EMC/EMI Testing

Cheers to Pat Hall’s Impressive Career with Elite

Congratulations on Retirement and the Next Steps for Elite’s MIL/Aero Leader, Sr. EMC Engineer, Industry Expert, and Star Employee.   

Successful businesses, much like perennial championship sports teams, share many common characteristics. They both have ownership and leaders that set the foundation for success and then they go after and populate their teams with the very best star players and personnel, from top to bottom.  

On Friday, April 5th one of Elite’s most recognized star team members, Pat Hall, began his well-deserved retirement.  Pat’s forty-seven-year career at Elite will leave a legacy of his excellence, passion, and dependability for those who follow. His impact on Elite is seen throughout the lab and his exemplary professionalism will remain the benchmark for his proteges for many years to come.  

Pat Hall retires as Elite’s Team Leader for military and commercial aviation EMC testing, but this is only one of his many contributions and accomplishments while at Elite.   

He is a well-recognized industry expert for MIL-STD-461 military EMC testing and for commercial aviation RTCA-DO-160 testing.  He has tested an incredible range of important and challenging products at Elite’s laboratory as well as on-site at customer facilities. His knowledge, poise under pressure, and professionalism have served our clients and Elite very well. 

His technical contributions include bringing highly specialized RF mode stirring online at Elite. He’s a shielding effectiveness expert for techniques including mode stirring, triaxial fixture, and SEED methods. He is the first person we turn to for HIRF tests, RF power handling, and many other unique and challenging engineering tests.   Pat Hall is one of the main reasons we often hear from customers and other labs, “…this is a difficult test, and we can’t do it, better talk to Elite”. 

Look around at Elite’s lab and you can’t miss the many contributions in which Pat has been involved. He’s been a key person in the transformation of Elite’s Downers Grove lab, from a half-size building with its collection of early-era copper rooms to today’s state-of-the-art facility that is the pride of the Klouda family, and all of us who work in this space.  

Our laboratory’s AC and DC power services are in place through Pat’s efforts. He’s commissioned nearly all our highly sophisticated MIL-AERO equipment and other specialized instruments.  LISNs, RF filters, and feed-through panels used throughout our lab are Pat’s design and his manufactured craftsmanship. 

In addition to his technical skills, he is also a mentor to many and a valued manager who leads by example.  Pat was trained by Elite founder Jim Klouda, as well as early pioneers Norm Wehling and Don Schmit. Since then, he’s paid it forward in multiples leveraging all he knows to help dozens of other Elite employees learn, mature, and grow in their profession.  

He’s someone who puts pride in everything he does.  Throughout his career, he’s looked for ways to make Elite an even better place to work.  He’s encouraged employees to think about others, to care about the equipment and instruments they use, to clean up after their work, and to pay attention to details. 

Ask Pat and he will tell you about his proudest accomplishments.  They include being instrumental in encouraging employee benefits like disability coverage.  He designed and built dozens of wooden tripods and other lab support equipment that saved the company money.  He regularly accepted the toughest and most complicated projects, and setups, and worked to improve test reports for our most demanding customers to win the client’s trust.  

The common thread for each is they include initiatives that help co-workers, clients, and the company.  All are examples of a humble man whose pride is centered on helping others, and not about the spotlight being on himself.  

From his beginning at Elite on July 6, 1977, cleaning shelves and building power line filters, Pat has risen to the top of his profession in a challenging engineering field.   He is a unique individual who brings together a strong engineering mind, the skill sets of a machinist, electrician, and craftsman, and a personable warm attitude to lead others by example and character.   

In the future, Pat envisions Elite continuing to grow and perform at a high level.  In retirement, he, and his wife Jody plan to enjoy their beautiful lake house in Michigan. Pat’s attention will be on home improvement projects, a little traveling, and plenty of family time, albeit at a slower pace.  

From all of us at Elite, we congratulate Patrick E. Hall for a highly respected professional career, on all his accomplishments, and on being an Elite leader whose legacy and impact lives within the Elite company culture, making us successful today and well into the future.  

Elite Electronic Engineering Team

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Important Events to Attend— Coming Up!

There are valuable training and learning opportunities coming this fall, and we want to make sure Elite’s clients know about them. These events are your best options for technical and industry training. Several are practical, application-focused EMC Testing and Environmental Stress Testing seminars and workshops. Others are trade-show events that include large exhibit areas allowing you to meet technical reps, connect with vendors, get the latest industry news, and learn about test equipment and services.

EMC Technical Seminars

September 21 – Minnesota EMC Event

The 2023 Minnesota EMC Event will be held Thursday, September 21 from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Minneapolis Airport Marriott Hotel. Keynote speaker John Severson of ESDI will present “SIPI, EMC, and the Edge of the Cliff – Lessons from a Long Design Career.” Other speakers will cover topics including medical device EMC, power quality, C63 standards updates, mitigation strategies, and more. Register online at this link.

October 3 – IEEE Milwaukee EMC Seminar

Electronic circuit designers won’t want to miss the 2023 IEEE Milwaukee EMC Seminar offered October 3 at the Milwaukee Airport Crowne Plaza. “Printed Circuit Board Design for EMC Compliance,” a one-day program covering EMC design strategy, layout, interfaces, and wireless connectivity. Make sure to visit the Elite staff in the vendor exhibits area. Make your plans now at the event’s registration page.

October 24 – Oktoberfest with IEEE EMC Society and SAE Chicago Chapters

As it has for many years, Elite Electronic Engineering will be hosting an Oktoberfest technical meeting in cooperation with the IEEE EMC Society and SAE Chicago Chapters on October 24. “Lightning Protection of Aircraft: Simulation and Test” will be presented by EMC Society Distinguished Lecturer Karen Burnham. Oktoberfest-themed food and drinks will be provided. Register today for this FREE event!

Register For Oktoberfest

Trade Show To Attend

September 12-14 – Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo and The Battery Show North America

Companies in the rapidly growing electric vehicle (EV) industry will participate in the Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo and the concurrent Battery Show North America in Novi, Michigan September 12-14. Visit the Elite staff at Booth 1449 to learn more about Elite’s recent additions and capabilities for testing EVs and Batteries.

October 24-26 – Automotive Testing Expo

The 2023 Automotive Testing Expo is happening October 24-26 in Novi, Michigan. Billed as the “world’s leading international expo for every aspect of automotive testing, development and validation technologies,” the Expo is a technology showcase for autonomous vehicle and Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) testing. Elite’s trusted partner Global Validity will also be exhibiting and showcasing their powerful tools for acheiving global regulatory compliance and certification on wireless products.

Make plans to attend and stop by the Elite booth #15042.

Contact Elite for more information. We’ll see you at the shows!

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Elite Informs the Industry at the IEEE EMC-SIPI Symposium

In last month’s Elite Insider, we told you about the long history Elite shares with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Society. The EMC Society is the industry’s center of knowledge and experience in EMC design and electromagnetic interference (EMI) testing and mitigation.

The annual IEEE Electromagnetic Compatibility – Signal Integrity and Power Integrity (EMC-SIPI) Symposium will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan July 31-August 4. A lot will be happening: research papers, tutorials, and workshops will be presented. Also during the week are standards meetings and an expansive industry trade show.

As it has for many years, Elite will have a major presence. Elite President Ray Klouda will be involved with trade meetings, EMC Lab Manager Craig Fanning will chair the CISPR/D committee dealing with vehicular EMC and lead multiple technical programs on Automotive EMC Testing.

Ray Klouda and Craig Fanning

Elite’s Tom Braxton will be there leading Technical Committee TC1 on EMC Management and attending the Standards Development and Education Committee along with multiple workshop presentations.

Tom Braxton

And best of all, Elite’s sales and service team will be there working directly with customers to answer questions and review testing options, including Elite’s upcoming high-power electric vehicle testing capabilities.

Elite’s Sales and Service Team

If you’re planning to attend, stop at Elite’s booth in the exhibit hall and say hello. If you catch the meetings and workshops led by the folks from Elite, say hello to them as well. If you’re not yet registered, go to www.emc2023.org, check out the program and go to the registration page. If you’re dealing with EMC, you’ll be glad you went.

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Radiofrequency Immunity Issues in Electric Vehicles — Testing Can Find That

The International Energy Agency reports that over 10 million electric vehicles (EVs) were sold in 2022, representing 14% of all new-car sales. The numbers keep climbing. In 2021 it was 9%, and in 2020 it was less than 5%. In the US alone, EV sales increased 55% in 2022.

The rapid adoption of EVs is a product of the steadily improving technology that makes EVs practical and desirable. In regular use, EVs seem to check all the boxes: zero atmospheric emissions, fewer moving parts to fail, quiet operation – a boon to personal transportation.

Like any vehicle, EVs operate in a world subject to extremes. Temperature and moisture are obviously given to extremes, but the electromagnetic (EM) environment is rich with fields and transients that can be extreme in unpredictable ways. EVs rely on complex electronics to react to the driver, interpreting signals in real time from the accelerator, brake pedal, and steering column to control the heavy currents required to operate the drive motors and mechanical systems.

Electronic vehicle control has come a long way since the early 1970s, when first-generation automotive electronics were found vulnerable to radiofrequency (RF) signals. The original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) worked with their suppliers to improve system immunity to electromagnetic interference (EMI). 

Both the technology and the understanding of EMI have greatly improved since then, but the concern is the same. Elite’s Automotive EMC Testing Specialist Stan Dolecki has been involved in testing vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE) for many years and understands potential interference risks.

Elite Automotive Specialist Stan Dolecki

“Radiated and conducted immunity testing has always been done on automotive components and whole vehicles, and the concern is greater with EVs,” Stan explained. “The interfering signal can come from anywhere, including within the vehicle.” EMI can come from a steady RF field, like a broadcast signal, or it can be a transient spike like an electrostatic discharge (ESD). “One of the major sources of ESD, for example, are serpentine belts. They build up a charge and create transients that affect microprocessor circuits. Transients disrupt logic signals and cause random failures,” Stan said.

A host of automotive EMI immunity standards address the applicable RF levels and the test procedures used in verification. ISO 7637-4 is one such standard, dealing with conducted and coupled electrical disturbances, testing for low-frequency ripple in an EV’s DC supply brought on by external disturbances. Electronic components are tested under standards LV124 (for 12VDC systems) and LV148 (for 48VDC systems). Volkswagen (VW 80000) and Ford (FMC 1280) maintain their own corporate standards to test the resiliency of electronic components, as do other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

All of this demonstrates the commitment to safe and reliable operation made by the automotive industry. “EMI immunity is a huge part of the test sequence for EVs,” Stan explained. “We can’t take the risk of an engine failure or a vehicle-control failure when an unseen RF signal or transient is there. The tests we do are thorough and well-documented. The manufacturers of the vehicles and their components rely on this throughout the development process.”

A car on the dynamometer in Elite’s whole-vehicle EMC test chamber

Elite’s lab runs tests at the bench level for components like voltage converters, regulators, and charging systems, and has a whole-vehicle test chamber equipped with a dynamometer in the floor to test a vehicle running under road conditions. “Complete testing is important, from the component level on up,” Stan said.

Contact Elite for more information on RF immunity testing. Put Elite’s deep experience and well-earned industry confidence to work for you as you verify your automotive electronic components.

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Checking the Pulse: Medical Device EMC Testing

Anyone visiting a clinic or hospital has seen the electronic equipment on hand. There are medical-record terminals, patient monitors, electrocardiogram (EKG) machines – and that’s what you see without going into an operating room or intensive care unit. Add to that the diagnostic tools that are too numerous to count.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for protecting public health by assuring the safety of medical devices, along with that of food, drugs, and cosmetics. Medical devices are usually electronic and need above all else to be safe because of their direct contact with patients’ bodies.

Like any electronic device, each piece of gear emits and is vulnerable to electromagnetic interference (EMI). EMI can be a nuisance with consumer products but can have life-or-death consequences if it causes medical equipment to malfunction. Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) testing confirms that the device meets published standards to minimize those malfunctions.

Medical devices fall into one of three FDA classifications defined in Title 21, Parts 862-892 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The three classifications are identified within sixteen medical specialty “panels,” such as Cardiovascular devices or Dental devices. Existing devices are listed within each panel, with its FDA classification identified.

A new medical device in Class I may not require FDA approval, though the manufacturer or importer needs to register with FDA. Class II devices normally require an FDA 510(k) submission requesting clearance to market, based on the device’s equivalence to an existing legally marketed device. A Class III device is used in more critical applications that sustain or support life.

In June 2022, the FDA published a guidance document, “Electromagnetic Compatibility of Medical Devices; Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff.” Premarket submissions to the FDA need to demonstrate EMC for all electrically powered medical devices and those with electronic functions.

The EMC information needed in a premarket submission includes a complete description of the device and its functions, the intended environments where it’s to be used, and descriptions of any wireless functions in the device. The FDA also requires a summary description of the risks associated with malfunctions or disruptions in the device.

The FDA submission needs to include a Declaration of Conformity that shows compliance with EMC consensus standards. Among those is IEC 60601-1-2, which covers basic safety and electromagnetic disturbances. Elite is fully equipped to perform testing per IEC 60601-1-2, which includes radiated and conducted immunity testing at levels depending on the equipment’s medical application.

For obvious reasons, the bar is high for medical equipment approval. The complexity and administrative challenge require a careful review of the applicable FDA requirements and a testing strategy specific to the device. Elite’s experience in these applications helps you navigate that process as your product moves into the exacting medical-device market. Contact Elite to find out what tests apply to your device and what steps are needed to begin the process toward FDA approval.

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Partners From the Beginning: The IEEE and Elite

Elite’s origin story goes back to 1954, when Jim Klouda, a young engineer working for an Air Force contractor, fixed an aerial camera that disrupted an aircraft’s autopilot system. He had found a radiofrequency interference (RFI) problem, something poorly understood at the time except as a radio nuisance during thunderstorms.

Around that same time, other engineers working on military equipment began chasing RFI problems. Like many common-interest groups, they began meeting and comparing notes on what was then called radio interference reduction (RIR). The military sponsored a formal conference at Chicago’s Armour Institute. Similar technical groups met in Los Angeles and in New York, and in 1957, the Professional Group on RFI (PGRFI) was made part of the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE).

ire to ieee logosYears passed and technology passed right alongside. Jim Klouda started Elite Electronic Engineering after solving the Air Force’s RFI problem. The IRE merged with the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) in 1963 to form the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). In 1978, the PGRFI was renamed the Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Society. RFI took on the more technically accurate name Electromagnetic Interference (EMI). And since 1957 the PGRFI/EMC Society has published research papers and held annual symposia.

