Compliance & Product Regulatory ApproVals

EMC FAQ

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) – Compliance and Challenges

What would Rail Signalling Systems / Comms etc come under in terms of the CISPR Product (Family) Standards?

The EMC standard for railway application falls under the EN 50121 series to ensure that electronic and electrical equipment used in railway systems can operate reliably and safely without causing electromagnetic interference (EMI) or being susceptible to EMI. EN 50121 series covers a wide range of EMC requirements for railway applications. It includes various parts, each focusing on specific aspects of EMC, such as emissions, immunity, and measurement methods.
Example:
Part 1: Railway applications. Electromagnetic compatibility. General
Part 3-1: Railway applications. Electromagnetic compatibility. Rolling stock. Train and complete vehicle
Part 3-x:
These Railway specific standard do call up some CISPR standards and the IEC61000-4-x series of standards

Doesn't building an electrical installation with CE marked products make whole the installation EMC complied by default?

If you are referring to installation in Europe, CE marked products will be the starting point for overall compliance. However, it is a technical myth that CE+CE = CE. Depending on the size of the installation, this needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Generally, a Technical assessment is required for overall compliance. This is based on the risk assessment, criticality of the application and presumption of conformity by the manufacturer/installer.
If your question is relating to a system that has individual subsystems like motherboard, power supply, radio modules all individually CE certified, then the whole system will also need CE compliance.
For Australia, CE marked product do not automatically assume the Australian RCM compliance. There are certain parameters that needs specific review and assessment.

Is there any EMC requirements for renewable equipment such as converter, inverters or Battery Racks?

All electronic equipment requires EMC compliance. Yes, there are specific standards that the renewable equipment must comply with for EMC.
Specific EMC standards that apply to renewable energy equipment’s like grid-connected power coverers, solar power inverters, power drive systems, etc., can vary by application. Generally, EN 61000-6-x series which is a generic EMC standard has various parts covering emissions and immunity. Depending upon the application and environment, specific parts of this series may apply to the renewable energy equipment.

Isn't the Immunity standards in Australia based on CISPR 35? Does that mean CISPR 35 is based on those IEC standards?

Firstly, immunity standards are voluntary in Australia. ACMA, the Australian Communication and Media Authority, regulator for EMC, only mandates Emissions requirements. For Europe and many other countries, Immunity testing is also mandatory. Yes, CISPR 35 is the family standard for Multimedia equipment which calls up the IEC 61000-4-x series of standards for Immunity

Does the distance of the test antenna vary with frequency of operation and dimension of the System Under Test?

Yes, generally the Test Standard defines the test distance and limits applicable. There is a EUT (Equipment Under Test) size vs the test distance requirement. Larger the EUT, farther the test distance to compensate for near field effects on measurements. Frequency of operation is not a factor as the Frequency range of testing is also defined by the test standards. Higher the frequency of measurement, test environment (test setup) changes and generally can be tested at closer distances.

In terms of EMI not a devices but an electrical installation, how often would you advice to verify DER installation for EM performance?

A regulator generally does not mandate compliance of a complete installation. The individual systems must have EMC compliance. However, for the manufacturers and installers, EMC is important for their quality of performance and reduce service calls, hence it is advisable to ensure that the whole installation has EMC compliance

Do you need to do an EMC test on a huge mobile machinery? How do you test a huge mobile machinery?

Big Vehicles, trucks, even an entire plane undergoes EMC testing. To answer your question, in-situ testing (on-site) testing is one option. Standard and Regulators allow this method of testing. Other option is to test the individual sub-systems in a lab and do an overall technical assessment of the final installation system with some verification tests.

What is a regular cost for getting a smart phone get EMC certified in Australia?

Cost and time depend on what technologies, the Smart phone has (type of Radios, charger, etc) and also the test reports you already have for the smart phone. EMC, Electrical Safety, Radio, EMR, Telecom standards test reports are required and if they are all suitable for Australian compliance, certification costs can be estimated.
Please feel free to send C-PRAV the test specification of the Smart phone and we can advise costs for certifications.

What is the typical buffer percentage between the maximum emission allowed and the minimum immunity level?

Standards well define the maximum emissions allowed and the minimum immunity level criteria of the product. Generally, a low emissions device should have a good immunity performance. But since there are so many immunity tests required, it is often difficult to assess a product’s immunity performance just based on its emissions performance. There is certain degree of assessment that experts can make by reviewing the product design and any in-house test results one may have

What is the real story about emc issues from passengers personal devices effect on safe aircraft operation?

