(Topic ID: 206548)

Transporting in the cold?

By CollinT

1 year ago

Topic Stats

  • 15 posts
  • 12 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by swirvin
  • No one calls this topic a favorite


Linked Games

  • Taxi Williams, 1988
#1 1 year ago

I plan on driving a Taxi pin this weekend in my friends open bed truck for about 1.5 hours. It will be 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit in North Carolina.

It's coming from inside home and will be covered in blankets during the trip.

How long should I let it warm up in my house before turning it on?


#2 1 year ago

I say 6-8 hours to be safe. Maybe longer.

#3 1 year ago

I'd at least set it up, open the backbox, remove the glass and lift the playfield. I'd say at least 6-8 hours maybe even more if you are a patient individual.

#4 1 year ago

Don't do it.

I would wait for warmer weather. I don't like to transport pins when below freezing. The contraction and expansion in the wood and paint can cause small paint cracks.

Or rent a van with heat.

#5 1 year ago

Thank you for the advice. I'm renting a van instead, only 100 bucks and that way I can have peace of mind and be able to play it when I get home.

1 week later
#6 1 year ago

I also have two EM pins to pick up in northern climates. Have F150 with roll top cover over the bed which is water tight but not heated. I have serious concern about playfield damage due to wood shrinkage in cold weather. We're talking about coming from heated inside rooms to near zero ambient temps with exposure to those temps for a 2 day ride back home.

What experience do you have with this kind of thermal shock? Makes me nervous to say the least. I can't imagine pins are routinely shipped in heated vans historically by distributors or today by companies like NAVL, etc ... but still its hard to think that kind of thermal shock wouldn't have *some* deleterious effect on PF or BG.

Anybody with hard experience?

Roc-Noc you live up there in Rockford ... and you say you would wait. Have you seen games damaged by sub-freezing (or even sub-zero) exposure? I'm really thinking I need to wait till spring time.

#7 1 year ago

Pins aren’t shipped in a heated truck when new, they come on a semi or single unit box truck neither are heated. Another thing, wood expands and contracts mainly due to changes in humidity, changes in temperature do not have a significant effect on wood movement. But that movement is seen predominantly in solid wood, one of plywood’s main benefits is that it is relatively dimensionally stable. This stability is due to how it’s made, multiple veneers that are glued together with the grain alternating 90 degrees on every ply. I’d only worry about it getting wet in an open bed, I wouldn’t be concerned about it getting cold.

#8 1 year ago

I transported a DI for about 1.5 hours in an open truck in about 10 degree weather with no issues a few weeks ago. Then I just brought home a pinbot in about 30 degree weather on Saturday.
I also traded out an IM ve last year for an mmr. That was about an 8 hour round trip in 20 degree weather. No problems with any of the pins.

I did let them warm up a bit before turning them on.

1 week later
#9 1 year ago

I did some research on how wood expands with temperature change. There was a study done back in 1956 by Oregon St university which was very thorough and presented information on several species of natural wood, plywood and other wood derived products.

What I found is the coefficient of thermal expansion of wood is very small. For birch laminate plywood, the CTE is on the order of .000005 (5.0E-6) per degree C. So for a temp change of 40C (72F) the expansion would be .000005 x 40 = .0002 This is expressed in the form of strain, meaning the number represents a fractional change in size for the material.

That's a VERY small change per unit length. For example a 1 inch piece would change length 1 x .0002 = .0002 which is such a tiny strain value its negligible. Humidity is the big driver in wood expansion, as mentioned above. I just wanted to get a handle on temperature effects, which appear to be negligible.

The back box glass is an entirely different matter. Plate glass has a CTE of .000009 (9.0E-6) making it about twice as susceptible to temp change as hard wood. So for my move, the back boxes will remain inside the heated cab with me for the ride home.

#10 1 year ago
Quoted from SilverWings:

I did some research on how wood expands with temperature

4 weeks later
#11 1 year ago

Just to follow up on the cold weather move: this was an 1800 mile, 4 day, 29 hour excursion to the upper Midwest and back to OKC, OK in mid February. Mason City IA would be my coldest stop on Day 2 to pick up a 1958 Sunshine, and then on to a suburb of Chicago IL on Day 3 to pick up a mint condition Centigrade 37. My ride is a 2013 F150 Crew Cab, equipped with a weather proof roll top cover over the bed.

Both machines were taken from a heated inside environment directly to the truck. Back boxes were wrapped in blankets and rode inside the cab. Cabinets were covered, padded and strapped down in the bed.

The ride home was very good clear but cold weather. For example, when I left Mason City the morning low temp was only 2dF, warming up to the upper teens in the afternoon. C37 was loaded up with outside temps in the mid 20's and falling into the teens that night as I left the Chicago area.

There was a couple or three hours of driving in light snow the final day of the trip but the humidity levels remained very low throughout the upper Midwest. The only place I had any concern was actually the final few hundred miles into Oklahoma, where temps ramped up into the 60's, but that was accompanied by totally clear skies and very low relative humidity. As soon as I arrived home both machines were moved inside.

Now home in OKC, I can tell y'all both machines came through completely fine. No issues what so ever. I don't think repeated exposure to 60dF temp swings could ever be good for any pinball machine, but for this single move in stable low humidity conditions everything was just fine.

2 weeks later
#12 1 year ago

With all the Noreasters shouldn't there be a discount on pins sold there if you pick up in the blizzard?

#13 1 year ago

It's only an hour and a half, the pin is going to gradually cool down, and gradually warm up. I wouldn't worry about paint damage- but definitely would leave it off overnight. The electronics are more sensitive to fast temperature swings and condensate when turned on cold. The glass isn't a big deal for Taxi, as it is a translite, but if it was a classic painted glass, I would take that in the heated passenger compartment.

#14 1 year ago

Just transported a gladiators game. Loaded it the night before and the next morning (except for some condensation) everything was fine.

#15 1 year ago

I would also say 6-8 hours with the glass off. I live in Canada and regularly transport pins in an open truck in temps of -30C.or less. I often leave them on the truck overnight. Wrap them with a shipping blanket which helps with the humidity. I have found no problems with the wood cracking or playfield crazing.Even the batteries are ok with no loss of memory.

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