2023 ieee international symposiumThis year the IEEE Electromagnetic Compatibility – Signal Integrity and Power Integrity (EMC-SIPI) Symposium will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan July 31-August 4. The annual symposium is home to research paper presentations, workshops and tutorials on EMC practices, an industry trade show, and standards committee meetings.

Elite will be a major presence there as part of the trade show and in standards committee leadership:

ray klouda elite electronic engineeringElite President Ray Klouda is the IEEE EMC Society Chicago Chapter Treasurer and is involved in the symposium’s meeting of chapter officers.

craig fanning elite electronic engineeringEMC Lab Manager Craig Fanning chairs the CISPR/D committee dealing with vehicular EMC and will lead its related meetings at the symposium, along with multiple technical programs on automotive EMC. Craig is also the Chicago Chapter Publicity Chair.

tom braxton elite electronic engineeringElite’s Tom Braxton chairs Technical Committee TC1 on EMC Management and is a member of the Standards Development and Education Committee and will make presentations at multiple workshops. He also chairs C63 Subcommittee 5 on immunity testing and is the Chicago Chapter Vice-Chair.

Elite’s sales team will be working directly with customers attending the symposium, answering questions and planning customers’ compliance tests.

The Armour Institute, host of that first RFI/EMC conference, grew to become the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), where Jim Klouda earned his degree. The Chicago Chapter of the IEEE EMC Society has been heavily supported by Elite since its inception in the 1970s.

Elite’s generations-long support of the IEEE and the EMC Society parallels IEEE’s mission to “foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity.” Elite’s work in product testing, standards development, and education are common threads shared with the IEEE and the collaborative work with other standards organizations.

The engineers involved with the military’s EMC work in the 1950s set the pattern. Their work gave rise to the EMC Society and the standards development that continues now, as work is being done by volunteer engineers who review and draft both new and evolving standards. The process moves with urgency, but also at a pace that allows for careful deliberation.

In the coming years, higher-speed and higher-frequency wireless electronics will dominate the focus on EMC across the industry. If you’re not already a member of the IEEE, consider joining hundreds of thousands of technical professionals who move technology forward. Standards and practices developed by the IEEE EMC Society will continue to pace the technology. And the IEEE, supported by Elite and other technology leaders, will be there as it evolves.

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Elite: Taking Care of Business as an FCC TCB

In the 1990s, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) found itself overwhelmed by applications for telecommunication equipment authorizations. The volume of applications was outrunning the FCC’s ability to keep up. In 1998, FCC issued Report and Order 98-68 setting up a mechanism to allow private entities to issue authorizations.

The Telecommunications Certification Body (TCB) program came out of this. The FCC spelled out the criteria for independent labs to become TCBs in 1999, and the program was launched in June of 2000.

Elite is among those labs authorized to serve as a TCB. To hold TCB status, third-party labs like Elite need to be accredited to ISO/IEC 17065, the standard for certifying bodies, and ISO/IEC 17025, which gives requirements for technical competence. TCBs choose their scope of accreditation, noting the product categories they’re authorized to certify. To remain a TCB, labs have to maintain their accreditations through periodic audits and assessments.

Elite is an active member of the TCB Council, the not-for-profit organization that serves as a liaison between the TCB member labs and the FCC. The FCC is itself a member, working with the accredited labs to maintain the level of technical quality and consistency. The TCB Council holds regular conference calls with the FCC to address questions and keep track of evolving technology.

TCB Council wireless-industry associate members also work with member test labs to keep them relevant as technology progresses. The industry cooperates with labs and the FCC in developing and improving test methods.

The FCC issues occasional public notices titled Knowledge Databases (KDBs) to clarify rules and answer frequent questions. Working groups and committees within the TCB Council work with the FCC to develop KDBs on specific topics.

Rick King is Elite’s certification department supervisor and represents Elite on the TCB Council. “Elite takes part in two particular committees that help shape the future of the industry,” Rick explained. The Module Discussion Committee, having to do with test procedures for radiofrequency (RF) modules, and the Rules and Policies Committee, which deals with rules changes.

Elite TCB Council representative Rick King

Elite’s long history in testing and certification of RF devices has earned it wide respect in the industry. As technology grows and changes, the FCC actively solicits input on the relevance and appropriateness of its Rules and Regulations. Serving on behalf of Elite, Rick relates the experience gained in performing tests and implementing new technologies.

For information on how the FCC Rules and Regulations affect your product and what changes may be coming, contact Elite and talk to one of our experts. Devices subject to the FCC Rules continue to grow faster and more sophisticated. Elite’s active work with the TCB Council keeps Rick’s testing team on top of what the FCC needs for the fastest and most complete approval.

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Join Elite’s monthly newsletter for the latest on standards, test procedures, fascinating facts, profiles of Elite engineers, and more. Fill out the form below to become part of our global community!

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By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Elite Electronic Engineering, Inc., 1516 Centre Circle Drive, Downers Grove, IL, 60515, US, http://www.elitetest.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.

Elite on the Road in May

The experts from Elite have been hitting the industry hotspots this month across the Midwest.

Elite President Ray Klouda and Sales Manager Steve Laya presented at the 23rd Annual IEEE International Conference on Electro Information Technology (EIT) held May 18-20 at Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois. EIT is focused on basic/applied research in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Information Technology, and their related applications.

Elite’s Ray Klouda speaking at EIT 2023

Elite’s Steve Laya and Ray Klouda working the booth at EIT 2023

Members of Elite’s Sales and Marketing Team met local industry pros at the IEEE EMC Society Chicago Chapter MiniSymposium held May 23 in Schaumburg, Illinois.

The EMC Society is the IEEE’s source of scientific and engineering information on electromagnetic environmental effects. The Chicago Chapter has hosted its MiniSymposium for over 20 years, and Elite has participated since the beginning.

Elite’s Team at the 2023 IEEE EMC Chicago MiniSymposium

Chicago EMC MiniSymposium guests winning door prizes in the exhibit area

Attendees at the Southeastern Michigan EMC Fest

The team packed up and moved on to Livonia, Michigan to present at the Southeastern Michigan IEEE EMC Society EMC Fest on May 25. Both the Chicago and Southeastern Michigan Chapters were treated to talks by EMC authors Dr. Eric Begotin and Dr. Todd Hubing. Elite has been among the presenters at the EMC Fest since its inception.

Watch for more in the coming months and contact Elite for event information. If you’re in those areas, stop and say hello to the Elite team!

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Engineering Exhibitions in the Midwest this Month

May is the season for Spring flowers in the Midwest, and it’s also the season for local technical conferences. Always well-attended, these events serve local engineers and local industries with expert-led sessions and industry exhibitions. 

The IEEE EMC Chicago MiniSymposium and the Southeastern Michigan EMC Fest have arranged to have Dr. Eric Bogatin and Dr. Todd Hubing appear at both events. Whether you’re in the Chicago area or the Detroit area, you’ll be able to attend their excellent presentations.

Elite has always played an important role in the success of these events and this year is no exception. If you’re located near Chicago or Detroit this month, take advantage of these convenient and economical chances to learn what’s new, expand your network, and when you find them, say hello to your friends from Elite.

The 23rd Annual IEEE International Conference on Electro Information Technology

May 18-20

Lewis University

Romeoville, Illinois

http://www.emcchicago.org/sectfiles/events.htm

The EIT Conference is focused on basic/applied research results in the fields of electrical and computer engineering as they relate to Electrical and Computer Engineering, Information Technology, and related applications. The Conference provides a forum for researchers and industrial engineers to exchange ideas and discuss developments in these growing fields. There will also be exhibits where the latest electro/information technology tools and products will be showcased, along with opportunities for professional activities development, workshops and tutorials.

IEEE EMC Society Chicago Chapter MiniSymposium

May 23, 2023 

Chandler’s

401 N. Roselle Road, Schaumburg, Illinois

http://www.emcchicago.org/sectfiles/events.htm

If you are working in EMC, our MiniSymposium is for you!

You will come away with new ideas about troubleshooting techniques, specification updates and a better understanding on how to measure critical parameters.

While there, browse tabletop booths of manufacturers, EMI/EMC test labs, and learn more about industry suppliers. Meet with fellow EMC Engineers and learn more about how our local IEEE EMC Chapter can assist you in your daily challenges.

Featured speakers:

Dr. Eric Bogatin is a Signal Integrity Evangelist with Teledyne LeCroy and the Dean of the Teledyne LeCroy Signal Integrity Academy, at Be The Signal. Additionally, he is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Colorado – Boulder in the ECEE dept, and technical editor of the Signal Integrity Journal.

Dr. Todd Hubing is a Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Clemson University and President of LearnEMC. Dr. Hubing holds a BSEE degree from MIT, an MSEE degree from Purdue University and a Ph.D. from North Carolina State University. He was an engineer at IBM for 7 years and a faculty member at the University of Missouri-Rolla (UMR) for 17 years before joining Clemson University in 2006. He was also a founding faculty member of the UMR Electromagnetic Compatibility Laboratory.

Contact: Frank Krozel, 2023 IEEE EMC MiniSymposium Chair — 630-924-1600  

frank@electronicinstrument.com

Southeastern Michigan IEEE EMC Society EMC Fest 

May 25, 2023

Embassy Suites by Hilton Detroit Livonia Novi

Livonia, Michigan

After completing their presentations at the Chicago MiniSymposium, EMC experts Eric Bogatin and Todd Hubing will speak at the Southeastern Michigan event. If you are in the area, don’t miss it!

Dr. Eric Bogatin is a Signal Integrity Evangelist with Teledyne LeCroy and the Dean of the Teledyne LeCroy Signal Integrity Academy, at Be The Signal. Additionally, he is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Colorado – Boulder in the ECEE dept, and technical editor of the Signal Integrity Journal.

Dr. Todd Hubing is a Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Clemson University and President of LearnEMC. Dr. Hubing holds a BSEE degree from MIT, an MSEE degree from Purdue University and a Ph.D. from North Carolina State University. He was an engineer at IBM for 7 years and a faculty member at the University of Missouri-Rolla for 17 years before joining Clemson University in 2006. At the University of Missouri-Rolla (now the Missouri University of Science and Technology), he was a founding faculty member of the UMR Electromagnetic Compatibility Laboratory.

Gain, Efficiency, Directivity — Antenna Testing Covers It All

Large lawns next to buildings and sports fields need water to stay green and healthy. Sprinklers distribute water to the lawn, focusing on areas to receive water through the sprinkler’s design and by adjustment of its settings.

Antennas can be thought of like that. The difference is that instead of water, radiofrequency (RF) energy is distributed.  In either case, the idea is the same. Transmitting antennas are used to launch RF signals into the air. Their design is optimized to focus on areas intended to receive the signal. Similarly, receiving antennas are optimized to detect signals for processing by the receiver.

Typical antenna pattern measurement result

A well-designed transmitting antenna radiates nearly all the energy from the transmitter into free space as electromagnetic (EM) waves. To assure an antenna is performing as designed, testing is done to check efficiency, gain, directivity, and its associated patterns.

Antenna testing is especially important in cellular wireless devices. Small dimensions and low power levels make it critical to maximize antenna performance. Antennas are passive devices, not generating energy of their own. They are only useful when connected to an RF device that generates the energy for transmission or has the means to decode signals for reception. By virtue of their design, antenna characteristics can be measured.

Cutaway showing typical antenna locations in mobile device

Passive Antenna Testing

Testing under laboratory conditions requires isolating the antenna from its device for repeatability.

For passive testing in Elite’s lab, the device under test (DUT) antenna port is connected to a vector network analyzer (VNA) at a desired frequency and amplitude. The turntable-mounted DUT is rotated 360 degrees (the azimuth). A receiving antenna, typically a horn or patch-type with dual polarization, is placed on a boom moving from zero to 165 degrees (the elevation). Measurements are taken at several elevation and azimuth angles to provide 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional plots of the radiation pattern. Software algorithms use the data to calculate efficiency, gain, directivity, and equivalent isotropic radiated power (EIRP).

Active Antenna Testing

An active antenna test involves the overall system, meaning the antenna plus the RF front-end circuitry. Total radiated power (TRP) and total isotropic sensitivity (TIS) are measured as figures of merit to qualitatively evaluate the antenna system. These are measured in a fully anechoic antenna chamber for data-collection consistency. These numerical measurements can also be done in a reverberation chamber, though they are not useful for antenna pattern tests.

TRP is the power radiated by the antenna averaged over a 3-dimensional sphere. TIS applies to receiving antennas and is the average sensitivity over a 3-dimensional sphere. Cellular carriers pay close attention to these measurements, as they have specific TRP and TIS requirements for reliable performance in portable telecom devices.

Elite’s John Peters preparing an antenna test

Elite’s status as a CTIA Authorized Testing Lab (CATL) gives us insight into this industry’s requirements. Our wireless specialists actively participate in CTIA working groups advancing testing methods and support international standards aligning with the latest technology.

Contact the experts at Elite If you have questions about your wireless device’s antenna performance and how to measure its performance.

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CE Mark, E-Mark, e-Mark – What’s the Difference?

Containers have been labeled for thousands of years. The marking of barrels, crates, and sacks were necessary in ancient times. It’s important now because we have more things to label for more reasons. The difference now is what the labels mean and how they’re applied.

Looking at the rear or the bottom of any electronic product, you’re likely to find a label containing a series of symbols. Those marks are the manufacturer’s assurance that the product has been tested to meet the applicable safety and compatibility standards. In automotive devices there are the E, e, and CE-markings that by law must appear on products in the markets where they are required.

The European Commission (EC) has established a broad array of requirements for public health and safety. The scope of those requirements is so broad that compliance with their terms is recognized by many countries outside Europe. The CE Mark (French for Conformite Europeenne) appears on products sold in the European Union (EU) to show that they meet applicable standards for health and safety. The CE Mark is necessary to market in the EU and is often sufficient for those countries outside the EU that accept those standards.

