Broadly there may be considered to be four stages involved in EMC test:
It is useful to be able to categorize the different stages of EMC test as the requirements for each are slightly different and different approaches may be taken.
During the development phase of a project it is much easier to make changes to an
electronic circuit design. In this way tests can be undertaken to ensure that the
best possible EMC / EMI performance is obtained. EMC filters, circuit layout, screening
and other aspects of the design can all be changed more easily at this stage.
EMC tests at this stage can be quite informal, and although testing for EMI are undertaken, the same level of test equipment and testing is not required as for the later formal testing stages.
The pre-compliance EMC testing is undertaken once a representative working model of the final equipment is available. The testing is normally performed at the development laboratory as part of their product testing programme. Its main purpose is to check the performance of the complete product and ensure that it has a good chance of passing the formal EMI test that needs to be performed later.
Once the development of the product is complete, it is necessary to undertake a full and formal run of the EMI EMC compliance testing. This will ensure that the product meets all of its requirements with respect to the standards it needs to meet. The tests that need to be undertaken and their nature will depend upon the product, but need to be sufficient to ensure that the product can conform to its EMI EMC standards.
It is found that in any production process there will be small changes as the supplied components change. Typically these tests will be considerably less comprehensive and are only required, possibly on a batch basis to ensure that there are no major changes in the performance.
The testing that is required for EMI EMC compliance falls into a number of categories. Some elements of EMC testing are essential whereas others may be advisable to perform at the various stages during the development cycle of the product.
The different types of EMC test require different test technologies. However they all test essential electromagnetic compatibility, EMC related elements for any piece of electronic equipment. The conducted and radiated emissions and immunity are associated with the ability of the equipment not to emit or be susceptible to radio frequency energy whether it is carried and a radiated signal, or conducted over the leads entering the equipment. Additionally the ESD performance is another essential parameter. With static a part of everyday life, it is necessary to ensure that it is not prone to damage by static discharges. Additionally the equipment must be resilient to any transients or surges presented on any lines entering the equipment. For example mains power is often subject to both surges and transient pulses, and the equipment must be able to withstand these if it is able to provide reliable operation.
There is a variety of EMC test equipment that is required. The testing is normally carried out within a screened room, but the EMC test equipment itself is also required. Typically much of the EMC test equipment consists of either sensitive measurement receivers or spectrum analysers. In addition to this the other EMC test equipment that is needed includes the generators for any susceptibility tests.
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