Early Consideration of EMC & Product Safety Compliance in Product Development Saves Time and Headaches
When developing a new electrical product, early consideration of electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and product safety compliance issues will pay major dividends later.
If compliance is not engineered in from the start, expect to endure this pain:
- A major delay as the product is redesigned, jeopardizing time to market and product viability
- Significant extra costs for rework and increased product cost
- Team dissension and rock-bottom morale
What’s the best way to integrate compliance into a new product? First, get buy in from senior management, then:
- Buy and read the relevant safety and EMC standards and train your design engineers in the basics of compliance
- Have your compliance engineers work side by side with the designers, providing deeper expertise when needed, and information about the latest changes to standards and regulations
- Perform early design reviews and early testing on the first prototypes to lower the risk during final compliance testing
Don’t have a compliance engineering team? We can help. In addition to testing and certification, MET Labs offers compliance assistance, with controls in place to prevent a conflict of interest, as required by our accreditation agencies.
The Compliance Today blog for electrical product manufacturer compliance engineers saw a significant jump in readers and subscribers in 2012. Following were the most popular 2012 posts, by pageviews.
- RTCA/DO-160G is Latest Version for Testing of Airborne Equipment, But Not the Only Choice
- UL1604 to Be Replaced by ANSI/ISA 12.12.01-2000 for Hazardous Locations Certification
- 2011 National Electrical Code (NEC) Updates Standard for the Safe Installation of Electrical Equipment
- Health Canada Provides Guidance on IEC 60601-1 3rd Edition Transition
- Product Safety Compliance Engineers Use These Resources
- IECEE Suspends Brazil NCBs and CBTLs from CB Scheme
- Electromagnetic Compatibility Compliance Engineers Use These EMC Resources
- China CCC Product Safety Compliance for A/V & IT Equipment is Changing
- For IT Equipment in Canada, ICES-003 Issue 5 Required by August 2013
- Military EMC Testing Standard MIL-STD-461G is Coming
If you want to receive an email of each post when it publishes (about once a week), subscribe on the right side of this page.
Want more in-depth information on one of these topics? Check to see if we are planning a seminar or webinar on it.
Need electrical product testing? Fill out an RFQ.
We received so much positive feedback on our blog posts for EMC Compliance Links and Product Safety Compliance Links, that we decided to dedicate a post to spotlight the top blogs for electrical product developers.
With a few exceptions, these blogs are from independent sources, like industry associations, publishers or consultants. What are we missing? Leave a comment with a link to it.
Aerospace & Defense Blog Military and aerospace electronics news and information.
ANSI International standards and accreditation activities.
Buzzblog Intelligence and insight for Network and IT Executives.
CertAssist Consulting Product Safety information, especially regarding 60950-1 and 61010-1.
Circuit Advisor Circuit design and troubleshooting.
Compliance Today Electrical testing and certification news and information.
DfR Solutions Forum Reliability design and testing.
Digital Dialogue From the Consumer Electronics Association, sponsor of the Consumer Electronics Show. (Side note: You can meet with MET at CES next week)
EDN Network 59(!) blogs for the electronics community on various topics.
EE Life Blog Electrical engineering topics from EE Times.
EleBlog Frequently updated blog on the electrical industry.
Electronics Weekly Blogs 15 blogs, including Certification & Test and Directive Decoder.
EMC Zone Issues affecting engineers working in the EMC industry.
Emergo Group Global medical device regulatory updates.
EPN Automotive Electronics Blog Automotive electronics issues from a European perspective.
EPN Industrial Automation Blog Industrial automation and controls topics from a European perspective.
EPN Renewable Energy Blog Info on electronic components and technologies related to solar power, wind power, and other renewable energy sources from a European perspective.
EPN RF & Wireless Blog Updates on RF/microwave and wireless technology, systems, standards and events from a European perspective.
IEEE Spectrum 5 blogs on nanotech, robots, risk analysis, general tech, and energy.
IEEE Standards Insight Promotes technology standards and their development.
Instruments for Industry Information to help RF EMI and EMC test engineers, from an amplifier manufacturer.
