The size of the test chamber you require is determined by a variety of factors. The first, and perhaps most evident, is the DUT’s size—a DUT that is too huge or heavy need additional space. Then there’s the material properties (which absorb heat and moisture differently), live loads (which generate heat and require more testing space), and the density of the DUTs. Most tests, on the other hand, necessitate a ratio of at least one-to-three (the volume of the DUTs to the workspace) in order to ensure appropriate airflow.
If all of the above variables are taken into account, a benchtop test chamber may be the best option for you. They can lead to more efficient testing in addition to allowing freedom in how you arrange your lab—after all, some models are meant to fit on tables or countertops.
Instead of testing 100 devices at once, you may distribute 25 loads across four chambers. This not only allows you to perform the same amount of testing in less time, but it also allows you to isolate any potential issues to a single chamber.
You can even maximize testing with rack-and-stack models if you have limited floor space. Here’s what you should know about benchtops and what to think about before you buy one.
Benchtop Test Chamber Capabilities and Components
Benchtop test chambers typically range in size from 1 to 8 cubic feet of internal space and are designed to sit on top of desks and tables. They’re perfect for testing smaller components with easy access to the internal workspace because of their size.
Long-term tests can be conducted on benchtops at a consistent, steady-state temperature and humidity. While temperature ranges from -70°C to 180°C (-94°F to 356°F), you can expect a temperature range of -70°C to 180°C (-94°F to 356°F) depending on the model.
These chambers are fitted with open ceramic-core nichrome heaters capable of accurately and reliably adjusting temperatures within 0.5°C to accommodate heating testing.
In addition, a benchtop’s cooling system is usually a self-contained, compact, mechanical, single-stage refrigeration system.
The standard range for humidity testing with these chambers is 10 percent RH to 95 percent RH. High humidity sensors, dry nitrogen purges, dry air purge using desiccant air dryers, and recirculating desiccant air dryers can all be added to increase the humidity range, albeit at a cost.
These chambers are designed to be used on tables and benches, but they can also be mounted on a floor stand if you want to increase mobility or lab testing versatility. Stacking can also be a good way to save room in the lab, get extra test area, and run multiple tests at the same time with relative simplicity.
Modern types allow you to monitor and control chambers from afar.
Knowing the basic features and instrumentation for a benchtop test chamber is useful, but what questions should you ask a manufacturer before buying one?
Before Purchasing a Benchtop Test Chamber, Consider The Following Factors
Given the significant expenditure that such a purchase requires, you’re bound to have a lot of questions for the manufacturer. When purchasing a benchtop test chamber, there are a few things to bear in mind.
Ascertain that the manufacturer is aware of your testing needs. It all boils down to whether or not you can prove that your items match industry requirements. You’ll be disappointed if a manufacturer can’t guarantee it or fails to meet crucial requirements (and out a lot of money). Experts in the test chamber will try to understand your problems and provide appropriate solutions. For example, they may inquire about your DUTs (size, quantity, and whether or not they emit heat during testing), change-rate requirements, standards you’re aiming for, and the optimal size of your chamber in order to identify the best solution for you.
Make sure you have the right power levels. Having enough power is critical whether you’re cycling on a tight schedule or performing steady-state testing. Make a list of all the test scenarios you’ll be running and the power levels required for each. Again, a reputable manufacturer will assist you throughout the process to ensure that you have considered all pertinent issues.
Remember to factor in the performance range. Be familiar with all possible testing scenarios, just as you are with power. Although the typical range of each test chamber may meet your temperature or humidity needs, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect for you. These limits do not account for situations in which severe temperatures must be maintained throughout the testing process.
While this is possible for short spans, most chambers aren’t designed to operate at the extremes of their ranges all of the time. To suit your needs, consider adding more electricity. Consult the manufacturer if you’re unsure.
You must have adequate space. Even in a small chamber like a benchtop, size is an evident consideration. Do you have the necessary desk space? Is it better to invest in a larger chamber, such as a walk-in, or stack a few smaller benchtops? Consider power sources and how much area you’ll need to maneuver around the test chamber while planning your lab space.
Do you have any water? You’ll need a water source if you’re doing humidity testing. Examine your lab area to ensure that your benchtop can connect to your supply without difficulty. Hoses can make the final location of your benchtop more flexible, but keep in mind how they can interfere with other activities or provide a safety risk. If you choose the space-saving, albeit more expensive, water-cooling alternative, you’ll also need water.
Service and maintenance will be required for chambers. If properly maintained, chambers can survive for more than a decade. It’s easy to lose track of your automobile’s maintenance and repair schedule, just like the car you drive practically every day. By partnering with the proper manufacturer, you can ensure that you service your chamber on a regular basis, extending its life and increasing your return on investment on your new benchtop model.
While benchtop test chambers have the advantage of size and ease of use, there are a number of variables to consider before making a purchase. Outline all possible testing scenarios to ensure your new chamber meets testing criteria while adapting to your lab’s unique environment. Consider whether renting or retrofitting would be a better choice. After you’ve completed this checklist, look for a test chamber maker who will assist you throughout the buying process and beyond.