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Reliability engineers may suggest environmental stress tests. There are many types of tests in an RE's toolbox. We compare two types of commonly known tests that are used for design: ALT vs. HALT. What are the important distinctions between these two methods? What value do they each bring to design engineering? And how do they fit into other reliability test methods?

There are many uses for reliability tests, but they have different purposes.

ALT is Accelerated Life Test

off roading

It's used for quantitative data and for estimating the real-use reliability of a product.

To remember ALT, think of driving our automobile off road, an alternative to pave road, and we're going to measure the damage afterwards to estimate how tough our car really is.

HALT is Highly Accelerated Life Test

It's used for qualitative data to highlight areas for improvement.

Car with Crash Test Dummies

To remember HALT, think of a car crash test: we're highly accelerating our car toward a wall to halt it, and then seeing what failed.

(Car crash tests can also be used with sensors to collect data, but this is good way to remember the differences of HALT compared to the other reliability tests).

ALT vs HALT Venn Diagram

Want to learn more about car crash tests? Or just want to watch cars getting smashed?

Attribution of pictures at the end of the video:

car crash dummy
Airbag vector created by brgfx -

off roading
4x4 photo created by teksomolika -