Medical Electronics Design A resource for medical electronics OEMs.
Microwave Journal A handful of blogs concentrating on microwave and RF technology.
NEMA Currents Information on electrical grid, safety, energy efficiency, smart grid, and regulation.
Nick’s Fire, Electrical Safety & Security Blog Common sense security, fire & electrical safety.
OnSafety Official blog of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Pradeep’s Point A resource for semiconductors, solar PV, telecom, electronics, infocom, components, nanotech, and IT.
Product Safety Blog Product safety legal issues from Miles & Stockbridge.
Regulatory News Blog Telecom regulatory news.
Reliability Blog Electronics reliability engineering.
RFID Journal Blog RFID industry news and information.
Smart Grid Sherpa Information on smart grid technologies, from DNV KEMA.
Test and Certification Blog Product test and certification from an EU perspective.
Test & Measurement World 14 blogs, including The EMC Blog and Eye on Standards.
WeMakeItSafer Product safety regulations and recall information.
What are your favorite electrical product development blogs? Please leave a comment with a link to it.
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In the event of a power failure on the electric grid, it is required that any independent power-producing inverters attached to the grid turn off in a short period of time. This prevents the DC-to-AC inverters from continuing to feed power into small sections of the grid, known as “islands.” Powered islands present a risk to workers who may expect the area to be unpowered, and they may also damage grid-tied equipment.
A single inverter operating independently can easily detect the presence or lack of a grid source. However, if there are two inverters in a given island, things become considerably more complex. It is possible that the signal from one can be interpreted as a grid feed from the other, and vice versa, so both units continue operation.
Since 1999, the standard for anti-islanding protection in the United States has been UL 1741, harmonized with IEEE 1547.
The requirement for a unit under test is to detect an island condition and cease to energize the area electric power
system (EPS) within two seconds of the formation of an island. This disconnection time is measured from the point that the switch is opened up disconnecting the grid but leaving the islanding circuit connected and the point that the unit ceases exportation of current to the grid.
The island load is adjusted to ensure a power quality factor (Q) of 1.0 (+/- 0.05) and the “central” balanced load condition. In addition, the output current flowing to the grid through the switch (S3) is limited to a maximum value of 2% of the rated output current and the Q=1.0 balanced load condition of the unit under test.
In addition to testing at the balanced load condition of Q=1.0, The test is to be repeated with the reactive load (either capacitive or inductive) adjusted in 1% increments from 95% to 105% of the initial balanced load component value. If the unit’s shutdown times are still increasing at the 95% or 105% points, additional 1% increments shall be taken until trip times begin decreasing.
The anti-islanding test is repeated for 3 output power levels: 33%, 66%, and 100% of the rated output power of the unit under test.
The test is considered complete when one of two situations occur:
- When disconnect times illustrate a pattern of decreasing times with respect to a balanced load condition yielding the longest disconnect time
- When the resultant tank circuit frequency is such that it is past the frequency trip point of the unit under test such that the unit under test is tripping offline due to a frequency fault
UL 1741 has other performance requirements as well, including power quality, interconnect integrity, and operating voltage and frequency parameters. For information about testing inverters to any of these requirements, contact us.
Calibration and test labs both stand to save time and money when calibrating/verifying chambers, due to an update to CISPR 16-1-4.
CISPR 16-1-4 Amd.1 Ed. 3.1 (2012) has replaced Ed. 2.0 (2007) for radio disturbance and immunity measuring apparatus – antennas and test sites for radiated disturbance measurements. The publish date was July 11, 2012.
The major addition that this amendment introduces is an alternative site validation method to Normalized Site Attenuation (NSA) called Reference Site Method (RSM). Here is how it works:
- Perform a site validation using a pair of transmitting/receiving broadband antennas (biconical and log periodic to cover 30MHz-1GHz) at a reference test site – this site represents an ideal test location
- Using the same pair of antennas, perform a site validation at the chamber that is being verified
- Compare the site validation readings between the two locations, with deviation not to exceed +/- 4dB
Since the same antennas have consistency between validations, antenna factors and uncertainties do not need to be taken into account. This is in contrast to the NSA method where the validation measurement of the site is being compared to a setup that does not use the same antenna pairs, so those additional factors need to be accounted for to equate the two different setups.
