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View Full Version : is cold bad for car speakers?



nadams
01-05-2006, 11:29 AM
Is having your system cranked while hte speakers are cold bad for them? I was just wondering, with it being January and all. My commute isn't really long enough to warm the entire passenger compartment (so my subs and rear speakers stay cold pretty much the whole trip) and sometimes I need to slam a little music to get myself ready for the day. Anything going to break on me?

hoosier21
01-05-2006, 11:37 AM
If your a mfg of car speakers, and they can't handle the weather, you are in the wrong business

MacLeod
01-05-2006, 11:38 AM
It couldnt hurt to play em at normal levels for a minute or two before cranking em up. Speakers are a mechanical device just like a car engine and althought not as complex, going from 20 degrees to full blast instantly probably wouldnt prolong their lives.

1996blackmax
01-05-2006, 12:34 PM
I would think it would not be an issue since they should be disigned for the extremes faced in a vehicle.

Jstas
01-05-2006, 01:45 PM
Um, I'm gonna have to go and disagree with every post in this thread so far.

I don't care how spectacular your speaker is. Temperature affects the physical properties of anything. If your speakers are cold and you start hammering on them while they are cold, the materials will be less flexible because of the lower temperature. Yes, they can withstand the temperature but blasting the volume on a cold speaker is a good way to kill it.

You can kill it two ways. One way is that you run a ton of power through a cold voice coil. Not only has the inductance of the voicecoil changed but so has the properties of the magnetic pole piece. It is not drastic but it is enough to possibly put the speaker outside of it's acceptable operating parameters. You can damage motor structure parts if one heats up faster than the other. You can also kill a speaker when it's cold because due to the lessened flexibility of the parts like the surrounds, the spiders and even the cone material, blasting the volume can easily push those pieces past thier breaking point when the temperature is significantly lower. I have seen many people fry a tweeter or shred a surround on a woofer cone because they cranked the volume on speakers that had been sitting in sub 20 degree temps all night long without a warm up period.

To prevent it from happening, you should run the volume at a level that you can hear and let it play that way for 5-10 minutes so that the parts get worked but not over-worked and the motor structure warms up evenly. The movement of the speaker will cause enough friction to heat the speaker up to a more acceptable temperature. Once it is warmed up, blast away your hearing all you want.

You can't fight physics folks, it will always win.

PoweredByDodge
01-05-2006, 02:02 PM
To prevent it from happening, you should run the volume at a level that you can hear and let it play that way for 5-10 minutes so that the parts get worked but not over-worked and the motor structure warms up evenly. The movement of the speaker will cause enough friction to heat the speaker up to a more acceptable temperature. Once it is warmed up, blast away your hearing all you want.

You can't fight physics folks, it will always win.


Agreed...

I've gotten into a similar habit - leave the deck on a low seetting, just enough to hear it at "doctor's waiting room volume level" - let it go for 10 minutes and then jam away.

While I'd not come up with the explanation above in my head, I assumed that anything, when well below its operating temp, needs to warm up alittle before you can romp on it. Haven't had any issues yet... but think about it - you can seriously stretch a surround and twist a cone if you jack on it when its virtually frozen stiff. Use common sense...

cam5860
01-05-2006, 04:44 PM
It want hurt a damn thing to blast the hell out of them first. I do it everyday and the damn things just keep sounding better and better. Remember a little rough treatment has never killed anyone.

nadams
01-05-2006, 05:02 PM
It want hurt a damn thing to blast the hell out of them first. I do it everyday and the damn things just keep sounding better and better. Remember a little rough treatment has never killed anyone.

You make me laugh.

Thanks for the response Jstas. That's kind of what I had in my head, too... The issue lately has been that it hasn't been so cold that I have to let my truck run for a little bit first, so the speakers don't get a chance to play low (my deck is just about always on, including when the truck is warming up. I just turn it down before I get out at the end of the day).

MacLeod
01-05-2006, 05:08 PM
Hey! I was the first one with the right answer! :D

PoweredByDodge
01-05-2006, 05:32 PM
It want hurt a damn thing to blast the hell out of them first. I do it everyday and the damn things just keep sounding better and better. Remember a little rough treatment has never killed anyone.

