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Environmental Chamber FAQs: You Ask, We Answer

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Environmental test chambers are crucial laboratory tools because they are important to many cutting-edge industries, such as the EV market. You want to be certain you conduct environmental testing properly, and avoid costly downtime for repairs. Associated Environmental Systems® (AES) receives numerous queries from our innovative customers and collaborators.

Our hyper-responsive team of engineers and service professionals continuously listens and responds to these questions and requests for assistance. We understand the challenges, big and small, that pioneering labs encounter.

Here are five questions commonly asked by our industry-leading customers.

What Type of Water Can I Use for My Test Chamber?

Temperature and humidity chambers require a water source to function, but the water must be compatible to prevent maintenance issues and ensure reliable, accurate results.

Consider this: water full of minerals can lead to sediment buildup and clog the chamber’s humidity system. However, if the water is too clean or pure, it can corrode the metals it comes into contact with when traveling through the test chamber.

For this reason, our team of seasoned experts recommends using demineralized or single distilled water for optimal performance that falls in the following ranges in three benchmarks that indicate water purity:

Resistivity: 0.05MΩ * cm to 6MΩ * cm

Conductivity: 20µS to 0.167µS

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS): 10 ppm to 1 ppm

Most city water is too hard to be used with AES humidity chambers. To combat this issue you will either need to use a water demineralizer system or a water recycling system.

Utilizing properly filtered water is essential to maintaining the integrity of your test chamber and delivering consistent and reproducible test results.

When Is It Time to Change the Demineralizer Cartridge?

Related to properly conditioned water, your demineralizer cartridge plays a critical role. Over time, the cartridge becomes saturated with impurities and loses its effectiveness, necessitating a replacement.

The frequency of demineralizer cartridge replacement depends on various factors, including the quality of the incoming water, the volume used, and the specific requirements of the test chamber.

Regular visual inspection of the demineralizer cartridge for any signs of fouling or discoloration is recommended. Discoloration will suggest it is time to replace. For instance, in demineralizer cartridges supplied by AES®, the pellets gradually change color from a salt and pepper appearance when new to a yellowish hue over time. Once you notice that a quarter of the cartridge has reached this yellow color, you should replace the cartridge.

What Is AESONE CONNECT? How Does It work?

AESONE CONNECT® is an innovative technology offered by AES that facilitates remote monitoring, control, and data management of environmental test chambers. AESONE CONNECT® enhances the capabilities and efficiency of test chambers, providing you with real-time access to critical data and to remotely control and manage your test chambers from anywhere with an internet connection at any time.

AESONE CONNECT® works off a combination of hardware (AESONE XCHANGE) and software (AESONE CONSOLE). AESONE XCHANGE hardware is installed inside the chamber’s electrical panel while the F4T interface screen is accessible from the chamber front panel. Once the chamber is connected to your network via an ethernet cord, the chamber is linked with an IP address to provide secure access to AESONE CONSOLE®.

With AESONE CONSOLE, you can set up test profiles, monitor test progress, adjust test parameters and data log, and receive real-time notifications on test status or alarms. The system also allows you to generate and export test data reports for analysis and documentation purposes. This remote monitoring system provides enhanced visibility and control, streamlining test chamber operations, reducing downtime, and increasing productivity.

If you don’t have access to AESONE CONNECT®, AES can retrofit nearly every chamber, regardless of manufacturer.

Our service team of ready experts can provide guidance on the compatibility and requirements for upgrading your test chamber to AESONE CONNECT®, including the installation of necessary sensors and connectivity components.

How Often Should I Get My Test Chamber Calibrated?

The calibration frequency for a test chamber depends on several factors, including the specific type of test being performed, regulatory requirements, and your manufacturer's recommendations. Generally, you should calibrate your chambers every six months to a year to ensure accurate and reliable test results.

However, for critical applications or when mandated by regulatory standards, calibration may be required more frequently, such as quarterly. Usage patterns, environmental conditions, and the level of precision required for the tests being performed can also influence the calibration schedule. It is essential to consult your manufacturer's guidelines, industry standards, and any applicable regulations to determine the appropriate calibration frequency for your specific test chamber.

What Does It Mean if My Chamber Is Failing to Heat or Cool?

If your environmental test chamber is failing to heat or cool, it may indicate an issue with the limit controller, which is responsible for regulating the temperature inside the chamber. Its job is to prevent over or under temperature conditions. One possible cause of this issue could be that the limit controller is not set to the appropriate temperature for your testing needs.

To troubleshoot, first, check the limit controller settings to ensure that it is set to the desired temperature range for your specific testing requirements. Make sure the setpoint temperature is correctly inputted and within the operating range of your test chamber. If the limit controller is not set correctly, adjust it accordingly.

Suppose the limit controller settings are correct and the issue persists. In that case, it may suggest a malfunction with the limit controller itself or other components of the chamber's heating or cooling system. In this case, contact your manufacturer or a qualified technician for further diagnosis and repair.

Regular maintenance and calibration of the environmental test chamber can also help prevent issues with heating or cooling performance. It is essential to follow the manufacturer's guidelines and consult their knowledge base or technical support for specific troubleshooting steps and recommendations for your particular test chamber model.

Environmental test chambers play an important role in many trailblazing commercial industries. By following these recommendations, you can be confident your test chamber will continue delivering consistent results.

As a leader in designing and manufacturing temperature and humidity test chambers for aerospace, pharma, electronics, automotive, computers, and battery testing worldwide, Associated Environmental Systems® gets it. Contact us today to learn more about which environmental testing solutions are right for your lab.