Otherwise, there were only minor definition updates and edits in this edition.
Background: CISPR is an international special committee on radio interference within the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). CISPR prepares standards that offer protection of radio reception from interference sources such as the electricity supply system, industrial, scientific and electro-medical RF, broadcasting receivers, and IT equipment (ITE).
A draft of Revision G of MIL-STD-461 has not been released yet, but MET Labs has obtained information about proposed changes to the Military EMC test. As covered in this previous post, one of the primary changes is the incorporation of indirect lightning testing heavily leveraged off of Section 22 of RTCA/DO-160G. There is no lightning requirement in MIL-STD-461F, which was released in 2007.
There is one test that is very likely to be added to MIL-STD-461G: CS117
There are two additional tests that are being considered, but are much less likely to be included: RS106 & RS108
Information about the CS117 test:
- Derived from DO-160 Section 22 lightning induced transient susceptibility
- Includes Multiple Burst/Single Stroke same as DO-160
- Idea is not to change waveforms; services (Army, Navy, Air Force) would need to control the application
- Cable injection only – no pin injection testing
- Limited applicability (aircraft electronics) based upon specific program contact call out
Information about the RS106 test:
- Similar to RS105 (EMP free field test for equipment)
- Limited applicability – mainly for external stores (missiles, pods, ground equipment, etc.)
Information about the RS108 test:
- Similar to RTCA/DO-160 Section 23 Lightning Direct Effects
- Limited applicability (antennas or other external located items) based upon specific program contact call out
The rollout of MIL-STD-461G is currently scheduled for an initial draft in June 2013, a final draft in September 2013, and release in Fall 2014.
Want to know more about upcoming changes to MIL-STD-461? Consider attending one of these events:
In two days, MET is hosting a MIL-STD Testing Seminar in Santa Clara, California.
Next week, attend this Lightning Testing Webinar.
In August, Pittsburgh is hosting the EMC Symposium, where MET Labs is exhibiting in booth #1024.
Or contact us with questions or a quote request.
The recent delay in the high-profile new product launch of the Raspberry Pi has reminded electronics manufacturers of a simple truth: Compliance sometimes means exceeding regulatory requirements due to buyer demands.
The iPhone-size Pi is a $25 mini PC that is intended to teach students about programming. Its maker, the UK-based Raspberry Pi Foundation, had been operating under the assumption that this type of engineering sample product could be sold in the UK without a CE mark. After all, the rival ARM-based Beagleboard development kit is sold under the same terms without a CE mark, as are the majority of similar prototyping platforms.
The rub here is that the Pi has proved wildly popular, making its distributors nervous about lawsuits. Distribution partners element14/PremierFarnell and RS Components insisted that the device receive a CE mark to indicate compliance with electronic emissions guidelines. Their judgment was seconded by the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which said the Pi did in fact need to carry the CE marking.
Last week, to everyone’s relief, the Pi passed EMC testing without requiring any hardware modifications. The testing was conducted at Panasonic’s facility in South Wales.
The device passed radiated and conducted emissions and immunity tests in a variety of configurations, as well as electrostatic discharge (ESD) testing. In the lab for all of last week, the Pi is now also reportedly compliant with requirements for United States’ FCC, Australia’s C-Tick, and Canada’s Technical Acceptance Certificate.
Find out more about testing requirements and cost and lead time for CE Marking.
Following are recent and near future changes to electrical product regulatory requirements in South Korea.
Effective January 1, 2012, the Korean Communications Commission (KCC) requires radiated emission measurements at the limit, above 1GHz, by the highest internal source of the device and also conducted disturbance testing for devices with telecommunication ports. The limit is the same as CISPR 22:2006.
Effective July 1, 2012, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) will assume responsibility for regulating safety of electrical products sold in Korea, a role currently carried out by KCC. After July 1, KCC will only regulate IT/RF/Telecom products.
