Environmental Testing of Electronic Equipment

Exploring IEC 60068 for Environmental Testing of Electronic Equipment

In the world of electronic equipment development, ensuring reliability under diverse environmental conditions is non-negotiable.

Enter IEC 60068, a comprehensive standard that serves for environmental testing. This blog will explore into the intricacies of IEC 60068, exploring its parts, methodologies, and its pivotal role in assessing the performance of electronic equipment under extreme conditions.

Understanding IEC 60068

IEC 60068 is not merely a singular test; rather, it is a collection of methods meticulously designed for environmental testing of electronic equipment and products. The primary goal is to assess their ability to perform under a range of environmental conditions, spanning from extreme cold to dry heat. This standard is a testament to the industry’s commitment to producing electronic equipment capable of withstanding the rigors of transportation, storage, and operational use.

Three Parts of IEC 60068

  1. IEC 60068-1: General and Guidance: This foundational part provides an overview and general guidance for the environmental testing methods outlined in IEC 60068. It serves as the starting point for understanding the standard and sets the stage for the subsequent parts.
  2. IEC 60068-2: Tests: The heart of IEC 60068 lies in Part 2, where various testing methods are prescribed. These tests cover a spectrum of environmental conditions, including extreme cold and dry heat. The severity of each test is carefully defined to ensure a comprehensive evaluation of electronic specimens.
  3. IEC 60068-3: Supporting Documentation and Guidance: Completing the trilogy, Part 3 offers additional support by providing documentation and further guidance. This section aids in the interpretation of test results and the application of the standard to different scenarios.

Environmental Testing Methodologies

IEC 60068 encompasses a series of methods, each tailored to specific environmental conditions. These methods include temperature testing, humidity testing, and vibration testing, among others. The standard not only prescribes the appropriate severities for each test but also outlines atmospheric conditions for precise measurements.

The scope of IEC 60068 extends beyond electrotechnical products, demonstrating its versatility. While primarily intended for electronic equipment, it can be applied in other fields where environmental testing is crucial for product performance.

Tailoring the Testing Process

Recognizing the diverse nature of electronic equipment, IEC 60068 incorporates a framework for the environmental test tailoring process. This process facilitates the production of test specifications by guiding users in selecting appropriate tests and test severities based on the unique characteristics of the equipment under consideration.


