EMC/EMI Testing

Time to Comply with New EMC and LVD Directives

The new Directives for EMC 2014/30/EU and for low voltage electrical safety 2014/35/EU are now being enforced. Be sure to take steps now so that your products are in compliance today.

  • Review the new Directives
  • Verify your harmonized standards are still current
  • Make sure your product is marked with manufacturers/importer  information
  •  Confirm product markings for batch or serial number
  •  Publish your updated EMC and LVD DoC

The changes to the new EMC Directive and Low Voltage Directive will impact the administrative part of conformity assessment and not the technical requirements  (Note: the exception being for broadcast receivers or TTE).

As of the date of this blog post, the European Union has not yet updated the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) and the list of harmonized standards for the new directives. The current OJEU provides reference only to the old EMC and LV Directives. We anticipate the EU will be making these changes within the next several months.  

Until the European Union updates the OJEU, manufacturers should identify the new EMC and LVD on their DoC and apply the latest list of harmonized standards referencing the old EMCD and LVD on their new Declaration of Conformity and in their technical files.

Also, if you are an Ag/forestry Tractor manufacturer, note that the functional safety type-approval regulation covering EMC for tractors is in effect as of January 2016.

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Elite’s Automotive EMC Lab Recognition

Now Updated for the new Ford and GM specs!

As the leader in automotive EMC testing, we at Elite continue to improve processes, expand capabilities, and strengthen our credentials as a recognized test facility. Our latest efforts have earned us laboratory recognition by Ford and GM Elite for their newly updated corporate EMC standards.

EMC laboratory recognition is a formal and rigorous assessment of a lab’s quality processes, expertise, and capabilities. The evaluation is performed independently by the EMC stewards at each of the big three automotive companies. Our ISO 17025 quality system accreditation is a prerequisite, but the automotive recognition goes far beyond by examining in detail Elite’s test process for each and every EMC and electrical OEM requirement. The examination confirms we are using the proper equipment and that our methods are consistent with those practices by the OEM. The review confirms that our documentation and reported results are clear and concise and that we can demonstrate accurate and consistent results through proficiency testing. In the end, automotive EMC lab recognition is an OEM statement of confidence in Elite recognizing we can execute EMC and electrical tests accurately and efficiently and that our results can be accepted.

For years, Elite has been a fully recognized EMC lab for Chrysler, Ford, and GM. In fact, we remain one of the only approved labs with “full” recognition, meaning that Elite is approved for each and every OEM test method rather than only a selected subset.

Elite is also a recognized Jaguar Land Rover EMC facility and we are approved by Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) for “E” mark testing of components and whole vehicles, and tractors.  

Our automotive recognitions complement our other credentials such as being an FCC Telecommunications Certification Body (TCB) for wireless device certifications, a Canadian certification body, and a European Union Notified Body for the Radio Equipment Directive. We have also achieved the impressive status of iNARTE Organizational Certification which recognizes that at least 70% of our EMC engineers who are eligible for iNARTE certification have achieved the credential. 

Contact us today if you have questions (Steve Laya via email).

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New EMC Directive (2014/30/EU)

Starting April 20th, 2016 the current European Union directives for EMC and Low Voltage begin their transition to the new EMC requirements in Directive 2014/30/EU and new requirements for electrical safety in Directive 2014/35/EU. 

Download the European Commission explanation on transition dates

For EMC, the new directive 2014/30/EU will not significantly impact the continuing compliance or new compliance for most products. One noted exception will be for broadcast receivers which are moving from the scope of the EMC Directive to the new Radio Equipment Directive.

The technical requirements for EMC will still be defined through harmonized EN standards and the requirements will not change significantly for most products as a result of the transition.   However, all harmonized standards are regularly updated as they evolve with technology.  It’s the manufacturer’s obligation to review the “Europa” website Official Journal on a regular basis and ensure their products remain compliant with the most current revision of the harmonized standards.

We recommend manufacturers read the new directives and information provided at the Europa website or contact Elite to understand how the changes may impact individual products and unique cases. 

Download EMC Directive 2014_30_EU

At a minimum…

  • Check revision dates of the harmonized standards listed on technical reports and compare them to the current revision of the Official Journal.
  • Review and update the Declaration of Conformity (DoC) accordingly (See Annex IV)
  • Clearly identify the apparatus in the DoC to allow traceability.
  • Review the CE label and confirm it’s correctly applied
  • Confirm the operator’s information and technical instructions comply with the directive’s requirements. (See Annex II (3)).

Contact the Elite sales team to review your current technical documentation and verify the steps required to remain compliant.

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Employee Spotlight: Jon Grady

Outdoorsy, ready for adventure, and multi-talented–this month’s spotlight exercises both sides of his brain! Find out a little more about Jon Grady, one of our EMC engineers, and learn some useful words of wisdom…

Quick Team Member Facts 

Title:  EMC Engineer

Year Started at Elite: 2013

Areas of Interest:  

Military/Aerospace Test Methods—and more recently—Automotive EMC Test Methods

Education:  

AAS Industrial Electrical Technology—Kankakee Community College 2010; BS Electronic Engineering Technology—DeVry University 2013; Certificate Business Administration—UIC 2014

Any unique hobbies, talents, skills, experiences, etc.: 

  • Reading 
  • Art: acrylic paints, polymer clay, modeling (kits; not my other profession), puzzles
  • Gaming

How did you get into EMI testing?

Honesty this job kind of fell into my lap.  I think a better question is “How did you get into electricity/electronics?” My family owns an Electrical Wholesale Supply Warehouse, so I guess you can say I developed a passion for it early on. I knew a lot of products before starting at Elite so that helped immensely. But I felt my niche was in electricity, not sales.  Being able to use the knowledge I gained in school and an understanding of how components work in electrical systems, I knew I could serve a better purpose. Most of everything I learned on an industrial scale is similarly applied to smaller, component-level circuits.  Not something I wanted to jump into right away, but it really seemed like something I was good at and also enjoyed. This is mostly why I wanted to pursue a degree in engineering. 

What’s the most rewarding aspect of working at Elite?

The working environment really holds everything together.  Of course, the employee benefits are incomparable, and it’s great that Elite sticks by its “families.” 

What’s your proudest moment so far?

Well, I haven’t had children yet, so graduating and landing a job related to my field of study is important. 

What would you consider to be your passion outside of work? How did you get started in it? Any advice for anyone looking to try this activity?

Camping/Travel–ALWAYS pack for the worst and unexpected cases

Anything that customers/colleagues would find surprising about you?

I have a Halloween birthday

If you had a personal motto, what would it be?

It takes a struggle to learn anything.  

If you could be paid something other than money, what would you choose?

Pizza pies.

Labels: Elite Experts; Jon Grady; EMC testing

Employee Spotlight: Mark Stojkovich

If you’re a golf enthusiast and passionate about EMC excellence, you’ve just met your match in Mark Stojkovich! Find out a little more about one of our senior EMC engineers who come from our military and commercial aviation department and pick up a few new tips for that golf swing.

Quick Team Member Facts 

Title:  Senior EMC Engineer

Year Started at Elite: 1999

Areas of Interest:  Military and Commercial Aviation

Education:  BSEET DeVry 1999, CBAP 2005

Industry Certifications: iNarte Certified

Any unique hobbies, talents, skills, experiences, etc.: 

Golf, building projects, repairing things for friends and family so they don’t have to pay someone to do it.

How did you get into EMI testing?

Came for an interview out of college and took the job.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of working at Elite?

Helping other employees when they are stuck, it’s nice knowing that people come to me when they need help; Feeling a sense of accomplishment when I finish a project and submit the report knowing the customer completed a phase of their product development.

What’s your proudest moment so far?

Birth of my son, double eagle and two hole-in-ones in golf, driving a Lamborghini on a race track.

What would you consider to be your passion outside of work? How did you get started in it? Any advice for anyone looking to try this activity?

