Rugged EmperorLinux rugged Linux laptops are survivors

Dell's ATG series and Panasonic's ToughBooks provide the basis for rugged Linux laptops and tablets designed with harsh environments in mind, and their MIL-STD-810G, MIL-STD-810F, and IP65 compliance has been independently tested. The tests to which these systems are subjected (with no ill effects) include:

Common NameMIL-STD-810G/IP65 Method CF-U1 CF-19 CF-30 CF-31
Vibration Method 514.6, Procedure I, Category 24 (General Minimum Integrity) [Check] [1] [Check] [1] [Check] [1] [Check]
Shock (Drop Test) Method 516.6, Procedures I (Functional) and IV (Transit Drop) [Check] [Check] [Check] [Check]
Sand/Dust Resistance Method 510.5, Procedures I (Dust) and II (Sand)
IP 6x level: dust-tight
[Check] [2] [Check] [Check] [Check]
Humidity Method 507.5, Procedure II (Aggravated) [Check] [Check] [Check] [Check]
Water Resistance Method 506.5, Procedures I (Blowing) and III (Drip)
IP x5 level: jetting
[Check] [3] [Check] [Check] [Check]
Altitude Method 500.5, Procedures I (Storage) and II (Operation), 15K ft [Check] [Check] [Check] [Check]
High Temperature Method 501.5, Procedures I (Storage), II (Operation), and III (Standby-to-Operational) [Check] [Check] [Check] [Check]
Low Temperature Method 502.5, Procedures I (Storage) and II (Operation) [Check] [Check] [4] [Check] [Check]
Thermal Shock Method 503.5, Procedure I [Check] [Check] [Check] [Check]
Freeze/Thaw Method 524, Procedure III (Rapid Temperature Change) [Check] [Check] [Check] [Check]
Explosive Atmosphere Method 511.5, Procedure I [Check] [Check] [Check] [Check]
Salt Fog Method 509.5 [Check]      

[1]Also tested with Method 514.6, Procedure II (Loose Cargo Transportation) and ASTM D4169-04 (99) Schedule E, Truck Assurance Level II, Operating.
[2]The CF-U1 was tested at an operating temperature of 120°F.
[3]The CF-U1 was tested with 12 hour exposure.
[4]The CF-19 was tested at an operating temperature of -10°F.

Common NameMIL-STD-810F Method ATG
Vibration Method 514, Procedure I, Category 24 (Minimum Integrity Test), Category 20 (Ground Vehicles) [Check]
Dust Resistance Method 510.4, Procedure I (Dust) [Check] [5]
Humidity Method 507.4 (Aggravated) [Check]
Altitude Method 500.4, Procedure I (Storage) and II (Operation) 10K ft [6]

[5] The ATG met Method 510.4, Proc. I for all D-module options (2nd HDD, 2nd battery, Air Bay) except optical drives.
[6] Altitude (Method 500.4 Low Pressure, Proc. I; Operational up to 10,000 feet).

[MIL-STD-810G Tested] [ToughBook Shock-mounted Drive] [ToughBook Magnesium Alley Case]

Panasonic describes the tests their ToughBooks go through in the following ways:

  • Vibration - Operated during simulation of 1000 miles of transportation in a ground vehicle, and operated after being subjected to higher levels of vibration while off.
  • Drop test - Exposed while operating at 40g with an effective shock duration of 11ms (functional). Dropped (while off) 26 times at each 48", 60", and 72" onto each face, edge, and corner onto a piece of 2"-thick plywood; all drops were conducted with the same unit.
  • Sand/dust resistance
    • 810G - Operated with blowing sand or dust with an operating temperature of 140°F.
    • IP6x - No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact (dust-tight).
  • Humidity - Operated after being subjected to 95% relative humidity at temperatures cycling between 86°F and 140°F.
  • Water resistance
    • 810G - Operated with 5.8in/hr rain, 70mph wind, and 30 minutes per surface (blowing) and with water dripped onto running laptop with LCD open (and ports closed) for 15 minutes (drip).
    • IPx5 - Water projected by a nozzle against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects (jetting).
  • Altitude - Operated at 15000 ft and after being stored at 15000 ft.
  • High temperature - Operated at 140°F, operated after being subjected to 160°F, and going from high storage to high operation (for battery operation).
  • Low temperature - Operated at -20°F and operated after being subjected to -60°F.
  • Thermal shock - Operated after cycling three times between 200°F and -60°F.
  • Freeze/thaw - Test effects include condensation.
  • Salt fog - Tested with a 5% salt solution and 95°F temperature with an exposure of 48 hours and a 48 hour drying period.

The features that these rugged Linux laptops use to protect themselves from harsh environments include:

  • Magnesium casing
  • Shock-mounted hard drives
  • Vibration-resistant LCDs protected by an overlay panel
  • Flexible internal connectors
  • Sealed, spill-resistant keyboard and touchpad
  • Sealed ports and PC card slots

Panasonic's semi-rugged laptops incorporate the most important of these features: the magnesium alloy case and a shock-mounted hard drive.