Effective January 1, 2013, KCC plans to expand its existing SAR requirements for mobile phones to include all radio equipment that is used within 20 cm of the human body. This harmonizes the Korean SAR requirements with FCC and other international standard requirements. Low powered radio devices (below 20mW) are exempt from this new requirement.
Learn how to gain certification for the Korean market using a Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) under Phase I of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Mutual Recognition Agreement for Conformity Assessment of Telecommunications Equipment (APEC Tel MRA).
Participate in a free International EMC Homologation webinar on April 10, 2012.
RCM Labeling of Electrical Products in Australia & New Zealand to Coincide with New EESS Safety Requirement
As detailed in Compliance Today before, the Australia C-Tick and A-Tick regulatory compliance markings will be phased out, replaced by the existing Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM).
The RCM mark will be the only mark to indicate compliance with the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) regulatory arrangements for telecommunications, radio, EMC and electromagnetic energy (EME).
The new arrangement will commence July 1, 2012, in concert with the implementation of the new Electrical Equipment Safety System (EESS). Many regulatory observers believe the start date may slip to later in the year.
All new devices that are physically labeled for the first time from July 1, 2012 will need to be labeled with the RCM. The use of the C-Tick and A-Tick marks on all legacy products will be phased out by June 30, 2015. Devices that have already been labeled with the C-Tick or A-Tick mark but not sold (e.g. stock products) prior to the end of the transition period may continue to be offered for sale beyond that date.
The EESS is not a national requirement; it was created by state and territory electrical equipment safety legislation, and is not yet adopted across all of Australia and New Zealand.
The EESS marks a fundamental change to the electrical safety landscape for products sold in Australia and New Zealand. In-scope electrical equipment suppliers will be required to register their details on a national database and must make a declaration that all the equipment they sell meets relevant standards and is electrically safe. Evidence of compliance is required and is graded, based on risk.
Risk-based classifications of equipment are:
- Level 1 = low risk
- Level 2 = medium risk
- Level 3 = high risk
Level 2 and level 3 equipment are defined in AS/NZS 4417.2. All other types of in-scope electrical equipment are level 1.
In-scope is defined as all new electrical and electronic equipment that is designed or marketed as suitable for household or personal use whose voltage is greater than 50 V AC RMS or 120V ripple-free DC, and less than 1000V AC RMS or 1500V ripple-free DC.
For more information, see ACMA’s extensive FAQ on the changes (.docx).
Get educated on how to gain access to multiple markets – including Australia and New Zealand – by joining a free International EMC Homologation webinar on April 10, 2012.
There was much discussion about the E3 Program (Energy Efficiency, Energy Performance & Energy Consumption), covered in Compliance Today previously.
The U.S. initially opposed the E3 Program because there is a lack of harmonization. As it stands, there is no assured reciprocity and there is no certificate issued, just a Statement of Test Results (STR). It is up to the reader of the STR to decide to accept or not.
UL and CSA have recently published harmonized versions of IEC 62368-1. It will, however, likely be a long time before this becomes a NRTL standard due to OSHA’s workload and their likely objection to its inclusion of hazard-based analysis. Major labs will list to it, but if a product is going into the workplace, then 60950 or 60065 must still be used.
Only the U.S., Sweden and Denmark have adopted 62368-1 in the Scheme per the CB website. Canada is to participate soon, as is France. The Netherlands may participate soon.
More about IEC 62368-1 is found in this Compliance Today post.
China is not currently accepting EMC within the Scheme. China’s objection may be that this was once voluntary and that the Scheme adopted EMC as mandatory and have not given China time to revise its standards.
At least one manufacturer thinks there is a need for motors to be in the safety CB Scheme. The only place a motor standard is covered is within the EMC Scheme. NEMA’s 1MG Section is continuing its conversation regarding the inclusion of electric motors as part of the E3 Program.
Next meetings are May 22-23, 2012 in Vancouver, Canada, and August 7-8, 2012 in Orange County, California.