Modern products frequently feature monitors designed to detect actual or impending malfunctions. False alarms (Type I errors) or excessive delays in detecting real malfunctions (Type II errors) can seriously reduce monitor utility. Sound engineering practice includes physical evaluation of error rates. Type II error rates are relatively easy to evaluate empirically. However, adequate evaluation of a low Type I error rate is difficult without using accelerated testing concepts, inducing false alarms using artificially low thresholds and then selecting production thresholds by appropriate extrapolation, as outlined here. This acceleration methodology allows for informed determination of detection thresholds and confidence in monitor performance with substantial reductions over current alternatives in time and cost required for monitor development. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.