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What is the difference between MIL-STD-810G and MIL-STD-810H? [PDFs]

by Brett Daniel, on May 4, 2020 4:27:26 PM

Trenton Systems is not a testing facility. We sell rugged servers, workstations and related components tested to military and industrial standards, such as MIL-STD-810 and DO-160, at our in-house testing laboratory, but we do not offer testing services for products designed or manufactured outside of Trenton Systems. For a list of laboratories that can assist you with your testing needs, please view this blog post, which lists the best compliance testing labs worldwide.

Update 06/01/2020: Learn all about the different MIL-STD-810 test methods in our ongoing MIL-STD-810H series. Read the first installment here.

Update 05/11/2020: Check out our MIL-STD-810 servers blog post to learn more about rugged computers and how they're enhancing military defense. You can also read our comprehensive MIL-STD-810 overview.

The United States Department of Defense officially released MIL-STD-810H, the successor to MIL-STD-810G, in January of 2019.Download MIL-STD-810G PDFDownload MIL-STD-810H PDFWith the new revision comes numerous changes, both minor and major, to MIL-STD-810’s laboratory test methods.

In this blog post, we’ll review MIL-STD, MIL-STD-810G and include an outline of the MIL-STD-810H changes.

Skip directly to the MIL-STD-810H changes

Stick around for a comprehensive overview.

United States Department of Defense Logo MIL-STD-810

Photo: The logo for the United States Department of Defense (DoD). The DoD sets standardization objectives and enforces military standards already on the books, such as MIL-STD-810H.

What is MIL-STD?

MIL-STD is just an acronym for military standard.

In the United States, military standards, or defense standards, are enforced by the U.S. Department of Defense and maintained by the Air Force, Army and Navy.

If a product is MIL-STD-certified, that product is compliant with certain requirements and standardization objectives set by the DoD.

According to the DoD, the primary purpose of military standards is to ensure the interoperability and commonality of products and equipment used in military-related applications.

“Standardization documents are developed and used for products, materials and processes that have multiple applications to promote commonality and interoperability among the Military Departments and the Defense Agencies and between the United States and its allies, and to limit the variety of items in the military supply system,” the Department’s website states.

In a nutshell, by establishing equipment consistency and compatibility, these standards safeguard against equipment incongruity, inefficiency, ineffectiveness and failure in the field.

MIL-STD-certified products are usually designed to survive in extreme environmental conditions as well. This specific process is known as ruggedization, which means to “strengthen for better resistance to wear, stress and abuse,” according to Merriam-Webster.

Military standards are a vital part of product development for companies that sell equipment to the branches of the military, which need to ensure that equipment can sustain and continue functioning properly despite environmental risks and potential damage.

MIL-STD is also sometimes referred to as a MIL-SPEC, which stands for military specification. When shopping for or reading about MIL-STD-certified products, you’ll often see them referred to as a MIL-SPEC server or a MIL-SPEC computer. This just means that they meet some sort of military specification, such as MIL-STD-810.

explosion for MIL-STD-810 explosive atmosphere test

Photo: One of the tests that a MIL-STD-810-certified rugged server may undergo is the explosive atmosphere test, which assesses whether the system can operate in a fuel-air atmosphere without causing an explosion.

What is MIL-STD-810?

MIL-STD-810, specifically entitled Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests, is a military standard addressing the testing and customization of equipment to ensure its ability to sustain various environmental stress factors throughout its life cycle.

Some of the test methods and procedures that a MIL-STD-810-certified product might undergo include, but are not limited to, mechanical shock, vibration, temperature, low pressure (altitude), humidity, fungus, salt fog and explosive atmosphere.

Testing and certifying equipment to these and other harsh conditions lets military contractors know that the products they’re purchasing are durable, reliable and sustainable.

Rain drops for MIL-STD-810 rainfall test

Photo: Another test that a MIL-STD-810-certified rugged computer might undergo is the rain test, which assesses reliability in environments that receive a lot of rainfall, such as the Amazon Rainforest. It also tests for water spray or dripping during storage, transport and operation.

What tests are included in MIL-STD-810G testing?

MIL-STD-810G is the precursory revision to MIL-STD-810H, the latest revision published in 2019.

The DoD published MIL-STD-810G in 2008 and revised it in 2014.

MIL-STD-810G is divided into three parts:

  1. Environmental Engineering Program Guidelines
  2. Laboratory Test Methods
  3. World Climatic Regions – Guidance

Test methods are what interest most contractors. A MIL-STD-810G-certified server may undergo testing for gunfire shock, pyroshock, acoustic noise, immersion and contamination by fluids. Each of these methods include one or more testing procedures that let test engineers tailor an assessment to a product's eventual environment.

For example, immersion measures how well a rugged computer can perform while partially or totally immersed in water; therefore, the Navy might be interested in ensuring that a product they're purchasing is certified to this standard.

Check out our comprehensive blog post MIL-STD-810 Overview: Everything You Need To Know for a deeper dive into what makes a rugged server MIL-STD-810G-compliant.

What changes are included in MIL-STD-810H?

MIL-STD-810H, the latest revision of MIL-STD-810, includes numerous changes from its predecessor, MIL-STD-810G.

As you can see below, the standard underwent a multitude of changes and updates for its “H” iteration.

While reviewing the 1,089-page MIL-STD-810H, here’s what you can do to make your search for specific changes easier:

  1. Click on the hyperlinks under Part Two – Laboratory Test Methods, which begins on Page 7. These links will take you directly to your test method of interest.
  2. Note the thin, black lines in the left-hand margins of the document. These signify changes from the previous iteration, MIL-STD-810G. 