  1. IEC 60068-2-1 – Test A: Cold
  2. IEC 60068-2-2 – Test B: Dry heat
  3. IEC 60068-2-5 – Test S: Simulated solar radiation at ground level and guidance for solar radiation testing and weathering
  4. IEC 60068-2-6 – Test Fc: Vibration (sinusoidal)
  5. IEC 60068-2-7 – Test Ga and guidance: Acceleration, steady state
  6. IEC 60068-2-10 – Test J and guidance: Mould growth
  7. IEC 60068-2-11 – Test Ka: Salt mist
  8. IEC 60068-2-13 – Test M: Low air pressure
  9. IEC 60068-2-14 – Test N: Change of temperature
  10. IEC 60068-2-17 – Test Q: Sealing
  11. IEC 60068-2-18 – Test R and guidance: Water
  12. IEC 60068-2-20 – Test Ta and Tb: Test methods for solderability and resistance to soldering heat of devices with leads
  13. IEC 60068-2-21 – Test U: Robustness of terminations and integral mounting devices
  14. IEC 60068-2-27 – Test Ea and guidance: Shock
  15. IEC 60068-2-30 – Test Db: Damp heat, cyclic (12 h + 12 h cycle)
  16. IEC 60068-2-31 – Test Ec: Rough handling shocks, primarily for equipment-type specimens
  17. IEC 60068-2-32 – Test Ed: Free Fall (withdrawn)[6]
  18. IEC 60068-2-38 – Test Z/AD: Composite temperature/humidity cyclic test
  19. IEC 60068-2-39 – Tests and guidance: Combined temperature or temperature and humidity with low air pressure tests
  20. IEC 60068-2-42 – Test Kc: Sulphur dioxide test for contacts and connections
  21. IEC 60068-2-43 – Test Kd: Hydrogen sulphide test for contacts and connections
  22. IEC 60068-2-45 – Test XA and guidance: Immersion in cleaning solvents
  23. IEC 60068-2-46 – Guidance to test Kd: Hydrogen sulphide test for contacts and connections
  24. IEC 60068-2-47 – Mounting of specimens for vibration, impact and similar dynamic tests
  25. IEC 60068-2-49 – Guidance to test Kc: Sulphur dioxide test for contacts and connections
  26. IEC 60068-2-52 – Test Kb: Salt mist, cyclic (sodium chloride solution)
  27. IEC 60068-2-53 – Combined climatic (temperature/humidity) and dynamic (vibration/shock) tests
  28. IEC 60068-2-55 – Test Ee and guidance – Loose cargo testing including bounce
  29. IEC 60068-2-57 – Test Ff: Vibration – Time-history and sine-beat method
  30. IEC 60068-2-58 – Test Td: Test methods for solderability, resistance to dissolution of metallization and to soldering heat of surface mounting devices (SMD)
  31. IEC 60068-2-60 – Test Ke: Flowing mixed gas corrosion test
  32. IEC 60068-2-61 – Test Z/ABDM:Climatic sequence
  33. IEC 60068-2-64 – Test Fh: Vibration, broadband random and guidance
  34. IEC 60068-2-65 – Test Fg: Vibration – Acoustically induced method
  35. IEC 60068-2-66 – Test Cx: Damp heat, steady state (unsaturated pressurized vapour)
  36. IEC 60068-2-67 – Test Cy: Damp heat, steady state, accelerated test primarily intended for components
  37. IEC 60068-2-68 – Test L: Dust and sand
  38. IEC 60068-2-69 – Test Te/Tc: Solderability testing of electronic components and printed boards by the wetting balance (force measurement) method
  39. IEC 60068-2-70 – Test Xb: Abrasion of markings and letterings caused by rubbing of fingers and hands
  40. IEC 60068-2-74 – Test Xc: Fluid contamination
  41. IEC 60068-2-75 – Test Eh: Hammer tests
  42. IEC 60068-2-77 – Test 77: Body strength and impact shock
  43. IEC 60068-2-78 – Test Cab: Damp heat, steady state
  44. IEC 60068-2-80 – Test Fi: Vibration – Mixed mode
  45. IEC 60068-2-81 – Test Ei: Shock – Shock response spectrum synthesis
  46. IEC 60068-2-82 – Test Xw1: Whisker test methods for components and parts used in electronic assemblies
  47. IEC 60068-2-83 – Test Tf: Solderability testing of electronic components for surface mounting devices (SMD) by the wetting balance method using solder paste
  48. IEC 60068-2-85 – Test Fj: Vibration – Long time history replication

Supporting Documentation And Guidance

  1. IEC 60068-3-1 – Cold and dry heat tests
  2. IEC 60068-3-3 – Seismic test methods for equipment
  3. IEC 60068-3-4 – Damp heat tests
  4. IEC 60068-3-5 – Confirmation of the performance of temperature chambers
  5. IEC 60068-3-6 – Confirmation of the performance of temperature/ humidity chambers
  6. IEC 60068-3-7 – Measurements in temperature chambers for tests A (Cold) and B (Dry heat) (with load)
  7. IEC 60068-3-8 – Selecting amongst vibration tests
  8. IEC 60068-3-11 – Calculation of uncertainty of conditions in climatic test chambers
  9. IEC TR 60068-3-12 – Method to evaluate a possible lead-free solder reflow temperature profile[7]
  10. IEC 60068-3-13 – Supporting documentation and guidance on Test T-Soldering

Other supporting documentation and guidance

IEC 60068-5-2 – Guide to drafting of test methods – Terms and definitions

IEC 60068 stands as a robust standard, playing a pivotal role in the realm of environmental testing for electronic equipment. Its three-part structure, encompassing general guidance, specific tests, and supporting documentation, provides a comprehensive framework for evaluating the resilience of electronic specimens. As technology advances and environmental challenges persist, adherence to IEC 60068 principles becomes paramount in ensuring the reliability and durability of electronic products across various industries.