Vehicles and the Electronic Subassemblies (ESAs) used in vehicles are regulated as a separate class of products with their own unique standards. They often carry the “E” and “e” marks to show they meet their specific set of standards, as described below.

 

 

 

CE Mark

CE Mark used to show compliance in the EU

The CE Mark is the most familiar, appearing as it does on everything from infant toys to explosive-atmosphere equipment. For electronic and wireless devices sold in the EU, the Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Directive (2014/30/EU) states that electronic equipment does not generate, and is not affected by, excessive electromagnetic disturbances. The Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC) is in place to protect the health and safety of those using mechanical equipment.

For EMC, specific standards in the form of European Norms (ENs) define the limits of radiated and conducted radiofrequency (RF) emissions and minimum levels of RF immunity for different categories of products. Electronic products in categories eligible to display the CE Mark must be tested to show compliance with the applicable ENs.

Elite regularly performs radiated and conducted EMC testing for CE Mark compliance and serves as a Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) authorized to assess the compliance of tested products.

E-Mark

Upper-case E-Mark example showing UNECE Regulation 10.5 EMC

European motor vehicle regulations are covered in Directive 2007/46/EC, spelling out requirements and the type-approval process. Some vehicle categories are exempt and are addressed by the CE Mark requirements or other directives. The framework directive also lists the vehicle systems and performance attributes that are regulated and the associated regulations that apply (for example, tail pipe emissions, safety restraints, EMC, and others).

The upper-case E-mark is displayed on vehicles and ESAs to show compliance with United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) requirements. To streamline the regulatory process, the EU automotive EMC requirements that had been separate from the UNECE are now allowed to follow the UNECE requirements. The applicable EMC requirements are currently shown in UNECE Regulation 10 and compliance is indicated by the upper-case E-Mark.

e-Mark

Lower-case e-Mark example with test-country number

Agricultural and forestry equipment falls under EC Regulation 167/2013, which provides definitions and high-level technical requirements. The specific application requirements are identified in the Regulation. Tractors are categorized based on their construction and capability, which determine the level of assessment required under the standard. Manufacturers can check with Elite to identify what level in the standard applies to their tractor. A test plan can then be developed appropriate to their product.

Regulation 167/2013 specifies that EMC is evaluated according to EU Regulation 2015/208, which is specific to agricultural and forestry vehicles. Compliance with those requirements is shown by the lower-case e-Mark.

Finding the Correct Marking for Your Vehicle and ESA

How do you sort out these requirements, and which ones apply to you? It’s not always obvious which standards and label marks apply. The determination is based on the vehicle or ESA’s application, which can be variable depending on the type of vehicle or device. Contact the automotive test experts at Elite to find out which tests your product needs. With that information in hand, you can start planning your tests and anticipating the successful launch of your product.

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EMC for Functional Safety: Agriculture/Forestry, Construction, and Tractors Cover a Lot of Ground

Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) testing of construction, tractors, and agricultural (Ag)/forestry equipment is an important phase in the design and manufacture of these large and complex systems. In this article, we review the functional safety aspects of their EMC evaluation including the applicable regulations and compliance standards.

Directives and Regulations

In the European Union (EU), the EMC Directive 2014/30/EU sets the essential requirements for electromagnetic emissions along with a quality-related performance level for machine-function EMC immunity and for immunity of electronic subassemblies. In addition, the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC establishes safety requirements to prevent injury to operators, people nearby, as well as to prevent property damage. EMC is one of many aspects of machine safety that is evaluated during the Machinery Directive conformity assessment process.

With Brexit changes for England, Scotland, and Wales, a parallel set of EMC regulations are also in place for the United Kingdom (UK). Presently the technical EMC regulatory requirements for the EU and UK are identical.

While EMC is a government specified requirement in Europe and for many countries outside of North America, in the USA and Canada EMC immunity testing is not a government defined requirement. Regardless, EMC immunity and emissions are an important concern for equipment manufacturers for domestic markets and abroad. To ensure their products operate safely and reliably, OEMs develop corporate EMC design and test standards that typically meet or exceed the European regulatory requirements in all equipment applications for the markets they serve.

Compliance Standards

To demonstrate compliance with the European Directives and regulations, manufacturers can test to harmonized Euro-Norm (EN) standards that are published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). The current version(s) of these harmonized standards can be accessed at the European Union EUROPA.eu and the UK.gov websites. 

https://single-market-economy.ec.europa.eu/single-market/european-standards/harmonis ed-standards_en

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/designated-standards

The compliance standards for European EMC testing on machinery are noted in the following table.

Some of these standards are applicable to the EMC Directive for emissions and quality-related immunity. Others cover EMC immunity testing for functional safety evaluations in the Machinery Directive, and some are specific to EMC testing for Ag and Forestry Tractor approvals. A highlight summary of each follows below.

  • EN ISO 14982:2009 Ag & Forestry Machinery

This is the current harmonized standard for Ag and forestry machinery and is also referenced for the compliance evaluation of tractors. It is published in the OJEU for both the EMC Directive and the Machinery Directive. Since it is a harmonized standard for the Machinery Directive, testing to this 2009 version in-full offers the presumption of conformity for safety related machine functions.

  • ISO DIS 14982-1:2021 Ag & Forestry Machinery

This is a new draft standard for the EMC Directive, but it is not yet published in the OJEU. Compared to the 2009 version, this standard is a more robust requirement that widens the test frequency ranges, updates test methods, and adds new pulse modulations. The advantage is that testing per the 2021 version meets and exceeds 14982:2009 and provides continuity in compliance when it will eventually replace the 2009 edition. This is an EMC Directive only standard that sets the emissions requirements. It also includes immunity testing for machine operations and ESAs that do not have a safety related function.

  • ISO DIS 14982-2:2021 Ag & Forestry Machinery

This is a new draft Machinery Directive standard which covers EMC immunity testing only. It specifies additional requirements under the aspect of functional safety for machinery and ESAs. Since it is not yet published in the Machinery Directive OJEU its application is voluntary. The benefit of testing to this standard is that it meets and exceeds the 14982:2009 immunity requirements and provides continuity in compliance when it will eventually replace the 2009 edition.

It introduces the concept of applying machinery risk assessments as outlined in ISO 12100, ISO 14121, ISO 25119. The risk assessment process is used to quantify machine hazards and assign a safety metric for the Performance Levels for Agricultural Equipment (AgPL). The risk assessment determines the applicability of this EMC standard, and it defines testing modes and allowable responses observed during testing.

The AgPL performance level rating depends on a number of factors, these include:

  • The severity of injuries associated to various machine operations or to a particular machine safety control system,
  • The probability of occurrence of the hazardous event, and
  • The possible aversion of the hazard through controllable mitigating steps.

For example, ISO DIS 14982-2:2021 is only relevant for functions of machine control system failures that are greater than or equal to AgPLr “b” (or the equivalent) when risk-assessed to ISO 25119 (or the equivalent) when other electronic functional safety standards are used,

No official date has been announced for the OJEU publish date of the new 2021 draft standards, but by testing to the 2021 draft, manufacturers can assess their products in a manner reflecting the state of technology and will be assured continuity with compliance requirements to come.

  • (EU) 2015/208 Ag & Forestry Tractors

The on-road regulatory EMC requirement for Ag and Forestry “tractors” is (EU) 2015/208 (supplementing Regulation EU No 167/2013). Ag and Forestry tractors within scope of this regulation are required to be assessed through type approval and certified through a European Notified Body. The EMC requirements in EU 2015/208 have been amended to allow testing to UNECE Regulation 10(Rev 4), or EN ISO 14982:1998, or EU 2015/208. The selection of the applicable test standard, test modes, and allowable tractor performance is reviewed and agreed to by the manufacturer and the Notified Body. In addition, the manufacturer must consider tractor operations that are both within scope of regulation EU No 167/2013 and any machinery functional safety concerns within scope of the Machinery Directive.

  • EN ISO 13766-1: 2018 Earthmoving and Building Construction Machinery

This is the published EN harmonized standard listed in the OJEU for the EMC Directive. It is an EMC Directive only standard that sets the emissions requirements plus it includes immunity testing for machine operations and ESAs that do not have a safety related function. This standard replaced EN 13309:2010, which means equipment that has previously been tested per EN 13309 is no longer afforded the presumption of conformity and should be re-assessed to EN ISO 13766-1:2018.

  • EN ISO 13766-2:2018 Earthmoving and Building Construction Machinery

This is the published EN harmonized EMC standard listed in the OJEU for the Machinery Directive and covers immunity only testing. It specifies additional requirements related to the functional safety of machinery and its electrical systems along with separate ESAs.

Like the Ag/forestry functional safety draft standard, it introduces the concept of applying machinery risk assessments and evaluating safety related parts of control systems. For construction machinery applications, the safety processes outlined in ISO 13849 apply with the goal of determining the performance level (PL) metric. EN ISO 13766-2:2018 is relevant for machine control system failures which when risk assessed are greater than or equal to PL “b” (or the equivalent).

EMC for Functional Safety — Five Take-Aways

Given the complexity of heavy machinery and its conformity assessment, along with the range of directives, regulations, and standards, we conclude with the following take-aways.

  • The applicable EMC testing requirements for functional safety should be based on the hazards risk assessment performed by the machinery manufacturer. In addition, the risk assessment will define the modes of operation and performance acceptance criteria.
  • Machine operations and safety-related control systems that are rated at a safety Performance Level (typically PL b) or higher need to comply with the EMC standards listed in the OJEU for the Machinery Directive.
  • There are three Ag and forestry EMC standards and versions to consider as applicable conformity assessment technical requirements. The standard EN ISO 14982:2009 is the current regulatory requirement for EMC and Machinery Directive. The new draft standards are voluntary, but they cover the requirements in the 2009 edition, provide a more robust EMC evaluation, and provide continuity in compliance when the 2009 edition is withdrawn. Testing to the newer draft standards may not involve a significant increase in compliance testing cost.
  • Ag and Forestry Tractors are type approved and E-Marked for compliance in Europe. In addition, certain tractor mechanical functions and control systems may also be assessed under the CE Marking Machinery Directive.
  • For electronic sub-assembles that are incorporated in all three classes of equipment mentioned (Ag/forestry, Earthmoving/Construction, and Tractors) a single suite of EMC tests can be defined in a test plan to cover all applications.

Next Steps – Start Planning Your Test

Industry trends have raised the importance to heavy-machinery manufacturers of EMC testing for functional safety. Increasingly, there are more electronic controls operating machine functions, wireless technology has become more prevalent, and operators are becoming more reliant on automated or autonomous operation. To address these challenges, regulatory requirements and testing standards have adapted to technology with more robust emissions and immunity testing.

To determine which standards apply to your product, contact Elite and speak with an EMC expert to learn more. Elite will guide you through the regulations, standards, and testing processes you need to get to market.

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EMC for Agriculture, Forestry, and Construction Machinery

Agricultural tools have evolved from their humble beginnings into machines that plant, nourish, and harvest while monitoring parameters like seed spacing, depth, and moisture content. Construction equipment has evolved in a similar way. The electronics that control those functions need to meet electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) requirements for safe and reliable operation.

At Elite we perform regulatory EMC testing on large vehicles and electronic subassemblies used in construction, agriculture, and forestry. These impressive systems — bulldozers, combine harvesters, tractors, and the like — are making news by integrating wireless technology, advanced sensor tech, high speed networks, and software to create automated and nearly autonomous systems. The complexity of these machines and their inherent need for operational safety makes EMC testing a crucial aspect of their development.

Agricultural (Ag) and forestry machinery includes tractors and all manner of mobile and hand-held equipment, extending to those used in landscaping and gardening.

Construction machinery includes earth-moving equipment: excavators, bulldozers, loaders, as well as cranes and lifting systems, pavers, and related large machines.

EMC testing for these large systems is driven by two forces. One is the manufacturer, whose motivation is to build confidence in its brand name by ensuring the safety and reliability of its products. The other force is from government regulatory bodies whose responsibility is to set safety standards and to protect the public electromagnetic spectrum.

In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Part 15.103 rules for unintentional RF emissions exempt vehicles and electronic sub-assemblies (ESAs) from testing, including Ag, forestry, and construction machinery. Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada also exempts vehicles and most ESAs from digital-device emissions testing. The Canadian vehicle EMC regulation ICES-002 is one that specifies broadband emission tests for vehicles powered by internal combustion engines or electric drivetrains. Any wireless transmitters used on vehicles are required to be separately tested and certified.

Neither the US-FCC nor Canada-ISED impose EMC immunity regulatory requirements for vehicles. US-OSHA and Canadian government agencies set a range of workplace safety rules for equipment, but none that address EMC.

In the European Union, the EMC essential requirements for machinery are codified in the EMC Directive 2014/30/EU.  For functional safety related EMC performance the requirements come from the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. Similar requirements are listed in the Statutory Instruments (SI) for the UKCA marking. Manufacturers are afforded a presumption of conformity with the Directives and Regulations when they apply harmonized standards in full. These standards are published in the European Union (EU) Official Journal and the UK counterpart list.

Ag Machinery

Ag and forestry “machinery” is equipment intended for off-road applications. They are generally not used on roadways where unique road-safety hazards need to be specifically assessed. Once machinery is evaluated for the applicable Directives and compliant with published harmonized standards, the manufacturer issues a Declaration of Conformity (DoC), and the product is CE Marked and/or UKCA Marked.

The harmonized standard for Ag and forestry machinery is EN ISO 14982:2009 which covers EMC emissions and immunity for vehicles and for electronic subassemblies (ESAs). The UK register of standards also lists this same standard.

Construction Machinery

For construction equipment EMC, the EU harmonized standard is EN ISO 13766-1:2018. It covers emissions and immunity for vehicles and ESAs and is also the same standard for the UK.  The Machine Directive EMC requirements addressing functional safety on construction equipment are listed in EN ISO 13766-2:2018. 

It’s important to note that the construction machinery standard, EN 13309:2010, became obsolete on June 30, 2021. Any products currently placed on the European market that list EN 13309 on their DoC are no longer presumed compliant and should be evaluated against the requirements of EN ISO 13766-1:2018.

