IEEE Transactions on Components and Packaging Technologies, Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 550-556, September 2009

Computer Usage Monitoring for Design and Reliability Tests

Jie Gu, Member, IEEE
Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE)
Prognostics and Health Management Lab
University of Maryland,
College Park, MD 20742 USA.

Nikhil M. Vichare and Ed C. Tinsley
Dell, Inc., Round Rock, TX 78682

Michael Pecht, Fellow, IEEE
City University of Hong Kong,
Kowloon, Hong Kong,
The Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE),
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742 USA


The usage conditions of a product or system can be monitored and analyzed to provide information to improve the design and qualification of future products. This paper discusses a method to collect and analyze product usage conditions and use this data for product design and testing. A case study of the usage monitoring of commercial computers is presented. Three parameters—temperature, humidity, and vibration—were monitored inside computers being operated by a variety of users. The collected data was compared with the product specifications. Four group tests were conducted. The first group test simulated different human usage conditions, such as lifting the computer, inserting it into a bag, dropping it, and so on. The second group test involved daily usage monitoring on different users (mainly office and home users). The third group test involved usage monitoring of a single user during different time periods. The fourth group test was an experiment carried out for validation tests in the lab. The relationship between the real-life load levels and product qualification test load levels was then established.

Index Terms: Computer, reliability test, usage monitoring.

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