MIL-STD-810 Test Method 502, Low Temperature


MIL-STD-810 Test Method 502 –
Low Temperature

Quick look:

  • Tests for operation at low temperatures
  • A unique test that very few companies in the industry have the ability to perform
  • Includes three test procedures: Storage, operational and ease of setup in cold conditions


About MIL-STD-810 Method 502

Method 502 is designed to test how computer equipment works at lower temperatures.

This includes looking for embrittlement of materials or gaskets, binding interfaces, broken glass, which are the most common problems. From the electronics standpoint, there’s a whole list of things that happen with COTS electronics in super-low temperatures. For example, crystal oscillators don’t work well and sometimes the magnetic hysteresis of transformers change their properties. You can also have startup problems with some of the electronics.

When doing low-temperature testing, the primary focus area in electronics is the performance of the circuitry.

A lot of electronic components change their nominal values as you go down, so it’s very important to pick a supplier that uses high-quality, industrial, temperature-resistant components. At Crystal Group, this is precisely our philosophy: Creating solutions that work in the most unfriendly of environments.

In low-temperature testing, there are three test procedures we look at:

  • Storage procedure
  • Operational procedure
  • Ease of set up under cold conditions

As a general rule, we test at -55C or -65C for low-temperature storage. For operational, we go to -40C. The setup test uses arctic mittens and gloves and other things like that, which are relevant from the design standpoint of mil circular connectors.

There are some things you have to do to modify COTS equipment to make it perform in low temperatures—things we do at Crystal Group. It’s pretty unique and a lot of our competitors aren’t able or willing to do so.


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