Tag Archives: EMC

2013 in review

The WordPress.com prepared a 2013 annual report for my EMC blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Review: Right the First Time (Ritchey)

One of the most common questions I receive as an EMC consultant have to do with PC board design. And, no wonder. As clock and data frequencies increase towards 10 GHz, proper PC board design becomes an imperative for proper functioning of the system. The typical “rules of thumb” we used for low frequency boards no longer seem to apply.


So, when I ran across Lee Ritchey’s self-published book, Right The First Time – A Practical Handbook on High Speed PCB and System Design (Volume 1), I was intrigued. Both this book and the follow-on volume 2 (Advanced Topics) are available on his web site. Volume 1 is now out of print, but available separately as a 295 page PDF file for just $25. However, both volumes may be purchased for the special price of $95 (the price of volume 2, alone) – a deal I highly recommend.  I’ll be reviewing volume 2 later. More…

Your EMC Questions Answered

Thanks for all the great questions presented following my recent EMC webinar, sponsored by Rohde & Schwarz and hosted by UBM TechOnline. If you missed the webinar, you may go here to download a copy of the slides and listen to the webinar “on-demand”. As I mentioned in the previous three postings, I’ve grouped them by topic and will be answering them all the best I can. Be advised that for many questions pertaining to EMC, the best answer is, “it depends”, so there may not be one answer for all cases. I’ll try to include my assumptions in the answers. The questions have been edited for clarity.

This posting will address general questions on EMC from my recent webinar that were not answered in previous installments. See more…

Presentation during the IEEE EMC Symposium

I’ve been invited to be the keynote speaker at the annual NEC EMIStream evening seminar and reception during the IEEE International Symposium on EMC, Thursday, August 8th, from 5:30 to 7:00 PM. The title of my presentation is “EMC Troubleshooting and Pre-Compliance Testing on a Budget”. For more details and to register for this free event, check out this link. http://www.nec.com/en/global/prod/emistream/ieee_seminar2013.html

Review: Product Compliance Engineering Symposium – Portland

I recently returned from the IEEE Symposium on Product Compliance Engineering in Portland, OR, this last week. I had been invited by EMC Track Chair, Henry Benitez, to give a three-hour workshop on “EMC Cool Tools and Pre-Compliance Testing”, so was looking forward to meeting the other EMC track presenters, those who planned on attending the EMC track, as well as some of my counterparts in the product safety field.

The conference was kicked off by Don Mays, Director of Product Safety at Deloitte & Touche LLP and formerly the Senior Director, Product Safety and Technical Policy for Consumers Union / Consumer Reports. He spoke on understanding the risks for manufacturers for product safety and what can happen if “things go wrong”.

Keynote speaker, Dan Mays.

There were a number of different tracks – most involving product safety, so I pretty much stuck with the EMC track. Henry Benitez kicked things off the first day with a review of current EMC standards and then Leslie Bai followed up with Latin American EMC and wireless regulations. Mark Briggs ended the first day with more FCC wireless regulations and modular approvals.

EMC track chair, Henry Benitez, reviewing EMC standards.

Day 2 included very interesting half-day presentations on PCB design by Mark Montrose and grounding and shielding by Elya Joffe.

The final half-day included an informative talk on the “KISS” principle for EMC design and my three-hour presentation on “EMC Cool Tools and Pre-Compliance Testing”.

Ken teaching the EMC “Cool Tools” talk.

Ken demonstrating tracing harmonics with a low-cost H-field probe.

Showing how a high-speed trace run over a split in the return plane can generate common-mode emissions on the board.

Retired HP product safety engineer, Rich Nute, with an enthusiastic crowd.

The conference web site is: http://psessymposium.org.

Review: The Rigol $1,295 DSA815TG Spectrum Analyzer

If there’s been one spectrum analyzer that’s created buzz lately, it’s the recently announced Rigol DSA815 budget ($1,295) spectrum analyzer, which tunes from 9 kHz to 1.5 GHz. A tracking generator option will run an extra $200 and the EMI option, which provides quasi-peak detection and the three EMI bandwidths (and especially excites us EMC engineers), is an extra $600. There are a number of other options available. I was able to get my hands on a review unit and have put it through its paces during some recent EMC seminars and client projects. More…

Figure 1 – The Rigol DSA815TG (with tracking generator). 

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.