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MIL-STD-810G Standards for Tablets

What is MIL-STD-810G Standards for Tablets?

You may have heard this phrase previously, in literature from various companies. Sure, it sounds good, but what does MIL-STD-810G really mean? Does that mean your device is built to Military Specifications? Is it the same thing the military uses?

MIL-STD-810G Testing MethodNot exactly. MIL-STD-810G is a method for testing devices that ensure they’re being tested in a way that meets the realities of their use. For instance, it wouldn’t be realistic to test drop-resistance for a tablet by dropping it only onto its strongest side, and only on a carpeted floor. MIL-STD-810G sets standards for testing so that you can trust the claims the manufacturer makes about durability.

Important testing methods covered under MIL-STD-810G include:

501.6 – High Temperature Testing

In this test, a test article like a tablet is exposed to the highest temperatures expected to be encountered in the use of the tablet. The goal is not to make the article fail, but to identify potential points of failure when the article becomes hot. Likely areas of failure include:

Gaskets, Sealing Strips, Electronic Circuits, Resistors, Casing Deformities, Discoloration or Cracking, Outgassing, Battery Failure

The test may be conducted with the article secured for storage, Operational, or in ready standby mode, depending on its most likely exposure to high heat. Different ratings may be obtained for different test modes.

502.6 – Low Temperature Testing

Like high temperature testing, this test is not designed to necessarily create failure in the test article. Rather, the article is exposed to the lowest temperatures it is likely to face in storage and operation, to check for any signs of failure at those temperatures.

Likely areas of failure are the same as in high temperature testing, and may include Gaskets and Sealing Strips, Electronic Circuits, Resistors, Casing Failures, Discoloration or Cracking, and Battery Failure, as well as other potential failures.

The test is usually conducted both with the device operational and non-operational, since storage facilities are often less climate-controlled than facilities where the device will be used.

505.6 – Solar Radiation

The effects of sunshine and solar radiation on a device are typically divided into two categories – Heat and Photochemical. In this test, test articles are exposed to intense, bright, hot, full-spectrum lighting for a prolonged period, to identify heat-based and photochemical effects like adhesive failures, discoloration, electronics failures, screen dimming, and more.

This test is typically carried out with the device operational.

514.7 – Vibration

Vibration can cause device components to shake loose and separate, leading to failure or undesired function. In vibration testing, devices are generally tested in multiple orientations and frequencies depending on their expected use environments. Those include:

Category 4 – Secured Truck/Trailer

Category 7 – Jet Aircraft

Category 20 – Ground Vehicles

516.7 – Shock

The shock test, sometimes called the Transit Drop Test, may be used to test against damage expected during shipping and handling. It differs from the standard drop test in that it is not intended to test the article vs damage incurred by a drop under its own weight. These tests fall into three areas:

Procedure 1 – Functional Shock

Procedure 2 – Transportation Shock

Procedure 3 – Fragility

520.4 – Temperature, Humidity, Vibration, and Altitude

Electronic or Mechanical devices that may travel by air in a cargo scenario should be tested for the combined effects of Temperature, Humidity, Vibration, and Altitude (pressure) expected to be encountered under such a flight. This is typically performed in a specialized chamber where the indicated conditions can be recreated.

After exposure to these conditions for a suitable duration (the length of an expected flight), the device is examined for damage and functionality. These tests are carried out under storage conditions unless the device is intended to be used under such conditions.

524.1 – Freeze/Thaw

Devices that may be moved in and out of freezing conditions regularly are subject to the problems of a freeze/thaw cycle. This can lead to damage to a case or enclosure, mechanical component damage, damage to batteries or other electrical devices.

Devices are sprayed with enough water to simulate water collection during a rainstorm or similar event. Temperatures are then reduced to 0°C, and maintained for three hours at saturation humidity, to ensure frost. The temperature is then raised to melt frost, and returned to freezing. This procedure is repeated until an expected total of freeze/thaw cycles is endured, and then the device is returned to normal temperature and inspected for appropriate performance.

There are many other test-method standards that may be used, but most apply to uniquely military applications and aren’t relevant to a more common rugged electronics application. Either way, if your device is tested according to MIL-STD-810G standards, you can be sure that it has been tested in a reliable, consistent way as dictated by the US Military.

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