8 Updates You Need to Know for DO-160G

December 27, 2017

DO-160 outlines current Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) standards for the environmental testing of avionics hardware. The RTCA published the document’s most recent update, DO-160G, in 2010. Here’s a brief overview of some of its most important changes.

Section 2: Revised Definitions of General Terms

  • In DO-160G, equipment tested and qualified to the environmental conditions of one category level are now auto-qualified to less severe categories of the same test.
  • This change excludes Category X, which remains reserved for cases where equipment does not fit into any other category.

Section 3: Revised Testing Conditions and Test Equipment Requirements

  • Section 3 of DO-160G aligns the minimum interconnecting cable lengths for radiated emissions testing with those listed in Section 21.
  • Section 3 also requires the use of special purpose software to place equipment in its most susceptible mode during environmental testing.

Section 16: Revised Power Input Requirements

  • DO-160G Section 16 contains an update to the control of inrush current for AC- and DC-powered systems that may introduce reactive loading to the airframe power distribution system.
  • Newly added test Category Z expands the list of allowed equipment to include those with different inrush requirements.
  • Section 16 also outlines normal steady-state voltage and frequency conditions for single- and three-phase powered equipment.
  • Category A(CF) equipment can now perform steady-state testing using the emergency condition levels while meeting the normal pass/fail criteria.

Section 18: Additional Information About Power Inputs and Audio Frequency Conducted Susceptibility Testing

  • In DO-160G, a maximum current allowance of 36A (peak-to-peak) replaces the 100-Watt test signal applied power limit.
  • As well, Appendix 18 now contains a user’s guide with additional information.

Section 19: Revised Testing for Induced Signal Susceptibility

  • Section 19 of DOP-160G now includes electric field-induced testing in its list of requirements.
  • This requirement ensures that equipment will meet its specified level of operational performance when exposed to stray electric fields.

Section 20: New Radiated and Conducted Radio Frequency Susceptibility Testing Guidelines

  • In DO-160G, radiated susceptibility tests can now be used to evaluate transmitting portable electronic devices (TPEDs).
  • DO-160G allows the placement of radiating antennas farther than one meter away from the EUT.
  • A “Mode Stirring” technique replaces the “Mode Tuning” technique in the alternative reverberation chamber test method.
  • Section 20 now includes a user’s guide on potential field stability issues.

Section 21: Revised Emission of Radio Frequency Energy Limits

  • Section 21 covers areas where equipment and its associated wiring may be near VHF and GPS radio receiver antennas, and other areas where little shielding is provided.
  • The applicable frequency range for the 100-kHz bandwidth is now 400 MHz – 960MHz, while that of the one MHz resolution is 960 MHz – six GHz.
  • Uncorrected 10 kHz bandwidth can no longer be used to measure Category M and H emission notches above 960 MHz. Instead, DO-160G now recommends the use of a low noise preamplifier.
  • Values for Category H and P limit notches at 152 MHz are changed from 27 dB to 27.5 dB.

Section 22: Amended Lightning Induced Transient Susceptibility Guidelines

  • DO-160G Section 22 clarifies that switching generators require a waveform set designation of Z, except during power line testing.
  • The section now includes methods and levels for performing multiple burst testing.
  • Pin injection tests can no longer be calibrated using the resistor method — test diagrams have been altered accordingly.
  • Section 18’s appendix now contains a user’s guide, while removing guidance material requirements.


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