Bobber 500 Hardware - Rigorous Environmental Testing Procedures

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Purpose of Testing

 

The purpose of performing strenuous testing of Bobber 500 units is to expose units to extreme temperature, humidity, and vibration environments to ensure long term function and usability in environments required by some Helium 5G deployments.

Performing environmental and stress testing also helps to ensure we are providing a product that is built to be used to its fullest potential while outlasting competitor products and providing long term value to customers.

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Burn-In Testing - 72 Hours

Burn-in testing is performed for 72 straight hours on samples of 100 Bobber 500 units in both high and low ambient temperature environments. Test conditions are 60C (140F) for high temperature and 0C (32F) for low temperature.

The units are placed into an environmental chamber at each of the ambient temperatures and are powered on and run burn-in testing procedures for 72 straight hours to stress all components to maximum utilization. This ensures if there are any issues with component function during peak load under extreme conditions, the issues should be evident during testing. Several testing programs are used to perform the following stress tests on components:

CPU: Math calculations run to bring CPU to 100% utilization constantly

RAM: Data transfer to RAM run to bring RAM to 100% utilization constantly

Storage: Constant data write to drive run to test excessive write operations

Ethernet Ports: Data transfer run to bring Ethernet ports to 100% bandwidth utilization constantly

LoRa Concentrator: Constant LoRa packet transfer run to bring LoRa Concentrator to 100% bandwidth utilization constantly

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Temperature sensor leads are attached to various components of the Bobber 500 motherboard, Ethernet circuits, storage device, RAM memory, and LoRa Concentrator in order to record the temperatures at the component level.

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Thermal Gun temperature readings are also taken to record the temperature emanated by the components.

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These temperature readings are used to calculate the Junction Temperature (temperature reading of the particular electrical circuits).

In order to pass testing, all components must remain within their extreme temperature limits and there can be no calculation errors, crashes, or other functional issues for the duration of testing. Units are also inspected after testing for any cosmetic or physical changes or defects and normal function checks are run as well.

Issues detected with any of the above criteria will result in test failure.

Operating Temperature - 8 Hours

High Temperature

First, Bobber 500 units are placed into an environmental chamber with an environment of 60C (140F) and powered on and run the burn-in testing procedure for a total of 8 hours. At the end of the testing period, all units are examined for rusting, discoloration, cosmetic damage, button function, physical defects, and normal functions. If any defects or failed tests are detected, the unit is considered to have failed.

Low Temperature

For the second round of temperature testing, Bobber 500 units are placed into an environmental chamber with an environment of -4C (24.8F) and powered on and run the burn-in testing procedure for a total of 8 hours. At the end of the testing period, all units are examined for rusting, discoloration, cosmetic damage, button function, physical defects, and normal functions. If any defects or failed tests are detected, the unit is considered to have failed.

Power On/Off Cycle Testing

The Bobber 500 units are placed into specific temperature environments for 10 minutes to adjust to the temperature and are then powered on and off five times in a row. The units must boot up fully to the operating system and gracefully shut down. The tests are then repeated by leaving the units in the specific temperature environments for 1 hour before performing on/off testing. On/off cycle testing is repeated eight times, with the units spending a total of 3 hours in each temperature environment. Any failure to properly power off or on is considered a failed test.

The units are tested at the following temperatures:

  • -10C (14F) - Low Temperature
  • 23C (73.4F) - Room Temperature
  • 55C (131F) - High Temperature

At the end of testing, all units are examined for rusting, discoloration, cosmetic damage, button function, physical defects, and normal functions. If any defects or failed tests are detected, the unit is considered to have failed.

Operating Humidity - 8 Hours

High Humidity

First, Bobber 500 units are placed into an environmental chamber with an environment of 59% relative humidity and powered on and run the burn-in testing procedure for a total of 8 hours. At the end of the testing period, all units are examined for rusting, discoloration, cosmetic damage, button function, physical defects, and normal functions. If any defects or failed tests are detected, the unit is considered to have failed.

Low Humidity

For the second round of temperature testing, Bobber 500 units are placed into an environmental chamber with an environment of -5% relative humidity and powered on and run the burn-in testing procedure for a total of 8 hours. At the end of the testing period, all units are examined for rusting, discoloration, cosmetic damage, button function, physical defects, and normal functions. If any defects or failed tests are detected, the unit is considered to have failed.

Operating Vibration - 8 Hours

For the final testing procedure, Bobber 500 units are powered on and operated normally while exposed to three directions of random vibration patterns at a strength of 2.25 Grms (root-mean-square acceleration, a method of measuring power of vibrations).

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Vibration testing takes place as follows:

  • X-Axis (side to side) random pattern vibration - 1 hour duration
  • Y-Axis (front to back) random pattern vibration - 1 hour duration
  • Z-Axis (up and down) random pattern vibration - 1 hour duration

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Bobber 500 units must operate normally through the testing period, have no internal or cosmetic damage, and must have no loose or moving parts during or after testing. Issues detected with any of these criteria will result in test failure.

Test Results

Bobber 500 units subjected to burn-in stress testing and environmental temperature, humidity, and vibration tests receive a PASS on all test criteria.

When purchasing and deploying a Bobber 500 as your choice of gateway for a Helium 5G deployment, you can be sure the unit will exceed the requirements to perform sufficiently as an Access Gateway. You can be sure that the unit will function adequately in harsh environments due to its rugged design utilizing Industrial Grade components. You can also rest assured that extensive testing was performed to ensure these expectations are met.

Due to the robust nature of components and materials used to make the gateway as well as its improved thermal design, the units are built to last and will ensure your long-term Helium 5G deployments have a lower maintenance requirement and higher resistance to equipment failures. Extended lifespan of the gateway results in a lower maintenance costs and less downtime over the long term, making your deployments more reliable for customers and more profitable for yourself!

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