Ag Tractors

Ag and forestry tractors and machinery have similar EMC requirements, but they have different conformity-assessment processes. The European compliance process for Ag and forestry “tractors” is type-certification by a third party notified body.  When the certification is complete the tractor is “E-Marked”.   In contrast,  the Ag and forestry “machinery” conformity assessment is by internal production control, also referred to as manufacturer self-declaration.  When completed the machine is “CE Marked” and/or “UKCA Marked”.

Ag and forestry tractor regulations are defined in the European framework Regulation (EU) 167/2013 and subsequent revisions.  For EMC, the framework Regulation (Article 17.2.g) points to Regulation (EU) 2015/208 ANNEX XV for the technical requirements.   As an option, a Notified Body may also type certify the tractor following the technical requirements in UNECE Regulation 10.6.  The EMC requirements in REG 10.6 are similar to those listed in EN ISO 14982 and EN ISO 13766. However, it is common to see more stringent testing (than in REG 10.6) applied as agreed upon by the vehicle manufacturer and the notified body. 

For manufacturers of electronic sub-assemblies (ESAs) whose product can be used on a wide range of finished machines such as Ag, forestry, construction machinery, or even road vehicles, Elite can perform a single suite of tests that covers all equipment types and off road and on road vehicle specifications.

In next month’s Elite Insider, we’ll discuss additional requirements for Ag, forestry, and construction machinery that address the functional-safety aspects of compliance. We’ll also explain the coming standards for ISO/DIS 14982:2021.

Stay tuned to Elite’s blog for more, and contact Elite with questions on your product’s compliance needs.

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The Elite Team Hits the Road in 2022

In 2022, the Elite team was able to visit long-time friends and meet new ones at industry events far and wide. Elite was everywhere: the IEEE, the SAE, and the Battery and Electric Vehicle Tech Show. They didn’t stop there – Elite went on to the Auto Test Expo, the Illuminating Engineering Society Aviation Lighting Committee (IESALC), the IEEE International EMC-SIPI Symposium, the 2022 Southeast Michigan EMC Fest, the Chicago IEEE EMC Mini symposium, and more.

GM’s Scott Piper visits with Elite’s Mike Cosentino and Edwin Casas at the SE Michigan EMC Fest

Those are in addition to Elite’s Novemberfest that attracted over eighty attendees who enjoyed traditional Oktoberfest food and were treated to a presentation on electric vehicle testing by Elite automotive EMC expert Stan Dolecki.

Elite’s Stan Dolecki speaking at Elite’s Novemberfest

Elite Electronic Engineering has had a strong presence across the industry for more than 65 years. With customers spanning the globe, Elite is known everywhere for its expertise. Elite’s deeply experienced regulatory testing team is routinely invited to speak at industry events, in addition to their leadership of international standards committees.

Elite’s Craig Fanning Speaking at the IEEE International EMC-SIPI Symposium

Beyond their technical skill, Elite’s staff is also known for making customers comfortable and understanding their needs. Recent years have limited interaction with customers and vendors alike. But as those restrictions have relaxed, Elite has been back in the field providing the services and answers sought by technical leaders in the automotiveaviationmilitarycommunication, and related industries. All of them are looking for the testing support Elite does best.

Elite’s Brad DeGrave speaking at IESALC

We look forward to seeing you at the next event and with us in the lab! 2023 will be a big year for technology, so contact Elite and make your plans to visit us to test your product. We’ll keep the coffee hot and the soft drinks cold. 

Elite’s Jessica Kramer at IESALC

More Electric Aircraft (MEA) Systems – Elite Can Test That

A folded paper airplane will fly, at least for a while. But it can’t be steered or stay aloft any longer than the air around it will allow. Even with their breakthrough in 1903, the Wright brothers got their flying machine in the air for only twelve seconds.

Aircraft control systems make it possible to safely stay in the air, and they need reliable electrical power for the devices that make up those control systems. Aircraft have duplicate power sources to operate the devices on board, typically generating 115 VAC, 400 Hz, and 28 VDC.

Power originates from Integrated Drive Generators (IDGs) driven by the aircraft engines. The 400 Hz frequency allows smaller, lighter components to be used than those using 60 Hz power. The AC passes through duplicate Transformer Rectifiers (TRs) to provide 28 VDC for charging on-board batteries and other devices requiring DC.

Historically, on-board pneumatic systems draw power from thrust drawn off the engines, typically 4-6% of the propulsive energy. A higher efficiency architecture called More Electric Aircraft (MEA) looks to replace many of the hydraulic and pneumatic systems with electrically driven motors and pumps. The advantages are not just higher efficiency, but also reduced weight and fewer failure-prone mechanical components. Since thrust is not being bled from the engines, this is called a no-bleed system.

Hydraulic aircraft functions replaceable by localized electric motors in an MEA design (mililtaryembedded.com)

Electrical components in an MEA aircraft have different requirements. Aircraft power systems have long employed a constant-frequency AC power system, typically 400 Hz. Later aircraft designs, such as the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A380, use a variable-frequency system, where the power frequency varies with the engine speed that drives the generator.

As an example, the Boeing 787 uses an electrical system that is a hybrid consisting of 235 VAC, 115 VAC, 28 VDC, and ±270 VDC. The 235 VAC and the ±270 VDC sources are part of the no-bleed design with an expanded electrical system generating twice the electricity of previous airplane models.

Generators directly connected to the engine gearboxes operate at a variable frequency (360 to 800 hertz) proportional to engine speed. It’s a more efficient system because it does not require a complex constant-speed drive. As a result, the generators are more reliable, require less maintenance, and have lower spare costs than the traditional IDGs.

Applicable Standards

The Radio Technical Committee for Aeronautics (RTCA) publishes standard DO-160, covering a wide range of environmental tests required to confirm that airborne equipment will operate safely and reliably. Section 16 of DO-160 covers power input and outlines the limits and test procedures of the power system components.

DO-160 defines equipment categories to determine test levels and procedures.

  • Categories A(CF), A(NF), A(WF) and A: These are equipment used on aircraft electrical systems where primary power is supplied from either a constant or variable frequency AC system, and where the DC system is supplied from TR units.
    • For AC equipment: Category A(CF), A(NF) or A(WF)
      • A(CF) is AC equipment used on aircraft electrical systems where primary power is from constant frequency (400 Hz) AC system.
      • A(NF) is AC equipment used on aircraft electrical systems where primary power is from variable frequency AC between 360 – 650 Hz.
      • A(WF) is AC equipment used on aircraft electrical systems where primary power is from a wider variable frequency AC between 360 – 800 Hz.
    • For DC equipment: Category A
  • Category B: 14 V or 28 V DC equipment used on aircraft electrical systems supplied by engine-driven alternator/rectifiers, or DC generators where a battery is floating on the DC bus.
  • Category D: 270 V DC equipment used on aircraft electrical systems where DC is generated from primary power supplied from either a constant or variable frequency AC system.
  • Category Z: 28 V DC equipment that may be used on all other types of aircraft electrical systems applicable to these

Elite’s Aerospace Testing Experience

Elite’s decades of experience testing aviation and aerospace devices assures timely and authoritative results. Elite’s capabilities include:

The experts at Elite can answer your questions about DO-160 tests and the array of related tests needed for compliance with aviation standards.

Join Elite’s monthly newsletter for the latest on standards, test procedures, fascinating facts, profiles of Elite engineers, and more. Fill out the form below to become part of our global community!

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Mark Rugg – From Airfone to Air Force Two

Elite Electronic Engineering is a name that’s been identified with avionics testing for decades. When aircraft equipment manufacturers need compliance and reliability testing, Elite is among those at the top of their lists. It’s no surprise that technical professionals with experience around aircraft would be found at Elite.

Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) engineer Mark Rugg fits that description. An engineer in Elite’s MIL-AERO area, he started his career as an aircraft mechanic with Braniff International, expanding his experience in testing and maintenance on aircraft electronics. With the shift in the airline industry in the 1980s, Mark moved on to Airfone, the flight-to-ground phone service operated by GTE and later by Verizon.

Mark became a manager at Verizon, where he remained for 20 years. “That was where I got experience in EMC, testing and certifying aircraft and ground-based telephones,” he said.

Air Force Two – Mark verified the vice-president’s telephone

One of Mark’s responsibilities was the phone service on Air Force Two, the aircraft designated for the vice-president. “That was interesting, working with the flight crew and vice-president’s staff. The requirements are tighter than commercial standards.”

Mark with communications for Air Force Two (left image). Mark checking out Air Force Two’s office space (right image)

He later worked at Row 44, a broadband supplier to commercial aircraft, and later continued in avionics with Telefonix, an aerospace telecommunications company. Telefonix products required a lot of regulatory testing, and since Elite’s Downers Grove campus was conveniently between Mark’s home and Telefonix’s office, he spent long hours at Elite overseeing tests.

In 2020, Mark was ready to spend all his time running EMC tests and joined Elite’s staff of expert compliance engineers. He is one of the go-to members of the MIL-AERO group that customers rely on for MIL-STD, DO-160, and other specialized regulatory tests.

Being at Elite at this point in his career is a natural fit. “It works since my commute is reasonable and I was familiar with Elite’s lab from the time I spent with Telefonix’s gear,” he explained. If you have aerospace equipment that needs compliance tests, Mark is one of the engineers with the background and experience that has made Elite the Midwest’s premiere test laboratory.

Join Elite’s monthly newsletter for the latest on standards, test procedures, fascinating facts, profiles of Elite engineers, and more. Fill out the form below to become part of our global community!

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A HIRF can Hurt Your Aircraft Gear – Testing High Intensity Radiated Field Immunity

Air travel is the safest form of travel, by far. Data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) showed that the risk is so low that that on average, a person would need to fly every day for 461 years before experiencing an accident with at least one fatality.

The aviation industry has held its impressive record through careful attention to detail. That attention is focused on the aircraft itself, of course, but also on understanding the aircraft’s environment. Besides the obvious atmospheric concerns like wind, rain, and lightning, the presence of radiofrequency (RF) fields can disrupt the aircraft’s electronics.

RF fields are everywhere, and most are at low enough levels that they pose little threat to safe operation. But high intensity radiated fields (HIRFs) can overwhelm guidance devices. Airports are rich with HIRFs from radar, guidance, and communications systems that rely on high-powered transmitters. Elite Electronic Engineering’s Pat Hall and Tom Klouda have been performing HIRF tests on aircraft components for decades and explain how the test is done.

Standards and Test Planning

Aviation HIRF testing is specified in the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) standard DO-160, Section 20. The standard identifies susceptibility categories set at different RF levels. The table below shows the categories in the columns and the frequency ranges in the rows. The cells of the table give the test levels in Volts/meter.

Testing is normally done in one of Elite’s mode-stirred chambers, which are shielded rooms equipped with rotating stirrers. Different forms of the RF field are applied, such as pulsed or continuous wave, depending on the application.

As an example, Elite’s lab often tests aircraft display hardware, which is composed of the display panel itself and the electronics that drive it. In those cases, Category G is the level most often called for when testing those devices. The specified field levels are highlighted below, taken from Table 20-3 of the DO-160 standard. The field at those levels is applied to the equipment under test (EUT) while its operation is monitored for responses.

Those fields are generated most often in a mode-stirred chamber, shown in the illustration below. An RF amplifier feeds an antenna inside a shielded enclosure to create the field, and the modes of the field are stirred by a rotating metal tuner/stirrer. The effect is to provide a consistent average field level to the the EUT from the combination of reflections from the metal surfaces and the paddle’s rotation. The wide variety of angles and levels seen by the EUT during the test assures that specified overall level over time will be applied.

Stirred-mode test chamber setup, showing the EUT within the calibrated test volume and the tuner/stirrer that provides an overall average field level

The test chamber calibration establishes the power levels needed to generate the field across the frequency range. The dashed-line box in the illustration below shows the chamber’s test volume. An isotropic RF probe measures the field level at each frequency in the specified range. The probe is set up at nine points in the test volume, one at each corner and one in the center. The power-level numbers collected in calibration are programmed into the amplifier controller, which can then provide consistent field levels during the test.

Stirred-mode test chamber setup, showing the EUT within the calibrated test volume and the tuner/stirrer that provides an overall average field level

The EUT is set up according to its test plan and monitored for any response as the radiated field is applied across the frequency range. The positioning of enclosures, cables, connectors, and other components of the EUT are specified in the test plan so that its actual environment is simulated. The EUT’s function and form and its proximity to other equipment and the aircraft’s body are fundamental to determining how to position it during the test. The EUT’s pass/fail criteria also need to be understood so that meaningful evaluations can be made if responses are seen during the test.

Elite has two mode-stirred chambers with different test volumes. The larger of the two can test from 100 MHz – 18 GHz up to 2kV/m, and the smaller can test from 400 MHz – 18 GHz up to 5kV/m. The photo below shows Elite HIRF expert Tom Klouda setting up a test in the larger chamber, with the tuner/stirrer visible in the background.

Elite’s Tom Klouda (center) reviews chamber setup with Mark Rugg (left) and Fred Rub. The mode-stirring paddle is at the upper rear of the chamber.

Preparation takes up the bulk of time for a test. EUTs can be any size, with a wide variety of ancillary equipment and cables that collectively make up the overall EUT. The test plan will specify how the EUT is to be configured, how the cables are to be exposed, and what modes of operation the EUT needs to run. With those factors in place and the EUT in position, the actual test is run across the specified range while the EUT is monitored.

Contact the experts at Elite with any questions on HIRF testing, the applicable standard, and the steps required to prepare. Trust Elite put its decades of experience to work for you.

Employee Spotlight — Adam Grant: From Martial Arts to Outer Space

Aerospace technology operates at environmental far edges. Equipment installed on spacecraft and in military applications deal with temperature extremes, direct lightning strikes, and earth-shaking vibration. Devices need to prove their ability to keep working when they’re hit by those shocks.

Adam Grant is among the expert staff at Elite who understands the need for reliable aerospace operation.  In 19 years as an engineer in Elite’s Miltary and Aerospace EMC Testing lab, he’s run tests on the devices that keep planes and rockets in the air.

Adam’s interest in aerospace began at an early age. Fascinated with space travel and rocketry as a high school freshman, he attended the Space Academy at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The planned launch of NASA’s Artemis 1 moon mission brings Adam’s background into sharp focus.

