Playing Nice in the EMI Sandbox

If you wear a pacemaker, you are probably already aware of the precautions you must take when you are in the vicinity of certain other devises.  For those that may be unaware, there are many devices should never come into contact with the skin above the pacemaker, cordless telephones or electric razors for example.  There […]

If you wear a pacemaker, you are probably already aware of the precautions you must take when you are in the vicinity of certain other devises.  For those that may be unaware, there are many devices should never come into contact with the skin above the pacemaker, cordless telephones or electric razors for example.  There are other devices which should never be within six inches of the pacemaker, Bluetooth emitters for example.  And there are other devices that should never be used in the same room as a pacemaker patient, stun guns for example.  Have you ever wondered why these restrictions exist?

When an electronic device operates, changing electrical currents and voltages cause electromagnetic interference ( EMI ).  This EMI is transmitted into the space around the device, and can cause other proximate devices to malfunction, or to stop functioning all together.  When an engineer designs a device, he must be acutely aware of how much EMI the device will transmit into the surrounding space, and he must also be aware of how much EMI can be present in his own space for his device to operate properly.  The ability to both of these things, is called Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC).  In order to go to market and sell a device in the US, the FCC must test your device to confirm its emitted EMI is below the regulated threshold, and it also tests to make sure your device continues to operate in the presence of EMI at that threshold.  Said in another way, they ensure your device is Electromagnetically Compliant.  In other countries, the thresholds may be different, and the Testing Agency will be different, but compliance testing will be encountered in every country.

Since formal Compliance Testing by the FCC is a lengthy and expensive proposition, most engineers will try to monitor and test their Electromagnetic Compliance themselves before they contact the FCC for formal testing.  This informal testing by the engineer is critical to ensure that the device design ultimately stays on time and on budget.

In general, if a device is not Electromagnetically Compliant, the FCC will not allow it to go to market.  In some cases, however, the device is not compliant and can not be designed differently.  If the device is considered medically essential, it will be allowed to go to market, with very clear operating restrictions.  This is the case with Pacemakers.

If you want to learn more about the Formal FCC Compliance Testing, or if you want to learn more about how to informally test your device prior to formal testing, or if you want to learn how to design your circuits so that you will pass informal and formal testing, consider taking the upcoming ATI course EMC PCB Design and Integration.  You can learn more about the course, and register for it here.

And, as always, you can look at our other classes, and our upcoming schedule of offerings at www.aticourses.com

Free EMI Workshop- Prevent EMI Problems

Free Troubleshooting EMI workshop. Identify, Characterize, and Prevent Electromagnetic Interference Problems Hosted by Rohde & Schwarz Join this highly focused free one-day seminar and learn how to uncover, characterize, and solve the most elusive EMI problems. Troubleshooting and localizing intermittent signals or multiple layers of broadband and narrowband signals can be frustrating even for the […]
Free Troubleshooting EMI workshop. Identify, Characterize, and Prevent Electromagnetic Interference Problems Hosted by Rohde & Schwarz Join this highly focused free one-day seminar and learn how to uncover, characterize, and solve the most elusive EMI problems. Troubleshooting and localizing intermittent signals or multiple layers of broadband and narrowband signals can be frustrating even for the most seasoned EMC troubleshooter and RF engineer. We will discuss and demonstrate a number of test setups that can help the root causes of EMC test failures and then demonstrate how real-time analysis can literally make previously-hidden signals leap into plain view. This seminar is intended for engineers and technicians involved in the development, troubleshooting, pre-compliance testing and certification of electronic products, systems and assemblies for EMC. More information here. Instructor: Lee Hill is an industry expert in electromagnetic compatibility and founding partner of SILENT Solutions LLC, an EMC and RF design firm established in 1992. Lee provides EMC troubleshooting services, design reviews, and training to a wide variety of industries nationally and around the world. He earned his MSEE in electromagnetics from the Missouri University of Science and Technology EMC Laboratory. Contact this instructor

Available Dates:

