What makes a mobile handheld rugged?
Handheld computers or mobile handheld units are classified by how “rugged” they are. But, what does that mean? How do you measure ruggedness?
One of the ways is to measure how well the casing protects the mother board and the components. There are two terms or phrases that you’ll hear often in the world of handheld units-Military Standard 810F and the Ingress Protection Rating (or IP for short).
Military Standard 810F is a series of tests meant to simulate environmental conditions. These standard tests measure anything from low pressure, (i.e. altitude testing), extreme temperatures and temperature shock, humidity, and rain, to sand and dust and various other external forces placed on the computer. The Military Standard, while approved and used by the United States Department of Defense, has no authority that oversees its use. So, a manufacturer can make up its own test to fit the device instead of vise versa. The letter F refers to the current revision of tests. You can find more information about Mil STD 810 on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIL-STD-810
The IP Rating is a 2 to 3 digit number that reveals how impervious a unit is to solids, liquids and in some cases, protection against a mechanical impact, respectively. The higher the digit, the greater the protection. The rating for protection against solids ranges from 0 to 6 with 0 meaning the unit has no protection. The rating for a liquid ranges from 0 to 8, again with 0 meaning it has no protection from a liquid. The highest score of 8 means that the unit is protected against long periods of immersion in depths greater than 1 meter. If there is an "X" in the digit sequence, it indicates that a particular test was not performed for that device.
A rating of 46X for a handheld computer has a protection rating of 4 against solid objects over 1 mm. Any type of tool or device larger than 1 mm can not penetrate the casing with normal wear and tear. The second digit 6 indicates that there is protection against temporary flooding of water such as on a ship’s deck. The X represents that the mechanical impact test was not performed.
The Ingress Protection Rating was developed by the European Committee for Electro Technical Standardization. For a more in depth description of this rating, refer to http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/ip-ingress-protection-d_452.html
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