22 Aug. 2016 Information
The following is a top-level introduction to the US Military standard MIL-STD-810, used to define the testing methodology for, and results required for acceptance of, rugged equipment.
MIL-STD-810 is a series of performance and manufacturing guidelines set by the US Department of Defense for military and commercial equipment and applications. These guidelines specify allowable parts and environmental condition ranges in which a device must be able to operate to meet compliance.
MIL-STD 810 is a generally accepted standard of ruggedisation testing and compliance for two-way radio and equipment.
The MIL-STD-810 test method is used to generate confidence in the environmental worthiness and overall durability of ‘material system’ design. The testing process follows guidelines, which include program documentation, program roles, test standards, and laboratory test method guidelines for all categories.
The laboratory test methods are broken down into 24 categories and thereafter procedures (specific tests or levels) appropriate to the environment in which the equipment is expected to be used.
The actual tests are carried out according to pre-defined test plans and criteria. The tests can be laboratory or natural environment field tests, or a combination, whichever applies. The test procedure is dependent on the environment tested. The procedure(s) and its execution provide the basis for collecting the necessary information.
After completion of each environmental test, the post-test data is examined and recorded in accordance with material specifications and program guidelines. A final test report will be created for each test, which includes an analysis of the test results.
Some products will carry a MIL-STD 810E rating and some may state they are MIL-STD 810F compliant. The Latest MIL-STD-810G is a revision of MIL-STD 810F and 810E. The tests and methods are basically the same but much of the standard has been rewritten to provide clearer direction.
When selecting a rugged product, it is essential to check whether it is ‘designed to meet’, tested or compliant with MIL-STD-810 and that the actual tests to which the product is compliant reflect the environment in which the item is to operate. For instance, a product may have been tested to 501.5 III A2 (High temperature, Tactical standby to operational, Basic Hot) but has it been tested to 510.5 I (Sand and Dust, blown dust, 24 hour test) which may highlight problems with ventilation and heat management when operating in the real world?
Example Tests and Procedures
To determine the ability to withstand mechanical shocks from suddenly applied forces or an abrupt change in motion produced by handling, transportation or field operation.
Standard: MIL-STD-810F Method 514.3, category C.
• Environment: 75 g 11 ms saw tooth shock, 3± shock/axis, 3 axis, 18 total.
To observe low air pressure effects on either operational or non-operational design parameters.
Standard: MIL-STD-810F, Method 500.2, Procedure I & II
• Environment: 40,000 ft. and 70,000 ft. operational
To determine the ability of equipment to operate in the presence of an explosive atmosphere.
Standard: MIL-STD-810F, Method 511.4, Procedure I, operational
• Environment: Fuel-Air Explosive Atmospheres
A humidity test simulates the moisture-laden air found in tropical regions.
Standard: MIL-STD-810F, Method 507.4 Procedure I, Cycle I
• Environment: 240 hours, 95% RH
Random Mechanical Vibration
To evaluate the construction, materials and mounting of the device for ruggedness.
Standard: MIL-STD-810F Method 514.5 and MIL-HDBK-344A
• Environment: Vibration step from 21 – 41 g.
Temperature Humidity Bias
An operational test that evaluates the reliability of the device package in humid environments.
Standard: MIL-STD-810F, Method 507.3
• Environment: 85°C, 85% RH, high line input voltage
To determine if a material (or materials) will support the growth of specific fungi.
Standard: MIL-STD-810F, Method 508.4 Section II
• Environment: Severe climate conditions
To determine the resistance of the equipment to the effects of a salt atmosphere, primarily
Standard: MIL-STD-810F, Method 509.1 Procedure
• Environment: Salt fog harsh environment
Specific Examples of Test Methods Called Out in MIL-STD-810G Are Listed Below:
• Test Method 500.5 Low Pressure (Altitude)
• Test Method 501.5 High Temperature
• Test Method 502.5 Low Temperature
• Test Method 503.5 Temperature Shock
• Test Method 504.1 Contamination by Fluids
• Test Method 505.5 Solar Radiation (Sunshine)
• Test Method 506.5 Rain
• Test Method 507.5 Humidity
• Test Method 508.6 Fungus
• Test Method 509.5 Salt Fog
• Test Method 510.5 Sand and Dust
• Test Method 511.5 Explosive Atmosphere
• Test Method 512.5 Immersion
• Test Method 513.6 Acceleration
• Test Method 514.6 Vibration
• Test Method 515.6 Acoustic Noise
• Test Method 516.6 Shock
• Test Method 517.1 Pyroshock
• Test Method 518.1 Acidic Atmosphere
• Test Method 519.6 Gunfire Shock
• Test Method 520.3 Temperature, Humidity, Vibration, and Altitude
• Test Method 521.3 Icing/Freezing Rain
• Test Method 522.1 Ballistic Shock
• Test Method 523.3 Vibro-Acoustic/Temperature
• Test Method 524 Freeze / Thaw
• Test Method 525 Time Waveform Replication
• Test Method 526 Rail Impact.
• Test Method 527 Multi-Exciter
• Test Method 528 Mechanical Vibrations of Shipboard Equipment (Type I – Environmental and Type II – Internally Excited)
(Source: The MIL-STD-810 part is from SST and the MIL-STD-810G part is from Wikipedia.)