Select the date/location that best fits your schedule to register now! Tuesday, April 4 – New York, NY Thursday, April 6 – Columbia, MD Tuesday, April 18 – San Diego, CA Thursday, April 20 – Milpitas, CA Monday, May 22, – Dallas, TX

ATI Announces Two New Wireless Courses

  Do You Know Your Way Around  EMC for a Wireless Sensor Network? The concept of low-cost sensors, structured into a large network to provide extreme fidelity offers an extensive capability over a large-scale system to implement a myriad of applications including: smart building installation, process control, asset tracking, military operations and C4I applications. In […]
 
Wireless Sensor Networks Rely on Radio Frequency (RF) Communications
Do You Know Your Way Around  EMC for a Wireless Sensor Network?
The concept of low-cost sensors, structured into a large network to provide extreme fidelity offers an extensive capability over a large-scale system to implement a myriad of applications including: smart building installation, process control, asset tracking, military operations and C4I applications. In order for these and other wireless systems to efficiently use the radio frequency (RF) spectrum, engineers and technicians responsible for the planning, design, development, installation and operation of must have a methodology for achieving electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). Careful application of these techniques at appropriate stages in the wireless system life cycle will ensure wireless systems that are free from electromagnetic interference (EMI) problems
Since 1984, the Applied Technology Institute (ATI) has provided leading-edge public courses and onsite technical training to DoD and NASA personnel, as well as contractors. Whether you are a busy engineer, a technical expert or a project manager, you can enhance your understanding of complex topics in a short time. You will also become aware of the basic vocabulary essential to interact meaningfully with your colleagues
How many of the following situations apply to you: • Do your educational needs run more toward “Advanced Topics in Digital Signal Processing” instead of “Introduction to Business”? • Do you count decibels (dBs) or dollars ($)? • Are bit error rates more familiar to you than interest rates? • Don’t have time for a full semester course? • Is the “nearest campus” all the way across town at rush hour? If one or more of situations apply to you or you are just in need of more technical training, then boost your career with the knowledge needed to provide better, faster, and cheaper solutions for sophisticated customers. Why not take a short course instead? ATI short courses are less than a week long and are designed to help you keep your professional knowledge up-to-date. Our courses provide a practical overview of space and defense technologies which provide a strong foundation for understanding the issues that must be confronted in the use, regulation and development of complex systems. DESIGNING WIRELESS SYSTEMS FOR EMC This three day course provides a methodology for using electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) analysis techniques and tools for planning, designing, installing and operating wireless systems that are free from electromagnetic interference (EMI) problems. Careful application of these techniques at appropriate stages in the wireless system life cycle will ensure EMC without either the wasteful expense of over-engineering or the uncertainties of under-engineering. This course discusses the basic EMI problems and describes the role and importance of analysis in achieving EMC. It introduces the student to the basic EMC analysis techniques. The EMI interactions that can occur between a transmitter and a receiver are identified and analysis techniques and tools that may be used in the planning, design, development, installation and operation of wireless systems that are free of EMI are provided. The course is specifically directed toward EMI signals that are generated by potentially interfering transmitters, propagated and received via antennas and cause EMI in RF receivers. Mathematical models for the overall transmitter receiver EMI interactions and the EMI characteristics of transmitters, receivers, antennas, propagation and system performance are presented. WIRELESS SENSOR NETWORKING This four day course is designed for remote sensing engineers, process control architects, security system engineers, instrumentation designers, ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) developers, and program managers who wish to enhance their understanding of ad hoc wireless sensor networks (WSN) and how to design, develop, and implement these netted sensors to solve a myriad of applications including: smart building installation, process control, asset tracking, military operations and C4I applications, as well as energy monitoring. The concept of low-cost sensors, structured into a large network to provide extreme fidelity with an extensive capability over a large-scale system is described in detail using technologies derived from robust radio-stacked microcontrollers, cellular logic, service orientated architecture (SOA) based systems, and adroit insertion of adaptive, and changeable, middleware.


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