The week-long experience opened his eyes to the aerospace world. “We did simulations as flight crews. That showed us how difficult it can be to pilot a spacecraft,” Adam said. “The ground crew simulations came after that, so we saw both ends of a mission.”

Adam’s Space Academy certificate

He started working at Elite a year or so after graduation from DeVry University. “When I was getting into aerospace when I was in high school, I never thought I’d be testing that same equipment as a career.” Adam has done lightning and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) testing for the military-aerospace industry, along with automotive EMC, areas that are critical to public safety. “It’s been interesting,” he said. “It’s a good environment at Elite that really is operated as a family.”

The work requires mental discipline, something Adam developed while rising to the level of third degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. He started training in high school, and for a few years was an instructor in his off hours. “I still do the occasional training and stay with it to keep in shape.” The physical benefits are real and has made him appreciate the value of focus and ongoing study.

Adam describes his twelve-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter as bright stars. “They could easily go into engineering – I sometimes ask them when I have technical questions.” They take an interest in the kind of work he does, which he understands. At their age he was fascinated by the tools of space travel and aviation.

Adam’s expertise and curiosity led to his most recent move into Elite’s sales and marketing group. “I wanted to try another part of the business,” he explained. The chance to describe the testing process to customers when they call was attractive to Adam. When you call to ask about getting a quote and planning tests of your aerospace or automotive device, you’re likely to talk to Adam. He’s seen it all and can explain the standards and how they apply to your product.

Adam is another reason Elite is your first choice for trusted, timely testing. If you talk with him, he can arrange the right test at the right price on your schedule. And he might tell you how to operate a spacecraft, too.

Join Elite’s monthly newsletter for the latest on standards, test procedures, fascinating facts, profiles of Elite engineers, and more. Fill out the form below to become part of our global community!

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10 Tips to Faster and Smoother Aerospace and Military EMC Tests

Elite Electronic Engineering is renowned for its industry-leading Aerospace EMC and Military EMC test expertise. The trusted results and timeliness are products of decades of experience in performing those tests and helping to write the standards.

Elite’s Senior EMC Engineer Steve Framarin (right) is part of that legacy of experience and has outlined ten tips to make a military or aerospace EMC test series run more smoothly. The testing process can appear daunting when reviewing applicable standards and a customer faces choices in setup, operation, and the range of device parameters.

Steve offers these tips to minimize delays and provide the results you need when you need them:

  1. Have a current test plan that spells out the device under test (DUT), its configuration, and the tests to be performed. Elite can help develop a plan specific to your DUT and its intended operation.
  2. Be sure to have current operating instructions for projects that are sent to Elite when the manufacturer’s staff cannot be on-site for the test.
  3. Whenever possible, have spare DUTs for projects that are sent to Elite.
  4. Verify operation of ALL equipment (the DUT, the support equipment, cables, etc.) before it arrives at Elite.
  5. Make sure the latest software/firmware versions are installed on the DUT and its support equipment.
  6. Have equipment sent in or dropped off at Elite the day before testing begins, if possible.
  7. Provide clear equipment-return instructions to minimize delay and assure the best care of the DUT.
  8. Define the response criteria/status/class – what is a failure condition, what is successful operation, etc.
  9. Define ALL testing parameters, e.g., limits, severity levels, generator impedances, etc. Many standards allow for a range, which is often defined by the customer.
  10. Double-check Elite’s quote to make sure it aligns with the latest test plan revision or scope of testing.

Steve and his colleagues at Elite will work through these steps with your team so that you can get the results you need in the least amount of time.

Contact the experts at Elite to find out how to identify these steps for your aerospace or military EMC testing project.

MIL-STD testing in Elite’s EMC lab

Join Elite’s monthly newsletter for the latest on standards, test procedures, fascinating facts, profiles of Elite engineers, and more. Fill out the form below to become part of our global community!

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Ka-Boom! Lightning is More Than a Bright Flash

An aircraft’s environment is everything. It needs air to provide lift, it needs to stay aloft in the rain and heavy winds, and it needs to endure lightning strikes. Designed for that environment, its outer form minimizes drag and its conductive surface offers a diversion for lightning currents.

Lightning strikes are common on aircraft. How could they not be? Lightning is going to happen when a large conductive object appears within range of a thundercloud. Fortunately, lightning energy travels over the surface of the metal body and continues its discharge path to meet the ground.

Among the risks to the aircraft is the energy that can be induced into cabling routed under the outer skin. The enormous voltages of a lightning strike will couple some energy into nearby conductors, posing a risk to the aircraft’s electrical system. The conductors are wired directly into the electronics on board and carry their induced voltages into those devices.

Applicable Standards – RTCA DO-160

The Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) is the industry organization publishing aviation technical standards. DO-160 is RTCA’s standard covering airborne equipment environmental conditions and their tests, which includes those for lightning susceptibility. Lightning-induced cable transients on unshielded cables, however brief, can be of exceedingly high voltage and current. Shielded cables offer protection by carrying the bulk of the induced energy on the cable shield where it can be dissipated.

Section 22 of DO-160 addresses lightning-induced susceptibility.

There are various waveforms defined that reflect the complexity of induced currents from lightning strikes. The waveforms are intended to demonstrate compliance for aircraft protection and the protection of its systems against the lightning environment.

The basic waveforms of the induced current and voltage in the aircraft cabling is shown below. Note the sharp rise time of the induced voltage and the slower rise time of the induced current.

Induced voltage waveform
Induced current waveform

The resonance of the cables naturally brings about a damped sinusoidal wave as the energy dissipates, as shown below.

Damped sinusoidal waveform resulting from lightning-induced transient

Lightning normally occurs in multiple strokes, with waveform behavior as illustrated in the figure below.

Illustration of the transient peaks resulting from multiple lightning strokes.

The subsequent strokes result in damped sinusoidal waves and gradually diminishing peak voltage and current peaks. To simulate these conditions, DO-160 Section 22 defines test steps and levels.

Indirect Lightning Test Process 

Five power levels are defined in DO-160 and are chosen based on how critical the connected device is for flight operation.

  • Level 1, the lowest, is intended for equipment and wiring installed in a well-protected environment
  • Level 2 is intended for equipment and wiring installed in a partially protected environment
  • Level 3 is intended for equipment and wiring in a moderate electromagnetic environment
  • Levels 4 and 5, the highest, are intended for equipment and wiring exposed in severe electromagnetic environments

The test specification is indicated in the test plan describing the pins to receive injection and the cable-test waveform sets and the levels to be applied. These choices are made depending on how critical the equipment is to the aircraft’s safe operation.

Section 22 defines two test methods:

  • Pin Injection – Selected waveforms are injected directly into the pins or cables of the equipment under test (EUT). The EUT is normally powered and operational during the test so that its immunity to the injected transient can be monitored.
  • Cable Induction – In this test, the selected waveform is applied through a coupling clamp around the targeted cables, or the waveform is injected into the test-table ground plane so that it can be induced into the cable.

The chosen waveforms can be applied as Single Stroke, Multiple Stroke, or Multiple Burst. The single stroke test replicates the wiring’s response to the most severe lightning strike outside the aircraft. Multiple stroke tests replicate the induced effects to the internal wiring after a lightning strike made up of a single stroke followed by a burst of multiple return strokes.

Lightning Tests at Elite

Cable Induction

Lightning tests performed at Elite rely on a lightning waveform generator and a coupling network to induce the transient voltage into the cable identified in the test plan. The EUT is powered and operational as specified in the test plan. The appropriate waveform and level are chosen for each test and applied through the coupling network into the cable, which is connected to the EUT. During the test, the EUT is monitored for proper operation.

Lightning test setup showing waveform generator and cable-coupling network

Pin Injection

The EUT is not powered during the pin injection test, as this is potentially destructive. The waveform generator is set for the waveform and test level prescribed in the test plan. Connections are made from the waveform generator to the cable conductors or connector pins identified in the test plan. The transient is applied as specified in the test plan, and the EUT is examined at the completion of each test for any component damage and for proper operation.

Lightning waveform generator showing connection point for pin-injection tests

Trusted Test Results

The EUT’s test report provides the detail: which pins received which waveforms at which levels; what waveform and levels were induced on which cable-bundle combination; and the status of the EUT before and after the tests. 

Few things are as critical as aircraft safety. Elite’s has unmatched experience with lightning tests is equipped with more test systems covering all 5 waveform levels than any other lab. Contact the experts at Elite for information on testing your device for DO-160 compliance.

Elite’s Craig Fanning and Tom Braxton Speaking at the International IEEE EMC Symposium

A reminder! If you’re attending the 2022 IEEE EMC-SIPI Symposium August 1-5 in Spokane, Washington, you’ll be able to catch presentations from Elite’s Craig Fanning and Tom Braxton.

Elite Electronic Engineering has been active in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Society for over 40 years. Elite is a regular presence at the EMC Society’s annual symposium and has hosted dozens of meetings for the EMC Society’s Chicago chapter. That tradition continues in Spokane.

The Symposium week is filled with presentations of peer-reviewed technical papers, demonstrations of EMC test and mitigation techniques, tutorial workshops, and an exhibition of wares from more than a hundred EMC-related companies.

Craig is the current Vice-Chair of CISPR/D, the EMC standards committee devoted to electronics on vehicles and internal combustion powered devices. His involvement with standards extends to membership on other related groups: the EMC Society Chicago Chapter board; the International Standards Organization (ISO) TC22 on road-vehicle standards; the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) EMC Committee; and subcommittees within all these organizations.

On Monday, August 1, at 8:30 a.m., Craig is presenting “Automotive Standards Development by CISPR/D: Review of CISPR 12, CISPR 36, and CISPR 25” at the symposium’s Automotive EMC Standards and Instrumentation Update tutorial session. Attendees will learn how ISO develops standards and how industry trends combine with public needs as new or revised standards are drafted. This important work is voluntary, done by professionals like Craig who devote their time and expertise.

Tom is a Life Senior member of the IEEE EMC Society and has served two terms on its board of directors, as well as the current chair of Technical Committee 1 (TC1) on EMC Management. He is a long-time Program Chair and Vice-Chair of the EMC Society Chicago chapter and was the General Chair of the IEEE International EMC Symposium held in Chicago in 2005. Over the years he has presented papers on EMC topics to global and local audiences, and currently writes a monthly column for the IEEE EMC Society published in its magazine and on LinkedIn.

Tom will chair the EMC Management session held Thursday, August 4, at 2:00 p.m., where three papers will be presented on EMC risk management topics. On Friday, August 5, 8:30 a.m., he presents “Performing Immunity Testing to Transient Signals” at the Basic EMC Measurements workshop. Tom has spoken at these sessions for over 20 years about transient testingelectrostatic discharge (ESD)electrical fast transients (EFT)electrical surge and burst; and magnetic-field immunity. Tom emphasizes the importance of identifying failure criteria: if a transient occurs, is the device’s reaction a failure or simply a benign response? Engineers spend more time addressing that question than on the test itself.

As part of the EMC and compliance industry, Elite has always had a commitment to standards, education, and professional development. Craig and Tom carry on that commitment as they speak to international audiences this year in Spokane. For more information, visit the symposium website to see the final program and register to attend.

For information on how these standards and these tests can affect your product, contact the experts at Elite. Let Elite put its experience to work for you.

New at Elite! Dynamometer Capability for Whole-Vehicle EMC Testing

Elite Electronic Engineering is excited to announce the installation of a new chassis dynamometer in its drive-in electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) chamber, especially as applied to electric vehicle testing. The HV Technologies RP40-55/100-6-F is a free-standing dynamometer that can be used with front-wheel, rear-wheel, 4-wheel drive vehicles, as well as motorcycles.

Automotive vehicle EMC testing has become an urgent need in the automotive industry. Electric vehicle (EV) sales in the US have grown from 50,000 in Q4 2016 to 2.6 million in Q1 2022. Increasing EV complexity makes it all the more important to verify their radiofrequency (RF) emission and immunity characteristics.

Testing vehicles under running conditions gives the manufacturer a more accurate EMC picture. When on the road, the EV’s motors, controllers, regulators, and other systems are fully engaged. Higher emission levels are likely at a wider range of frequencies when those systems operate under load. Also, the risk of RF vulnerability in navigation and motor-control systems is more acute while the vehicle is in motion.

Dynamometers have been in use for many years to test internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles under load. Horsepower, fuel economy, and other parameters have long been measured as the vehicle was operated at speed on dynamometer rollers.

EVs have more EMC concerns under operating conditions because of their complex electronics. Higher voltages and higher currents in an EV’s powerful motors and associated control systems naturally generate higher RF emission levels, and the sophisticated circuitry must be immune to disruption from external RF fields. These factors make electric vehicle testing imperative.

Elite’s new dynamometer can handle axle loads of 10,000 kg at a maximum speed of 100 km/h and a rated speed of 55 km/h. Its control-system RF immunity is 200 V/m, allowing the full range of RF immunity tests to be performed without concern of corrupted data. The dynamometer and vehicle test chamber have been set up so that smaller electric vehicles can be tested in 2WD or 4WD applications. Large vehicles will be tested in 2WD applications in most cases. The dynamometer is also capable of testing motorcycles.

Automotive vehicle testing can be set up by driving the vehicle directly into the test chamber, saving time and cost. Because preparation time is minimized, each test can be completed sooner to allow time for additional configurations that may be desired.

Contact Elite to find out more about how this test tool can work for you. Elite experts can work with you on scheduling a test, creating a test plan, and putting the dynamometer to work for your vehicle.

Join Elite’s monthly newsletter for the latest on standards, test procedures, fascinating facts, profiles of Elite engineers, and more. Fill out the form below to become part of our global community!

Newsletter Sign Up

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Elite Electronic Engineering, Inc., 1516 Centre Circle Drive, Downers Grove, IL, 60515, US, http://www.elitetest.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.

Elite Sends Leaders to the International IEEE EMC Symposium

Elite Electronic Engineering has been active in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Society for over 40 years. Elite is a regular presence at the EMC Society’s annual symposium and has hosted dozens of meetings for the EMC Society’s Chicago chapter.

That tradition continues at the 2022 EMC-Signal Integrity and Power Integrity (SIPI) Symposium being held August 1-5 in Spokane, Washington. Symposium week is filled with presentations of peer-reviewed technical papers, demonstrations of EMC test and mitigation techniques, tutorial workshops, and an exhibition of wares from more than a hundred EMC-related companies. Elite will be represented by two of its own:  EMC Lab Manager Craig Fanning and Marketing Engineer Tom Braxton.

