got sound, but the tuner still wouldn't work, and even the sound seemed a bit off.  Is this a cold temp related problem, and if so, is it common?

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Last night I was playing a gig in temps of between 35 and 45 degrees (perhaps colder), and suddenly I was getting nothing out of my Helix, and my tuner wouldn't work. After rebooting twice, I finally got sound, but the tuner still wouldn't work, and even the sound seemed a bit off. Is this a cold temp related problem, and if so, is it common?

Did I miss Walk-In-FreezerPallooza again?!?!? ;)

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It could definitely be a temperature issue. Condensation will occur when you move any electronic device from warm to cool temperatures. The moisture in the warm air inside the Helix will condense when the cooler air gets inside, creating tiny droplets of liquid water that collect on the surface of the electronic components - and that never goes well with electricity. Always let your equipment acclimatize before powering on. Half an hour should be plenty to let the condensation evaporate again.

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Hmmm...sounds about right, but the rig had been sitting for a good 45 minutes before I powered up...however, the temps weren't as low then, and got colder.  To be specific, we were playing outside a football stadium before kick-off, and then again after the game.  Kick-off was at 5:30 pm...and we're in the Pacific NW.   Brrrrrrrr.   WalkInFreezerPallooza, indeed.  I'm not sure I feel like experimenting right now, but maybe giving it a heating pad would help?  Oooooor set fire to a Strat.

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ANY Unsealed Electronics open to sudden air and humidity temp swings will "always" react. Keep moisture (beer) and non bedroom/studio temps away from Helix if possible.  Heat and cold temp swings as well as wet is always bad for things that have current flowing through them, except maybe for eels.

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Unhelpful tale: Many many years ago, band I was in showed up at a club in Presque Isle Maine in the middle of a blizzard. We left our gear in the truck because blizzard, set up the next day. Neither one of the horn drivers ever came on. Took a while to figure that out, because it was both of them. Sound company whose name I don't remember in Watertown Square (MA) overnighted us new voice coils, and sent the ones back to JBL to check out.

 

Turns out that a little condensation had dissolved the glue holding the voice coils to the diaphragms. First signal, coil moves, diaphragm doesn't, they're now separated, game over. That event was responsible for JBL changing the glue formulation they used, we were told.

 

Moral of the story is, respect changing temperatures :)

 

 

I wouldn't want to play guitar in 35-40 degree weather. Wouldn't even want to expose my guitars to it if I could help it.

 

I wouldn't think your sound would be "a little off" though, it's digital, not really subject to temperature stuff if it's working at all. Could be the speakers were cold, and/or your guitar strings, but not the 1s and 0s. Probably.

 

Did everything get back to normal once all the gear had been back to reasonable temperatures for a while?

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I wouldn't want to play guitar in 35-40 degree weather. Wouldn't even want to expose my guitars to it if I could help it.

 

 

It's virtually impossible to stay in tune in those temps anyway...far from ideal in virtually every respect.

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I wouldn't think your sound would be "a little off" though, it's digital, not really subject to temperature stuff if it's working at all. Could be the speakers were cold, and/or your guitar strings, but not the 1s and 0s. Probably.

 

Frozen eardrums...;)

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Tipp:

My Helix is protected by a 100% fitting case (https://goo.gl/OSgYSB). I am always putting some small bags with dehumidifier in it. You get this stuff shipped with electronic devices etc. or you can buy it online. I hope that these bags are absorbing the water from the air so that nothing will damage my Helix.

 

I know that the cases are not 100% isolated to outer air, but maybe it will help already a little. 

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Bottom line....extremes in temperature and/or humidity really aren't good for ANYTHING. Cars, guitars, electronics, fine shotguns, your sinuses....the list is endless.

 

I'm in the north east. No outdoor gigs much past Labor Day. No fun, not worth the hassel...

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The coldest gig I played was -11°C (12°F). Three nights in a row. We'd play five half-hour sets, with breaks between so we could warm up inside.

 

My amp (Peavey Heritage) and FX (Zoom 9.2tt) held up just fine - maybe the tubes in each provided enough heat to keep the units warm. No glitches with the PA, as far as I could tell.

 

The biggest issue was fingers - they just did not want to move even though I wore fingerless gloves. Hard to tell if I was touching a string or not. Nothing remotely resembling shredding was possible.

 

And strings - fresh set each day, but guaranteed to break at least one per set. Had to figure out how to play most songs with 5 strings. Also went to an ultra soft pick, which seemed to help a bit.

