So in the last blog we introduced MIL testing, what it was about and where it came from but today we’re going all technical and looking into the tests that are most often seen on the spec sheets of rugged devices.  I wanted to outline the tests but also give the reasons and business benefits (if any!) to them with a splash of opinion too!

MIL-STD810G – The tests

These are all the tests (Courtesy of Wikipedia) that are approriate to rugged dveices and as you can see there are plenty here.

  • 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)

Some pointers


Anything to do with water or dust ingress has tended to be covered by the IP ratings method in rugged kit.  However MIL does bring some more focussed tests against humidity and immersion that IP can get grey on.


Fungus, sea salt and solar radiation are not often seen but they can show how well a device will work in the harshest sea or damp conditions. You see sea salt ratings on a lot of Trimble device devices for instance that we sell to oil rig based users.


There’s a lot up there about temperature and you can really go to town on these tests. High, low, freeze-that cycle testing and temperature shock testing where temperature can rise or fall quickly are all tests seen now on some rugged devices.  Whilst the operating temperatures are useful, I think some of the tests here have less relevance than you think for most users of rugged devices.


There are a lot of shock based tests here and whilst some of the more “Explosive” ones are simply not applicable to every day life, you’ll see the tumble, vibration and general shock ones applied to many devices.  These attempt to put a device through a more general set of every day shock tests that can add up to faults.

I think as the rugged market gets more and more cluttered with new devices and manufacturers every day, we’re seeing more of these tests going on spec sheets to try to woo customers.  What we’d say always make sure you;re buying a device that’s rugged but also approriately rugged to your enterprise scenario.  Understanding what tests help with that is key to saving money but maintaining a quality of mobile device for your business.


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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