Golf – My dad took me when I was young – It takes a lot of practicing and studying the game to get good at it…

Anything that customers/colleagues would find surprising about you?

I like most types of music.

If you had a personal motto, what would it be?

Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

If you could be paid in something other than money, what would you choose?

Rounds of Golf.

Labels: Elite Experts; Mark Stojkovich; military EMC testing

Employee Spotlight: John Vallee

This month we get to learn more about John Vallee, an experienced engineer with a passion for photography. See a few of his shots and learn a few other things you might not know about John below:

Quick Team Member Facts

Title: EMC Engineer

Year Started at Elite: 2003

Areas of Interest:  Automotive EMC

Education:  ASEET, ITT Technical Institute – 1979

Any unique hobbies, talents, skills, experiences, etc.: Unpublished writer/part-time hack.  I am also a pretty good speller.

How did you get into EMI testing?

In 1986 I was offered the chance to make a living by reducing the noise produced by the computers we were building at Zenith Data Systems. That is where I honed my skills at guesswork. The company is dead but I live on.

What’s the most rewarding/favorite aspect of working at Elite?

I see different products and people all the time.

Anything that customers/colleagues would find surprising about you?

I hold a US patent for an enclosure design. 

What are you most proud of?

I’m a father to two great sons. It never gets old.

Anything you are particularly passionate about outside of work?

Photography. I’ve been attempting to be good at it since I was a kid. I saved up enough money to buy a camera when I was about 10, then realized I needed more money to buy and develop the film! I like to get up early before the sun rises because morning light is my favorite. Everything looks more dramatic in the morning. I should develop an affinity for evening light because it doesn’t require an alarm clock to catch it.

My advice? Take a lot of pictures.

If you had a personal motto, what would it be?

Argue for your limitations and they’re yours.

If you could be paid something other than money, what would you choose?

Gold bricks.

Labels: Elite Experts; John Vallee; automotive EMI testing; EMC engineer

Employee Spotlight: Steve Kowalczyk

This month, we get a chance to find out more about our go-to offsite test engineer and an all-around great guy in our community. Steve Kowalczyk has the ingenuity and customer-oriented focus that epitomizes Elite and his sunny disposition is perfect for cheering up this otherwise stormy June we’ve been having in Chicago. Read below to see how Steve met a guy named James Klouda and how he spends his time outside of testing:

Quick Team Member Facts

Year Started at Elite: 2001

Areas of Interest: Military/Aerospace testing, Full Vehicle Testing, Automotive testing

Education: BSEET DeVry University

Industry Certifications: iNARTE

Any unique hobbies, talents, skills, experiences, etc.: Cub Scout den leader (3 years), Spent a week in NOLA, after Katrina, demoing houses with a group from my church.

How did you get into EMI testing?

I like telling this story… while taking classes at DeVry, a classmate of mine told me about a co-op position he had interviewed for, a couple of weeks previously, at Elite.

He had gotten connected with Elite through another DeVry student he knew, who was a Co-Op at Elite.  Since some time had passed since the interview and he never got the call, I asked if he still had the business card. He handed it to me and later that day I made a call to a fellow named James Klouda who asked me to come on in. And the rest is history.

What’s the most rewarding/favorite aspect of working at Elite?

Working with a multitude of customers and chatting with each and helping them to feel welcome here at Elite.

What’s your proudest moment in life so far? 

Becoming a dad for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd time 

Any encouraging words for someone thinking about becoming a Den Leader for Cub Scouts like you are?

You have enrolled your child in scouts for a reason, whether it be for character growth or unique life experiences. Whatever the reason, no one knows better than you what you want scouts to be for your child, so make it that and more.

Anything you are particularly passionate about outside of work?   

  • Drawing, coloring, painting, building forts, wrestling, tea parties, playing sports, movies, video games… with my kids.
  • The precious few quiet relaxing moments with my wife when one or all of the above are not happening.
  • I love working with my hands to install, build, rework and fix things. I often use my vacation days working on projects at my or anybody else’s house who has something interesting going on.
  • I also enjoy anything outdoors: fishing, hiking, biking, and competitive sports.

Anything that customers/colleagues would find surprising about you?

  1. My wife and I are high school sweethearts.
  2. I dig film scores.
  3. I am always up for an adventure.
  4. I work with my first-grade teacher’s son.

If you had a personal motto, what would it be?

Go with your gut!

If you could be paid something other than money, what would you choose?

Clausen pickle spears.

Labels: Elite Experts; Steve Kowalczyk; automotive EMI testing; senior EMC engineer

EMC & Radio Equipment Directives Updates

Two European Commission CE Marking workshops held last year in Brussels Belgium addressed the transposition of the new EMC and Radio Equipment Directives. The workshops answered questions on the conformity assessment requirements during the change from the current EMC and R&TTE Directives to the new legislation.

Here are some of the highlights to report…

When do manufacturers have to state the new Directives on their EU Declaration of Conformity (DoC)?

EMC Directive (EMCD)- The new Directive 2014/30/EU can only be used starting April 20, 2016, and not before.  There is no transitional period and the old Directive 2004/108/EC must be used up to this date (April 20, 2016).

R&TTE Directive (RED)– The new Directive 2014/53/EU can only be used starting June 13, 2016, and not before.  There is a one-year transitional period between June 2016 and June 2017 where the new 2014/53/EU or old 1999/5/EC Directive can be used.

Products transitioning from the EMC Directive to the Radio Equipment Directive

Certain products, such as broadcast receivers, are transitioning from the EMC Directive to the new Radio Equipment Directive. This may create confusion since there is not a transition period for the new EMC directive and different operational dates apply for the EMCD and RED.

The EMC Directive will become the formal requirement on April 20, 2016, and the RED on June 13, 2016.   Since the new EMC Directive does not have a transition period, DoCs for broadcast receivers will need to reference the old Directive 2004/108/EC up to April 20th, 2016. Afterward only the new EMC Directive will apply until June 13, 2016, when the new RED Directive will come into operation. At that date manufacturer’s DoC can list either the new EMC directive or the RED for a period of one year. After June 13, 2017, only the RED will apply.  

Notified Bodies are being directed to include an “end validity date” for currently issued NB Opinions under the R&TTE Directive until June 13, 2017. After this transition period, the R&TTE Directive will no longer apply.

Under the new RED, Notified Bodies (NBs) will issue only an NB EU Type Examination Certificate after June 2016, not an NB Opinion as with the current R&TTE Directive.

There remains an ongoing push in the European Union to transition the EMC, R&TTE, and Low Voltage Directive. Here at Elite we’re expecting more information over the next several months and will keep our newsletter/blog readers posted on the latest information as we receive it.

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The Power Conversion Challenge…Efficiency, Power Output, Size, But What About EMI?

*Register for the June 9th EMC seminar here*

Here at Elite, we test a wide range of electronic devices from small wireless transmitters to large machinery covering applications in automotive, military, industrial, and consumer devices. The common thread for all, regardless of their size or function, is they require efficient and regulated electric power.

The manner in which they control power is typically done by switching, chopping, or pulse width modulation using devices like MOSFETs, IGBTs, and other switched power electronic circuitry. The benefit of designs using these components is they provide greater efficiency, lower DC ripple, and smaller packaging. However, the consequence of their use is they can generate higher levels of electromagnetic interference compared to other power conversion techniques.  

The regulatory and OEM limits for electromagnetic interference restrict conducted RF emissions on power and I/O leads and radiated emissions from the equipment enclosure and cabling. These measurements are performed every day at Elite and they present a challenge to our customers in that they need to engineer the optimum balance for efficiency and high power density while limiting RF interference—it’s not an easy task.

Elite engineers and consultants can troubleshoot and help mitigate conducted and radiated emissions issues when they arise in the lab.  We can certainly spot the emissions signature from switched-mode power supplies and other power conversion designs and then offer in-lab options for solving the problem. But the better approach to solving compliance issues is to design them out early in product development and well ahead of the time that the device arrives at Elite for testing. EMC optimized power supply designs can save time and cost when it comes to product validation and compliance testing.

