Themed to drop specs this week , this weekly Q&A summary answers all the questions sent in about drop specs. We normally cover anything topical or popular so eclectic but it’s worth sharing so don’t forget that if you have a question then just let us know via twitter on @ruggedandmobile or using #RAMQQ or using Facebook.

1. What do you consider fully rugged in a drop test?

We like to see 1.5M, anything lower, say 1.2M and a device is durable but not necessarily fully rugged in our eyes.  With so many 1.2M devices coming onto the market, it’ll be interesting to see if they are rugged enough.

2. What are the gradings on a drop spec?

They tend to be measured in full feet so 1.2M or 4 feet, 1.5M or 5 feet and so on. There’s the odd 1.0M if memory serves me right!

3. Do you drop test devices and do you share the information?

The answer in short is yes we do, especially the adopted brands we sell because we either get a free device for destroying or we can repair them and use them for our own demo stock.  We don’t test formally, why bother with that when someone has already done it, so we do it “Gadget show” style. Seriously though we drop them out of windows or drag them along the road etc to see just how far they will go. Come to us for help deploying your kit and we’ll gladly share what we know!!

4. Why is it necessary to drop onto concrete?

Well there are a few reasons we can see:

  • Firstly, concrete tends to be what users in the real world work on top of. Retail, warehouses, depots, roads etc so why test onto anything else?
  • Secondly concrete is very hard and unforgiving on rugged devices so it’s a serious test if dropped onto concrete.
  • Steel for example will flex and bend so is far more forgiving to anything dropped onto it.

5. What’s more important a drop spec or IP rating in your view?

Definitely, without doubt, the drop spec. Users can do a lot to protect against water and dust anyway but a drop will happen when you least expect it! This is backed up by official figures from the VDC where they state dropping a device is at least as twice as likely to fail a device than water and hugely more likely than dust damage.

Keep sending those questions in using #RAMQQ on twitter @ruggedandmobile or email.

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

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5 Responses

  1. apcsb

    It is very good that you differentiate between ‘concrete’ and ‘wood on concrete’. This is one thing many overlook (and some vendors just not publish).
    I would also definitely add temperatures as well. Not everyone tests the drop spec across the entire operating temperature range. Here’s an example of why it’s important: Motorola’s (soon to be Zebra’s) MC67 has a drop spec of 1.5m across the whole range, but 1.8m at room temperature. Now, imagine a vendor claiming, say 1.2m w/o specifying the temperature. Most likely it means ‘room temp’. What would happen at 0C? Only god knows…

    • ruggedandmobile

      You’re certainly an advocate for Motorola by the sounds of it!!

      On one hand I agree with you, more testing is better and the MC67 is 2.4M and 1.8M across the range of temps BTW, making it really rugged! I think this all comes under the whole “Rugged enough” category thing though and if you’re in the UK using this kit in normal conditions the test becomes a moot point really. Yes it gets to -5 sometimes, but does the device and plastic ever get to that temperature? I’m not so sure and missing from all these spec sheets is the test that measures the speed at which temperature rise and fall can affect the PDA so arguably this is still cherry picking testing.

      Testing is also only worth anything if it’s clear, the tester is trusted and the process is transparent. I think testing over a range of temperatures, whilst theoretically it’s scientifically good to do, unless customers see any real benefit and they can trust the test implicitly, how is it useful? If Motorola would give us a device to test and video us doing so we’d be happy to test it here.

      • ruggedandmobile

        Actually all good points. Freezers are an exceptionally harsh environment to use a mobile device in. Hands up on that one as we have only a little bit of direct experience in this area. It’s also really surprising just how hot places can be. vehicles, storage rooms and all kinds of different places you never thought could be outside of operating/storage temperature ranges can cause loads of issues. We supply parts of the Middle East and Africa here and temperatures in cars storage can easily damage batteries and devices themselves.