5 Things to Look for When Buying an Environmental Test Chamber
Environmental test chambers are an integral part of development and, ultimately, production. They allow you to discover if components and full assemblies can stand up to what the world throws at them. Environmental test chambers are a necessity and purchasing one is a big decision — you want to be sure you get the right one. And with all the choices available to you, how do you choose? Here are five things to consider when preparing to buy an environmental test chamber for electronics testing:
A quality environmental test chamber can last for more than 10 years. So, it’s important to assess your needs by considering the types of experiments you do now and will possibly do in the future. Think about the types of materials you work with, and ask if your organization is trying to move away from particular materials.
- If your group is consistently at the cutting edge of new technologies, you might want to think about test chambers with flexible options, like large temperature and humidity ranges.
- For labs that handle high testing volumes, warranties and maintenance plans could hold more weight in the decision.
After considering your experimental requirements, start narrowing down the list of acceptable chambers.
The size of your environmental test chamber you need can depend on many factors. When considering size, think about:
- The internal chamber volume
- The size of the chamber and amount of room you have for it
- If it will be moved, and how often
- Proximity to power outlets and hoses
- If it will obstruct existing and future workspaces
- If the chamber will fit through the entryways where you plan to keep it
The internal chamber volume will limit the number of pieces you can put in at once. You will need a 1:3 ratio of test article to air space to allow for sufficient airflow during testing. That’s the standard, depending on the size and density of the objects tested. So, consider the testing volume you will require now and in the future.
Test chamber features will affect your testing experience and accuracy. For example:
- Seek a chamber with high ramping speeds if you want to cut back on time spent waiting for the heating and cooling processes.
- Make sure the chamber has adequate data acquisition outlets and interface options for collecting data.
- You can purchase a chamber with the ability to control it and retrieve data remotely, making the testing experience convenient if you are unable to stay in the lab.
Accuracy comes down to quality. Be prepared to inquire about the structural and operational characteristics of the chambers. Ask representatives about how the chamber stands up to testing at its extremes and consider the quality of piping and wiring that are included.
Understand the power requirements you need to meet to operate the environmental test chamber. Typically, the hotter the chamber gets, the more power you need. The same goes for size and if they include dual-stage compressors.
Consider the length of the cord, how close it needs to be to the power source, and if you have room in that area for testing. You can usually get away with a 120V single-phase power source for smaller units, and larger ones could require 3-phase facility power.
Chamber accessories are probably the last thing on your mind, but you are likely to need them. You may also have accessories from a chamber you are replacing. Make a list of the additional items you will need for the chambers under consideration, like:
- Data acquisition devices
- Dry air for purging
- Nitrogen gas
- Nitrogen liquid
- Vent piping
- Door types
Talk to your sales rep about the accessories you might need for your chamber and to see if you can use older accessories like interfaces used on retired environmental test chambers.
Benchtop to standalone, TestEquity designs and manufactures the best environmental test chambers in the industry. Engineers, production managers, and the like, count on their accuracy, reliability, durability, flexibility, and remote access. All units are masterfully designed, and we have a range of offerings ensuring that your facility purchases the right chamber for your work now and well into the future.
TestEquity is the only place you need to help you find environmental test chambers and anything else you might need for your electrical engineering bench and lab. View TestEquity’s chambers, built by and for engineers, and contact their experienced sales team for brand-agnostic technical expertise about environmental test chambers or anything else you need on your product list today!