To help our clients achieve greater success with this engineering challenge, Elite is committed to supporting world-class training in our area. Again this year, Elite is the Diamond Sponsor of EMC design training through the Rock River Valley Section of the IEEE. Coming to Rockford Illinois on Tuesday, June 9th the RRVS chapter has arranged for a very accomplished industry and academic professional–and his expertise is specifically in power conversion and power electronics!

Dr. Shuo Wang is an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. His industry experience includes years as a senior design engineer at GE Aviation Systems.  He has published more than one hundred IEEE journal and conference papers and holds 7 US patents. In addition, he has received awards and recognition for his work from the IEEE Power Electronics Society and the prestigious National Science CAREER Award.

The seminar will cover the basics of EMC design but focus on the techniques required for good power conversion circuitry. This is a single-day seminar so your time away from the office will be limited and the cost of the event is quite reasonable.

  • IEEE Members $125.00
  • Non-IEEE Members $150.00
  • IEEE Student Members $ 60.00

Don’t miss this opportunity to sharpen the saw and raise your EMC knowledge and design skills to the next level. For more information and to register please contact Elite or visit the RRVS website.

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So why should I care about the 2015 Symposium on EMC and SI?

Question…  So why should I care about the 2015 Symposium on EMC and SI?

Answer…  Circuit designers that build their products with a high level of digital signal integrity improve their EMC performance, and attending this year’s Symposium will grow your understanding of signal and power integrity as it relates to EMC.

For digital electronics to operate properly their signal voltage, currents, waveforms, and timing must be within specified tolerances. Transmission line lengths and timing delays, impedance mismatches, and closely spaced coupled circuits create distortions to the digital waveform. These distortions and transmission line losses increase potential RF susceptibilities and induce common mode currents that lead to radio frequency interference problems.

Digital circuits with a high level of signal integrity have a higher noise margin and provide a more robust RF immune product. High speed/high edge rates contribute to electromagnetic emissions from circuits and low power consumption design trends are increasing the sensitivity of circuits. Simply put, a high level of signal integrity equals better EMC performance.

This year’s Symposium includes an impressive slate of EMC, Signal Integrity (SI), and Power Integrity (PI) workshops and technical presentations. The workshops span from the fundamentals through advanced applications, plus the technical sessions present the latest science and applied technology for SI design, SI/PI simulation, and EMC testing that will build your personal expertise, knowledge, and credentials.

We hope you can attend this year’s Symposium on EMC and SI/PI being held March 15th through 21st in Santa Clara, California. And while you’re there stop by Elite’s booth #837 in the exhibit hall to say hello to our sales and technical staff.

For more information on the IEEE Symposium on EMC and Signal Integrity, visit the event website at http://www.emc2015usa.emcss.org/

If you’re training or travel budget doesn’t line up with this year’s Symposium then consider more local single-day IEEE events.  Save the date for the following IEEE seminars and other industry events: 

Labels: Electromagnetic Compliance; Signal Integrity; IEEE events

Employee Spotlight: Josh Barker

Every one of us is more than just our work and the services we provide. We have families, hobbies, and other passions that fulfill our lives and make us better at what we do each day.  After working in this industry for a few years, I’ve gotten to know many of the people that make up the EMC community at large and at Elite. Here is a brief look at what makes our Elite family so unique and diverse…

The bitter winter winds have been howling and snow piling up around the country, but there is at least one engineer here in Chicago who doesn’t mind the cold.  In fact, he embraces it.  Josh Barker is a fairly recent addition to our EMC Automotive team who certainly moved to the right place to pursue his passions for electronics, as well as the seemingly bleakest of seasons. Read below to learn a little more about this bright, adventurous, and bearded Baltimore transplant:

How did you get into Electromagnetic Compatibility testing?

EMC testing just kind of fell into my lap. I have always been interested in Electronics and how they communicate with each other and EMC just seemed to be the next logical step.

What is the most rewarding/favorite aspect of working at Elite?

I guess the flexibility that comes with the job is my favorite part of working here at Elite. Sure there are deadlines that have to be met. But, when the job is done and all the “i’s” have been dotted, then things can get pretty fun around here.

What’s your proudest moment in life so far? 

I would hope my proudest moment in life is yet to come, but, I would have to say finishing the “tough mudder” with my group of friends.

As far as experience goes, it really came down to a challenge that I thought was so out of reach that just doing something even close to that was unobtainable. And then my friends said that they could conquer it, I am not one to be one-upped by the people around me so, of course, I signed up and trained to make it through. Surprisingly after completing it, it seemed like it was much easier than first thought. But just getting through something that I thought was out of my reach was a great feeling.

If you had a personal motto, what would it be?

“If you are going to be dumb, you got to be tough!” — Tough Mudder slogan

Anything that customers/colleagues would find surprising about you?

I like winter! Not many people would say the same, but, nothing is as adventurous as trudging through the snow with a frozen beard on your face.

Speaking of winter, I hear you enjoy something called “winter kayaking”.  How did you get started in that and what makes it worth braving the elements?

I started winter kayaking a few years ago. It sounds like a horrible and cold idea, I know. My friends and I wanted to get kayaks and they went on sale in the middle of winter. So, we bought them, and when you buy something you want to try it out as soon as possible–however, it was the middle of winter. So, we decided to head out on the river while it was well below freezing. After struggling to get into the kayaks without tripping into the water, we finally got on the river and started heading upstream. It wasn’t long before we found a part of the river that had a thin layer of ice over the surface. As our boats passed on the ice, they broke and floated away. Then there was the thicker part of the ice. We charged it with our kayaking taking turns to ram the “ice bridge” until it would break and float downstream. On the colder days, icicles would form on my beard and any water that you splashed on your kayak would crystallize almost immediately into ice.

If you could ask anyone to be your valentine (living, dead or fictional), who would it be? How would you ask?

Elsa from “Frozen”. I would have done it a few weeks ago when there was snow everywhere walk up to her door and whisper through the keyhole… “Do you want to build a snowman?” Not only can we have fun in the snow but we could share the experience with everyone around us. Also, there would be winter kayaking, so, there’s that.

Quick Team Member Facts

Year Started at Elite: 2012

Areas of Expertise: Automotive EMC test procedures

Education: Geneva College; BS – Electrical Engineering

Industry Certifications:  Certificate in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago

Unique: Rock climbing, trail running, Dancing, I have a talent for goofing off, and as for unique hobbies I go winter kayaking.

Labels: Elite Experts; Josh Barker; EMC Automotive testing

Employee Spotlight: Craig Bowes

Every one of us is more than just our work and the services we provide. We have families, hobbies, and other passions that fulfill our lives and make us better at what we do each day.  After working in this industry for a few years, I’ve gotten to know many of the people that make up the EMC community at large and at Elite. Here is a brief look at what makes our Elite family so unique and diverse…

With the new year in full swing, many people make resolutions to lose a few pounds, learn a new language or try a new hobby. This month’s employee in the spotlight is a man with hobbies to spare.  The beekeeping, bow-hunting, hog-riding, pepper-mix master extraordinaire Craig Bowes is full of diverse skills and is a true asset to our EMC team.  Read below to learn a little more about this fascinating and multi-talented Bowes brother:

How did you get into EMC/testing?

When I graduated from Devry I did a short internship but I was looking for something permanent. My brother Frank Bowes was working at Elite and talked to Craig Fanning to see if there were any openings in the programming or testing positions. I interviewed Mr. Klouda and Craig Fanning and found that the programming aspect was already set but they did need someone in the testing aspect so they hired me and back to school   I went to learn electronics.  

What is the most rewarding/favorite aspect of working at Elite?

I love that most of the customers I work with comes in with a different product so each test is unique in either the product and/or the specification that they are testing.

