RTCA DO-160G Certification Made Easy
Looking at the DO-160 Standard for the first time is overwhelming. RTCA DO-160G Certification can be easy but you will need a cheat sheet to get you started. It takes years to fully understand this 542-page standard. What to concentrate on? What tests are the highest of risk?
I routinely have clients designing products in the experimental aircraft market that need to break into the much larger certified aircraft market. And it is quite common for products of the commercial market get an aerospace contract and need to understand RTCA DO-160G Certification process.
Whatever your reason, if you are looking at the endless text of RTCA DO-160G you have come to the right place. This article will help you narrow your focus to the highest risk sections of the RTCA DO-160G Certification process.
Lower Risk – RTCA DO-160G Certification by Section
Some Sections are pretty straightforward and represent a small failure risk during RTCA DO-160G Certification. I have listed them below for your convenience.
Section 1.0 Purpose and Applicability
Section 2.0 Definitions and Terms – General
Section 3.0 Conditions of Tests
Section 4.0 Temperature and Altitude
Section 5.0 Temperature Variations
Section 6.0 Humidity
Section 7.0 Operational Shocks and Crash Safety
Section 8.0 Vibration
Section 9.0 Explosive Proofness
Section 10.0 Waterproofness
Section 11.0 Fluid Susceptibility
Section 12.0 Sand and Dust
Section 13.0 Fungus Resistance
Section 14.0 Salt Spray
Section 15.0 Magnetic Effect
Section 19.0 Induced Signal Susceptibility
Section 23.0 Lightning Direct Effects
Section 24.0 Icing
Section 25.0 Electrostatic Discharge
Section 26.0 Fire Flammability
Higher Risk – RTCA DO-160G Certification by Section
Other sections like the ones below represent the most difficult to pass. These sections should be carefully examined. Make sure your design will meet the following tests.
Section 16.0 Power Input
Power Input is extremely long taking up 67 pages by itself representing the longest section for RTCA DO-160G Certification. Most of the testing in this section is straightforward but you should know the following conditions.
- Normal and Abnormal Operating Voltages and Frequencies
- Abnormal Surge Voltages
- Maximum Power Drop-outs
Section 17.0 Voltage Spike
Voltage Spike is typically less severe than Section 22.0 lightning since it has a 50-ohm source impedance.
Section 18.0 Audio Frequency Conducted Susceptibility
AFCS is not typically difficult to pass. Variation in the input power can create failures if the EUT is monitoring the input power. I have also created a software solution for engineer’s to utilize their own equipment. With this software, you can automate testing of this section. Check it out here.
Section 20.0 Radio Frequency Susceptibility (Radiated and Conducted)
This is one of the top 3 failed tests in DO-160 and should be given consideration in the design. Proper RF susceptibility shielding or protection should be employed. For a great start on design check out this detailed article on DO-160 Discrete Input/Output Design.
Section 21.0 Emissions of Radio Frequency Energy
Emissions is another top 3 sections of RTCA DO-160G Certification. Emissions can be very difficult to debug and pass depending on the level you test. Passing this section involves EMC best practice like filtering capacitors on chassis, correct switch mode power supply design and reduced loop areas in the design.
Section 22.0 Lightning Induced Transient Susceptibility
Sometimes called Indirect Lighting, Section 22.0 is the most difficult section of RTCA DO-160G Certification Compliance. This section along involves a deep understanding of the details of pin injection, cable bundle testing and multiple stroke testing. I encourage engineers to read and understand as much as possible about section 22.0 compliance. In the end, if you are a first time designer to RTCA DO-160G Certification, it is worth considering buying my introductory $299 lighting review to ensure you don’t fail during an expensive campaign that will cost several tens of THOUSANDS of dollars. For a free start, read TVS Peak Pulse Current (1 of 3) or jump straight to the answer by looking at this offer $299 lighting review.
Summary of RTCA DO-160G Certification Compliance
Follow best practices outlined in DO-160 Discrete Input/Output Design to pass the most difficult sections
- Section 16.0 Power Input
- Section 20.0 Radio Frequency Susceptibility
- Section 21.0 Emissions of Radio Frequency Energy
- Section 22.0 Lightning Induced Transient Susceptibility
If it is your first time with RTCA DO-160G, please consider your options. It might be more efficient to hire someone to get past the steep learning curve. My rates is only $80/hr and I have been designing to the highest of RTCA DO-160G Certification levels since 2008. Email me here to start the conversation.
Thanks for reading!