Prepare for Vehicle EMC Testing at Elite in 10 Steps: Part 1

Start your Engine with the First Two Steps

Vehicles come in different shapes. Cars and trucks, of course, but also forklifts, buses, tractors, fire engines, and more. They all can move themselves, hence the “auto” before “motive,” and they require complex and potentially dangerous internal devices to do that. 

Automotive electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) tests can be challenging. Do devices and subsystems stand alone or connect to another device during a test? And how should they be connected? Should the full vehicle be tested?  How is it equipped?  Which standards apply?

Safety and functional standards are in place to assure that vehicles operate correctly and with minimal risk to the public. Testing is required to verify compliance with those standards. Elite Electronic Engineering is recognized among test labs for its depth of experience and capability.

With the support of Elite’s engineers, you can rest assured that you’re working with the most knowledgeable, the best equipped, and the best-value service provider in the industry. Elite has identified ten steps to prepare for an automotive EMC test, and this begins the series with the first two.  Stay tuned to the next issues of Elite’s blog for the complete list, and contact Elite to get your project moving on the right path.

Step 1: Where to Begin -- Define Your Target Market

The first step is defining your target markets. Is your device sold to an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or is it an aftermarket product? Will it be used in North America, Europe, or Asia? Will it fit on only one vehicle, or on multiple platforms? Is there wireless connectivity?

OEMs usually specify their EMC and electrical requirements for electronic subassemblies. Often the specification will identify the applicable regulatory requirements for the targeted markets. The OEM’s testing standards may also incorporate regulatory requirements.

The intended country’s regulations become the focus If the product is a subassembly. The manufacturer can meet some requirements by testing to harmonized standards and self-declaring compliance, but other regulations require third-party testing and certification. Elite can give you step-by-step guidance for OEM validation and regulatory compliance.

Step 2: Develop an EMC Test Plan

A test plan is essential to a successful EMC test. Most vehicle OEMs require the supplier to complete a test plan approved by the OEM’s assigned EMC engineer.

Some OEMs require test-plan approval, and delays in providing it can delay the start of the test and its completion. The test report can be invalidated if the OEM has not agreed to the test plan. Elite recommends that test plans be forwarded to its experts for review to confirm the necessary signatures and lab identification.

Sample Test Plan Template

A test plan is not required in some cases, but Elite highly recommends having one. A test plan builds confidence between the supplier and the OEM and is important to include in a technical compliance file.  It demonstrates a manufacturer’s due diligence in assessing regulatory compliance.

A generic test plan can be developed that draws recommendations from the applicable standards. Talk with Elite’s experts to craft your test plan.

Baseball legend Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” It was true for baseball and it’s especially true for compliance testing. A comprehensive Test Plan is your route to success.

Contact us to keep moving in the right direction.  Steps 3 thru 6 are coming up next month.