Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a rugged laptop?

Rugged technology is specifically designed for life on the road and work in the field. Computers that are weather-proof, drop-proof, extreme altitude and temperature capable, and just plain tough will allow you to work or play wherever you want.

  • Improved Productivity - a whole host of fieldwork-friendly features save you time and hassle. Batteries are designed to keep you working, port covers are designed to be operated with gloves on, screens are readable in direct sunlight. Plus you don't need to run for cover or hunch under a plastic bag every time it rains!
  • Less "downtime" - equipment taken out in the field is always going to get wet, muddy, or dropped. With a rugged machine that keeps on working your vital work won't be held up when the inevitable happens.
  • It safeguards your work - once you have devoted your time and resources to gathering data, don't lose it just because the computer gets some water in it or is dropped.
  • Longer life - rugged computers are designed to just keep on going.
  • Two basic standards — Ingress Protection (IP) ratings and MIL-STD-810G — are used to determine the ruggedness of a computer. The IP rating uses two numbers to describe how well the unit is protected against incursion by dust and water. The first number (1 to 6) measures dust protection; the second number (1 to 8) describes water protection.

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What is the difference between a consumer grade laptop, a semi rugged and a fully rugged laptop?

Consumer Grade:
Consumer-grade computers have no IP rating and are not rated to MIL-STD-810F. They are not designed to withstand any kind of substantial shock or drop and cannot ideally be used in any environment outside of an office.

Semi-Rugged:
Semi-rugged systems can handle rougher treatment than a consumer-grade computers but they are not fully waterproof or dustproof, generally have a narrower temperature range, and do not meet all MIL-STD-810G specs. Most semi-rugged computers have a lower IP rating. This means the unit is protected, though not sealed, against dust. It is resistant only to light splashing, but it’s not able to withstand jet sprays or immersion.

Fully Rugged:
At Steatite Rugged Systems we can offer a range of fully rugged systems which are sealed against dust and moisture, and in some cases can even survive temporary immersion provided the IP rating is high enough. They have also passed a full battery of MIL-STD-810G tests, including drops, vibration, immersion and temperature extremes and are rated to at least IP54 or higher.
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What is an IP rating?

An IP rating is a three-digit number established by the International Electrotechnical Commission used to identify the level of rugged protection awarded to a piece of electronic equipment or to an enclosure for electronic equipment. The IP code indicates the level, or amount of the protection.

The three digits represent three different forms of environmental influence:

  • - The first digit represents protection against ingress of solid objects.
  • - The second digit represents protection against ingress of liquids.
  • - The third digit represents protection against mechanical impact damage.

(*The third digit is often omitted, resulting in a 2-digit IP Rating covering ingress against solid objects and liquids only).

The larger the value of each digit, the greater the protection from that influence. As an example, a product rated as IP573 would be better protected against environmental factors than another similar product that was only rated as IP432.

 IP rating table

   

First Number (Solids)

Second Number (Liquids)

Third Number (Mechanical Impact)

0

No protection

No protection

No protection

1

Protected against solid objects over 50mm e.g. hands, large tools.

Protected against vertically falling drops of water or condensation.

Protected against 0.225 joule impact (150g @ 15cm).

2

Protected against solid objects over 12mm e.g. hands, large tools.

Protected against direct sprays of water up to 15° from vertical.

Protected against 0.375 joule impact (250g @ 15cm).

3

Protected against solid objects over 2.5mm e.g. wire, small tools.

Protected against direct sprays of water up to 60° from vertical.

Protected against 0.5 joule impact (250g @ 20cm).

4

Protected against solid objects over 1.0mm e.g. wires.

Protected against water sprayed from any direction. Limited ingress permitted.

 

5

Limited protection against dust ingress (no harmful deposit)

Protected against low pressure water jets from any direction. Limited ingress permitted.

Protected against 2.0 joule impact (500g @ 40cm).

6

Totally protected against dust ingress.

Protected against high pressure water jets from any direction. Limited ingress permitted. (Shipdeck)

 

7

N/A

Protected against the effects of immersion between 15cm and 1M.

Protected against 6.0 joule impact (1.5Kg @ 40cm).

8

N/A

Protected against long periods of immersion under pressure.

 

9

N/A

N/A

Protected against 20 joule impact (5Kg @ 40Protected against 0.225 joule impact (150g @ 15cm).cm).

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What is a NEMA rating?

NEMA stands for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. They provide a forum for the standardization of electrical equipment, enabling consumers to select from a range of safe, effective, and compatible electrical products. The organization has also made numerous contributions to the electrical industry by shaping public policy development and operating as a central agency for gathering, compiling, and analyzing market statistics and economics data.

 Environmental ratings for enclosures based on "NEMA" Type designations

"NEMA" Types

Enclosure Type Designation

Intended Use and Description

1

Indoor use primarily to provide a degree of protection against limited amounts of falling dirt.

