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What to Check for When an RF Immunity Test Fails

At Transient Specialists, Inc., we have decades of experience renting testing equipment to OEMs in all industries from automotive electronics and component manufacturers to military and defense contractors as well as in industrial, medical devices, aerospace, and general electrical component manufacturers.

We specialize in EMC test systems, including equipment for RF immunity test procedures. We also hear a lot of stories from our customers about the challenges they face is tracking down where problems are occurring within the design after something like an RF immunity test comes back as a fail. 

Often reverse engineering through the system is key to tracing back less than ideal results from an RF immunity test. Of course, there are a few steps that can be taken prior to the test as well to ensure there is adequate RF immunity to meet the specifically required standards.

To help you to get started on the right foot, here are some tips from leading engineers on avoiding problems when you reach the testing phase of development and prototype manufacturing:

  • Spend time in design – the key to building in RF immunity in any system or component is to spend the time in the design phase and work with experts from the different fields. What may look fine to a mechanical engineer can easily be seen by someone with experience in electronics or as a potential design or material choice problem.
  • Consider power sources – cables can be a frequent problem in transmitting RF noise. Looking carefully at the coupling of cables, both internal and external, can often resolve a problem.
  • Check shielding of potentially sensitive RF or analog elements – proper shielding for analog circuitry will be a must. This means a grounded shield that will protect the circuit at the required level or above.

Using the correct testing standards will also be critical. Make sure the right testing equipment is being used for the correct application is another key factor to consider for any application.