Cold weather tips for Matterport scanning!

Winter is definitely here and we've had a few customers lately who thought their cameras needed repair but it turned out that the problems were temperature related. The Matterport camera is designed to operate down to 50deg F (10deg C).

I have personally operated my camera in the mid 40s F with no problem but you cannot be certain that it will work at those temperatures. The most sensitive (to temperature) part of the camera is the stepper motor (the motor that rotates the camera).

Recently I had a customer who was scanning an "under construction" home with an ambient temperature of 35deg F (2deg C) and his motor started making a very unusual noise (see video below).

In another case one of our partners started getting a "Hardware Error: Motor Fault:" error message. In that case the camera had been operating in tempos as low as 25deg F (-4deg C).

In both cases there was nothing wrong with the cameras and they operated normally when brought up to the suggested temp operating range. If you need to scan at cold temperatures, here are some tips:

1) scan fast!,
2) wrap some foam sheet insulation around the camera (mainly near the bottom where the motor is), being sure not to interfere with the viewing area or the rotation/tripod of the camera,
3) something I have not tested but might work in a pinch ... wrap the camera in some type of insulation and place a "hand warmer" packet (like used in ski gloves) inside the insulation near the bottom of the camera (the motor at the bottom is what is most sensitive to the cold).

Another thing to avoid in cold weather is allowing the camera to change in temperature too rapidly....especially in humid environments as this can cause condensation to accumulate inside the camera.

If possible always allow the camera to gradually acclimate to a new temperature especially if the temperature change is significant (ie 20deg F or more).