What do you love about keeping bees? How did you get started?

A good friend of mine and his wife got started keeping bees and were very excited about it and wanted me to do it too, it took three years for them to talk me into it and I have enjoyed it right from the beginning. I enjoy beekeeping because Honey Bees are very interesting and unpredictable and will keep you learning about them and their behavior every day. When harvest time comes I like to process each super separately to get as many different flavors of honey as I can (each super will generally have its own unique flavor), other beekeepers laugh at me and tell me I have too much time on my hands but I love seeing the reactions of people when they taste the different flavors.

Honey Tip: Do not throw away the honey that has crystallized! Crystallization is a good thing; it shows you that you have a jar of very good raw unpasteurized honey (the best honey for you). To de-crystallize your honey simply put it in a pan of water and warm it up like you would a baby bottle (do not boil the water and do not use the microwave).

Any tips for aspiring apiary enthusiasts?

If you are going to get into beekeeping make sure you take a beekeeping class with the park district or from the beekeeping association, and most of all get to know a beekeeper. Ask them to be your mentor because you will have millions of questions as you go.

What’s your proudest moment in life so far? 

I have two proud moments of my life, one is going back to school at age 42 and graduating 4 years later with a degree and the second is watching my wife develop her archery skills and going from shooting wildly to making me sweat that she will score higher than me.

How many times have you been stung?

Over the course of my beekeeping, I think I’ve been stung about 100 times. A couple of memorable times were once during harvest I was stung three times in the butt as I walked away with their honey (my wife laughs about that one), and another time I tried to work with them on a mild Jan day without my bee suit on thinking it would be too cold for them to come out and bother me but I was wrong and was stung 5 times in the back of my neck.

If you had a personal motto, what would it be?

Hug a beekeeper and eat more honey (Beekeepers motto).

Any New Year’s Resolutions for 2015?  I really don’t do New Year’s resolutions but if I were to make one it would probably be to learn to slow down and enjoy things more.

Quick Team Member Facts

Year Started at Elite: 2004

Areas of Expertise: Automotive EMC test procedures, Whole Vehicle test procedures, and CISPR 25 Chamber Validation test procedures

Education: Devry University B.S.C.I.S; Wabaunsee Community College Certificate in Electronics

Industry Certifications:  Certificate in Business Administration and Lean Operations from the University of Illinois at Chicago

Unique: Beekeeping, Bow Hunting, Archery 3D shoots, Harley Davidson Motorcycles, creating a hot pepper mix

Labels: Elite Experts; Craig Bowes; EMC testing

Employee Spotlight: Rob Bugielski

Every one of us is more than just our work and the services we provide. We have families, hobbies, and other passions that fulfill our lives and make us better at what we do each day. After working in this industry for a few years, I’ve gotten to know many of the people that make up the EMC community at large and at Elite. Here is a brief look at what makes our Elite family so unique and diverse:

As everyone is gearing up for year-end and the holidays, our personal pursuits and passions can be put on the back burner until after the rush. At the same time, the holidays are the perfect time to celebrate those around us and recognize their talents and special skills. This month, we recognize some of the talents and inner workings of pool-cue-wielding Rob Bugielski. After working diligently in our Automotive EMC department for about 7 years, he has gotten a chance this year to put his practical testing expertise to a different use as a key part of Elite’s Technical Sales team. 

Read below to find out a little more about Rob and maybe pick up a few tricks:

  1. How did you get into EMC/testing?
    1. Fresh out of college, I was really just looking for any open position to start my career.  A college friend was hired at Elite in the summer of 05’and gave our EMC lab manager my contact information if another position opened.  Elite had another opening on January 06’.  During my interview, Mr. Klouda had on his signature Harley Davidson suspenders and I knew this was going to be a great place to work.
  2. What is the most rewarding/favorite aspect of working at Elite?
    1. My favorite aspect is the short duration of the projects. Both as a test engineer and now in the sales department, there are new projects to work on every week. I couldn’t imagine being tied to just a few projects all year long. In the sales department, I truly enjoy interactions with customers and helping them meet project goals or guiding them on the right path. 
  3. I hear you’re an excellent pool player. What do you love about playing pool? How did you get started?
    1. I began playing pool in my grandfather’s basement at a very young age. I could barely see over the rail, but that didn’t stop my family from teaching me how to bridge and move the cue. At a young age, I was fascinated with the physical sports aspect of the game and the problem-solving ability that is also required. Playing pool for over 20 years now, and I still learn new things every day. I’ve met some extraordinary people along the way and have many fond memories of my experiences.
  4. Any favorite moves or good tips?
    1. Too many players think the pool is about the offense. They try to run out all the balls, without understanding the table layout and if it is possible. New players to the game should be focusing on Defense. If your opponent can not run all the balls off the table, then you can not lose the game. 
  5. What’s your proudest moment in life so far?  
    1. Watching my wife win the American Cue Sports Illinois Open Team championship and Standard Singles championship in March of 2014.  I introduced her to the sport 14 years ago.  After all of the time spent on practicing, league competitions, and tournament competitions.  It was very gratifying to see her accomplish some of her goals.
  6. If you had a personal motto, what would it be?
    1. It’s better to try and fail than to never try at all.

Quick Team Member Facts:

  • Year Started at Elite: 2006
  • Areas of Expertise: Automotive EMC test procedures, MIL-STD-461 EMC test procedures, Technical Sales, and consulting for both EMC and Environmental testing.
  • Education: DeVry University B.S.E.E.T. ‘05
  • Industry Certifications:  iNARTE Certified EMC Engineer; Certificate in Business Administration and Lean Operations from the University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Unique: Pool player that participates in leagues for American Pool Players Association, American Cue Sports, and Billiards Congress of America.
  • Favorite Christmas present of all time: Goldeneye 007 for N64

Labels: Elite Experts

Transitioning to New EMC Directive 2014/30/EU

Now that the European Union EMC Directive 2004/108/EC has been “recast”, it’s time for manufacturers, importers, and distributors to adapt their CE Marking conformity assessments processes to the new EMC Directive 2014/30/EU. After April 2016, the new directive will be required for all EMC compliance files, and declarations referencing 2004/108/EC will no longer be valid. 

For the most part, compliance with the new directive 2014/30/EC will not significantly impact conformity assessment. The essential requirements listed in Annex I of the directive remain the same as before and continue to be stated in very general terms. The requirements limit electromagnetic emissions to a level that will not affect telecommunications or other equipment and require products to have immunity to electromagnetic disturbances. For permanently fixed installations, Annex I still specifies applying good engineering practices to assess compliance.

The essential requirements become more clearly defined by way of specific technical details in harmonized EN standards. Just as before, these standards when applied in full provide the “presumption of conformity” with the directive and represent the primary form of due diligence for access to European markets.

The EN harmonized standards in the Official Journal don’t change as a result of the recast directive, so the technical requirements used previously will remain the same going forward.  However, all harmonized standards are regularly updated as they evolve to adapt to new technology. It’s the manufacturer’s obligation to review the Official Journal on a regular basis and ensure their products remain compliant with the most current revision of the harmonized standards.

Some of the more significant changes in the recast 2014/30/EU relate to the operations of Notified Bodies and other practices that may not immediately impact manufacturers. However, we recommend a careful read of the new directive to understand how the changes may impact individual operators and unique cases. Annex VII in the new Directive provides a helpful correlation table that relates requirements in 2004/108/EC to 2014/30/EC.

At a minimum, Elite recommends the following steps to ensure continuing compliance with European EMC requirements:

  • Check revision dates of the harmonized standards listed on technical reports.
  • Review Annex IV and update the Declaration of Conformity (DoC) accordingly
    • Update the EMC Directive reference to 2014/30/EC
    • List all current revisions of the harmonized standards applied.
    • Clearly identify the apparatus in the DoC to allow traceability. 
  • For self-declared products, update technical documentation as specified in Annex II (3).
  • Review the CE label and confirm it’s correctly applied
  • Confirm the operator’s information and technical instructions comply with Article 18.

