Smaller components, bigger EMC issues

Miniaturization opens the door for electromagnetic interference.

By Mike Bacidore, editor in chief

Let’s get small. All the cool kids are doing it. It’s more lightweight, it’s less expensive, and it requires a much smaller footprint. The aerospace industry’s been doing it for years. It just makes sense.

Component miniaturization has been on the silent uptick for quite a while now. While the momentum of this steady shrinkage in device size is designed to reduce the footprint required to accommodate necessary electronics, what happens more often is the newly available space becomes fair game for additional components, especially wireless-enabled ones, which not only introduces new thermal-management challenges, but produces some complicated issues regarding electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) that need to be addressed.

Michel Mardiguian, an IEEE senior member, has worked as an EMC specialist for IBM and was the French delegate to the CISPR Working Group, which became CISPR 22, the root document for FCC 15-J and European EN55022. He’s taught EMC seminars worldwide to thousands of engineers and currently is a private consultant in France. He’s written numerous books and papers on EMC and was involved with the EMC for the English Channel Tunnel.

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Newly available space becomes fair game for additional components.

Mardiguian, who’s also principal author of Controlling Radiated Emissions by Design, will join Donald L. Sweeney and the staff of Illinois-based D.L.S. Electronics Systems to teach a three-day seminar on EMC By Your Design in Northbrook, Illinois. The instructors have more than 100 years of combined EMC experience. The seminar takes place Oct. 4-6 and offers a rare opportunity to study with some of the brightest minds in EMC, radio frequency interference and electromagnetic interference.

EMC By Your Design is a practical-applications seminar and workshop, consisting of lectures, discussions, hands-on workshop, a large notebook of slides,  take-home proprietary EMC design software and individual design evaluations. You will also receive an autographed textbook, Controlling Radiated Emissions by Design, by Mardiguian, with contributions by the D.L.S. teaching team. To register or learn more, visit www.dlsemc.com/emcdesignseminar or call 847/537-6400.

The seminar’s first day will include an introduction to EMC, including why you need to consider EMC in your design, EMC test standards, FCC and Canadian EMC requirements, the European EMC directive, MIL 461 and RTCA EMC requirements, along with real-world measurements and levels.

An interference overview will cover typical noise paths, wavelengths, bandwidths, decibels and radiated interference. Also discussed will be grounding and cabling, including principles from crosstalk to how shielding works, passive components, electric and magnetic fields from simple circuits, fields radiated by non-sinusoidal sources and a general strategy for low-emission design. The first day of the seminar will also include a laboratory tour, as well as an optional tour of an EMC test facility.

Roll up your sleeves for the seminar’s second day, which will dig into controlling radiated emissions at the device; digital circuit noise and layout; control signal return currents on PCBs; how EMC and signal integrity are interrelated; how filters work and how to design your own using PSpice; emission control in motherboards and backplanes; hands-on calculations; controlling radiated and conducted emissions from switch-mode power supplies; reducing emissions from cables and packaging, calculating emissions for a digital circuit; shielding; and calculation of emissions from enclosures.

Day 3 will teach you all you need to know about troubleshooting radiated and conducted emissions, as well as electrostatic discharge, not to mention a hands-on case study with validation of results.

The workshop will use a real-life example and follow typical design principles. Participants will develop a block diagram and determine the EMC parameters. Using proprietary computer programs, a copy of which is included with the seminar, attendees will calculate the probable emissions characteristics of the circuit boards, power supply, I/O lines and enclosure.

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While meeting the North American and European EMC regulations, students also will design and analyze a unit consisting of a motherboard with microprocessor, clocks, digital inputs and outputs; a power supply; cables with and without shielding for the digital and analog inputs and outputs; an enclosure; an external keyboard; and an interface to a video monitor.

Participants will go through the requirements and calculate its estimated emissions providing rationale for various decisions. Completion of the seminar/workshop will equip students to lead a design team.