I'm gettin a little tired of this idiot.

nadams
01-05-2006, 05:47 PM
I'm surprised he doesn't just buy new speakers every time his get cold... that would be the logical way to avoid failure...

PoweredByDodge
01-05-2006, 08:49 PM
hahaha -- i like that one! lol...

1996blackmax
01-05-2006, 09:29 PM
I have listened to my system many times on the loud side on cold mornings. My system has not encountered anything lower than 20 something degrees F, but even that is pretty cold. I still have my very old Polk DB's in my car. They are still going strong to this day. I was looking at some Rainbow's, but then decided that my old Polks still sounded pretty good to me. So for my speakers this has not been an issue as they are still very much intact (no torn surround, spider, speaker leads, or anything else), and they still sound nice.

SportsFan
01-05-2006, 09:42 PM
I've gotten into a similar habit - leave the deck on a low seetting, just enough to hear it at "doctor's waiting room volume level" - let it go for 10 minutes and then jam away.

Haven't had any issues yet... but think about it - you can seriously stretch a surround and twist a cone if you jack on it when its virtually frozen stiff. Use common sense...
I'm kind of following this same practice as well....although it was just a "gut feeling" (I guess could be considered "common sense") on my part that going from "cold" to "loud" without running them for a few minutes just seemed like asking for trouble. I was curious if this was necessary, and wouldn't have thought to ask about it myself....but I'm glad nadams brought it up (so I could find out that others are doing this same thing also).....

cam5860
01-05-2006, 10:08 PM
Who has ever heard of a driver failing because it was to cold. I mean come on people come to your sense's. Heat is what destroy's everything. I had much rather blast my system in the morning when my voice coils are running cool, rather than when I have been playing my system for a hour or two.

exalted512
01-05-2006, 10:19 PM
Who has ever heard of a driver failing because it was to cold. I mean come on people come to your sense's. Heat is what destroy's everything. I had much rather blast my **** in the morning when my voice coils are running cool, rather than when I have been playing the bastard's for a figgin hour.
ever driven a diesel? You have to wait to start it to allow the glow plugs to heat up. Starting it right up wont kill it, but itll damn sure make it a lot weaker.
Same thing with breaking in subs, you dont want to heat them up right away or theyll **** up.
-Cody

PoweredByDodge
01-05-2006, 10:28 PM
some SPL competitors have been known to lay dry ice on amplifiers and dustcaps just prior to start their run in the lanes... this is a "surface" cold though, that is achieved.

enough time does not elapse to get any significant deep freeze into the devices. such a practice isn't going to hurt anything, in fact it helps a little.

as far as the temperatures... depends what "cold" is to you.

I've woken up to 0 to 5 deg F many times. This year has been kind to us, but normally its wicked as hell around here. Gets so cold that your dry fingers stick to the snow and ice when you touch them... hurts like a bastard.

Anything under 40 and you should start to be a little cautious. It's not a matter of going crazy over it - just give it a couple minutes to warm up. not an hour -just a few minutes... it's not a lot to "give" in return for years of trouble free service.

and I've seen two foam rubber surrounds ( - JL and an MTX Road Thunder) crack due to the cold... they were not dry rotted or even very old at that. Regular rubber surrounds are obviously more durable, by why bother hurting them?

I am not up to speed with the intricacies of how the voice coil functions at very low temperatures, however, the explanation given above makes sense to me.

Lastly - believe it or not, but transistors function differently at low temperatures. While you can store one from about -50 C to 150 C, depending on MFG and chip, (ya, wacky cold and wacky hot temps) --- you can't run one in that same temperature band... From about room temperature (25 deg C / 77 deg F) up to whatever temperature junctions start to break down -- most at or around 150 C (about 300 F). But that's junction temp, not the heatsink's temp, or even the temp of the backplate of the transistor. You start bumping up to that kind of heat and leaking current goes through the roof.