There are other EU directives that have also been recast, including the Low Voltage Directive (LVD). Next month, we will cover the significant changes for the LVD and other related compliance requirements. 

For questions concerning the new EMC Directive 2014/30/EU, the conformity assessment process, or testing services contact the Elite sales team. We can review your current technical documentation and consult on the status of your European Union compliance.

Link to the Europa site for more information and a copy of the 2014/30/EC: https://single-market-economy.ec.europa.eu/sectors/electrical/emc_en

Labels: EMC Directive; EU Notified Body; CE Mark

Employee Spotlight: Stan Dolecki

Every one of us is more than just our work and the services we provide. We have families, hobbies, and other passions that fulfill our lives and make us better at what we do each day. After working in this industry for a few years, I’ve gotten to know many of the people that make up the EMC community at large and at Elite. Here is a brief look at what makes our Elite family so unique and diverse:

So you know those people who seem to light up a room with their warmth, passion, and infectious sense of curiosity? Well, Stan Dolecki is absolutely one of those guys. Our Automotive Team Leader exudes the right mix of approachability and technical know-how that makes him both a trusted resource for customers and a great mentor for other employees. This enthusiasm and ingenuity also spill over into one of his great passions outside of work and family–scratch modeling. An avid scratch model builder since his Cub Scout days, Stan has currently been putting his skills and talent to work designing and building Steampunk and industrial-style lamps and custom fixtures. (Loosely defined, “Steampunk” is a style that brings together elements of the industrial and antique with things like gears, pipes, old-fashioned bulbs, etc.)

See the pictures on this page for a glimpse of the projects he’s been working on lately and for a better idea of the term. Also after dealing with noise and electrical component complications in his projects, he can definitely empathize with our client base who come in with similar issues day-in, day-out!  Staff like Stan with creativity, dedication, and a deep passion for EMC push us all to find better solutions and be our best selves here. Tune in next month for more surprises from the Elite team! 

Quick Team Member Facts:

  • Year he started at Elite: 1988
  • Areas of expertise: Automotive and Heavy Vehicle EMC; Whole Vehicle Testing; Test Setup and Test Stand Design; OEM/Company Internal Test Specifications; On-site Consulting to Troubleshoot EMC Problems; Developing Ways to Simulate Issues Seen in the Field; Designing Test Suites and Writing Test Plans to Help Customers Achieve their EMC Compliance Goals
  • Education: B.S.E.E.T. DeVry (1989)
  • Certifications: iNarte Test Engineer
  • Most rewarding aspect of working in EMC at our company: “Any time I walk away from a client and/or team member knowing that I have been able to actually help them resolve an issue. That is the ultimate feather in my cap because taking care of our customers is and has always been our Job #1!” Stan also says he’s proud to be “entrusted with leadership roles that enable him to be a part of the growth and expansion of Elite”
  • Favorite Elite anecdote: “James C. Klouda made me realize that I had greater worth, potential, and value than I had realized in one simple act. He not only took a chance in hiring me, but he gave me a chance to step up and make a difference…The difference between an idea and reality is the effort required to make it work.”

Labels: EMC Experts

CISPR 32 Emissions for Multimedia Equipment – Is this the end of CISPR 22?

CISPR is an acronym which stands for the “Comité International Spécial des Perturbations Radioélectriques”. It is the international standards organization responsible for technical requirements that regulate RF interference from electronic devices.   CISPR is part of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)

There are several CISPR sub-committees and each is comprised of industry EMC experts who volunteer to develop harmonized international regulations for a wide range of industries. For example, CISPR 12 and 25 provide emissions test methods and limits for automotive RF Emissions, and CISPR 11 is the emissions standard for industrial, scientific, and medical equipment.

Many of the CISPR RF emissions standards become the harmonized standards for the European Union EMC Directive. When published in the Official Journal, CISPR standards take the Euro-norm prefix “EN”, as in the case of EN 55032.     

CISPR 32 is a specific standard developed for a class of electronics described as Multi-Media Equipment (MME).  MME are electronics that incorporate a range of functions that include those in Information Technology Equipment (ITE), audio equipment, video equipment, and broadcast receiving equipment.  MME also covers entertainment lighting control equipment as well as combinations of all these equipment types.

CISPR 32 has been developed to address the fact that modern-day ITE equipment now often integrates many different functions, features, and capabilities that were previously assessed by different compliance standards.  For example, personal computers still perform functions such as word processing, database management, spreadsheet calculations, and others, but they increasingly also are used to watch video and television programming. They’re used for listing to music and radio as well as for gaming and other entertainment purposes.

Rather than have separate compliance standards for equipment that can be considered ITE or video or audio equipment, we now have a single standard, CISPR 32, that addresses the case where these different features are integrated to some degree. 

CISPR 32 has been adopted by the European Union for Multimedia Equipment and is now published in the OJ for the EMC and R&TTE Directives as the harmonized EMC standard EN 55032.

What is the relationship between CISPR 32 and CISPR 22 and CISPR 13?

CISPR 32 now covers equipment that is currently within the scope of two separate specifications: CISPR 22 for Information Technology Equipment and CISPR 13 for Sound and Television Broadcast

What are the tests?

The tests include conducted emissions and radiated emissions.

The conducted measurements that are performed:

  • on the AC Mains port
  • on the DC Mains port
  • on the network port such as on an Ethernet connection
  • on the receiver port for devices with detachable antenna ports

How do the limits compare?

The AC Mains, DC Mains, Network Port, and Antenna Port conducted emissions limits in CISPR 32 are the same as compared to those currently in CISPR 22 and CISPR 13

The radiated emissions measurements and limits in CISPR 32 are the same as compared to those in CISPR 22 and CISPR 13.

CISPR 32 provides more detailed information on the specific emissions limits for various ports on the DUT, including emissions on the shields of optical fiber ports.

When will CISPR 32 become mandatory?

CISPR 32 is harmonized now in the Official Journal (OJ) for the EMC Directive and R&TTE Directive.  CISPR 22 and CISPR 13 remain in force until March 5, 2017, and products that fall under the scope of EN 55022 and EN 55013 can continue to be sold into the EU with the CISPR 22 and 13 compliance reports.

However, after March 2017 only CISPR 32 (EN55022) will provide the presumption of conformity for ITE and broadcast receiver systems.

What about the Immunity Standards for ITE and Broadcast Receivers?

The immunity standards for broadcast receivers (CISPR 20) and for ITE (CISPR 24) will remain in place for now.  However, CISPR 35 which is not currently published in the OJ will take the place of CISPR 20 and CISPR 24. There is not currently a published date for this transition, so CISPR 20 and 24 should still be applied in parallel depending on the MME functionality.

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Elite Celebrates 60 Years of EMC Testing Services

Elite Celebrates 60 Years of Service

We recently found Jim Klouda’s engineer log book from September 1954.  In it, we can see his handwritten notes, data, calculations, sketches, and simple wiring schematics. It describes the early days of Elite as he was making measurements and solving interference problems for customers in ways that are remarkably similar to what we do today. 

Much has changed since 1954. Measurements that used to be recorded manually now rely on software and automation to process data efficiently and accurately. We have sophisticated instruments and unique facilities to work with today’s complex electronics and communications equipment. These are the tools necessary to test and solve technical problems in 2014.

Very little immunity testing was performed by Elite in 1954. Now we provide a wide range of RF and transient immunity tests. The ubiquitous microprocessor and modern electronics we have today require it.

Electrical circuitry and RF filter designs engineered by Jim in 1954 were massive compared to those we see in our lab now. RF filters today rely on the same basic engineering principles as in the past but physically implementing a filter circuit on a small surface mount PCB requires the use of soldering skills resembling that of a micro-surgeon.  

