The First Draft International Standard (FDIS) for Edition 2.0 of IEC 62368-1 was published last month. The FDIS is the final voting stage before a standard is released as an International Standard (IS).
IEC 62368-1 is a hazard-based, performance-oriented standard for IT equipment and A/V equipment, intended to replace IEC 60950-1 and IEC 60065. Read about why these standards are being phased out.
Now that Edition 2 is published, the National Committees (NCs) involved in IEC TC108 will be reviewing and voting on the document. The voting period deadline is January 10, 2014.
If the vote is successful as expected, the IS will be issued as IEC 62368-1, Edition No. 2 sometime in March or April timeframe. Edition No. 2 is expected to get much wider global adoption than Edition No. 1, which wasn’t accepted in Europe or Asia.
In the U.S. & Canada, the 62368-1 Technical Harmonization Committee (THC) is finalizing proposed content, including national differences, of the next CSA/UL 62368-1 based on Edition 2.0. These national versions have a target publication of 3rd Quarter 2014.
Major manufacturers trust MET Labs to product safety test and certify their IT equipment and A/V equipment. Contact us for a free quote, or submit a question to Pat, our electrical product compliance expert.
For a manufacturer looking to add Taiwan to its information technology equipment homologations program, a BSMI approval is required. Therefore, testing supplemental to typical IEC 60950 certification is necessary.
Standard compliance with IEC 60950 allows for the waiver of testing of I/O ports if they are sourced from a SELV (safety extra low-voltage) and/or power limited circuit. Most data and communication ports, like USB, video, and Ethernet, are sourced from these type of circuits. IEC 60950 says there is no need to prove via testing what is confirmed by engineering evaluation.
From BSMI’s perspective, they never know if and how the end user will misuse and connect improper devices to these ports, so they assume the worst case scenario and require all I/O ports be tested. BSMI references standard CNS 14336 for this.
Another important note: The power supply will also require additional testing if it doesn’t already have BSMI certification. The end product manufacturer should:
- Request the BSMI certificate from the power supply vendor/manufacturer
- If this is not available, request the power supply vendor/manufacturer to submit an amended CB scheme report covering the additional testing
MET Labs is experienced in helping major IT equipment manufacturers with their international approvals and global homologations programs. Contact us for a free quote, or submit a question to Pat, our electrical product compliance expert.
Most Military/Avionic EMC test programs include radiated emissions testing. This is the test method where the unintentional emissions which
radiate from a piece of electronic equipment under test are measured with an antenna and spectrum analyzer and plotted against the required limit. One issue which must always be dealt with during radiated emissions and other EMC test methods is control of the ambient emissions. Ambient emissions such as television, radio, and wireless signals are attenuated by the shielded EMC test chamber; however, they can travel into the chamber on the cables which connect to support equipment outside of the chamber.
If ambient emissions are not mitigated, they can appear as an EUT failure during testing. One way to deal with this issue proactively is to use shielded cables with shielded bulkhead connectors or feed-through capacitors (Figure 1) to decouple the ambient signals to ground.
In Figure 2, note how the ambient emissions exceed the Army ground limit at 28MHz when the power and signal
cables pass directly through an oversize chamber hole. In Figure 3, see how the ambient emissions have been attenuated below the noise floor of the measurement system, due to power cables connecting through 1uF feed-through capacitors and the shielded serial cable connects through a wall-embedded bulkhead connector.
Utilizing our machine shop, steel panels, and a variety of connectors, MET Labs provides custom bulkhead panels for all military and avionics test programs, at no additional cost to the customer.
Similarly, some electronic equipment requires water as part of its normal mode of operation, such as aircraft
galley equipment or water-cooled high power equipment. MET has installed regulated water at its Military/Avionic EMC test chambers using bulkhead fittings that maintain the shielding effectiveness of the chamber. MET has a variety of hoses and fitting available and trained staff to provide professional hookup to the equipment under test. This too is a free service provided to all MET customers.
Visit our quote center for an immediate EMC testing need, or Ask Pat, our resident electrical product compliance expert, for questions relating to chamber pass-throughs for water pipes and power & signal cables.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized Version 1.0 of the ENERGY STAR Data Center Storage Specification and the ENERGY STAR Data Center Storage Test Method.
According to EPA, datacenters are estimated to be more than 2% of total U.S. electricity consumption, so more energy efficient data center storage equipment will help data center owners and operators save significant money on their energy bills.
The ENERGY STAR Data Center Storage specification enhances the suite of ENERGY STAR datacenter equipment specifications, which currently includes Computer Server and Uninterruptible Power Supply specifications.
- Introduces an approach to product families that allows both homogenous and heterogeneous storage device configurations to be certified
- Includes requirements focused on power supplies, capacity optimizing methods, and standard performance data measurement and output
- Allows for variations within product families to incorporate newer storage devices and other system improvements over the life of the storage product
The V1.0 Specification requires all products to test and submit data using the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) Emerald Power Efficiency Measurement Specification V2.0.2.
