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What is environmental chamber testing, and why is it important?

Updated: Aug 31, 2022

An environmental chamber (also called a climate chamber) tests the effects of environmental conditions on a product. There are various types of testing, including industrial products, machinery, materials, biological products, electronic components, and more.

The controlled environment of the chamber is used to test the endurance, stability, and practicality of equipment, products, and chemicals. The chamber mimics the effects of a product's environmental conditions. In this article, we'll focus on temperature testing for enclosures and products with electronic components.

Temperature Testing

The most common product stress test is for temperature. Fluctuations in temperature cause a product to expand or contract. When manufacturing products designed for use in a variety of temperature and humidity conditions, it's essential that there is proper testing to ensure the products will hold up to the severity of their actual use in the field.

Products with electronic components need testing at high and low temperatures to confirm their minimum and maximum operating requirements. The test chamber simulates the harshest environmental conditions. It determines if a product and its electrical components will meet the demands of its intended application.

Environmental Chamber Temperature Testing and Custom Fabrication

Here at Broadsight Systems, we test housings, cameras, enclosures, and products with electronic components or a combination of both with a Tenney™ environmental chamber to confirm their minimum and maximum operating environmental conditions.

Our environmental chamber has tested devices at temperatures as low as -50°C (-58°F) and as high as +80°C (+176°F). The Tenney™ chamber has an insulated tube in its sidewall that allows power and video cables to pass through. This enables us to verify that the device is operational at extreme temperatures.

Recently, we tested a network doorbell at -50°C (-58°F) for a period of 8 hours. The device was installed in a custom-insulated enclosure we designed and fabricated that included dual heaters driven by a thermostat which required us to monitor the temperature inside the enclosure as well as the ambient temperature of the environmental chamber. To accomplish this, we used battery-powered Bluetooth™ thermometers, which were received by a smartphone outside the chamber. We took measurements over the course of a day to obtain the below dataset. The device was tested at each data point. This information allows our customers to determine confidently what the actual temperature inside the enclosure will be in different ambient temperatures.

The standalone network doorbell was originally rated to -10°C. Based on our data, the customer was able to specify a minimum operating temperature of -50°C (-58°F) when installed in our enclosure. The experimental evidence showed that the device remained within its operating limits at the extreme temperatures specified.

The customer benefited by marketing their device to a broader audience, as well as standing out in a side-by-side comparison with their competitors' products.

Conclusively, almost all industrial manufacturers and businesses can benefit from environmental chamber testing their outdoor products so they may know the capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses of their products. Tell us about your environmental chamber needs here.

Broadsight Systems is a North Carolina-based metal fabricator of custom solutions for extreme weather applications and unique camera enclosures. We have a diversified range of fabrication machinery at our facilities in Mebane, NC, and our engineers will take you from your product's initial concept phase through any stage of the development cycle. Our environmental testing will simulate and verify your product's performance in the environments and applications they were designed for. To learn more, contact us.



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