What has not changed between then and now is the personal aspect of providing a professional service and the need for technical expertise. We know that Jim was skilled at his craft. His customers recognized it and they could trust his technical expertise to solve their problems.  Jim treated his customers well and they in turn respected him and appreciated his work.

Today, our customers tell us (in person and by our surveys) that they still consider technical expertise as their primary need when it comes to testing services. They want skilled EMC (and environmental) test engineers and they want accuracy and efficient work.  They want knowledgeable experts in the standards and regulations; they want skilled test practitioners familiar with the fine details; they recognize the value in having confidence in our results.   

Our customers also tell us they want ready access to our lab on their timetable, and sometimes that means access on short notice. To provide schedule flexibility we have to continually invest in new personnel, facilities, and equipment so that we have a reasonably short backlog, but not to the extent that we have costly excess capacity.   

As we celebrate Elite’s 60th year in business we reflect back on Jim Klouda’s early days and see that his approach to business remains very much the same for us today—We need to be experts in our craft and we need to solve customer problems, be they technical, schedule, or other.  

As stewards of Jim Klouda’s legacy, we are more focused than ever on ensuring that the Elite brand is defined as having the most qualified and knowledgeable test engineers and support staff in the industry, and for having the testing resources in place to be responsive to our customers’ needs. These fundamentals are the core of our business and are indeed the Elite Mission Statement and Brand Promise. 

From the ownership team at Elite, we sincerely appreciate the trust that our customers have placed in Elite. We look forward to helping clients be successful in their business and want to do our part to keep each and every one of our customers the leaders in their industries.

Thank you for being an Elite customer. We’re here to serve you.  

Sincerely,

Raymond Klouda, President
Thomas Klouda, Vice-President
Joseph Klouda, Vice-President

Labels: 60 Years of Testing; EMC Experience

Employee Spotlight: Adam Grant

Every one of us is more than just our work and the services we provide. We have families, hobbies, and other passions that fulfill our lives and make us better at what we do each day. After working in this industry for a few years, I’ve gotten to know many of the people that make up the EMC community at large and at Elite. Here is a brief look into what makes our Elite family so unique and diverse…

Like most of us, Adam Grant is more than just a focused test engineer helping customers get through a job. While a dedicated member of our Military and Commercial Aviation Department, he is also a 2nd degree Black Belt and trains others in Tae Kwon Do.  Adam got into martial arts at the beginning of high school, initially as a way to get active. What really hooked him was the drive for self-improvement and it broke the shy teen out of his shell. At work every day, he utilizes the concentration and self-control honed by Tae Kwon Do to test efficiently and solve problems when difficulties arise.  He now teaches martial arts and self-defense through “Adam’s Fit Tae Kwon Do” in his spare time (which is limited to a new addition to his family on top of work). Commitment to the success of our employees and customers—within our walls or without—continues to make Elite what we are today.

Quick Team Member Facts:

  • Year he started at Elite: 2003
  • Areas of expertise: Military, Commercial Aviation, and Aerospace EMC Testing; Performs full spectrum of qualification tests
  • Education: B.S.E.E.T. DeVry (2001)
  • Certifications: iNarte Test Engineer
  • Favorite thing about Elite: We’re family-owned and employees and customers alike are treated like family
  • Most rewarding aspect of working in Mil/Aero EMC:  Making sure the products he tests are reliable for the troops protecting our country.

Why Are Uncertainty Budgets Necessary?

Uncertainty budgets…why? I hear a lot of people in the EMC industry complain that uncertain budgets are painful and not necessarily worth the time expended. That is a little bit understandable since we go through all the work to generate uncertainty budgets but don’t generally use them during everyday measurements. However, uncertainty budgets are necessary and can be pretty good tools for the laboratory.

CISPR 16 Compliant Measurements – Uncertainty budgets must be done for CISPR 16 compliant measurements. If the uncertainty budget of the laboratory meets the Ucispr values shown in Table 1 of CISPR 16-4-2, then no correction of the data is needed to determine EUT compliance. If the uncertainty budget of the laboratory does not meet the UCISPR values shown in Table 1 of CISPR 16-4-2, then the measurement must be adjusted by the difference (Ulab – Ucispr) to determine if a EUT complies with the standard.

EMC Lab Personnel Training – Uncertainty budgets make the laboratory realize how good (or not so good) their measurements really are. We all need to have a good understanding of how the various parts of the test system contribute to uncertainty. We also need to know how measurement uncertainty can be reduced by purchasing higher quality (lower uncertainty) equipment. If the lab management and personnel understand the contributing factors, then the lab can do a better job at reducing measurement uncertainty (providing a better service to their customers).

Customer Education and/or Lab Differentiation – Many years ago a customer told me that he wanted a 200V/m radiated immunity test “no more no less” says the customer. The young electrical engineer did not realize that a radiated immunity test is not accurate to within 0.1 V/m (although the measurement instrument tells us so). Customers also wonder why a radiated emissions measurement made in one chamber is slightly different (a couple of dB) from a measurement made in another chamber. The people who make EMC measurements every day (and understand measurement uncertainty) know that this is pretty good chamber-to-chamber or lab-to-lab repeatability. When you can show a customer how the accuracy of all parts of the system contributes to measurement uncertainty and that your uncertainty is better than the “standard” (or another lab), then that helps to educate the customer and differentiate your laboratory from the competition.

So the next time you have to work on uncertainty budgets, don’t think about how painful they are. Think about how they can be beneficial to your lab, personnel, and business. This will make the time (and money) expended more palatable.

Do you have any questions about EMC Lab Management EMC Standard Changes or other related topics? Please share your comments or questions below and this week’s expert, Craig Fanning, will get back to you as soon as possible. 

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Automotive Standards Development 2014 Recap

As a featured speaker at this year’s ROACH Conference in Seattle, Craig presented a “Review of Automotive Standards Utilizing Reverberation” and participated in the “Emerging Technologies in EMI/EMC testing” panel discussion.  He also attended several other meetings concerning EMC standards this spring and was kind enough to pass along some notes and a couple of snapshots.

Automotive standards development at the North American and International levels continues to be hectic in 2014. The SAE EMC committees had a meeting in January 2014 and will be having another in April. At the international level, CISPR/D WG1, CISPR/D WG2, and ISO/TC22/SC3/WG3 had their first of two meetings scheduled for 2014 in February.

Experts from eight countries convened at the ETS Lindgren facility in Cedar Park, Texas to continue work on the CISPR 12, CISPR 25, ISO 11451-xx, ISO 11452-xx, and ISO 7637-x standards. ETS Lindgren was kind enough to host the meetings per the request of the CISPR and ISO USTAG Delegates. The meetings were a great success and a lot of progress was made toward the next revisions of the subject standards. The CISPR/D and ISO committees greatly appreciated the support of ETS Lindgren and their staff again for the meetings. The next international level meetings for these standards groups will be held in Frankfurt, Germany in October 2014.

The Chapter hosted the Reverberation Chamber, Open Area Test Site, and Anechoic Chamber (ROACH) Users Group meeting in Seattle, Washington in March 2014. The ROACH meetings are a “think tank” for key players in the EMC industry. Standards updates and new technologies regarding reverberation chamber, anechoic chamber, and TEM cell testing were presented. This meeting drew experts from around the world. The experts were there to make presentations and were also available for sidebar discussions. This meeting was a great opportunity for people in the EMC industry to talk “shop” with others in the industry. Pat Hall and I had a great time both during and after the formal meetings. Take a look at that pile of Pacific coast seafood.

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Hidden Gems on the Web: Killer EMC Resources

Okay let’s be honest, we all find ourselves drawn to web resources like Wikipedia and YouTube because it’s just so easy to find what you need. No doubt, these and other websites help us be more productive at our jobs with quick answers and explanations to basic technical questions and interests.  But what if you need more detailed and trustworthy information?

