Electromagnetic Compatibility Testing
Washington Laboratories has been providing Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Testing and Radio Frequency (RF) Testing for over thirty years.
Our EMC Test Lab facilities include a 3 meter fully anechoic chamber and two 3/10 meter open area, all weather test sites as well as several indoor sites. is a The Federal Communications Commission’s limits on radio frequency emissions under FCC Part 15, in force since 1983, are an important factor in product design and development in the U.S. Our test site conforms to ANSI C63.4-2003 and is listed by the FCC’s Equipment Authorizations Branch in Columbia, Maryland. We’re able to test small handhelds up to fully configured rack systems and larger equipment. Our 9,000 square foot facility is conveniently located near Washington, D.C.
The Washington Laboratories team has extensive experience in a variety of engineering and testing programs for diverse products and systems. From compliance testing to design reviews, mitigation, site surveys, specialized test services, customized seminars and webinars and engineering expertise, we provide state-of-the-art facilities, superior engineering and testing services and knowledgeable staff to help get your company’s products to market faster.
Our full-service Electromagnetic Compatibility Testing offerings include:
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC) testing & certification
- Industry Canada testing & certification
- European Union CE Marking
- MIL-STD-461 testing
- RTCA DO-160 testing
EMC Testing Overview
The founders of Washington Laboratories, wrote “The Electromagnetic Compatibility Handbook” that is still a trusted reference source. Learn more about the history of Washington Laboratories
EMC testing is a focus on two two kinds of issues – emissions and susceptibilty (also known as immunity).
- Emissions testing is related to the generation of unwanted electromagnetic interference (EMI) by equipment operation, and to the steps necessary to reduce or avoid the unwanted emissions from escaping into the environment.
- Immuniy testing focuses on the correct operation of electrical equipment while withstanding unplanned or potential electromagnetic interference.
Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) covers a broad discipline and touches the operation of equipment that greatly affects our modern lives. In essence, the “goal of EMC” is the result of all electrical and electronics equipment operating in its environment properly and without a negative effect on the environment.
Early work in “RFI” or Radio Frequency Interference started in the 1930s, primarily with military systems and notably airplanes. The installation of radio equipment in early aircraft gave rise to noise problems in the radio receivers from ignition sources (spark plug noise) and related pulse and broadband interference sources, such as precipitation static (so-called “P-Static”). Other concerns, which continue today, include protection against lightning-induced energy which can threaten airborne, ground and sea-based equipment.
EMC Testing Services
Our Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Testing labs Feature:
- Automated measurements and data collection and reporting
- Flexible on-site measurements: remote locations, suburban/urban locations
- Discreet measurement techniques: extended and long-term measurements
- Broad and narrow band measurements from DC-40 GHz
- Magnetic field measurements: DC-30 MHz
- Electric field measurements: 100 Hz — 40 GHz
- Measurements per ANSI C95.1: Radiation Hazards
- EMC Test plan preparation
- Engineering propagation testing and studies
- Design assistance and review
Reduce interference potential by knowing your electromagnetic environment. Radio frequency measurements of potential interference at your installation can help reduce problems in sensitive installations (i.e., medical devices, pacemakers, etc.) To make these determinations, very specific measurements must be taken on location. And you probably needed it done yesterday.
On-Site Testing for Compliance
On-site testing sometimes referred to in situ testing is an option that is often used when performing equipment evaluation at a customer location, factory or another non-laboratory test venue.
There are several reasons to perform product compliance testing at a specific location, rather than at a test laboratory. A major reason is that the equipment may be physically too large for a test laboratory. The other reason is that special support equipment or infrastructure is needed to operate the equipment. For example, the electricity supply may have specific voltage or amperage requirements that cannot be accommodated in the laboratory. Other operational needs may include mechanical services such as air-handling, chemical requirements, other support equipment. Other reasons may include security issues or other special access issues relating to sensitive equipment and/or intellectual property.
The testing may cover the various EMC, Safety and Machinery requirements and these are well-used methodology.
We can help.
Washington Laboratories provides radio frequency measurements to Personal Communications Services and Cellular providers. We are the single resource for fast, accurate and responsive RF measurements from DC to 40 GHz.
There are no harmonized standards for performing on-site measurements for Electromagnetic Compatibility under the EMC Directive Directive 2004/108/EC. However, due diligence, applied to a system under test, are routinely accepted for compliance purposes. By definition, most on-site test regimens for EMC are going to reference the industrial standards and limits. A reasonable approach is to reference the generic standards IEC 61000-6-2 and 61000-6-4 for immunity and emissions, respectively.
The challenge of on-site EMC testing is to manage RF ambients when making emissions measurements and to minimize adjacent equipment disruption when performing immunity testing.
Test setups may be arranged as a best-practice, using reference ground planes for performing various conducted tests (conducted emissions) and ESD testing.
Specific tests that are typically called out include applicable versions of the following tests:
EN 55011: Emissions
EN 61000-4-2: ESD
EN 61000-4-3: Radiated Immunity
EN 61000-4-4: Electrical Fast Transients
EN 61000-4-5: Surge
EN 61000-4-6 Conducted Immunity
In the United States, special conditions may apply when performing measurements for Radiated Immunity. Under the FCC Rules, a Special Temporary Authorization (STA) is usually indicated for performing RI testing outside of shielded chambers. The STA is filed electronically and the conditions are found in Part 5 of the FCC Rules.
Safety evaluations are often performed on-site; field evaluations are commonplace and may be conducted at point-of-origin of equipment (manufacturer, for example) or at the point-of-installation.
Safety standards can typically be adapted to on-site evaluations for compliance, however there sometimes are challenges relating to power quality and availability, as well as ambient temperature and humidity requirements. For example, some evaluations must be tested in an environmental chamber, such as a humidity “soak” prior to performing leakage or dielectric withstand testing (hipot). This may not be available at a factory, for example.
Field labeling of equipment is commonplace and is often required before equipment commissioning at a particular location. Field labeling usually involves a review of the equipment installation, necessary ratings, warnings and cautions. Often, this is done prior to inspection by the electrical inspector in the jurisdiction which provides permits and approvals.
Other requirements include ad-hoc procedures, such as a method developed by ANSI titled: ANSI C63.18-1997, Recommended practice for an on-site, ad hoc test method for estimating radiated electromagnetic immunity of medical devices to specific radio-frequency transmitters. New York: ANSI, 1997. This method, in particular, is used to evaluate the potential for interference at medical facilities. In a related matter, the Association for the Advancement of Medial Instrumentation (AAMI) has guidelines which has technical guidance for resolving medical device interference issues, specifically: Technical Information Report (TIR) 18, Guidance on electromagnetic compatibility of medical devices for clinical/biomedical engineers -Part 1: Radiated radio-frequency electromagnetic energy.
On-site testing may be indicated by definition, that is, the Nuclear Industry often specifies site surveys that collect radiated and conducted emissions data prior to installation of equipment at nuclear power plants. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has plant emissions limits that were aggregated a number of years ago during studies of several nuclear plants. These data formed Plant Limits that are used as indicators when determining if special susceptibility conditions may need to be established for certain types of equipment. A site survey is the only way to determine if a particular plant may have strong ambient conditions. The data that are normally collected include electric field and magnetic field intensities and conducted currents on conductors associated with the equipment installation.
For more information about Nuclear Evaluations, visit: https://wll.com/services/nuclear-emc-testing-services/