EMC TESTING: THE BEGINNER'S GUIDE
Chapter 1 - Global Rules & Regulation
Finding the right EMC standards for your product can be pretty daunting. In this section, we'll cover how to track to the right EMC rules and standards that apply to your product. Read on to get the low down....
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Which EMC Standards Apply to Your Product?
There are a few different options for working out which EMC standards apply to your product around the world. I'll outline some options below so that you can see what's available.
Option 1 - Ask an EMC test lab
This is probably the easiest method. Just call up the sales department of a test lab that you're considering using for product approvals. They should be happy to provide a breakdown of the applicable tests and give a quote for testing services for your particular product. If they're not, choose a different test lab.
Bear in mind that sometimes test labs get it wrong. They do their best, but occasionally they will give you some incorrect information. I've seen several product datasheets where they claim compliance with the wrong standard. It's not the end of the world, but it's worth getting right.
If you need a legally correct interpretation of the standards that apply to your product, ask a TCB (Telecommunications Certification Body) in the case of the FCC, or an NB (Notified Body) in the case of CE Mark for Europe.
EMC Regulatory Bodies Around The World
The FCC oversees the EMC and RF test requirements for the USA.
Industry Canada is Canada's equivalent to the FCC. They oversee the electromagnetic spectrum for Canada.
The 'CE Mark' is the compliance mark for Europe which helps you to gain access to the European Market.
One thing to note is that test labs can spend a decent amount of time researching the standards that apply to a given product. If it's a simple job for FCC or CE testing, then they'll probably be able to tell you which standards apply to your product off the top of their head.
However, if your product is a wireless device (RF testing) that will be fitted to a bus (automotive testing) in South America (complex regulations on a per country basis), then they're probably going to have to do a fair amount of legwork.
My point is: don't go asking a lab if there's no possibility that you'll use their services. The exception to that is when it's a lab's responsibility to give advice - in Europe for instance, if you need a concise answer on exactly which tests apply to your product, you can hire an NB (Notified Body) to interpret the regulations for you.
At my lab, I was happy to give advice for existing customers or if I had a shot at securing a new client. I drew the line at providing advice to customers that were using labs in China but asked for free support here because of the language barrier.
Option 2 - Check your competitor's datasheet
If any of your competitors claim compliance for the same target markets as you're aiming for, they often cite the standards that they've tested to in their product datasheets. Search Google for identical products and look for the compliance and regulations section of their datasheet. Very often you'll find the answer you're looking for.
For example, search terms like "Audio power amplifier +'declaration of conformity'" are useful for Europe, or "Audio power amplifier +'FCC test report'" for the US. They'll usually turn up some good candidates. This will also usually turn up the right safety standards too!
Option 3 - Find them yourself
Manually tracking down the EMC standards is no easy task. It varies between geographic region and product type. Read on below to find links to several to the EMC standards of several countries and industries.
Where To Get or Buy EMC Standards
The RCM is the single compliance mark for Australia, covering EMC, RF and safety testing. It indicates compliance with ACMA technical standards.
VCCI oversees EMC and RF compliance for Japan.
CCC is China's compliance mark for EMC and safety requirements.
Here are some resources for sourcing EMC standards:
EMC Standards By Country:
United States: FCC Part 15 Rules Online (Free)
Canada: Industry Canada ICES Rules (Free)
Europe: European standards (Free or low cost)
Australia & New Zealand: EMC standards list
Most are similar or identical to European standards. Recommend using European link above to get European standards.
Russia: EASC (GOST)
EMC Standards by Industry:
Automotive Directive ("E-mark" for Europe).
DEF STAN 59/411 ( common in NATO)
MIL-STD-704 (for aircraft)
MIL-STD-1275 (for land vehicles)
MIL-STD-1399 (for ships)
If you'd like me to add some others to this list to make it more comprehensive, please email me.