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I would not think a unit like the Helix would be affected by minimal deltas in temp. 30º to 45º temperature swings are typical

in many applications for components.  Industrial grade components can easily function in those ranges and more.
The ruggedness of the Helix based on the floor unit alone has been proven. I would think some degree of HALT or HASS testing

was done to allow it to validate it ability stand up to beer, wine and some pretty challenging shock & vibration it receives from normal use.

 

The difficulties you were having outside seem to be something other than the Helix unit to me.  My rehearsal space has temp swings >35º

and I fire it up and use it repetitively.

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Yeah,  Great idea on the heated vests eh!  Right on!

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Tipp:

My Helix is protected by a 100% fitting case (https://goo.gl/OSgYSB). 

 

Aw man. I wish I'd known about this... ended up ordering that goofy backpack gig bag on the weekend because I had trouble finding anything that was a decent size!

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The coldest gig I played was -11°C (12°F). Three nights in a row. We'd play five half-hour sets, with breaks between so we could warm up inside.

 

My amp (Peavey Heritage) and FX (Zoom 9.2tt) held up just fine - maybe the tubes in each provided enough heat to keep the units warm. No glitches with the PA, as far as I could tell.

 

The biggest issue was fingers - they just did not want to move even though I wore fingerless gloves. Hard to tell if I was touching a string or not. Nothing remotely resembling shredding was possible.

 

And strings - fresh set each day, but guaranteed to break at least one per set. Had to figure out how to play most songs with 5 strings. Also went to an ultra soft pick, which seemed to help a bit.

OK, I just gotta know. ..what sort of masochists are standing outside in sub-zero temps to see a band? ;)

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OK, I just gotta know. ..what sort of masochists are standing outside in sub-zero temps to see a band? ;)

It's Canada. That's not particularly cold. Do wish I had that heated vest, though.

 

And... The death metal dudes are pretty diehard :-)

 

It was a Christmas thing. Mostly, we were just a distraction while they waited in line to go inside for the main event. But plenty of people hung around long enough to hear a set.

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OK, I just gotta know. ..what sort of masochists are standing outside in sub-zero temps to see a band? ;)

 

The Iceman?

 

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I work on outside systems for a living. Temps effect them and they are made for outside installs. Every time there are temp swings (fall & spring especially) it effects them, and are not cheap made by any stretch of the imagination. Temps effect cold solder joints to control circuits & power supply voltage settings, lose wiring etc etc. It's just nature of the beast. In electronics, cold and heat changes can and will eventually degrade how well they work, now or later. ; )

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OK, I just gotta know. ..what sort of masochists are standing outside in sub-zero temps to see a band? ;)

12 F isn't sub-zero, just winter....

(silly centigrade doesn't count) ;)

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Many moons ago when I had dreams of Grand Funk Railroad playing at my Birthday bash, I played with my winter coat on, inside the establishment. Blizzard time outside and this old dive had a fireplace in the other room (with the booze). Of course the stage wasn't in that area lol. I think we had 3 people that night.

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It's virtually impossible to stay in tune in those temps anyway...far from ideal in virtually every respect.

 

Totally!   I like cold weather - expat Canadian here , but I find that even playing in 55 degrees F outdoor temperatures sounds pretty aweful... I wouldn't take an outdoor gig that cold outside, let alone listen to a band going that far out of tune.   Just my .02 Looneys. 

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Cold can definitely be a problem. It is not just about playing a cold outdoor gig which is probably relatively infrequent for most bands. Much more often it is an issue when the equipment is stored in an unheated space, or has to be loaded up in the van/truck the day/night before the gig, or has to travel in cold weather, or there are back to back gigs where the equipment is not unloaded into a warm space in between because it makes no sense to unload/load twice and is too big a hassle. As others have said I think your best bet is to try and warm the equipment up by blasting the heat in the vehicle on the way to the gig if possible and letting it warm up for as long as you can once you get it inside the venue before turning it on. Condensation, rapid temperature change, and movement or use of freezing parts definitely does not contribute to equipment longevity. Sometimes unfortunately the setup time is not conducive to a long warm-up period and you just need to hope for the best. If it's any consolation things getting too hot doesn't help either... ;)

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OK, I just gotta know. ..what sort of masochists are standing outside in sub-zero temps to see a band? ;)

 

Polar bears?

 

And what sort of guitar player wants to chance frost bite? Kinell!

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OK, I just gotta know. ..what sort of masochists are standing outside in sub-zero temps to see a band? ;)

 

The ones attending the annual 'Inuitpalooza' in the 'Land Of The Midnight Sun'. Seven days of fun, food, vendors, music, and constant darkness... ;)

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