A Guide to the MIL-STD-810H Guidelines

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The Military Standard 810H, often shortened to MIL-STD-810H, is a set of standards and test methods to gauge the performance of devices. It’s maintained by the US Department of Defense. The Standard outlines a set of rules, engineering considerations, and lab tests to make sure that military equipment can withstand real-world challenges. Among other things, the guidelines provide tests to gauge a device’s performance in extreme temperature, humidity, and altitude. There are also protocols to test the device’s performance against vibrations and shocks.
Do note that the DoD outlines these protocols as a guideline. This is not a certification. Manufacturers use these standards to test and design equipment for military applications and in some cases, such as the Oukitel WP20 Pro, manufacturers can create smartphone devices for the general public meant for the outdoors and extreme weather with the same protections.

 

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MIL-STD-810H is a comprehensive standard but it’s not a guarantee for a device being indestructible. Adhering to the standard creates devices that are highly reliable and durable – likely to be significantly superior to consumer-grade electronics, for example. That being said, even the strictest adherence to the standard doesn’t always guarantee immunity from all kinds of damage in extreme conditions. Some manufacturers may also claim compliance with specific sections or methods of MIL-STD-810H rather than the standard as a whole.


Environmental Conditions


The MIL-STD-810H standard has protocols to address a wide range of environmental conditions that military equipment and gear may encounter. This includes everything from extreme temperatures and high altitudes to exposure to dust, sand, and water.
These mil-spec standards cover all possible extremes of the environment and weather. The main reason why the standard is used as a benchmark to ensure the performance and durability of rugged devices and gear is this coverage that encompasses virtually everything that a device might go through in extreme conditions.


Testing Procedures for MIL-STD-810H Certified Products


MIL-STD-810H provides detailed procedures for conducting tests to simulate the effects of environmental stress on equipment. These tests are designed to ensure that military hardware can operate reliably in diverse and challenging conditions.


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Manufacturers can follow the directives to replicate these tests to design equipment that can withstand weather extremes. Strict adherence to these protocols makes the device military-grade, as the US military uses the same tests to design its own equipment, gear, and devices.


Adaptability


One of the strengths of MIL-STD-810H is its adaptability. The standard provides a framework for tailoring environmental tests to specific equipment and intended use, recognizing that not all military hardware will face the same conditions. The latest revision (810H) is a 1000+ page document outlining a variety of use cases. It’s loaded with extremely detailed and technical calculations that cater to all types of devices.
As different equipment and devices have different applications and usage scenarios, the standard takes into account this variance to come up with relevant and specific tests so that they can be equally ready to withstand extreme weather and environmental extremes.


Compliance for MIL-STD-810H Certified Devices


While compliance with MIL-STD-810H is not mandatory for civilian products, many manufacturers use it as a benchmark for designing ruggedized products intended for military or outdoor use.
Common devices, such as smartphones, don’t go beyond an IP68 rating, which is managed by the International Electrotechnical Commission or IEC covering protection against solids (like dust) and moisture (like water submersion). But rugged devices meant for using outdoors or during adverse environmental conditions often follow the MIL-STD-810H standards.
This makes them capable of handling higher stress even in the most extreme situations. Whether it’s moisture, water, shocks, or drops – devices built with adherence to the standards and tests laid out in the MIL-STD-810H often perform significantly better than normal electronics. This is an excellent feature to have if you’re looking for a device that can withstand extreme conditions.


Multiple Test Methods


The standard includes various test methods and procedures, allowing for flexibility in the testing process. These methods cover aspects like temperature and humidity, vibration, shock, and exposure to various environmental factors.
For example, manufacturers can choose to apply the calculations for sinusoidal excitation to ensure the theoretical aspects of the maximum response of a device for the protection of the mechanical components against extreme vibration.
The standard has developed many of these test methods using research from esteemed organizations, such as NASA and NATO. A lot of intelligence also comes from reputed organizations within the US military research space, such as the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC).
All of these test methods make MIL-STD-810H a comprehensive source of information to protect a device from the extremes of weather and other adverse environmental conditions. It also enables manufacturers to create more durable, rugged, and drop-proof devices that can withstand a lot of pressure and temperature, while being perfectly operational at higher altitudes, in high humidity, or during other problem conditions.

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