Craig is the current Vice-Chair of CISPR/D, the EMC standards committee devoted to electronics on vehicles and internal combustion powered devices. His involvement with standards extends to membership on other related groups: the EMC Society Chicago Chapter board; the International Standards Organization (ISO) TC22 on road-vehicle standards; the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) EMC Committee; and subcommittees within all these organizations.

Craig is presenting “ISO Update/Motivations” at the symposium’s Automotive EMC Standards and Instrumentation Update tutorial session. Attendees will learn how ISO develops standards and how industry trends combine with public needs, providing the impetus for new or revised standards. This work is a voluntary exercise, done by professionals like Craig who devote their time and expertise.

Tom is a Life Senior member of the IEEE EMC Society and has served two terms on its board of directors, as well as the current chair of Technical Committee 1 (TC1) on EMC Management. He is a long-time Program Chair and Vice-Chair of the EMC Society Chicago chapter and was the General Chair of the IEEE International EMC Symposium held in Chicago in 2005. Over the years he has presented papers on EMC topics to global and local audiences, and currently writes a monthly column for the IEEE EMC Society published in its magazine and on LinkedIn.

Tom will present “Performing Immunity Testing to Transient Signals” later that week at the Basic EMC Measurements tutorial. Tom has spoken at these sessions for 20 years, where attendees learn the variety of transient tests: electrostatic discharge (ESD); electrical fast transients (EFT); electrical surge and burst; and magnetic-field immunity. Across those tests, Tom emphasizes the importance of knowing a device’s failure criteria: if a transient occurs, is the device’s reaction a failure or a benign response? Engineers spend more time answering that question than on the test itself.

As part of the EMC and compliance industry, Elite has always had a commitment to standards, education, and professional development. Craig and Tom carry on that commitment as they speak to large audiences this year in Spokane. For more information, visit the symposium website to see the advance program and register to attend.

For information on how these standards and these tests can affect your product, contact the experts at Elite. Let Elite put its experience to work for you.

Marine EMC Recreational Craft Requirements

EMC Tests for Recreational Boats

Whether on land or sea, electromagnetic interference (EMI) is there. We know EMI affects electronic equipment, wireless devices, and land-based vehicles, but EMI also is present in the water. Boats operate in a unique environment and are affected by EMI as are systems in other environments. Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) is a device’s ability to limit its electromagnetic (EM) emissions and to continue operating normally when faced with EMI. This two-part series will review EMC requirements for two broad categories of watercraft, recreational and commercial.

Recreational Craft EM Environment

A recreational boat’s EM environment is different from vessels in commercial use. Recreational vessels occupy small spaces, with on-board RF devices mounted near controls, wiring harnesses, and other wireless instruments. Radio equipment is typically of lower power than that used on commercial vessels, though they are of equal importance for safety and navigation.

EMC Considerations and Standards

EMC requirements for recreational craft in the US, Canada, and the European Union (EU) include standards for electronic modules, wireless transmitters, and for the entire boat. Requirements are not the same in all markets, so boat builders and marine equipment manufacturers need to identify the appropriate standards for equipment types and their markets. The focus here is on EMC requirements, but other marine regulations exist for watercraft: boat construction and certification, life-saving equipment, and fire extinguishers, and more. For guidance on marine safety regulations beyond EMC, manufacturers should consult with the US Coast Guard, Transport Canada, and the EU Recreational Craft Directive.

EMC Regulations for Whole Boats/Vessels

In the US, neither the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) nor the Coast Guard have EMC requirements that apply to whole boats. But in Canada and the EU there are EM emissions standards for boats that have spark-ignition internal combustion (IC) engines as well as those that are electric powered. These requirements apply to boats having hull lengths up to 15 meters. 

The tests and limits follow international standard CISPR 12, which covers off-board receivers. Off-board receivers include residential TV and radio receivers, which are protected by CISPR 12 over the range of 30-1000MHz. In Canada, the radiated-emission requirement ICES-002 covers whole-boat emissions. It references Canadian standard CAN/CSA-C108.4-06, which tailors CISPR 12:2001 to apply limits only for broadband emissions. 

In the EU, EN 55012 is the harmonized standard for the CE Marking EMC Directive and is the radiated-emission requirement for boats with IC and electric engines. It references CISPR 12:2007 and includes both broadband and narrowband emissions limits. 

EMC Regulations for Electronic Subassemblies

Electronic subassemblies (ESAs) are the individual onboard components and controls providing propulsion, steering, and other functions. ESAs include: 

  • modules integrated by the boat builder when the boat was assembled;
  • devices added by resellers; 
  • aftermarket products added after the sale.      

ESAs may be digital electronics or wireless electronic modules. Digital ESAs and RF transmitters and receivers have requirements that differ. In the US, the FCC requirements for digital electronics are in 47CFR Part 15B, but the FCC has an exemption for unintentional radiators used exclusively on transportation vehicles, including boats, making those used exclusively on boats exempt from formal digital device testing (see 15.103(a)).

In Canada, ICES-003 carries digital-device requirements applying to products not installed at the factory. ICES-003 follows international standard CISPR 22 for Information Technology Equipment (ITE), which applies Class B (more restrictive) limits on radiated emissions. 

In the EU, the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) 2013/53/EU addresses recreational boat safety. The technical requirements are posted as harmonized standard in the Official Journal (OJ) for the RCD. For example, EN 25197 has requirements for electrical/electronic steering, shift, throttle, and dynamic position control systems that include EMC. Standards listed in the RCD OJ for a specific boat system should be applied first for the technical assessment. When a device-specific standard is not listed in the RCD OJ, then EN 60092-507:2015, the generic technical standard for boat electrical systems, applies. EN 60092-507 covers pleasure craft measuring 24-50 meters and has EMC requirements per IEC 60533 and IEC 60945, which cover recreational and commercial vessels.  

The International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA) is another trade organization providing guidance that supplements the regulatory standards.

Wireless Device EMC Regulations

As with all vessels, wireless devices on recreational craft must comply with applicable regulatory requirements, such as those from:

  • the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the US;
  • the Innovation, Science, and Economic Development (ISED) in Canada;
  • the European Union (EU) Radio Equipment Directive (RED) and the EMC Directive.

In certain cases, marine safety agency regulations such as those of the US Coast Guard and the EU Marine Equipment Directive also apply. FCC Part 80 covers marine band radio equipment, while FCC Part 15 covers low-power transmitters, such as Bluetooth, WiFi, and Zigbee. Cellular transmitters integrated on boats need to comply with FCC Parts 22, 24, or 27. Any type of intentional transmitter used on a recreational craft, whether low-power or licensed, will need to be certified before it can be brought to market. 

The Canadian regulations for marine band radios and low-power transmitters are mostly aligned with those of the FCC. Marine band Canadian RSS standards (188/182/288/238) apply to VHF safety bands and radar. Low-power transmitters, such as Bluetooth, WiFi, or Zigbee, are covered by RSS-210 and RSS-247. Cellular transmitters integrated on boats will need to comply with Canadian telecom standards. Intentional transmitters need to be certified to Canadian transmitter regulations before being put into operation. 

In the EU, the RED is the requirement for transmitters and receivers, which also covers certain marine band systems.  Transmitters and receivers need to meet RED requirements for effective spectrum use, EMC, and electrical safety. Radio communication and navigation equipment in the EU falling under the scope of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention also must be type approved per the Marine Equipment Directive (MED).

Voluntary Compliance with Industry Recognized ABYC standards. 

For any compliance evaluation, there will be components and subsystems that are not explicitly defined. In those cases, the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) provides guideline documents for manufacturers. ABYC is a marine-industry organization that establishes voluntary safety standards for recreational boats. ABYC publishes over 60 standards covering everything from boating-skill instruction to three-phase electrical power systems on watercraft.

Boat and propulsion builders have adopted ABYC standards to provide consistent certification of the electrical and mechanical systems present on recreational vessels.

ABYC specifications cover the wide range of components that have bearing on boat safety. ABYC S-31 addresses EMC for onboard electronic systems references the marine emissions limits in EN 60945 and IEC 60533 for equipment located near the helm as well as CISPR 11 for other locations. For most recreational marine electronics, it is recommended to comply with both EN 60945 and CISPR 11 (Class B) in order to completely address the EMC environment for all possible installations.

Conformity Assessment — Recreational Craft

A manufacturer’s self-declaration is the EMC conformity assessment process for recreational craft and pleasure boats. In Canada, a manufacturer declares compliance for boat level emissions testing per ICES-002, and for electronic subassemblies per ICES-003. Labels on compliant products need to carry the appropriate information. In Canada and the US, intentional transmitters must be certified and labeled accordingly. In the EU, the EMC conformity assessment process for an entire boat (EN 55012) and for electronic systems per the RCD or EMC Directives is also a manufacturer’s self-declaration. Radio transmitters are self-declared to be compliant, but a Notified Body may be required when a harmonized standard is not applied in full. 

Contact Elite for Help Navigating the Requirements

As the descriptions suggest, requirements for equipment on recreational craft and for whole boats call for interpretation and specific kinds of tests. Take advantage of Elite’s decades of experience as you pursue compliance for your marine equipment.  

In Part 2 of this series, we’ll cover the requirements and necessary tests for commercial vessels. Watch for the next installment and contact Elite with your questions to assure that your marine devices are compliant.

Join Elite’s monthly newsletter for the latest on standards, test procedures, fascinating facts, profiles of Elite engineers, and more. Fill out the form below to become part of our global community!

Newsletter Sign Up

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Elite Electronic Engineering, Inc., 1516 Centre Circle Drive, Downers Grove, IL, 60515, US, http://www.elitetest.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.

Introduction to CISPR 11 EMC Testing

Vessels on open water, whether on a small lake or the open sea, are equipped with electronics designed to keep them safe: communications gear, navigation tools, emergency beacons, and more. These devices need to meet regulatory requirements. The foundation electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) standards are CISPR 11 and CISPR 32. This month, we will provide an overview of CISPR 11 which has importance to marine electronic applications.


What is CISPR?

The International Special Committee on Radio Interference (CISPR: Comité International Spécial des Perturbations Radioélectriques) dates to 1933 when a conference of international groups met in Paris to find a way to deal with radio interference. They agreed that uniform measurement methods were needed to measure radiofrequency (RF) emissions. Doing that would make international trade easier and improve radio operations.

In 1950, CISPR was formally made into a special committee of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). In the years that followed, a series of working groups (WGs) were formed to address specific types of emissions and measurement techniques. 

A family of standards emerged from that work, among them CISPR 11 and CISPR 32. Much of current technology falls under these standards. Next month’s blog will show the application of CISPR 11 and CISPR 32 to marine equipment. This blog’s focus is the set of emission requirements in CISPR 11.

CISPR 11 EMC Compliance

CISPR 11, Industrial, Scientific, and Medical Equipment – Radio-Frequency Disturbance Characteristics – Limits and Methods of Measurement, first published in 1975, is the basic emission standard incorporated into EN 55011, the European Norm used in the European Union (EU). Limits apply to both radiated and conducted emissions. Subsequent editions have been published incorporating updates on limits and measurement techniques.

The title applies to a broad swath of electronic equipment and covers devices that operate in the equally broad frequency range of 9 kHz to 400 GHz. Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) RF applications are defined in the ITU Radio Regulations as those “designed to generate and use locally radio frequency energy for industrial, scientific, medical, domestic or similar purposes, excluding applications in the field of telecommunications.” The standard covers emission requirements in the frequency range of 9 kHz to 18 GHz.

CISPR 11 divides equipment into two broad groups:

  • Group 1 equipment contains all equipment that is not classified as Group 2 equipment. Examples are medical electrical equipment, machine tools, and scientific equipment
  • Group 2 equipment contains all ISM RF equipment in which RF energy in the frequency range 9 kHz to 400 GHz is intentionally generated and used or only used locally, in the form of EM radiation, inductive and/or capacitive coupling, for the treatment of material, for inspection/analysis purposes, or for transfer of EM energy. Examples are microwave ovens, inductive charging equipment, and electric welding equipment.

CISPR 11 divides equipment into two broad groups:

  • Group 1 equipment contains all equipment that is not classified as Group 2 equipment. Examples are medical electrical equipment, machine tools, and scientific equipment
  • Group 2 equipment contains all ISM RF equipment in which RF energy in the frequency range 9 kHz to 400 GHz is intentionally generated and used or only used locally, in the form of EM radiation, inductive and/or capacitive coupling, for the treatment of material, for inspection/analysis purposes, or for transfer of EM energy. Examples are microwave ovens, inductive charging equipment, and electric welding equipment.

Within those groups, CISPR 11 identifies two equipment classes:

  • Class A is defined as “equipment suitable for use in all locations other than those allocated in residential environments and those directly connected to a low voltage power supply network which supplies buildings used for domestic purposes.” In other words, industrial and heavy commercial equipment.
  • Class B equipment is “suitable for use in locations in residential environments and in establishments directly connected to a low voltage power supply network which supplies buildings used for domestic purposes.” These are the devices typically used in a home or in light commercial applications.
  • Different emission limits apply to the two classes, with Class B being more restrictive than Class A. 
  • Conducted emission limits are specified for the two equipment groups for AC mains power ports and DC power ports. As an example, the AC-port conducted limits for Group 1 equipment are shown for both Class A and Class B. Note the significantly lower emission limit under Class B.

Conducted emission limits for Group 1, Class A equipment measured on a test site

(a.c. mains power port)

Conducted emission limits for Group 1, Class B equipment measured on a test site

(a.c. mains power port)

Similarly, radiated emission limits are specified as well, with different limits depending on the measurement distance and the type of test chamber used.

Electromagnetic radiation disturbance limits for Class A Group 1 equipment measured on a test site

Electromagnetic radiation disturbance limits for Class B Group 1 equipment measured on a test site

CISPR 11 provides specifications for the test equipment to be used for measurement:

  • ambient noise levels; 
  • measurement instruments (receiver and/or spectrum analyzer);
  • artificial mains network to provide a fixed terminal impedance for mains AC power-port conducted-emission measurements;
  • artificial DC network for fixed-impedance termination at DC power ports;
  • voltage probes, antennas, and test chamber specifications.

