Why the Motorola MC65 Rugged PDA is rugged

Everyone here believes that the market leaders should get a hard time so that’s why we’re constantly pushing the envelope with lots of different manufacturers, however credit where credit is due we think there are a few highlights to Motorola’s MC65 and MC55A0 that should be mentioned when it comes to ruggedness.

It’s funny how when you talk to Intermec (the UK’s number 2 rugged PDA manufacturer), they won’t even consider the MC65/MC55A0 when you talk about ruggedness to them and most other manufactruers are still talking solely on an IP and Drop spec level.  however Motorola will also tell you that their kit is more rugged than anything in its class too, so who to believe!

The Most Rugged Design in its class, Full Stop

Lets get the boring stuff out of the way first:

  • IP64 = Dust tight and water-resistant for most cases.  This is certainly rugged enough when it comes to this class of device.
  • Dropped 1000 times from 1.8M across operating temperature range.  This is the “Drop Test” and it’s up there with the best MIL certified and actually puts a lot of the “dropped 6 times on each face” type tests to shame
  • Tumble tested2000 times.

Now the stuff you might not have thought about:

  • Monocoque Unibody Case has fewer gaps, less stress points and is pretty unique when it comes to something that really helps with protecting the device.  It makes servicing them a pain though!
  • Fully Rugged Connector.  I know connecting cups are expensive and sometimes quirky, but they are also properly rugged for many reasons.  They will not break the device if dropped whilst connected, there are just 5 copper dots on the casing so there’s nothing to fiddle with, stick screwdrivers in to or rust/break and they give a good connection that lasts the life of the device.  USB and Micro USB a definite no-no here as they just snap on the main board.
  • Magnesium Inner frame is rigid and flexes to protect main components from shock, the LCD is mounted on top of a rubber flexi seal and the main board is also mounted on nice little rubber shock absorbing mounts.
  • Space between touchscreen and LCD prevents damage to both components.  OK this isn’t unique by any means but it does mean if you crack a screen, you might only need a new digitizer rather than whole LCD affair.
  • Antimicrobial casing options for harsh Lab/Hospital environments, just finish this model off as something that can also be rugged in some extreme environments.

We normally knock the MC65 and MC55A0’s here simply because we like to see the market leaders lead, but I think when it comes to ruggedness these ever-popular rugged handhelds definitely have some unique points to think about.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.