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Freezing a CodeBug in liquid Nitrogen

The cold winter nights are rolling in fast, and led us to wonder if CodeBug could survive the sub-zero freezing temperatures of a bath of liquid Nitrogen!

Frozen CodeBug

This week we demonstrated our Frozen Pi rig (which had previously appeared on BBC Four and Blue Peter) to inspire youngsters about engineering as part of the IET Christmas lectures. The lecture was presented by Danielle George, who talked about the postive impact engineers had on society.

She wowed the audience by illuminating a lightbulb, without its glass housing, immersed in liquid nitrogen. Danielle used the nitrogen to displace the oxygen in the air which would otherwise cause the filament to burn out.

She kindly allowed us to use the freezing cold liquid nitrogen to try an experiment of our own:

Temperature has some interesting effects on electronics -- look on most component datasheets and they specify the range of temperatures the component will work at. Microchip, who manufacture the microprocessor we use on CodeBug state minimum temperature of -40 degrees, but we were curious just how cold CodeBug could get and continue to operating. Chip datasheet temperatures

Since liquid nitrogen lowers temperature to an eye watering -195 degrees C (77K) it would be a pretty extreme test to see if CodeBug was ready for a cold winter!

Remember! Do not try this at home! Nor do we condone subjecting your CodeBug to abuse!

As you can see in the video, CodeBug worked perfectly and continued to run its program while being submerged. We heard some worrying cracking, but discovered it was only the plastic cover of the USB cable, and CodeBug lived to tell the chilling tale.

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