When looking for any type of rugged computer, there are several tests and certificates to look for. Instead of trusting a label that just says waterproof, now you can know how water resistant the device really is. Rugged laptops, including the Getac B300 and Panasonic Toughbook, normally have three specific tests: MIL-STD, IP Code and intrinsic safety. With all of these different tests, you can be sure that your device really is suitable for the most rugged of environments.
This is the military standard that is used to test environmental conditions including: temperature, rain, humidity, fungus, salt fog, sand, explosives, leakage, acceleration, shock, vibration and emissions. These tests were developed in 1962 by the U.S. Department of Defense and there have been seven revisions over the years. The latest revision, 810G, was released in October 2008. In rugged laptops, the most common standard is the MIL-STD 810 and 461.
This test varies depending on the size of the computer and the weight of the computer and case combined. The test involves dropping the device from heights between 46 and 122 centimeters (18 and 48 inches). The device being tested is dropped on each of its corners, and on its faces and edges, between 5 and 26 times.
The IP Code (International Protection Rating) is an international standard that classifies protection against solid objects and water. This is used to provide more detailed information than just listing a device as a water resistant laptop. The IP rating consists of two numbers; the higher the numbers, the more protected the durable laptop.
The first number after IP is the level of protection against solid objects:
0 - No protection against contact and ingress of objects
5 - Dust can still enter but won t interfere with the equipment
6 - Completely dust proof
The second number pertains to the protection against liquids:
0 - Not protected
4 - Splashing water won t hurt the device
5 - Projected water won t hurt the device
6 - Powerful waters jets won t hurt the device
In hazardous locations, electrical equipment can cause explosions because of the internal current or temperature. These locations include places like mines, refineries, or even chemical processing plants. These tests were first devised after mines were wired with electricity for lights, motors and signals. Several mines exploded because of electric signals. To ensure that rugged laptops are safe, multiple tests are run on the devices, and there are several different classifications. These are certified as UL1604, and you'll see further information about the conditions and chemicals around which the device is certified safe.
Class I, Div. 1: Where ignitable concentrations of flammable gases, vapors or liquids are present within the atmosphere under normal operation conditions.
Class I, Div. 2: Where ignitable concentrations of flammable gases, vapors, or liquids are present within the atmosphere under abnormal operating conditions.
Group A: Acetylene
Group B: Hydrogen
Group C: Propane and Ethylene
Group D: Benzene, Butane and Propane
This article only covers a few of the certifications available for rugged computers. These certifications are necessary for rugged applications including the military, utilities and geomatics. At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't Have To.
Sources for this article include documents from the Department of Defense and International Electrotechnical Commission.