Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Testing - Preventing Interference

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    Feb 18, 2014
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EMC Testing, or Electromagnetic Compatibility Testing, must be performed to make sure electrical and electronic devices do not interfere with one another. There are different forms of EMC Testing, all of which are required for sensitive electronics. The first is emissions testing, which is typically required for a device to pass FCC regulations. It ensures that a device will not emit too much electromagnetic radiation that could affect other devices. The other major type of EMC Testing is susceptibility testing, which determines how much electromagnetic interference a device can receive and still function normally. The site, equipment, and standards used for both of these tests are different.

Emissions Testing

Emissions testing requires a special room, called an anechoic chamber, where the device to be tested is housed. The room is composed of walls that are composed of a material that absorbs radiation, rather than sound waves. All furniture in the room must be constructed of wood, of course, as metal would reflect the electromagnetic radiation and thus defeat the purpose of the test site. Electromagnetic sensors are used to pick up emissions in the radio frequency spectrum. It is, of course, critically important that all of the sensors used in all testing be accurate. Most standards involving electromagnetic emissions, however, are conducted in open-air test sites. These sites are necessary for the testing of any large installation of electrical equipment.

Susceptibility Testing

Susceptibility testing is a little bit different. It requires the use of an electromagnetic pulse generator, or another form of RF generation, which will be projected towards the device that's being tested. But that's only one of the electrical rigors that a device needs to be able to withstand. Electrostatic testing can be conducted, in which a spark is created through a special "gun" that creates an electrostatic discharge. For testing against electrical current, a clamp is attached to the device and an electrical signal is fed through it. Yet another important test is ensuring against issues in the power grid - power surges, lightning, and noisy power that's created when the electrical grid switches. There are specifications on what the device needs to be able to withstand and keep functioning normally, as well as what it can handle and merely survive.

Computational Electromagnetic

There is another form of testing which is available to businesses producing electronic devices and electrical equipment, and that is testing the system in a virtual environment. This relies only on a computer model of the device. The utility of computational electromagnetic is that an entire prototype does not have to be produced in order to determine that a device would not handle electromagnetic interference or would put out too much electromagnetic interference. This can save research and development teams money on prototyping.

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These are just some of the basics related to the testing of electromagnetic compatibility. For more thorough information, you will have to consider the standards that are set down by the government as well as the product in question or visit the following website - EMC Testing Texas.


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