The equipment under test (EUT) configuration is also defined, with diagrams showing typical setups for different form factors: tabletop, floor-standing, multiple interconnecting boxes, etc. The test plan needs to clearly describe the setup. Clause 6 covers the EUT configuration and Clause 7 addresses the EUT’s interconnecting cables.

CISPR 11 at Sea

CISPR 11 plays a significant role in Marine EMC regulations, but there are others: 

  • EN 60945
  • IEC 60533
  • ABYC-S31
  • Various marine classification societies’ standards that include emission requirements

The ABYC-S31 standard includes reference to the CISPR 11 Class B limits for marine installations other than at the helm.

In next month’s blogs, we’ll discuss CISPR 32 and how CISPR 11 compares and relates to other marine requirements. Marine vessels fall under multiple jurisdictions. The type of vessel, its application, and its intended use all have bearing on applicable regulations.

Elite has been performing CISPR 11 tests since the standard’s introduction and can answer questions regarding what you need to know for your product. Contact the experts at Elite and find out how to test your product quickly and accurately.

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10 Steps to Successful Auto EMC Testing: Part 3

Automotive Testing Steps 7-10

It’s all good. You began with Steps 1 – 2 and moved through Steps 3 – 6. You defined your product’s market, drafted a test plan, built and tested prototypes, and did it while in touch with the manufacturer. Now you’re in the home stretch and ready to do final validation testing. Welcome to Steps 7-10 of Elite’s Ten Steps to Successful Automotive Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Testing.

To paraphrase the philosopher and baseball great Yogi Berra, if you don’t know where you’re going you might not get there. Let’s set up the final tests because after going through the first six steps, you know where you’re going.

7. Schedule Well in Advance

At Elite, quick access to lab service is always the goal. But depending on workload, there could be a schedule backlog of multiple weeks. Be sure to contact Elite well in advance of the date the product will be ready for testing.

When you talk to the Elite team, give them your product’s requirements. They have the expertise to identify the appropriate standards and test methods and then outline the conformity assessment process.

Once a proposal is generated, Elite will schedule all services based on the required time and available lab resources. An early communication channel with Elite’s lab scheduler is the best path to the desired start and completion dates. A purchase order is usually not required to hold a scheduled test date, but one will be required to start testing.

Some regulatory tests for European Union vehicles and their sub-assemblies require an “E-marking” approval through a European Notified Body (NB). These are processed directly between the NB and the equipment manufacturer. Elite can provide contacts for NB services while working with the NB to coordinate test scheduling.

8. Prepare for Validation Testing

Ahead of the scheduled testing date, a functional system needs to be delivered to the test lab. Be sure to add time to make sure the wiring harnesses, support equipment, and other ancillary hardware are ready to begin the test. The lab will need the following items at a minimum:

  • A properly approved test plan for validation by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM)
  • Device(s) to be tested 
  • Wiring harnesses
  • Load box and support equipment to properly simulate the systems that interface with the test item
  • Laptop computer with a controller area network (CAN) bus simulator
  • Monitoring equipment
  • Instructions for operating the equipment

Some support equipment can be provided by Elite, but clients should identify their needs early so the necessary resources are ready when your tests begin. Pre-arranged equipment available through Elite includes:

  • Fiber Optic Transceivers
  • Laptop PCs, Oscilloscopes, Audio Analyzers
  • Communication Simulator (CMW500)
  • Mechanical fixturing, tooling, and test automation

9. Be Available When Testing Begins

Elite business hours are typically 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Plan to arrive shortly before 8:00 a.m. on the first scheduled test day. If special shifts or extended hours will be necessary, contact Elite at the earliest phase of the test project.

Elite clients are always welcome to be present for testing and are encouraged to attend the initial setup and first few test operations. Equipment can be shipped with setup and operating instructions, and Elite can provide remote video conferencing capabilities to save time and expenses associated with traveling to our lab.

Elite’s engineers then configure the unit for testing and run tests while monitoring the device’s performance. If the client is not present during the test, a technical support contact who can be quickly reached needs to be identified to resolve any issues. Spare test samples, if available, are also recommended.

10. Respond Quickly to Project Delays

Project delays in advance of the test starting date sometimes happen. If they do, clients need to notify Elite so the reserved lab time can be reallocated, and new start date can be set.

When problems occur during testing, Elite’s engineers work closely with the client to resolve them. This includes test-item setup complications, non-compliances, or Elite equipment faults. For cases where clients are not present during testing, the client contact needs to be available by phone or video conference for troubleshooting. In those cases, email and mobile phone contact information are needed.

Contact Elite today! Our Experts, Your Timing, Best Value

Automotive EMC testing can be a challenging process, but with the support of Elite engineers, you can rest assured that you’re working with the most knowledgeable, best equipped, and best value service provider in the industry. Contact us to get your project started on the right path.

Let us know how we can help you succeed with your product development.

Why Trust Elite?

  • 60+ years of EMC testing experience
  • 20+ automotive EMC test engineers and iNARTE organizational certification
  • 15+ years of continuous laboratory recognition from Ford, GM, and Stellantis (formerly FCA)
  • Only independent test laboratory fully recognized for all Ford, GM, Stellantis, Mazda, and Hyundai-Kia EMC test methods

Call Elite at 630-495-9770 with your questions.

Join Elite’s monthly newsletter for the latest on standards, test procedures, fascinating facts, profiles of Elite engineers, and more. Fill out the form below to become part of our global community!

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Electric Vehicles (EVs) – Are Your Batteries Tested?

Everyone knows about batteries. They’re used in laptops, tablets, cellphones, toys, hoverboards, ear buds – the list is long. Cars and trucks have always had batteries for starters, ignition, and other functions, and small vehicles like golf carts are often battery-powered.

What’s new is the proliferation of electric vehicles (EVs). Chances are that if you don’t own one yourself, you know someone who does, and their numbers will keep growing as time goes on. They’re cleaner and require less maintenance than vehicles with internal-combustion engines (ICE), and economies of scale will gradually bring down their cost.

EVs have broad advantages. To realize their full value, their battery packs need to be tested for safety and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). Batteries use reactive compounds to generate energy, and their supporting hardware uses voltage-regulating circuitry that generate electromagnetic interference (EMI). The bigger the battery, the more important its safety. And the higher the internal electrical levels, the more important are the EMC tests.

Standards for Battery Packs

Rechargeable batteries come in different compositions depending on their application. EV batteries are lithium-ion, while smaller batteries can be lithium-ion or nickel-cadmium. International safety and EMC standards are the foundation requirements.

  • UN 38.3, the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria Part III Subsection 38.3 paragraph 38.3.5, is the global requirement for domestic and international transportation of hazardous materials, like lithium-ion batteries. Batteries need to be certified to UN 38.3 before being allowed to ship by air, sea, rail, or roadway.
  • IEC 62281:2019Safety of primary and secondary lithium cells and batteries during transport, contains requirements and test methods to assure safe transportation for lithium-ion batteries.
  • MIL-PRF 32383/4ABattery, Rechargeable, Sealed, Lithium-Ion, BB-2525 and BB-3525, sets requirements for sealed rechargeable batteries designed for use in US military portable devices. Tests include conformability, over-flex, immersion, and nail penetration.
  • UL 1642Lithium Batteries, is a safety standard describing tests and characterization of lithium-ion batteries, especially those defined as user-replaceable. UL 1642 covers safety performance when operating in a product and is non-compulsory in the US.
  • UL 62133Secondary Cells and Batteries Containing Alkaline or Other Non-Acid Electrolytes – Safety Requirements for Portable Sealed Secondary Cells, and for Batteries Made From Them, for Use in Portable Applications, is the safety standard for batteries made with alkaline or other non-acid electrolytes. Because of alkaline batteries’ widespread use, UL 62133 is the de facto standard for international compliance.
  • SAE J2464Electric and Hybrid Electric Vehicle Rechargeable Energy Storage System (RESS) Safety and Abuse Testing, is the recommended practice for testing rechargeable systems to conditions beyond their normal operating range.
  • MIL-PRF-32565Performance Specification Battery, Rechargeable, Sealed, 6T Lithium-Ion, is the performance and safety standard for 6T form-factor lithium-ion batteries.

Battery Testing at Elite

Rechargeable batteries are typically used in applications where long life and safe operation are at a premium.  The environmental stress tests called for in the standards listed above fall into several areas of Elite’s expertise, as shown in the table to the right:

A wide variety of tests performed at Elite come under these rules, along with other specific requirements for certain manufacturers or battery applications.

  • Temperature Exposure, in which the batteries are placed in a temperature-extreme environment while under operating conditions defined in the applicable standard.
  • Thermal Runaway, which is a top-of-mind concern among battery manufacturers. Elite’s thermal imaging camera allows precise tracking of the battery’s thermal condition.
  • Ingress Protection (IP), from levels IP1 to IP9, depending on the battery’s size.
  • Altitude Testing, in which the battery is placed in a chamber and subjected to varying levels of air pressure to simulate high-altitude conditions. The operating condition of the battery during the test is specified the applicable standard.
  • Vibration & Shock Testing: EV battery packs, along with other industrial-application rechargeable batteries, endure almost continuous vibration and mechanical shock in actual use. The standards listed above, along with specific manufacturer requirements, define the operating conditions and vibration levels applicable to the battery type.
  • Overvoltage, Short Circuit, and Overcharge Testing: Electrical malfunctions are an obvious risk to an electrical-storage system. Tests have defined that subject the batteries to short circuits, over-charging, and over-voltage levels, checking for hazards during the tests.
  • Specialized Testing: crush, nail penetration, immersion, projectile – these are among the specialized tests often required by a vehicle manufacturer or other OEM. The goal in each test is safety under conditions of abuse.

EMC Standards Applicable to Battery Packs

EV battery packs and their associated hardware need to meet electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) requirements, both because of the risk of EM emissions and the potential vulnerability of the control circuitry to ambient EM fields and transients.

The applicable standards can vary depending on the application of the battery pack and the specific vehicle manufacturer’s requirements, but several broad standards are likely to apply:

  • The EU CE Mark requirements, covering both emissions and immunity to EM fields, electrostatic discharge (ESD), radiated and conducted immunity.
  • MIL-STD-461, covering many of the same phenomena as the CE Mark requirements, with some additional test features.
  • The SAE series of EMC standards, covering EM field phenomena, along with AC power line electric field immunity.

Especially in the automotive industry, individual manufacturers are likely to have their own specifications and test procedures in addition to the baseline regulatory standards.

Contact Elite to discuss which standards and type of test is best suited to meet your product’s needs.

Planning a Battery-Pack EMC Test

As described in Elite’s blog series, Ten Steps to a Successful Vehicle EMC Test, the first steps are to identify the product’s intended markets and the standards that apply. The foundational standards will be CISPR 12 and CISPR 25, covering radiated and conducted EMI, along with UN 38.3 for transporting and shipping lithium-ion batteries

Elite has decades of experience testing various forms of battery packs. John Gondek has been among Elite’s battery-test engineers and now serves as a customer interface to plan the tests and answer questions that arise. John has developed a series of items to be observed when planning and executing a battery test:

  • Remember: safety first. The object of tests performed under these standards is to ensure safe operation of what can be a combustible device. Always respect batteries when during transport and during a test.
  • Define how the battery samples are to be transported. Check with your courier on any shipping restrictions or handling requirements. How are they being prepared for shipment? What charge state are they in? These questions are fundamental to the batteries’ safe handling and shipping.
  • Provide details on battery chemistry, pack design, number of cells, and information on protective circuits. 
  • Provide wiring diagrams and pin connection details.
  • Define the battery state during the test. For a meaningful test, the battery needs to be in a proper state of charge, both for testing and charge cycling. Clients should provide specifications and tolerances for all relevant performance metrics.
  • Monitor battery performance. During the test, the battery needs to be monitored for its pass/fail state. Parameters such as voltage levels, cycle time, and changes in its mass need to be observed and noted for changes that could be regarded as failures.

Elite’s Emerging Battery-Test Capabilities

To answer the needs of the EV industry, Elite is adding new services and equipment that meet the growing demand and the evolving standards. One example is the 28,000-pound vibration table with a 5’ x 5’ slip table surface now in place, providing a mechanical testing resource to handle larger battery packs.  Watch for more details in a future blog.

And stay tuned for more on our upcoming battery-testing chamber that will provide the means to meet the evolving test standards.   

The remarkable growth of electric vehicles has brought the need for battery testing into sharp focus. Contact Elite’s experts to start planning your tests and get answers to your questions. Elite’s deep expertise, reputation for timeliness, and trusted results will help you reach your market with confidence.

Join Elite’s monthly newsletter for the latest on standards, test procedures, fascinating facts, profiles of Elite engineers, and more. Fill out the form below to become part of our global community!

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Testing EV Charging Systems

Testing what’s under the hood

A whole vehicle – car, truck, tractor, whatever – can be EMC tested. As described in Elite’s previous blog on whole-vehicle EMC testing, electric vehicles (EVs) can be tested for radiofrequency (RF) emissions and immunity in a drive-in test chamber. Requirements set by the manufacturers and those set by regulatory bodies are used to determine if an assembled vehicle meets the specs for electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).

But vehicles are complex machines full of widely varying systems and components, and each of those is complex. Systems for battery and charging control, motor-drive, and driver interface, among others, are often provided by subcontractors to the vehicle’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Each of those systems has its own requirements they need to meet.

On-Board Charging Systems

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has defined standards that include EMC. It’s clear that minimizing interference among the vehicle’s electronics is needed to assure safe operation. But also important are RF emissions and immunity outside the vehicle. The electronics inside produce effects on the outside.

Running EMC tests on internal systems outside the vehicle requires fixtures and support that simulate operating conditions. The onboard charger is an AC-to-DC converter in the vehicle that connects with an external cable to an AC mains outlet. There are two charging levels used by on-board chargers:

Level 1 — The standard 120-volt AC mains outlet used in North America. Level 1 does not require a special installation but charges more slowly.

Level 2 — The 240-volt mains outlet, is typically found in dedicated charging stations and as separate installations in residential buildings. Level 2 charges faster, due to the higher voltage and typically higher current capacity.