Here at Elite, we regularly connect with several government and private websites and want to make sure our customers have access to the best ones. On the Elite website, we’ve posted several helpful links to build your knowledge database and be confident in the information you use.

Three of our favorite sites include:

  • Quick Assist” website- Provides military standards and handbook
  • FCC OET” website- Connects you with the FCC OET Knowledge Database
  • Europa” website- Supplies European Union CE Marking information

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Why SAE EMC Standards Are Being Withdrawn

Users of SAE EMC standards may have noticed that many of the SAE J551 and SAE J1113 standards have been withdrawn over the past few years. These withdrawn standards are no longer being revised and updated. As these standards are withdrawn, the base standard of the series (SAE J551-1 or SAE J1113-1) is updated to indicate that the particular SAE standard has been withdrawn. The base SAE standard also directs the user to reference the equivalent CISPR or ISO standard. Unfortunately, this results in having to purchase the more expensive international standard which replaced the SAE standard.

So, why are the SAE EMC standards being withdrawn?  

A few years ago, SAE noticed that some of the SAE EMC standards were, for the most part, technically identical to some equivalent CISPR and ISO (international) standards.  This became a concern of SAE as they do not want to get into copyright conflicts with the international standards bodies. Therefore, the SAE EMC committee was given the directive to start withdrawing any SAE standards which were technically identical to an international standard.

How did this similarity of SAE and International standards come to happen? 

The SAE EMC committee has developed many vehicles and component EMC standards over the years. The SAE standards were referenced mainly by the North American vehicle manufacturers in their corporate EMC standards. As the NA vehicle manufacturers evolved into Worldwide vehicle manufacturers, the trend to reference SAE standards in their corporate standards changed to the desire to reference international standards (if they existed) in their corporate standards.

Many of the same experts involved in the SAE EMC committee in the United States are also involved at the International Standards development level (CISPR and ISO standards). During meetings at the international level, the need to develop a standard to address a particular field issue may be discussed. If an SAE standard that addressed the issue already existed, then the international standards committee would use the SAE standard as the basis for the development of a new CISPR or ISO standard. Although the process to publish the international standard would take several years, the two standards (SAE and International) would eventually become very similar.

What is the long-term benefit of using international standards over the SAE standards?

Although it may seem like a burden to purchase a more expensive CISPR or ISO standard, the use of international standards does have its benefits. The test methods used to evaluate the EMC performance of vehicles (and vehicle modules) should be similar around the world to assure consistent performance. Products initially developed for sale in the North American market may also be more easily marketed worldwide when tested against international standards.  

Ultimately, standardization helps to assure consistent performance and reliability no matter where the product is being used. Using international standards to evaluate the EMC performance of products (when available), will help the product manufacturers to better achieve the consistent performance and reliability desired by the consumer. 

Do you have any questions about EMC Standard ChangesEMC Testing, or other related topics? Please share your comments or questions below and this week’s expert, Craig Fanning, will get back to you as soon as possible.   

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A New & Improved Standard for Unlicensed Transmitters? – C63.10-2013 Review

C63.10-2013 was released back in September and has received quite a bit of praise – but it has caused some controversy as well.

The purpose of C63.10 was to put all the test methods for unlicensed transmitters into one document. The first version of the standard was released in 2009 and included what was considered to be “non-confrontational” test methods. The standard was adopted by the FCC and Industry Canada for the testing of unlicensed transmitters. Four years later, version two has been released and includes the so-called “confrontational” test methods.

The standard covers every type of transmitter that fall into the unlicensed category. The test methods have been gathered from a multitude of resources including the FCC, Industry Canada, manufacturers, test laboratories, and certification bodies from around the world.  Very detailed instructions have been provided for some very complicated transmitters including digital transmission systems that include transmitter power control and dynamic frequency selection. These procedures were only published in various FCC knowledge database documents that were sometimes tedious to dig up.

Another useful tool is a reference table included in Annex A. The table steps through the FCC Part 15 rules one by one and cross-references sub-clauses in the standard to point out specific tests that pertain to the specific rule part.

This standard along with C63.4 can be used as a test method for almost every unlicensed transmitter.

As a test laboratory, you should look out for procedures that have not been adopted by the regulating bodies. One that stands out in my eyes is the formula for the distance correction factor for frequencies below 30MHz.

Overall, C63.10-2013 is a huge improvement over any previous document or documents for test procedures for unlicensed transmitters.

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EMC Sleuth: Mysterious Interference at the Doctor’s Office

Sometimes, I have the fortunate opportunity to step outside of the EMC lab and investigate real-world EMI problems.  Several years ago, I received a call from a desperate general contractor who had an EMI situation in a new state-of-the-art audio clinic.  The facilities included an MRI suite in the lower levels.  The doctors complained about issues of networking errors with their new computer system, electronic noise problems in their audio lab, and incorrect results from their blood analyzers.  They were threatening to withhold payments until the issues were resolved. 

The GC’s first thoughts were that the MRI equipment was the culprit.  He called us in the survey the site to determine if the MRI was indeed causing these interference problems.  We arrived at the site and set up a spectrum analyzer with various antennas and current probes in order to monitor the field intensity levels.  We started by taking measurements in the MRI suite and then moved on to the audio labs where the equipment problems had occurred.

In a short time, we were able to diagnose the problem.  The interference was due to a broadband source.  We could see significant broadband switching noise throughout the high-frequency (HF) spectrum.  These voltage spikes were both radiating from the power lines, as well as, conducting into the power lines.  We could not attribute any significant RF interference as generated by the MRI equipment.  We proceeded to walk into the waiting area of the office where the levels intensified.  This waiting room was state-of-the-art and included high-tech lighting that dimmed to create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere.

Can you deduce what else the light system created?

At an opportune time, we turned off the lights in the waiting room.  We immediately noticed a significant drop in the HF noise level and the spikes all but disappeared.  The contractor was beside himself to think that such a low-tech device as a dimmer switch could wreak such havoc upon the doctors’ offices.  We recommended that the dimmers be replaced with dimming technology that does not produce noise.  The problem was solved and everyone was happy.

Below are some questions for further thought and discussion on real-world interference applications:

  1. What lighting technologies are significant sources of EMI?
  2. What are some ways to reduce this interference?
  3. Will interference problems increase as more high-tech lighting is installed to reduce energy consumption?
  4. What regulations are in place to control the level of interference from these sources?

Do you have answers to the above or any questions about Interference IssuesEMC Testing, or other related topics? Please share your comments or questions below and this week’s expert, Ray Klouda, will get back to you as soon as possible.  

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4 Things to Look For When Interpreting Standard Requirements

Being on several standards committees, I get a lot of questions about how to interpret the information provided in standards and specifications. Sometimes this is from a colleague who is thoroughly reviewing a specification in preparation for a quality audit. As a result of the thorough standard review and the possibility of being assessed as a “deficiency” during the audit, they become overly concerned about all parts of the standard. Other times, the person has already been audited and overlooked a requirement. This resulted in a “deficiency” during the audit. The standards committees have content rules (what is and is not a requirement and how is that defined in the standard) that must be followed when a standard is being developed or revised. In addition, quality auditors are only supposed to audit against the requirements of a standard.

A Brief Summary of What is Required in a Standard:

  1. Main Body of the Standard: In general, the information provided in the main body of the standard and prefaced with the word “shall” is a requirement. Dimensions and values are also a requirement. If no tolerances are provided in the standard, then general tolerance rules apply (or the tolerances specified in the base standard of a series of standards would apply). Any information prefaced with a should, could, may, etc. (anything other than a shall) could be considered informational and not a requirement.
  2. Notes: Notes in a standard are for information purposes only. You will notice that notes within a standard do not contain the word “shall”. Do not confuse “Notes” with “Footnotes”. Notes will always be prefaced with the word “Note:” Footnotes are used many times in tables and can contain very important information. So pay close attention to footnotes (especially in tables).
  3. Annex (Normative or Informative): At the beginning of each Annex (sometimes referred to as Appendix in some standards), the word “Normative” or “Informative” will appear. If the Annex is “Normative”, then the information in the annex is a requirement (again keeping in mind the preface word of “shall”). If the Annex is “Informative”, then the annex is for information purposes and is not a requirement.
  4. Interpretations: Although the standards committees try to make the information provided within a standard as clear as possible, something always seems to get into the published standard which may need interpretation or clarification. In these instances, the reader will have to use good engineering judgment. When this happens, it is a good idea to ask others in the industry (especially persons on the standards committee responsible for the standard generation) how they interpret the information provided in the standard. They most likely have had the same question and have addressed the issue.