The effective date of the V1.0 Data Center Storage Specification is December 2, 2013, but MET Labs is already an EPA-recognized certification body (CB) for this category and is in advanced stages of the test lab recognition process with EPA.
Selling to the U.S. government? Did you know federal agencies are required to purchase ENERGY STAR qualified products?
Body SAR will be required for Japan starting April 1, 2014. The limit is 2 W/kg for body and 4 W/kg for arms and legs. The SAR is calculated over any 10g of tissue (as compared to 1g of tissue for FCC). Body SAR will be exempt for radio devices that have less than 20mW output power. The test method, for the most part, is harmonized with IEC 62209-2. Read about SAR requirements in North America and Europe.
There is a second FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) coming out early next year proposing still-unknown new certification procedures for FCC. This is in addition to the first NPRM that issued in February 2013 and which included significant changes to the FCC equipment authorization process. FCC is calling it a “complete overhaul of the certification process.” It is expected these changes will take effect in late 2014.
Mexico and Israel MRAs
Mexico and Israel Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) should be finalized late next year. When Phase I of the MRAs are implemented, U.S. manufacturers will be able to perform testing at a local U.S. lab for those countries. Later, when Phase II is implemented each country will be able to certify products for the other.
For questions about these changes or for an immediate test need, visit our Quote Center.
Register now for MET’s free EMC & Wireless Design & Testing Seminar in Baltimore next week.
Nearly all lithium batteries are required to pass section 38.3 of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, to ensure the safety of lithium batteries during shipping.
UN/DOT 38.3 Transportation Testing for Lithium Batteries 5th edition was issued in 2009, with Amendment 1 in 2011.
It includes eight sections. Sections T1-T5 use the same samples, and are tested in order. All primary and secondary cells and batteries are subject to these sections. Sections T6-T8 have more limited applicability. Following is a basic primer:
T1 – Altitude Simulation
This is low pressure testing that simulates unpressurized airplane space (cargo area) at 15,000 meter altitude. After storing batteries at 11.6kPa for >6 hours, these criteria shall be met: no mass loss, leaking, venting, disassembly, rupture or fire, and voltage within 10% of pre-test voltage.
T2 – Thermal Test
This test covers changes in temperature extremes from -40C to +75C. Batteries are stored for 6 hours at -40C (12 hours for large cells/batteries), then 6 hours at +75C (12 hours for large cells/batteries), for a total of 10 cycles. Testing may be performed in a single chamber or thermal shock chamber, but less than 30 minute transitions shall be used. Same pass criteria as T1.
T3 – Vibration
This test simulates vibration during transportation. Test is a Sine Sweep: 7Hz – 200Hz – 7Hz in 15 Minutes; 12 Sweeps (3 hours); 3 mutually perpendicular axes. Same pass criteria as T1.
T4 – Shock
This test also simulates vibration during transportation. Test is a Half-Sine pulse: 150G/6ms for small cells/batteries; 50G/11ms for large cells/batteries; 3 pulses per direction; 6 directions (+/-z, +/-x, +/-y). Same pass criteria as T1.
T5 – External Short Circuit
This test simulates an external short to the terminals of the cell or battery. At temperature of +55C, apply short circuit (<0.1ohm) across terminals. Maintain at least an hour after sample temperature returns to +55 +/-2°C. Pass criteria are: Case temperature does not exceed +170°C and no disassembly, rupture, or fire within 6 hours of test. Fuse, current limiting circuit, and venting mechanism activation are allowable.
T6 – Impact
This test is only applicable to primary and secondary cells. For cylindrical cells >20mm diameter, it simulates impact to case of cell. For cylindrical cells <20mm diameter and all other cell constructions, it simulates crushing of a cell. Pass criteria for any type is: Case temperature does not exceed +170C & no disassembly or fire within 6 hours of test.
T7 – Overcharge
This test is for secondary or rechargeable batteries only. It simulates an overcharge condition on a rechargeable battery: 2x the manufacturer’s recommended charge current for 24 hours. Then battery shall be monitored for 7 days for fire or disassembly.
T8 – Forced Discharge
This testing simulates a forced discharge condition for primary and secondary cells only. Same pass criteria as T7.
Per 18.104.22.168, in the event that a cell or battery type does not meet one or more of the test requirements, steps shall be taken to correct the deficiency before the cell or battery type is retested. Partial retest is not allowed.
Although it was developed by the United States military, MIL-STD-810 is a test methodology that is used by many manufacturers now, regardless of whether they plan to sell to the U.S. Department of Defense.
MIL-STD-810G allows for tailoring an equipment’s environmental design and test limits to the conditions that it will experience, also known as ruggedizing a product.
Depending on the ruggedness requirement of a product (dictated by where and how it will be used), models have different pass criteria.