2

Indoor use primarily to provide a degree of protection against limited amounts of falling water and dirt.

3

Outdoor use primarily to provide a degree of protection against rain, sleet, wind blown dust and damage from external ice formation.

3R

Outdoor use primarily to provide a degree of protection against rain, sleet, and damage from external ice formation.

3S

Outdoor use primarily to provide a degree of protection against rain, sleet, windblown dust and to provide for operation of external mechanisms when ice laden.

4

Indoor or outdoor use primarily to provide a degree of protection against windblown dust and rain, splashing water, hose-directed water and damage from external ice formation.

4X

Indoor or outdoor use primarily to provide a degree of protection against corrosion, windblown dust and rain, splashing water, hose- directed water, and damage from external ice formation.

5

Indoor use primarily to provide a degree of protection against settling airborne dust, falling dirt, and dripping noncorrosive liquids.

6

Indoor or outdoor use primarily to provide a degree of protection again hose-directed water, and the entry of water during occasional temporary submersion at a limited depth and damage from external ice formation.

6P

Indoor or outdoor use primarily to provide a degree of protection against hose-directed water, the entry of water during prolonged submersion at a limited depth and damage from external ice formation.

7

Indoor use in locations classified as Class I, Division 1, Groups A, B, C or D hazardous locations as defined in the National Electric Code (NFPA 70) (Commonly referred to as explosion-proof).

8

Indoor or outdoor use in locations classified as Class I, Division 2, Groups A, B, C or D hazardous locations as defined in the National Electric Code (NFPA 70) (commonly referred to as oil immersed).

9

Indoor use in locations classified as Class II, Division 1, Groups E, F and G hazardous locations as defined in the National Electric Code (NFPA 70) (commonly referred to as dust-ignition proof).

10

Intended to meet the applicable requirements of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

12 and 12K

Indoor use primarily to provide a degree of protection against circulating dust, falling dirt, and dripping noncorrosive liquids.

13

Indoor use primarily to provide a degree of protection against dust, spraying of water, oil, and noncorrosive coolant.

 Environmental ratings for enclosures based on "NEMA" Type designations

Type Number

IP Designation

1

IP10

2

IP11

3

IP54

3R

IP14

3S

IP54

4 and 4X

IP56

5

IP52

6 and 6P

IP67

12 and 12K

IP52

13

IP54

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What does MIL-STD-810F/810G mean?

MIL-STD-810 is a series of tests defined by the US Department of Defence designed to address a broad range of environmental conditions to include: low pressure for altitude testing; exposure to high and low temperatures plus temperature shock (both operating and in storage); rain (including wind blown and freezing rain); humidity, fungus, salt fog for rust testing; sand and dust exposure; explosive atmosphere; leakage; acceleration; shock and transport shock (i.e., triangle/sine/square wave shocks); gunfire vibration; and random vibration.

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What is meant by Intrinsically Safe?

Intrinsically safe is a term representing the Hazardous Location classifications as described in the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) National Electrical Code (Article 500). The National Electrical Code (NEC) defines Hazardous Locations as those areas “where fire or explosion hazards may exist due to flammable gases or vapours, flammable liquids, combustible dust, or ignitable fibres or flyings.”

An intrinsic safety rating details the specific Hazardous Location in which an electrical device can be used without fear of electrostatic discharge that may cause an explosion.
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What is the ATEX standard?

ATEX is the name given to a set of European Directives relating to Hazardous Area Installations (Flammable Atmospheres) that takes its name from the French "Atmosphères Explosibles".The Directive covers equipment which may be used in areas endangered by potentially explosive atmospheres created by the presence of flammable gases, vapours, mists or dusts. The Directive covers both electrical and mechanical equipment. It covers a large range of equipment primarily used on fixed offshore platforms, in petrochemical plants, mines, flourmills and other areas where a potentially explosive atmosphere may be present.
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Why are rugged laptops more expensive than consumer-grade laptops?

You will pay a premium for a rugged laptop over regular off-the-shelf consumer models, and you need to know some of the benefits. Much of this has to do with your working habits and working conditions. Two of the most important aspects of owning a rugged laptop are flexibility and mobility. Rugged laptops give you the ability to work in a wide variety of conditions and environments. If your work requires you to work in the outdoors, in inclement weather, or in other harsh conditions, then you probably will like the advantages of going rugged.
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Why would you want to purchase a laptop carry bag? Aren't these systems rugged enough?

It is still a good idea to go the extra step when you transport expensive rugged portables. Make sure it is functional, but don't intend it to be a substitute for a business tote or briefcase.
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To find out more, or discuss your specific requirements, call us on +44(0)1527 512400, drop us an email at sales@rugged-systems.com or download our Steatite Company Overview for more information on all our capabilities.

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