Electromagnetic Compliance: Pre-Compliance Test Basics

Today’s products are subjected to more standardized test requirements than ever before. These standards (UL, CE, and others) ensure consumer safety and add to the quality and dependability of products. But, these tests also add cost to the manufacturer, which is passed to the consumer. This is especially true with electronics. Any product that has the ability to generate radio frequency (RF) signals and is slated for commercial use is subject to meeting certain limits on the amplitude of radio frequency (RF) signals that it can produce.

Unintended RF is typically referred to as electromagnetic interference (EMI) and measuring the performance of a product with respect to these limits is known as electromagnetic compliance (EMC) testing. These tests are mandated and enforced by government agencies (the Federal Communications Commission in the USA) that oversee the geography into which a product will be sold. They are also responsible for defining the test configuration (physical location, layout, distances, test equipment, and settings) as well as specifying the minimum performance of the product type.

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