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Electromagnetic Conformance

Electromagnetic Conformance or EMC is becoming a significant technical and marketing issue for manufactures and resellers of electronic equipment. What is EMC?

EMC is broadly a set of guidelines and in some cases compulsory requirements regarding radio frequency emission from equipment and the susceptibility of the equipment to incoming electromagnetic energy.

In principal EMC is a commendable objective. Radio frequency interference (RFI) is annoying when it impacts television watching. It can be dangerous when it interferes with aircraft navigation, pacemakers and electric wheel chairs. The aim of EMC is to both minimize emissions and to maximize the tolerance of consumer and industrial products. A less commendable aspect of EMC is that some countries find it a useful barrier to trade.

For our purposes, we will limit the coverage of EMC to "information technology equipment" for both consumer and industrial use. To simplify the issues still further, we will concentrate on the IEC1000 Standard where ever possible. This evolving standard is likely to become internationally accepted - except when national pride must prevail and trade barriers are required! The European EMC Directive is falling in behind the IEC 1000 and it is likely the USA's FCC standards will do the same.

Emission Standards

IEC1000-3 "Electromagnetic Compatibility - Part 3: Limits". Testing to Class B

EN 50 081 part 1: 1992 "Generic emission standard, part 1: Residential, commercial and light industry environment". Testing to Class B

EN 55 022:1994 "Limits and methods of measurement of radio disturbance characteristics of information technology equipment". Testing to Class B

FCC CFR47 Part 15 Subpart B:1990. Testing to Class B

Immunity Standards

IEC1000-4 "Electromagnetic Compatibility - Part 4: Testing and measurement techniques for immunity of electrical and electronic equipment: basic EMC standards"

EN 55 104:1995 "Electromagnetic compatibility - immunity requirements for household appliances, tools and similar apparatus - product family standard"

EN 60 601-1-2 : 1993 "Medical electrical equipment - part 1: General requirements for safety - 2 Collateral Standard: Electromagnetic compatibility - requirements and tests"

EN 55024 : in development - dealing with immunity in information technology equipment

Gaining Approvals

The process of gaining approvals is becoming increasingly similar across the globe.