It's important to note that mechanical shock, one of the most widely used testing methods, underwent extensive changes for MIL-STD-810H and therefore does not include revision indicators.

Changes to MIL-STD-810-H include, but are not limited to:

  • The definition of temperature shock
  • The Test and Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP)
  • Test conditions and tolerances for test conditions
  • Calibration interval guidelines
  • Temperature change rate
  • MIL-STD-810H 500.6 – Acceleration – Test Pressures (Altitude) and Temperature
  • MIL-STD-810H 501.7 – High Temperature – Procedure I – Storage and Procedure II – Operation
  • MIL-STD-810H 502.7 – Low Temperature – Procedure I – Storage
  • MIL-STD-810H 503.7 – Temperature Shock – including changes to the following sections: Selecting Procedure Variations, Determine Test Levels and Conditions, Test Duration (number of shocks), Interruption Due to Chamber Malfunction, Pretest Standard Ambient Checkout, Procedure I – Shock from Constant Extreme Temperatures, Procedure I-B – Single Cycle Shock from Constant Extreme Temperature and Procedure I-C – Multi-Cycle Shocks from Constant Extreme Temperature
  • MIL-STD-810H 504.3 – Contamination by Fluids – Pretest Standard Ambient Checkout and Procedure
  • MIL-STD-810H 505.7 – Solar Radiation (Sunshine) – including changes to the following sections: Limitations, Spectral Power Distribution, Post-Test, Test Facility, Solar Radiation Source and Test Parameter Tolerances
  • MIL-STD-810H 506.6 – Rain – including changes to the following sections: Droplet Size, Water Pressure, Pretest, Post-Test, Procedure I – Rain and Blowing Rain, Procedure II – Exaggerated, Procedure III – Drip, Interruption Due to Test Item Operation Failure and Pretest Standard Ambient Checkout
  • MIL-STD-810H 508.8 – Fungus – including changes to the following sections: Purpose, Application, Limitations, Physical Interference, Choice of Fungus, Pretest, Table 508.8-I – Test Fungus, Post-Test, Test Chamber, Air Velocity, Preparation of Mixed Spore Suspension and Incubation of the Test Item
  • MIL-STD-810H 509.7 – Salt Fog – Fallout Rate, Salt Fog Collection Receptacles and Referenced Documents
  • MIL-STD-810H 510.7 – Sand and Dust – including changes to the following sections: Purpose, Limitations, Effects of Sand and Dust Environments, Sequence Among Other Methods, Selecting Procedures, Pretest, During Test, Post-Test, Temperature, Air Velocity and Dust Composition
  • MIL-STD-810H 511.7 – Explosive Atmosphere – Fuel, Post-Test and Test Facility
  • MIL-STD-810H 512.6 – Immersion – Pretest and Procedure I – Immersion
  • MIL-STD-810H 513.8 – Acceleration – including changes to the following sections: Acceleration versus Shock, Climatic Conditioning, Selecting a Procedure, Procedure Selection Considerations, Strength Test, Test Axes and Table 513.8-I. Suggested g levels for Procedure I - Structural Test
  • MIL-STD-810H 514.8 – Vibration – including changes to the following sections: Application, Limitations, Pretest, Acceleration Input Control Strategy, Table 514.8-II. Random Vibration Test Tolerances, Sinusoidal Vibration Test Tolerances and Procedure III - Large Assembly Transport
  • MIL-STD-810H 515.8 – Acoustic Noise – Calibration and Tolerance and Table 515.8A-I. Overall Sound Pressure Levels and Durations
  • MIL-STD-810H 518.2 – Acidic Atmosphere – Chemical Composition and Concentration
  • MIL-STD-810H 522.2 – Ballistic Shock – Controls / Tolerance
  • MIL-STD-810H 523.4 – Vibro-Acoustic / Temperature – Temperature, Shock, Sequence Among Other Methods, Pretest, Controls / Tolerances
  • MIL-STD-810H 524.1 – Freeze / Thaw – Controls
  • MIL-STD-810H 525.2 – Time Waveform Replication – General Considerations and Terminology, Figure 525.2-1. Basic TWR Test Modes as Related to Time Trace Scaling, General TWR Test Philosophy with Regard to Time Trace Simulation (and Scaling), Figure 525.2-2. Basic TWR Test Simulation Combinations, Limitations, Effects of Transition to Time Trace TWR, Sequence Among Other Methods and Tolerances
  • MIL-STD-810H 526.2 – Rail Impact – including changes to the following sections: Purpose, Application, Limitations, Tailoring Guidance, Design and Modeling Guidance, Pretest, During Test, Buffer Railcars, Test Railcar, Locomotive, Track, Controls, Test Interruption, Test Setup, Rail Impact Procedure, Additional Requirements and Analysis of Results

MIL-STD-810-certified 4U Rugged Server

Photo: An inside look at a Trenton Systems 4U Rugged Server, certified to MIL-STD-810 standards. A server certified to this standard is usually just referred to as a MIL-STD-810 server for short.


We at Trenton Systems hope this blog will be a helpful resource to you as you review and familiarize yourself with the changes in MIL-STD-810H.

Trenton Systems’ rugged servers, workstations and blade servers are MIL-STD-810-certified, including the:

Visit our Compliance Page or contact us today to find out more about how we at Trenton Systems certify our made-in-the-USA products to military and industrial standards.

And for more information about MIL-STD-810 or to download previous revisions, visit the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology’s MIL-STD-810 Document Page.

Topics:mil-spec serversmil-spec computersmil-std-810mil-std-810Gmil-std-810H


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