Category Archives: Seminars

Design West Conference and Expo (April 22-25, 2013)

Test and measurement company, Rohde & Schwarz, invited me out to the Design West conference to present a couple of EMC design and troubleshooting talks. Little did I know these were to be held in their new “classroom in a truck”, which was driven right into the exhibit hall!

Design West 201304-154

Figure 1 – Here I am standing next to the truck. It’s difficult to get an idea of the size of the trailer from this point of view.

For Wyatt 1

Figure 2 – Here I am teaching a class of 24 engineers in the expandable classroom.

Figure 2 - Here's a better view of the trailer. There are two large "slide-outs" which expand the classroom to 24 seats, place room for equipment demos around the perimeter.

Figure 3 – Here’s a better view of the trailer. There are two large “slide-outs” which expand the classroom to 24 seats, plus room for equipment demos around the perimeter. They plan to use this mobile classroom for their “truck tour” of major cities this year.

The Design West show evolved from the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC), at which I’ve presented my EMC seminars in the past. This year, was more of the same – just 10X better (is that a 10 dB increase?) with a couple hundred vendors plying their embedded processors, I/O and sensor products. Thanks to Rohde and Schwarz for hosting my seminars there this year!

Milwaukee EMC Mini-Symposium – March 2013

I was honored to be the featured speaker at the 13th annual EMC Society Chapter of the IEEE Milwaukee Section “EMC Mini-Symposium” this last March 19th. Hosted and managed by EMC engineer Jim Blaha (GE Medical), this was actually no mini-symposium – but is the largest regional gathering of EMC engineers in the country. There were a record 180 engineers from around the area, as well as a record 42 vendors showing their wares. The event sold out within just a few weeks.

The title of my talk was a mouthful: “EMC Essentials and Pre-Compliance Testing with your own Affordable EMC Troubleshooting Tools Kit”. While I covered some of the major EMC theory for issues I generally end up addressing at various client companies, most of the day was spent on how to collect a set of useful tools, probes and measuring instruments to make up a portable EMC troubleshooting kit. I then went on to explain how I use these tools to perform pre-compliance and evaluation testing of prototype products.

I’d like to thank Jim Blaha for his superb organization and management of the event, all the vendors, who helped sponsor the event and Agilent Technologies for supplying the oscilloscope and spectrum analyzer for the demonstrations.

Here are a few pictures taken by my colleague and fellow EMC consultant, Jerry Meyerhoff. Thanks Jerry!

P3190643BlahaIntroJim Blaha from GE Medical manages the symposium and is providing introductory comments.

P3190408KenNcrowdDemoTableChatting during one of the breaks.

P3190645ClassAudienceA portion of the 180 attendees.

P3190675KenPigtailNspectrumHere I am explaining why pigtail shield connections cause common-mode currents resulting in radiated emissions.

P3190677RoomFrom BackA very full house!

Upcoming EMC Seminars

A couple times a year, I like to list a few educational opportunities available for us as a community. As a consultant and trainer in this area myself, I don’t mind mentioning others in this business, as well, because there are several very good resources from which to choose. more…

Figure 1 – Here I am teaching a 2-day seminar in Colorado. Most EMC seminars will be 2 to 3 days long and the best ones will include several demos of basic EMC principles, as well as detailed discussion of specific issues from the participants. Be sure to check in advance that the seminar content and level (basic or advanced) is really what you need before you commit.

Review: IEEE EMC Symposium 2012

The annual International Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility was held in Pittsburg this year. As ever, I captured the event photographically, with the help of team members Tom Fagan, Jerry Ramie and Richard Georgarian. Although, tough at times, I also tried sitting in on several technical sessions, as well as meeting with a number of vendors. Here’s a quick synopsis, but for more detail, please check out Part 1 and Part 2 of the full report in The EMC Blog at Test & Measurement World.

The convention center in Pittsburgh is huge – so much so, that I’m sure I ended up walking a couple miles a day during the week there. Fortunately, I was able to rest occasionally in the volunteers office, which was situated near the middle of activity.

There were several new products of note. Dutch Microwave Absorber Solutions (DMAS) has introduced a high performance and environmentally friendly polystyrene microwave absorber that will cover the frequency range 30 MHz to 40 GHz. EM Software and Systems, inc., was there demoing their electromagnetics simulation software called FEKO. It’s useful for modeling antennas, radar cross-section, RFID, SAR, EMC, etc. Gauss Instruments was demoing their new wide-bandwidth (up to 162.5 MHz at a time) time domain EMI analyzer, the TDEMI 40G, which measures from 10 Hz to 40 GHz. Dudley Kay, from SCITECH Publishing, Inc., was there with a number of technical books for sale. He was also actively looking for EMC-related authors.