anyway - point is - you start running transistors at temperatures too far below 0 C / 32 F and you throw off the whole damn scheme. BJT's are biased based greatly on assumptions made regarding temperature. Fets are configured with similar constraints made upon temperature assumptions. The junctions will warm up quickly, but not instantaneously... a few moments or maybe a few minutes -- i honestly couldn't tell you which it is... a couple minutes of warm up never hurt anybody.

swerve
01-05-2006, 11:03 PM
does this thread apply if I keep my vehicle in a heated garage?

cam5860
01-05-2006, 11:18 PM
There is a difference in something being cold and froze up. If it's 30 degree's out tonight it's not going to hurt anything to crank it up. Now for people who live up north where it gets down to 0 that could have some effect.

nadams
01-05-2006, 11:20 PM
does this thread apply if I keep my vehicle in a heated garage?

Only if you keep the heat turned off....

cam5860
01-05-2006, 11:34 PM
I look at it like this! If your speakers are broke in and you have your crossover's set right and your gain's on your amp correct. You should be able to crank your system up anytime you feel like it without hurting your speakers. I have had my current setup for over a year now and play the hell out of it everytime I go somewhere and have never had any problems. P.S. (It's all about setup.)

VR3
01-05-2006, 11:53 PM
Yes...

We get it.

SportsFan
01-05-2006, 11:55 PM
Hey cam,

Just curious, but did you ever play any organized sports? The reason I ask is because I did for several years, and the coaches would always have us do "warm up" stretches and excercises before every practice and game. The reason is because athletes typically "pull muscles", develop cramps, or injur themselves some other way if they have not properly loosened their muscles before going out and pushing their body to it's limit.

I think most people are simply applying the same standard and set of rules here. I would also have to assume that by "cold" they are referring to "below freezing" temperatures involving the weather, not just inconvenient ones or referring figuratively to the state of the speaker.

But I am glad that you've been able to put your system to the test and that it has performed admirably for you. But what works for you in your particular case might not work that well for others. That's why I think people are suggesting to exercise caution before pushing their speakers to their limit.

exalted512
01-05-2006, 11:58 PM
some SPL competitors have been known to lay dry ice on amplifiers and dustcaps just prior to start their run in the lanes... this is a "surface" cold though, that is achieved.
never heard of them putting on their amps, i guess to keep them cooler, but ive seen them do it around subs. More heat, higher resistance. Higher resistance, less power.
-Cody

cam5860
01-06-2006, 12:11 AM
Sportsfan no I never played sports. I understand what your saying and you have a good point.

PoweredByDodge
01-06-2006, 12:19 AM
never heard of them putting on their amps, i guess to keep them cooler, but ive seen them do it around subs. More heat, higher resistance. Higher resistance, less power.
-Cody

depending on how hot it is out, and whether the amps being used are being pushed beyond their limits already (driven below rated load, etc), it's been done - i don't know how effective it is, but i guess its worth a try.

also - regarding subs - bingo.

----------

The only contact sports he played damaged his skull.

PoweredByDodge
01-06-2006, 12:22 AM
If your speakers are broke in and you have your crossover's set right and your gain's on your amp correct. You should be able to crank your system up anytime you feel like it without hurting your speakers. ----- (It's all about setup.)


No...

cam5860
01-06-2006, 12:32 AM
LOL, you gotta love this stuff.

Jstas
01-06-2006, 01:04 AM
Wow.

Just....

...wow.

Hey folks, you want to destroy the stuff you worked hard to earn the money to buy and then worked even harder to install? Then listen to this assclown and totally abuse and disrespect your equipment.

If you value your hard earned money and the nice things your money and efforts get you then give your gear a break and let it warm up and it will give you decades worth of trouble free service. I always let my dB's warm-up even on a warm day, it's just common sense. Hell, I even let my solid state gear on my SDA rig warm up before cranking it. Be nice to your equipment and it will be nice to you!


cam5860, you're talking out of your ass and you have yet to substantiate anything you have posted with anything more than conjecture and your own half-assed, ignorant, mis-guided opinions. You should just stop posting because it is quite clear that you would spend your time better looking for a clue than trying to help others on an internet message forum and failing miserably at it. Kindly remove yourself from the prescence of those who are interested in actually learning and taking care of thier gear. Or, you could sit down, shut up and listen and you might actually learn something instead of regurgitating the same tedious tripe that you found from other asshats on other message forums.

skydeaner
01-07-2006, 12:07 AM
oh god, will a mod just get rid of this entire thread? This is making the polk forums look like some of the other forums I go to and never want to post on.

