Choosing an Environmental Chamber

Choosing an Environmental Chamber
ATEC Solutions
Choosing an Environmental Chamber
Choosing the environmental chamber that is right for you can be challenging to say the least. The devices under test and types of test you are looking to perform are key determinations for finding the best test chamber. There are many other factors you will want to consider: size, quality, capabilities, interfaces, and price, as well as servicing and certification down the road. You will want to work with a manufacturer that will provide you with everything you need.

A second option is renting your next environmental chamber. Working with Advanced Test Equipment Corp.(ATEC) can reduce or eliminate many of your concerns about a chamber. ATEC supplies a variety of environmental chambers of different shapes, sizes, temperature ranges and applications. Every chamber is fully functional and comes complete with calibration certificates. Our ATEC Rentals account managers are well versed on industry standards like MIL-STD 810G and the methods to help you identify the unit that fits your test. ATEC will guide you through the selection process, providing you with the information you need to make the choice that will make you happy.

Select from leading environmental chamber manufacturers like Cincinnati Sub-Zero, Espec, Tenney, Thermotron and more. Choose benchtop or floor-standing units. Select a temperature chamber or a chamber with both temperature and humidity capabilities. Want thermal shock or vibration with that? Do you need windows or ports? An Advanced Test Equipment Rentals account manager will help you decide, keeping in mind all the while your deadline and the duration of your test. The best part of selecting an environmental chamber with Advanced Test Equipment Rentals is that our chambers are in-stock, meaning you do not have to wait weeks or months for delivery. No one carries a larger selection of rental chambers on-hand, ready and waiting for you.

Where to Start

1. Identify Required Test

Determine the requirements you need to meet. What will be tested in the chamber? Why is it being tested? Be sure to communicate to our rental agents up front if you need to fulfill any of the following standards: IEC, DIN, ISO, FCA, FORD, ESA.

ATEC carries a variety of other types of chambers in addition to temperature and humidity chambers. Let your account manager know if your test falls under the following categories:

2. Choose Chamber Dimensions

Consider the size and density of the object under test. Are you looking for a floor-standing, walk-in chamber? Or a compact benchtop unit? Any size of chamber is configurable to perform most environmental simulation functions, but a few rules should be followed:
  • Your chamber’s internal workspace dimensions should be ½” to ¾” less than its external dimensions, ensuring there is proper allowance for insulation
  • The chamber should be large enough to allow airflow during testing—the golden rule is a 1:3 ratio of the object under test to empty space
  • Your chamber’s external dimensions should be feasible for storage in your testing area

3. Choose Temperature & Humidity Characteristics

What temperature requirements does your test demand? Choose a chamber that easily achieves your desired temperature range. Also consider the temperature exchange rate—the rate at which the temperature decreases or increases.
  • Single Stage Chambers: standard range of -40°C to 180°C
  • Cascade Chambers (Double Stage): standard range of -70°C to 180°C
For humidity, pay attention to the RH (relative humidity) range your chamber can achieve. Relative humidity is the water vapor level defined by the percentage of the level needed for saturation at that temperature. 10% to 98% RH is a standard range. Keep in mind that a water connection is required to operate humidity functionalities.

4. Select a Controller

Controllers influence your entire test experience, from analyzing your results on an LCD screen in real time to setting alerts and alarms based on pre-specified conditions. It is important to remember that the operational range of the controller will be different from the operational range of the chamber system, and that the operating system will determine the actual performance of the test.
  • Single-point humidity controller: tracks only humidity
  • Dual-point temperature and humidity controller: tracks both  

5. Power Requirements

What power specifications does your test call for? What sort of connection or power features does the unit need to carry out its test? Consider the location of your test, how close to power the unit will be, and how much energy the system will need to perform temperature or humidity simulation.
  • The lower the temperature range required, the lower the power requirements
  • The larger the chamber, the higher the power requirement
  • Smaller chambers with single-stage compressors can be powered by 120V single-phase
  • Larger chambers, or chambers with cascade dual-stage compressors require 3-phase facility power

6. Request Necessary Options

Communicating the optional features your test calls for to your supplier is a vital part of making your chamber decision. Will you need a window to visually observe the item under test, a light to illuminate the item, fog-free viewing for humidity tests? How many ports do you require for external analysis?
  • Common Options
    • Adjustable stainless-steel shelves
    • Fog-free viewing window
    • Interior light to illuminate workspace and product
    • Double gasketing to assure a vapor tight seal
    • Electrical disconnect switch
    • GPIB interface
    • Ethernet interface

Types of Environmental Test Chambers

ATEC offers environmental test chamber rentals for a wide variety of environmental testing applications, including temperature & humidity chambers, thermal shock chambers, industrial ovens, convection ovens, vacuum chambers, vibration chambers and more. Our inventory of chambers assists engineers in the R&D or production phase of a product and ensures that the product will meet requirements, specs, and regulations for which the product is intended.

Watch this short video for an overview of environmental chambers and temperature forcing systems:


Temperature Chambers

Temperature chambers replicate extreme temperatures to test products, materials or devices’ environmental resistance. A temperature chamber is also utilized to prepare a sample for other types of tests or to simulate environmental conditions required for testing. Well-suited for use in electrical, military, aerospace, and pharmaceutical reliability testing and quality assurance, using a temperature chamber is an essential step in verifying the safety and durability of a product.

Here is a selection of Espec temperature chambers to fulfill your temperature testing needs with:

Temperature & Humidity Chambers

Temperature and humidity chambers replicate both the temperature and humidity of the environment a product may be exposed to so that the response can be monitored. Humidity readings at extreme temperatures indicate to testers how a component reacts to hot, cold, humid and dry conditions in different combinations—conditions which may fluctuate. Controlling humidity is challenging without controlling temperature; the two are directly proportional, and thus both functionalities are necessary to test humidity.

Cincinnati Sub-Zero, Tenney and Thermotron carry a variety of temperature and humidity chambers ideal for environmental testing:

Thermal Shock Chambers | Vibration Chambers

Thermal shock chambers cycle a product or device between temperature extremes to reveal manufacturing defects or faulty components. Thermal shock cycling replicates field conditions the item under test may experience, whether it be a transfer from a warm cargo bay to a blizzard or years of environmental stress.

Here are a few chambers ideal for thermal shock testing: Vibration chambers replicate the vibrations a product experiences in the field, indicating to the tester which parts or components of the product are vulnerable to vibration. Vibration test systems come either as chambers, which can have temperature testing capabilities as well, or vibration tables, which can integrate into some environmental chambers.  
Advanced Test Equipment Rentals will design a solution for your application, guiding you through everything from the temperature range of your unit to the size and brand. Call 800-404-2832 today for expert guidance and immediate chamber delivery.

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Choosing an Environmental Chamber Equipment