The high-speed switching inside the AC-to-DC converter generates significant electromagnetic interference (EMI), owing to the high currents required. More current means more energy, which translates into the challenge of more EMI.

The Applicable Standards

Vehicle OEMs usually have very specific EMC requirements of their own that are based on industry practices. The broad vehicle EMC requirements are set up in Regulation 10 of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE Reg 10), which defines vehicle EMC requirements. Part of that covers on-board charging systems, and Regulation 10 refers to two standards for direction on testing:

• IEC 61000-6-1, “Generic standards – Immunity standard for residential, commercial and light-industrial environments”

• IEC 61000-6-3, “Generic standards – Emission standard for equipment in residential environments”

Immunity

IEC 61000-6-1 specifies that the equipment under test (EUT) “continue to operate as intended during and after the test,” which simply means there are no system failures when the EUT is subjected to the specified RF field. Test procedures for each configuration of the charging system are referred to standards relating to specific phenomena:

  • Electrostatic Discharge (ESD): IEC 61000-4-2
  • RF fields: IEC 61000-4-3
  • Electrical fast transients: IEC 61000-4-4
  • Surge: IEC 61000-4-5
  • Conducted Disturbances: IEC 61000-4-6
  • Magnetic fields: IEC 61000-4-8
  • And more

These are fundamental standards spelling out the steps to be followed for each of these immunity aspects. The test severity levels that specify voltage levels and failure-criteria specifics are set by the manufacturer. Those details are given in the test plan agreed upon between the manufacturer and the test lab.

As the list above suggests, immunity covers more than just radio noise. Effects of surges, ESD, and transients all must be taken into consideration. The increasing complexity of vehicle control systems makes careful testing, not an option, but an imperative.  

Emissions

IEC 61000-6-3 specifies that RF emissions (both radiated and conducted) from the EUT must be limited to acceptable levels. As with the immunity requirement, applicable basic standards are referenced:

  • CISPR 16-1 for test site and equipment
  • CISPR 16-2 for test methods

For testing in a semi-anechoic chamber, IEC 61000-6-3 sets these radiated emission limits:

Frequency RangeLimit @10m
30-230 MHz30 dB(µV/m) quasi-peak
230-1000 MHz37 dB(µV/m) quasi-peak
Frequency RangeLimit @3m
1000-3000 MHz70 dB(µV/m) peak,50 dB(µV/m) avg
3000-6000 MHz74 dB(µV/m) peak,54 dB(µV/m) avg

The standard allows measurements to be done at 3 m, 5 m, 10 m, or 30 m.  Adjustments in the limits for different antenna distances are made based on the CISPR measurement standards. Development testing of prototype devices are done to identify emission sources. Final verification and compliance testing is done to confirm that the assembled system is within the emission limits set in the standard.

Final Product Requirements

EMC testing is fundamental to all electronic devices and is especially so in EV systems. The higher energy levels in EV charging systems increase the risk of disruptive RF interference, which can have a direct effect on vehicle safety. These devices and the systems they comprise need to demonstrate both minimal RF emissions and immunity to external interference threats.

The goal in both cases is to minimize risk to an electric vehicle’s highly integrated electronics, as well as to other nearby electronic devices.

EMC testing is part of a suite of tests EV manufacturers and their suppliers need to be aware of. Contact the experts at Elite to determine which tests apply to your device, system, or vehicle. The future is now for EVs, and Elite is there to offer the testing support you need.

Join Elite’s monthly newsletter for the latest on standards, test procedures, fascinating facts, profiles of Elite engineers, and more. Fill out the form below to become part of our global community!

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10 Steps to Successful Auto EMC Testing: Part 2

Last Month, we started our engine with the first two steps.

Continue the journey with Steps 3 thru 6

Benjamin Franklin wrote, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Elite Electronic Engineering’s Ten Steps to Successful Automotive EMC Testing shows how to prepare to run an electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) automotive EMC test. Automotive tests can appear daunting, but preparation improves the chance of success. 

Step 1 and Step 2 were highlighted in last month’s Elite blog, talking about defining your target market and developing a test plan. Those steps are fundamental and need to be considered at the beginning of a product’s development.

In this entry, Steps 3 through 6 are described, taking you through the development’s progress from specification-setting and on through design and prototype evaluation. These steps may seem obvious at first glance but sometimes are overlooked when obstacles come up.

Next month’s Elite blog will cover steps seven through ten, all about preparing your project to fully prepare. Ben Franklin would be proud.


Step 3: Specify Function & Expected Performance

With a test plan in place, you have the project’s outline that considers the product’s operating modes and user configurations. The test outline is influenced by whether it’s a safety-critical or a convenience item.

In an immunity test, a convenience item may be allowed to respond if it returns to normal operation after the tested threat is removed. The test levels for a convenience item are usually less severe since they do not affect the vehicle’s safe operation.

In contrast, a safety-critical item in an immunity test is typically subjected to levels higher than those applied to a convenience item. Those devices need to function normally without upset when subjected to a tested threat.

Step 4: Design for Compatibility

The object of EMC and electrical testing is to confirm proper operation in the presence of interference, whether from itself or other nearby devices. Electromagnetic interference (EMI) takes different forms that cause responses in different ways.

An OEM’s corporate EMC requirements are the benchmarks for testing and performance. Regulatory requirements that are government imposed, such as CISPR 12, are key for aftermarket devices. Those rules stipulate emissions limits to protect communications and to assure safe operation of vulnerable electronics. An example is CISPR 25, which sets requirements protecting on-board receivers.

For electric vehicles, CISPR 22 may apply for emissions through the AC mains connection. The subassemblies involved in safe operation are also tested for electrostatic discharge (ESD) immunity, radiated transients, and conducted bursts.

Step 5: Confirm Design with Development Testing

Tests performed during development typically cover only a subset of emissions and immunity. Those are often enough to give confidence in the product design. Elite’s experts can recommend the applicability of specific tests.

The same EMC test lab should be used for both development and validation testing where possible. Running the same tests in the same lab assures product familiarity and may save travel costs for the later validation tests. Since the lab will use the same test methods for both sets of tests, surprises are minimized in the validation tests.

Development tests done at the supplier’s in-house lab needs to correlate the with the lab doing the validation tests. Elite’s experts can help identify those correlations.

Step 6: Communicate with the End User

Murphy’s law is hard to avoid. When issues occur during the test, they should be shared with the vehicle OEM. Often the OEM will work with the supplier to mitigate the issue, or they may choose to accept results based on analysis, test conditions, or other circumstances.

The OEM’s interest is in valid data that gives the most accurate picture of the vehicle’s compliance and safety. The OEM often has EMC experts on staff who can work toward a solution.

Project success is more likely if the OEM customer is involved during the design process, including the planning and execution of the EMC tests. There is no substitute for open communication between the supplier and the OEM. A successful program is much more likely if everyone is informed and involved.

Contact Elite for more information and to schedule your product’s Automotive EMC testing.

Coming up in Part 3 next month: Steps 7 through Step 10 – Planning and running a successful validation test.

Learn more in Step 1 through Step 2 from Elite’s e-book, “10 Steps to Successful Auto EMC Testing

Craig Fanning Explains CISPR 12/25 Radiated Emissions Testing

It’s no secret that every generation of motor vehicles is more reliant on electronics for safe and economical operation. Collision avoidance and automatic parallel parking are examples of the high-tech heights our cars have reached.  Electric vehicles (EVs) raise the technological bar even higher with highly integrated electronics governing every system from transmissions to touch screens.

As electronics become more complex, the need to assure their reliability becomes more critical. Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) is in the first rank of concerns for vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) along with mechanical stability, moisture resistance, heat tolerance, and the other parameters that have bearing on a vehicle’s safe operation.

OEMs have had automotive EMC standards in place for many years. They share the same objectives as those issued by CISPR, the European standards body, and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). The radiofrequency (RF) phenomena haven’t changed, but the vehicles have, and that means more scrutiny on EMC testing.

Elite’s Craig Fanning is one of the industry leaders in automotive EMC. He serves as vice-chair and working-group convener for CISPR/D, focusing on vehicle electronics. Craig leads Elite’s automotive-testing effort and shares some background on that work. 

The Standards

CISPR, ISO, and SAE are the organizations that draft and maintain international automotive EMC standards. SAE’s focus is on North American applications. Standards bodies tend to follow each other’s work and share information, and SAE standards have in some cases been incorporated into international standards. When the global standard is published, the equivalent SAE standard is withdrawn and becomes a reference that documents any differences from the newer global standard.

Beyond that, the vehicle OEMs have their own requirements they apply to themselves and to their suppliers. Because North American OEMs sell their products around the world, international standards are a substantial part of their internal requirements. Elite is recognized by domestic and international OEMs to perform tests to their specific company requirements, in addition to the broader CISPR, ISO, and SAE standards.

CISPR 12 as it Applies to Components

There are two broad categories of automotive EMC standards: those applying to the whole vehicle, and those applying to components within the vehicle. ISO, for example, publishes ISO 11451-xx for whole vehicles, and ISO 11452-xx and ISO 7637-xx for components (“xx” are the sub-documents specific to a category and test type).

CISPR 12 spells out vehicle-level radiated emissions. CISPR 25 focuses on component-level emissions and system immunity. A basic distinction is that CISPR 12 is intended to protect devices outside the vehicle off-board receivers from harmful RF emissions, while CISPR 25 is used to protect receivers and devices mounted on the vehicle on-board receivers.

Craig has written about this and offered an example to illustrate the difference: “A chainsaw with an internal combustion engine (but with no on-board receivers) would need to meet the requirements of CISPR 12, but CISPR 25 would not apply to this chainsaw since it does not utilize any on-board receivers.”

CISPR 12 radiated emission tests can be done at a 3m or 10m distance, which works neatly with the typical size of a semi-anechoic chamber. Elite’s experience in all forms of automotive EMC testing and a variety of test chambers is well-equipped to perform the mandated tests.

CISPR 25 for Whole-Vehicle and Component Tests

CISPR 25 is intended to protect the vehicle’s onboard receivers and is written in two parts. One applies to full-vehicle tests, employing antennas mounted on the vehicle to detect emissions from the vehicle’s own systems.  The intent is to measure how much noise finds its way into the radio from its antenna. Vehicles are unique is size, shape, and type of service.  Craig recommends starting with Elite’s blog series, “Prepare for Vehicle EMC Testing in 10 Steps,”, or for more detail Elite’s e-book, “10 Steps to Successful Automotive EMC Testing,” can be downloaded for reference.

The second part applies to conducted and radiated emission from the components within the vehicle. Those components typically are a manageable size and can be tested in a 3m chamber.  Elite has a number of chambers that are well-suited to those measurements, and Elite works with customers to match the product with the appropriate test environment.

CISPR 25 ranges from 150 kHz to 5.95 GHz, a range that can be a challenge in absorber-lined test chambers. The standard gives guidance on test-chamber sizing and layout. Because each product and its applications are different, Craig encourages those needing a test to contact Elite to determine which chamber and what configuration is applicable to a specific product. A test plan can then be developed to assure meaningful results.

Strategies for a Successful Test

For any specific test or application, different portions of these standards will apply. If your automotive product needs EMC tests and verification to CISPR, ISO, SAE, or OEM requirements, contact Elite. Craig and Elite’s team of experts can work with you to find the right standard, the right test facility, and help you devise a test plan that assures a trusted result.

Contact Elite’s automotive-testing group for the information you need.

Read more in Craig Fanning’s previous article with InCompliance magazine.

Join Elite’s monthly newsletter for the latest on standards, test procedures, fascinating facts, profiles of Elite engineers, and more. Fill out the form below to become part of our global community!

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EMC Testing of Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles (EVs) are not the future – they are now.  Awareness of EVs is at an all-time high and you may already own one, like Elite’s Robert Bugielski.  EVs are not simply cars and trucks with batteries replacing the engine.  They’re complex systems that have to meet users’ expectations as well as the requirements for safety and reliability required of their petroleum-powered predecessors.

An EV consists of multiple systems: the battery pack; the charging system; the motor (or motors); and the auxiliary systems assuring safety and comfort.  Each system has its own design and component parts that need testing for design verification and regulatory compliance.

The individual systems need several kinds of tests.  Among those are the electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) tests to confirm that radiofrequency (RF) emissions are not excessive and that their operation is not disrupted by ambient RF fields and transients.

Whole-vehicle tests are performed to measure RF emissions across a wide range of frequencies. The standards referenced for acceptable levels and test procedures are typically provided by the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The OEMs have corporate standards specifying acceptable emission limits and test procedures in different configurations and conditions. 

Elite’s deep Automotive EMC Testing experience is apparent in the variety of vehicles and subassemblies that have passed through the lab. 

From forklifts to fire trucks, Elite knows automotive EMC.  The growth of the EV industry brings the need for comprehensive EMC-testing capability into sharp relief. It’s important to note that though individual subsystems may be shown to meet an emission or immunity requirement, their inclusion in the finished vehicle does not guarantee that the whole vehicle will meet the requirement.

Manufacturers that produce component systems need to meet the OEM’s basic specifications, which include RF emissions and immunity. The vehicle components are often supplied to the OEM by different manufacturers, but ultimately the whole vehicle needs to meet its applicable requirements.

Elite is uniquely equipped to perform whole-vehicle EMC testing, having long experience verifying cars, trucks, buses, and agricultural machines in its 70-foot semi-anechoic chamber. Major vehicle manufacturers have recognized Elite as their trusted compliance-testing facility.

Elite has two such chambers: Room 22, a 21.3m x 10.67m x 5.49m semi-anechoic chamber spacious enough to accommodate everything from small forklifts to transit buses.  The other is Room 23 for small vehicles, measuring 9.45m x 7m x 5.5m.

Automotive technology keeps improving and complexity keeps increasing. The systems and subsystems in a vehicle have to operate as a unit so that function, safety, and efficiency can all reach their peak. Whole-vehicle testing allows an OEM to confirm that interoperating parts of a vehicle work in harmony to keep the finished vehicle in regulatory compliance.

The future of automotive technology really is now. Contact the experts at Elite Electronic Engineering to keep your vehicle and its market moving forward.

Interesting in learning about the basics of Electric Vehicles? Check out Elite’s Introduction to Electric Vehicles blog.

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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, 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.