Ruggedised Power Supplies: Meeting the Challenges of Harsh Environments

Published: 20 September 2023

Ruggedised Power Supplies: Meeting the Challenges of Harsh Environments

In today's increasingly connected and technology-dependent world, there is a growing demand for electronic devices and systems that can operate reliably in harsh environments. From military applications to industrial automation, oil and gas exploration to outdoor telecommunications, these environments pose unique challenges for electronic components, particularly power supplies. Ruggedised power supplies are the solution to ensure reliable and continuous power in such demanding conditions.

The Challenges of Harsh Environments

Harsh environments are characterised by extreme conditions such as high or low temperatures, humidity, dust, vibrations, shock, and exposure to chemicals or moisture. These conditions can wreak havoc on conventional power supplies, leading to reduced lifespan, increased maintenance, and potential system failures. Here are some specific challenges faced in these environments:

Temperature Extremes

Extreme temperatures can affect the efficiency and reliability of power supplies. In cold environments, components can become brittle and less conductive, leading to potential failure. Conversely, excessive heat can cause components to overheat and degrade, reducing their operational lifespan.

Dust and Contaminants

Dust, dirt, and other contaminants can infiltrate electronic components, clogging fans and cooling systems. This can lead to overheating and compromised performance. Additionally, corrosive substances can cause damage to sensitive components over time.

Vibration and Shock

In applications like military vehicles or heavy machinery, power supplies must withstand constant vibration and shock. These mechanical stresses can dislodge components or weaken solder joints, leading to failures.

Humidity and Moisture

High humidity levels or exposure to moisture can lead to corrosion, short circuits, and electrical leakage in standard power supplies. In some cases, these conditions can even lead to catastrophic failures.

Ruggedised Power Supplies: The Solution

Ruggedised power supplies are specifically designed and engineered to address these challenges. They are built to withstand extreme conditions and ensure reliable power delivery, even in the harshest environments. Here are some key features and design considerations that make ruggedised power supplies ideal for such applications:

Robust Construction

Ruggedized power supplies feature sturdy and durable enclosures that protect internal components from physical damage, dust, and moisture. These enclosures are often made of materials like aluminium or stainless steel, providing excellent resistance to corrosion.

Temperature Tolerance

To handle temperature extremes, ruggedised power supplies are equipped with advanced thermal management systems. These systems may include enhanced cooling mechanisms, temperature sensors, and components rated for a wide temperature range.

Vibration and Shock Resistance

Ruggedised power supplies undergo rigorous testing to ensure they can withstand high levels of vibration and shock. Special mounting techniques, shock-absorbing materials, and conformal coatings are often used to protect internal components.

Ingress Protection

Ingress Protection (IP) ratings indicate a power supply's ability to resist dust and moisture. Ruggedized power supplies are typically rated with higher IP levels to ensure they can operate reliably in wet or dusty environments.

Enhanced Electrical Protection

These power supplies incorporate various electrical protections, such as overcurrent, overvoltage, and overtemperature protection circuits. These safeguards help prevent damage to the power supply and the connected equipment.

Wide Input Voltage Range

Ruggedised power supplies often feature a wide input voltage range to accommodate fluctuations in the power source, which is common in remote or unstable environments.

EMI/RFI Shielding

Electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radiofrequency interference (RFI) can disrupt sensitive electronic equipment. Ruggedised power supplies are designed with effective shielding to minimise interference and maintain stable power output.


The XF Series by Advanced Energy, featuring MIL-STD-810G and MIL-STD-461F. A rugged solution.


Applications of Ruggedised Power Supplies

Ruggedised power supplies find applications in various industries and sectors, including:

Military and Defence: In military vehicles, aircraft, and portable communication equipment.

Industrial Automation: For powering machinery and control systems in manufacturing environments.

Oil and Gas: In remote drilling and extraction operations.

Outdoor Telecommunications: To support base stations and communication equipment in exposed locations.

Transportation: In trains, ships, and other transportation systems where reliability is paramount.

Renewable Energy: In solar and wind power installations located in harsh environments.

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