I realize that this is a “crash course” in standards interpretation, but it should provide someone with the basics for interpreting standards. Knowing the basics and what to look for in a standard (also what can and cannot be audited) can really be helpful during a quality audit.

Do you have any questions about EMC Standard InterpretationEMC Testing, or other related topics? Please share your comments or questions below and this week’s expert, Craig Fanning, will get back to you as soon as possible. 

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How To Acquire Accurate & Efficient EMC Lab Equipment

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) tests require the use of specialized and costly pieces of electronic equipment.  The electronic equipment must perform the measurements accurately and efficiently.  A process used to acquire equipment at Elite Electronic Engineering, Inc. that has been successful is a collaborative effort between Elite, our customers, and the equipment manufacturers.

The process starts by identifying a need for the equipment.  The need can be identified from schedule bottlenecks, missed opportunities, operation safety concerns, or functionality.  Once the need is identified, various manufacturers of the test equipment are researched. In our research, we consider the equipment’s features, cost, warranties, and service.  Often, equipment on the market does not have the required features to meet our customer’s needs. This situation is where Elite’s personnel provide valuable insights.  Our customers and equipment manufacturers know everything about the design of their equipment.

However, Elite is in the unique position of knowing how to test our customer’s equipment and how to use the manufacturer’s test equipment.  Knowing our customer’s needs, Elite’s personnel work closely with the manufacturer to design equipment that accurately and efficiently performs the tests. This collaborative relationship has benefited everyone involved.  The EMC test industry also benefits because now the equipment Elite helped to design is available to everyone.     

Tom conducting an internal equipment training session in August.

Do you have any questions about choosing EMC Test EquipmentLightning Testing, or other related topics? Please share your comments or questions below and this week’s expert, Tom Klouda, will get back to you as soon as possible. 

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Q&A with Elite’s New Aviation Specialist – Kevin Halpin

Stacey Klouda, Elite Marketeer: So Kevin, what’s new with aviation at Elite?

Kevin Halpin: Elite has a long history of providing testing services for aircraft manufacturers and suppliers and is highly regarded throughout the aviation industry. I joined Elite about 6 months ago to bring some different experiences and help build on that reputation, using my background in flight testing and aircraft performance analysis. We’re currently working on flight planning software for use on “electronic flight bags” or EFBs and training courses to help flight crews get the most out of their aircraft.

SK: Who would this be beneficial for?

KH: We are focused on providing military operators with tools to help them save time and reduce fuel consumption. But EFB developers and manufacturers would also benefit from incorporating our tools onto their own platforms. The U.S. military is in the process of adopting Apple iPads to use as EFBs which are the perfect platform for hosting powerful flight planning apps.

SK: I hear you’re going down to Atlanta soon, what’s happening down there? 

KH: Next week, Steve Laya and I will be attending the C-130 Hercules Operators Council (HOC), which is the largest annual gathering of C-130 operators and suppliers from all over the world. The C-130 is a large military transport aircraft used in a multitude of roles, from electronic warfare to aerial firefighting. We have developed the preTOLD™ app specifically for the C-130J which quickly and accurately computes speeds, distances, and other data for takeoff and landing (referred to as TOLD). It will help C-130 operators save time and improve their situational awareness during flight planning. We’re excited to introduce our products and services to the C-130 community and talk about all that Elite has to offer to suppliers and operators alike.

SK: Ok sounds like a great event.  Now, a more important question: Where do you stand on the Chicago deep-dish vs. authentic Italian thin crust pizza debate??? The fate of the world hangs on your answer…no pressure.

KH: That’s an easy one: nothing beats a deep-dish, stuffed pizza, and no one outside Chicago can replicate it. Trust me, I’ve tried to find it. Must be something in the water. Then again, you’ll never see me turn down a piping hot Margherita pizza either…I just have to stack a couple on top of each other.

SK: Well, thank you for your time, Kevin. We look forward to what we’ll see next from you, the Aviation department, and the rest of the Elite bunch.

Do you have any questions about C-130 ApplicationsTOLD Training, or other related topics? Please share your comments or questions below and our expert, Kevin Halpin, will get back to you as soon as possible. 

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Reverb & Resonance: Beyond the Hype

Reverberation chambers, Mode-Stirred and Mode-Tuned Testing, and Resonant Cavities are common terms we hear in the EMC community.  But what’s behind this technology–Is it really that new? And why is it important for EMC testing?

The physics of resonance has been studied and applied for years. We recognize its importance in acoustics for musical instruments and concert halls, and also with mechanical vibrations in buildings, bridges, and machinery.  More recently, nuclear magnetic resonance and optical resonance in lasers have brought new understanding and great benefits to our everyday lives. 

Here at Elite, resonance and reverberation chamber technology are used for testing digital electronics for RF susceptibility. Mode-Tuned testing in our reverberation chambers provides a very robust evaluation of RF susceptibility because of the characteristic “isotropy, random polarization, and uniformity” of this method. 

To help explain this very interesting convergence of electromagnetics and statistics, Elite will host an IEEE technical presentation on reverberation chamber testing for EMC.  Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn about this topic and why concepts like isotropy and random polarization make a difference in your EMC tests…And it’s Oktoberfest-themed!

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CISPR 12 vs. CISPR 25 – Deciphering Standard Applications

Knowing which standard to use is very important when selecting a test method for evaluating a product. When selecting a specification, the user needs to take into consideration the purpose of the standard. A good example is CISPR 12 and CISPR 25. Both CISPR 12 and CISPR 25 include radiated emissions measurements for vehicles. However, there are a few fundamental differences that the user should take into consideration when determining which standard to use for vehicle emissions measurements.

The radiated emissions measurements of CISPR 12 are performed for the protection of off-board receivers. As an example, this test is done to assure that receivers are not affected when the vehicle drives them. This is very important when the vehicle drives past houses in a city (which are typically closer to the roadway). The radiated emissions measurements of CISPR 25 Clause 5 are performed for the protection of on-board receivers. This test measures the RF interference that is generated by the vehicle and then picked up by vehicle mounted antennas (such as the AM/FM radio or GPS antenna). This is a “RF Terminal” noise voltage measurement that is made at the point where the antenna would connect to the vehicle mounted receiver (such as the AM/FM Radio or Navigation System).

Another thing to consider is regulatory vs. engineering testing. CISPR 12 is used as a regulatory standard by many countries. CISPR 25 is an engineering standard that is used mainly by vehicle manufacturers and not for regulatory purposes. As a quick recap, the next time you are trying to figure out which test to perform when radiated emissions from a vehicle is the concern, ask yourself a couple of questions:

  • Question #1 – What are we trying to protect (off-board or on-board receivers)? 
  • Question #2 – Are we doing this for regulatory or engineering purposes?

Once those questions are answered, you will know if CISPR 12 or CISPR 25 (or both) are applicable.

Do you have any questions about CISPR Test Applications, EMC Standards, or other related topics? Please share your comments or questions below and our expert, Craig Fanning, will get back to you ASAP. 

Craig recently guest-presented a webinar, “EMC for Vehicles: Truly Mobile Electronics”, with Washington Labs on Thursday, August 15, 2013.  Please follow the link if you would be interested in learning more about other learning opportunities. 

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