Lightning TestingLightning Testing Generators

Any electronic component is potentially susceptible to lightning damage. As sophisticated navigation and communication systems come to play a larger role in maintaining safe flight operations, lightning testing is an increasingly important part of quality control for both military contractors and avionics equipment manufacturers. Accurately replicating the effect a lightning strike will have on a device is the only way to measure its durability.

At NTS, we have considerable experience with lightning simulation. Our 2011 acquisition of Lightning Technologies, a Pittsfield, MA based engineering firm and testing lab, greatly expanded our ability to serve the needs of a diverse selection of clientele from around the country.

Background Information

RTCA DO-160 requirements outline the environmental conditions and test procedures for airborne equipment. DO-160 covers standard procedures and environmental testing of airborne electronic equipment (avionics) for the entire spectrum of aircraft, from light general aviation aircraft and helicopters, through the jumbo jet and supersonic transport classes of aircraft.

NTS is now capable of simulating the indirect strike (current and voltage) specified in DO-16O Section 22. In addition to DO-160, NTS generators can also meet Airframers Lightning Requirements (Boeing and Airbus). These test standards mandate that single stroke, multiple stroke and multiple burst pulse sequences be used for induced lightning testing of avionics.

Simulation Capabilities

Lightning takes many forms, each of which has different effects on electronic devices. Our lightning simulation capabilities include:

  • Single Stroke
  • Multiple Stroke
  • Multiple Burst
  • DO-160 Section 15-22
  • Radiated Fields 200 +V/m
  • Electrostatic Discharge

With the ability to simulate these types of lightning, we can accurately measure both the direct and indirect effects of a strike. Direct lightning effects include the physical damage caused by exposure to temperatures exceeding 20,000°C and electric spikes of more than 250,000 amperes. To replicate these conditions, our facilities include a series of high current generators and an indoor test area measuring 40 x 120 feet.

Indirect effects of a lightning strike include the temporary rise in earth voltages that occur after an impact. These flashes create an intense electromagnetic field that can damage equipment up to a kilometer away. To determine the potential effect of these factors on your device, we run a variety of tests, including pin injections, transformer injections, field immersions and more. Cumulatively, these tests allow our engineers to perform a complete field and transient analysis, assessing the indirect effects of a strike on everything from individual circuit components to interconnected electronic systems.

Compliance Management With NTS

Our team can devise a complete testing protocol that simplifies your road to compliance with DO-16O Section 22. The NTS lightning test capabilities also meet requirements outlined in EUROCAE / ED-84, Boeing D6-16050-5, Airbus, FAA Advisory Circular 20-136, and ISO 7137.

Leveraging our more than 50 years of experience, we provide you with the information you need to develop a quality product that is suitable for any application. To discuss your specific requirements with an NTS engineer, learn more about our lightning simulation capabilities, or request a quote for an upcoming project, contact us today.

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