The convention center offered a nice aerial view of the vendor area.

As far as the technical sessions, Henry Ott again moderated the popular EMC Basics workshop on Monday, which was very well attended. I was also a part of a half-day workshop, “EMC Consultant’s Toolkit”, which was the best-attended session on Friday. We covered lots of business aspects and pitfalls of working as an independent consultants, providing the attendees with a host of knowledge to consider. I also included a short presentation on low-cost tools and equipment when you’re just starting out. We wrapped up with a panel discussion shown below.

The EMC Consultant’s Toolkit workshop had the highest attendance during the Friday workshop sessions. Shown are presenters (L-R) Jerry Meyerhoff (moderator), Bill Kimmel, Lee Hill, Kenneth Wyatt and Patrick André. Photo by Richard Georgarian.

The hardware experiments are always a popular event and this year was no exception, as we had several excellent presenters. One of my favorites is Dr. Tom Van Doren, who gave a couple demos; one on cable shielding and one on magnetic (low-frequency) shielding materials. I presented a new one on the effect of a high-frequency trace over a split return plane and showed how the result generated high levels of common-mode harmonics in attached cables.

Here I am demonstrating common-mode emissions generated by a high frequency trace over a gap in the return plane. Photo by Richard Georgarian.

The youth program was run by Amy Pinchuk this year and sixteen kids got to build shortwave receiver kits, as well as hear about ham radio from ARRL RFI expert, Ed Hare, along with a presentation on mobile electronic devices and why EMC is important for proper operation, by ETS-Lindgren engineer, Garth D’Abreu. They also had a nice tour of the vendor area.

After-hours social events scheduled included a really cool welcome reception at the nearby John Heinz History Center. Heinz was an avid collector of early memorabilia from Western Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh, in particular. The Wednesday Gala was a dinner cruise along the rivers bordering Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh, “city of bridges”. Photo by Tom Fagan.

I guess that’s a wrap until next year, where it will be held in Denver, August 5-9, 2013. For more info, click here. Hope to see you all next year.

EMC Essentials seminar May 15-16 (Gaithersburg, MD)

Teaching the EMC Essentials seminar in Colorado.

Attention East Coast EEs: I’d like to announce our next EMC Essentials course will be held in Gaithersburg, MD, this coming May 15-16th.

These courses provide participants with the tools for recognizing EMC issues with any proposed high-speed design. What makes our seminars special is that the teaching is at a very practical level with just enough theory for understanding. Several demos of the basic principles will be included. In addition, participants will learn several unique and low-cost ways to test and troubleshoot prototypes well before product qualification testing. By understanding the basic EMC design principles and performing early testing, designers will have a much higher probability of compliance at the prototype stage.

More details here…

Spring 2012 EMC Seminar Schedule

Public Seminar Schedule
We’re continuing to work on our 2012 public seminar schedule. Of course, I’m available to book your in-house seminars as you require!

EMC Design and Troubleshooting Workshop (2 days) – Longmont, CO, March 20-21, 2012
Hosted by EMC Integrity Inc., 1736 Vista Dr., Longmont, CO
Details: $1,295. Includes seminar notes, lunch and snacks.

Download brochure

EMC Design and Troubleshooting Workshop (2 days) – Gaithersburg, MD, May 15-16, 2012 
Hosted by Washington Labs, 7560 Lindbergh Dr., Gaithersburg, MD 20879
Details: $TBD. Includes seminar notes, lunch and snacks.

Download brochure – will be available soon…

Seminar Content:

Day 1: EMC Theory (Part 1) – Attendees will be introduced to units of measurement, time and frequency domain, differential and common mode currents, radiated emissions, ESD, PC board layout and shielding/bonding. Day 1 is crucial to understanding the Day 2 presentation, as it will also include demonstrations of many of the basic principles.

Day 2: EMC Theory (Part 2), plus Bench Top Measurements and Troubleshooting – We’ll continue with ESD and system design, followed up with practical tools and techniques that can be used for pre-compliance measurements as well as troubleshooting EMC problems in a more formal setting. We will include the popular “Top Ten EMC Issues” and will demonstrate several probing and analysis techniques that will identify EMC issues quickly. Several case studies will also be described.

Troubleshooting Radiated Emissions Article Published

I published an article, Troubleshooting Radiated Emissions – Three Case Studies, in InCompliance Magazine (October 2011). You can get a copy by clicking the link above.