EMI testing is always a challenge but preparation can make your task easier.
EMI testing is an important part of your product development. Successful EMI testing of course can provide compliance to relevant standards. It can also ensure your product is not susceptible to interference that can cause damage, injury, or product recalls.
Most EMI tests do not provide the news we want to hear on the first trip, therefore preparing to go the lab then is a task that should be thought out.
Equipment to be Tested
We can start by taking a close look at what the product item we are sending. Is it truly representative of the finished product? Will it be running with representative firmware and software? Are the cables representative of the finished product? All of these factors will greatly effect the veracity and data provided from the test. Often early manufactured samples of a product will have coatings where they shouldn’t be. Check your test item for unwanted paint or powder coat that could interfere with grounding of enclosures and connectors. Removing paint at the lab is time consuming and time goes by very quickly at the lab.
Another way to prepare for EMI testing is to know what tests are required, understand which sequence tests are run. Write EMI test plans to communicate product specific information among the design team, the test lab, and the customer. In the defense industry, a test plan can be a contract requirement. Aside from documentation of desired procedures the writing of the procedure will reinforce and deepen the Test Witnesses understanding of test details.
The Kitchen Sink
Make sure you have appropriate support hardware to exercise the equipment under test so that operational modes are representative of the product in its intended usage.
Bring extras of everything. If you have had enough forethought to provide extra component places on printed circuit boards near I/O connectors for ferrites and capacitors bring plenty of different values to play with if required. Bringing your own soldering equipment can be useful as well. Always bring multiple samples of the equipment to be tested and extra cables.
Most importantly, bring an appropriate mind set to your EMI test. Everybody wants to bring home a win but bringing back important data from a test failure is invaluable. Remain flexible and be prepared to change course so that you can best isolate and analyze the causes of failure. This will involve cooperation with lab personnel so developing and maintaining a good working relationship with these people is very important.
CVG Strategy Experts
Our experts at CVG Strategy have extensive experience in Environmental/Dynamic and EMI/EMC testing for a number of industries and products, both military and commercial. CVG Strategy specializes in Independent Developmental Testing and Evaluation including development of Test Plans, Test Procedures, Test Witnessing and Troubleshooting.
CVG Strategy is a consultancy offering coaching, mentoring, training and program development focused on areas including Business Process Improvement, ITAR and Export Compliance, Cyber Security and Quality Management Systems. For any additional questions, please contact us now!