SportsFan
01-07-2006, 12:39 AM
oh god, will a mod just get rid of this entire thread? This is making the polk forums look like some of the other forums I go to and never want to post on.
Agreed. I have no problem with the disagreements and differing of opinions...but some of the language and name calling could definitely be done without....

1996blackmax
01-07-2006, 12:46 AM
This thread has gotten out of hand. No need to be disrespectful towards each other.

Josh
01-07-2006, 10:47 AM
Jstas, why do you always have to start? Everybody was being reasonably civil until you come in with the "assmonkey" comments. If you know so damn much, why don't you enlighten the people that don't instead of telling them they're talking out their ass? I enjoy the well heated argument once in a while on the forums as much as the next guy, but you seem to start one every thread. Ease up, son!

neomagus00
01-08-2006, 12:49 AM
actually, cam - and this is the only comment i'll make in this thread - that is a very bad way to respond to someone as intelligent as jstas... he may be an *******, but he will tear you to shreds if you don't back yourself up...

PoweredByDodge
01-08-2006, 03:40 AM
that is a very bad way to respond to someone as intelligent as jstas... he may be an *******, but he will tear you to shreds if you don't back yourself up...


i agree with Neo, don't play with fire, it'll burn ya if you don't have a clue.

... personally i think "assmonkey", "asshat", and some of the other more creative pet names he's come up with are a PG-13 way of addressing those who choose to nurse off of the male anatomy (ya, think about that for a second).

god knows its a whole lot better than saying "shut the f*** up".

mix some Darwinism with some intellectual based ideology Fascism and progress is bound to be in the forecast.

--------

and in case i said it too nicely earlier... but may the fleas of a thousand reindeer nest in your "happy place" Cam... and may Advantix be taken off the market at the same time.

cam5860
01-08-2006, 11:35 AM
I have yet to see a thread that jstas has posted in that he was not being a *******. No matter what people have to say in a post.

He always has a smartass comment to say. Look everyone has there right to voice there opion in these forum's. If you don't like what someone says just move on. No need to be a ******* about it.

Thom
01-09-2006, 09:27 AM
The only time I've had speakers fail in the cold was many years ago. The foam surrounds would tear on my subs, and the same thing happened to a friend of mine. When I later worked at a shop we saw it on occasion. Other than that I haven't seen failures that could be blamed on the cold. But I don't turn up my stereo until I'm out of my neighborhood anyway...

PoweredByDodge
01-09-2006, 12:15 PM
But I don't turn up my stereo until I'm out of my neighborhood anyway...


... just being polite? or scared of the locals wanting to nab your stuff while you're sleeping?

i've got a friend who is so paranoid he won't play his stereo anywhere but the highway pretty much. constantly "thief terrified".

hellohello
01-10-2006, 10:07 AM
^i can agree with the theif terrified, i dont have expensive stuff in my car, it would probably cost more to repair the damage they did breaking into the car...

and not that im an expert or anything, but i notice that my speakers sound muffled in the cold, until the car heats up a bit, i thought it might have to do with the suspensions being stiff in the cold, or that my speakers need more time to "snooze" in the colder mornings... like I do :)

Thom
01-10-2006, 12:23 PM
... just being polite? or scared of the locals wanting to nab your stuff while you're sleeping?

i've got a friend who is so paranoid he won't play his stereo anywhere but the highway pretty much. constantly "thief terrified".


More polite, I guess. The 4 foot Polk Audio logos kind of give away the fact that there's a stereo in it. I just figure I don't need my neighbors hating me for no reason. I should at least get to talk to them before they do...

A couple times over the years the green hatch has been broken into, but nothing taken. So far the alarm has done it's job.

PoweredByDodge
01-11-2006, 03:08 PM
geen one's the wife's car right? u still compete with that don't you?

whats your current fleet consist of?