EMC compliance is important for regulatory compliance but is vital for a product’s application and environment that is used for. Aircrafts undergo rigorous tests for EMC compliance. Passengers personal devices usage in aircrafts are becoming a lot more lenient these days due to the level of compliance for both source and victim. However, no one can guarantee zero risk hence Airlines are advised to take the safest option which is to turn Radios off during critical times of take-off and landing. There are many cases in history where aircrafts have succumbed to radio interference and become susceptible which have led to loss of life.

How does a poor ground affect performance of a device - especially main powered device?

Grounding is a very critical factor in considering EMC compliance. Depending on the product and its configurations, its design aspects, filtering, shielding and grounding are 3 pillars of EMC compliance.

How do CM and DM filter effect the performance?

CM and DM filters largely improve the EMC performance of a product. Predominantly CM noise is a greater contributor of EMI. It is very important that the right filters are used for the tests otherwise any change of filter later due to procurement issues or product performance (considerations to Earth leakage, ambient temperature and overload characteristics) issues, will call for retests.

What are your suggestions for pre testing products in house? Is this feasible?

If one has pre-test facility inhouse, this is highly recommended to save significant time and costs. If your question is for, a built product that is ready for compliance testing, yes pre-testing inhouse first is the way to go. If your question is relating to the period when a product is in its development journey, it is even better saving of time, cost and most importantly freedom to apply countermeasures or provisions for applying later at the end when required.
There are several techniques for cheap pre-test setups in house. This is a topic on its own for discussion.

If a device self resets and comes up with normal operation- when exposed to emissions- is that criteria B or C?

This is Criteria B compliance. Self-Recoverable to its normal state of operation

AS61439 - EMC Compliance is very misunderstood, What advice do you have for people building custom switchboards, integrating switchgear and electronic devices?

What is misunderstood in EMC compliance of this standard? Its only the clause 12 you are referring to I suppose. As the rest of the standard is more Safety related. The end product definitely should comply with the requirements – as it is a mandated ACMA standard for EMC. Please feel free to write to us with any specific challenge that you are facing.

Is it manufacturer decide on the Immunity Pass fail criteria or is it the Compliance Lab with manufacturer's recommendations based on products operational environments?

A lab never decides on any Pass/Fail criteria. Manufacturer must decide and advise the lab what the Pass/Fail criteria should be. Manufacturer may use the generic criteria given in the standards and modify based on the applications of the product, risk of operation, its environment, etc.

Is compliance to the AS 61000-4 standards mandatory? Are they called out in regulations?

See answer to Q4. In Australia Immunity tests are on voluntary basis. In Europe and other countries Immunity tests to IEC standards are mandatory.

If a device has cispr 35 certificate, does it mean it has gone through tests such as iec-61000-4-3?

Yes, correct.

If the product is tested to European standards, can these test reports be used for Australian Compliance

There are common standards, and the simple answer is Yes, you can use the EU standard test reports especially for EMC. However, depending on the product, there may be some deviations for Safety, Radio, Telecom, etc compliance, hence an assessment is required before you can establish that all reports are acceptable.
All answers provided are an expert’s opinion gained from many years of experience in this Industry. Your individual cases and needs may be different and hence strongly recommend that you consult after providing full details of your product.

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Praveen Rao

CEO & Technical Director, C-PRAV Group: Australia, New Zealand, India & Canada 

C-PRAV Labs & Certifications 

Professional engineering experience of 30+ years with technical and managerial skills obtained from professional degree, courses, and hands-on experience, while working with organizations and companies involved in Design & Development, Testing, Inspection, Certification and Compliance (TICC). 

Management of electrical/electronic products & systems Testing and Certifications for Global markets in Consumer, Industrial, IT, Telecom, Defence, Medical, and Automotive Industries. Overall advisory for Standards, Regulations, Testing and Certifications for Global Market Access (GMA). 

  • ISO/IEC 17025 Lab Quality Management 
  • NATA Authorised Signatory (1995 to 2000) for EMC Testing 
  • NATA & IANZ Authorised Technical Assessor (current)
  • EMI/EMC, RF/Wireless, EMR-RF Exposure/SAR 
  • NATA Technical Assessors Advisory Committee (current) 
  • Current Chair of Australian EMC National Standards Committee 
  • Member of Australian National standards committees for Safety, Radio, RF Exp/SAR 
  • Represent Australia in International Standards committees like IEC, CISPR, IEEE 
  • Member of Telecommunications Certification Body Council, USA and European REDCA