Within the computer laptop industry, three marketing categories are used to characterize the durability of business laptops: business-rugged, semi-rugged, and fully rugged.
A business-rugged laptop will typically feature a magnesium alloy chassis with shock-resistant hard drives and spill resistant keyboards. They are tested for shock, vibration, drops, low pressure, blowing sand, low/high temperatures, humidity, liquid spill and domestic dust.
Semi-rugged devices feature additional protection including display protection, outdoor viewable display and port covers. They go through the same tests as business-rugged laptops, but are exposed for a longer test period, or have higher pass criteria.
Fully rugged laptops have to survive the most extreme conditions. These systems must withstand higher drops, more vibration, temperature shocks, intense rain, salted fog, explosive atmosphere, blowing sand/dust and function at a wider range of temperatures than less rugged devices.
In addition, most fully rugged systems pass a variety of other certifications such as IP-65 for ingress protection, ANSI/ISA 12.12.01 for hazardous locations, and MIL-STD-461F for resistance to electromagnetic interference.
As of September 2013, the Mexican telecommunications agency, the Federal Telecommunications Commission (COFETEL), has been replaced by IFETEL (Federal Institute of Telecommunications). IFETEL will be in charge of the Mexico telecom type approval processes for all equipment requiring testing for importation into Mexico. COFETEL will no longer exist.
IFETEL’s responsibilities will include:
- Define the radiofrequency bands to be used for telecommunications and broadcasting that can be utilized by concessionaries
- Grant concessions and approve any concessions transfers
- Issue/update regulations for the telecom industry
- Identify and regulate monopolies
For Mexico telecom type approvals completed thru COFETEL, IFETEL will grandfather the products, retaining the same numbering system and the same homologation approval certificate numbers.
Moving forward, all products approved under the IFETEL Scheme should be labeled as follows:
- For products with on-board/integrated radios: “IFETEL: xxxxxxxxxxxxx”
- For host products containing approved modules: “This product contains an Approved module, Model No. xxxx, IFETEL No. xxxxxxxxxxxxx”
Mexico’s NOM-121 requirements and testing for radiofrequency equipment utilizing 900MHz, 2.4GHZ, and 5GHz will remain the same until IFETEL releases their new procedures and requirements, which are expected soon.
For more information on the changes, contact MET Labs.
Late last year, Version 1.8.1 of EN 300 328 was adopted and published in the EU’s Official Journal (OJ). This standard is the applicable standard for WiFi, Bluetooth, and other wideband transmitters operating in the 2.4GHz band.
Version 1.8.1 has an effective date of December 31, 2014, so declarations of conformity with the Radio and Telecommunication Terminal Equipment (R&TTE) Directive based on testing against EN 300 328, v1.7.1 would need to be re-evaluated before the end of 2014 for devices going into the EU market after this date. Devices already in the market will be grandfathered in.
However, at the same time as the v1.8.1 adoption, a note was added to v1.7.1 in the OJ, stating that part of the new v1.8.1 requirements – medium utilization factors – needed to be immediately implemented and tested.
The upshot: Radio modules tested and found compliant to v1.7.1 need to be retested due to the additional requirement – there is no longer a presumption of conformity with the R&TTE Directive. This has caused confusion and headache for manufacturers and some test labs.
In conclusion, wireless modules tested to the un-amended v1.7.1 need to be retested now to the latest version of the standard. By January 1, 2015, all wireless equipment in the 2.4GHz band needs to be tested to v1.8.1.
Contact us for an overview of changes specified in v1.8.1.
MET Labs recently completed a novel RF survey for a large federal government agency laboratory, to determine whether refrigerators and freezers on multiple floors in multiple buildings are receiving a sufficient-strength wireless signal with minimal noise.
Here are some of the project details, as well as surveyed information:
- Operating frequencies: 2.4 GHz ISM Band; 5 GHz UNII Bands; 5.8 GHz ISM Band
- Acceptable signal strength: -85dBm to -35dBm
- Minimum Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 20dB
- Access Point/Channels in Use Information
- Maximum Data Rate
- Retry Rate Distribution
- Loss Rate Distribution
- Operating Mode Information (Legacy/HT/Mixed HT)
- 20/40MHz Channel Information
- Tx/Rx MCS Index Information
MET used this test method:
- The calibrated 802.11a/b/g/n client radio was connected to a laptop running RF monitoring software.
- A passive and active survey was taken using the software and the radio was moved throughout the test site.
- In each lab and corridor within labs, measurements were taken of the strength of the received WLAN carriers.
- All the measurements were mapped to floor plans of the test site. Signal Strength, SNR, and other wireless signal properties were noted throughout and compared to the test requirements.
In situ RF surveys are a good way to ensure wireless-enabled equipment receives an uninterrupted signal that is free of excessive noise. For more information about conducting RF surveys, contact MET.