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FAQ’s                                                                                                                   

Select from the list below of most commonly asked questions. If you are unable to find the information you require, please contact us.

What is EMC?
What are Electromagnetic Emissions?
What is Electromagnetic Immunity?
What causes Emissions and how can my product achieve Immunity?
What is the CE mark?
What Directives Apply To My Product?
Do I need to test my product?
Why use an accredited test house?
Why test at 3C Test Ltd?

What is EMC ?

EMC stands for Electromagnetic Compatibility and is a measure of an electrical or electronic products' ability to both withstand electromagnetic interference that may be present in the atmosphere and similarly not to introduce electromagnetic interference into the atmosphere, which may inhibit the correct operation of other electrical products.
Different product groups (automotive, medical. IT, etc) are covered by different directives and as such have differing EMC acceptance criteria, laid down in internationally recognised standards. The product is deemed to be compliant with EMC requirements if it meets the specifics of the particular standard, or standards, which apply to its intended end use.

What are Electromagnetic Emissions ?

Electromagnetic emissions can be either radiated or conducted. Radiated emissions are the undesirable radio waves expelled into the atmosphere by an electronic product during use. Conducted emissions are those emissions which can interfere with other products through the hardwired connections of the product, either back into the mains supply or through interconnecting cables. International standards apply limits to the amount of emissions a product may produce.

What is Electromagnetic Immunity ?

Electromagnetic Immunity is a measure of a products ability to function as intended in the presence of electromagnetic activity. This activity can be in the form of electromagnetic waves in the atmosphere, the products resistance to which is known as radiated immunity; via electromagnetic interference on supply and interconnecting cables, known as conducted immunity, or additionally in the form of electrostatic discharge, such as that sometimes experienced when walking across a carpet and touching a conductive object. To achieve electromagnetic immunity, a product must be able to be tested to the requirements of a particular standard and meet pre-determined functional acceptance criteria described therein.

What causes Emissions and how can my product achieve Immunity ?

The desire to further technological development inevitably results in increasingly complex electronic product design. Clock frequencies, high speed electronic switching, etc coupled with poor PCB design could lead to increasingly high levels of electromagnetic emissions in the atmosphere, which can prove harmful to other products. Similarly, poor PCB design can lead to poor electromagnetic immunity. Many techniques used to suppress emissions can also be used increase immunity. For example, PCB track lengths should be kept to a minimum wherever possible as they can act as an antenna, to both radiate electromagnetic energy and couple unwanted electromagnetic energy into the product. Electromagnetic emissions and better electromagnetic immunity can be reduced through good product and PCB design and/or use of effective shielding techniques.

What is the CE mark ?

The CE mark is a symbol applied to all products sold on the European open market and is a sign that the manufacturer has taken care to ensure that their product is fit for purpose by meeting the relevant European directives applicable to that product. To use the CE mark, the supplier to the end user (this could be a distributor, manufacturer or retailer) must provide a Declaration of Conformity (DOC) for the product (the declaration of conformity is usually supplied by the manufacturer and detailed in the user guide/manual).

What Directives Apply To My Product ?

For electrical and electronic equipment the applicable directives are the Low Voltage Directive (73/23/EEC) and the EMC Directive (89/336/EEC).

Do I need to test my product ?

Carrying out the testing as outlined in the harmonised standards is hard evidence that your product complies with the relevant EC directive(s) and in most cases is the only way that a declaration of conformity can be assured. If testing is not carried out the supplier and person who has signed the DOC runs the risk of supplying equipment that does not conform to the relevant standards of the EC directives.

The Department of Trading Standards enforces the application of EMC directives in the U.K. Fraudulent use of the CE mark can lead to substantial fines, withdrawal of the product and even imprisonment.

In addition to the legal requirements, there is the after sale implications to take into account. After a successful test program, you can be confident that your product reliability will be increased which can reduce warranty issues and servicing costs. Testing can also highlight any potential issues with the product, and can be fixed before production. This increases your chance of gaining customer confidence when marketing your product. Testing is also a long term as well as short term investment. Field reliability encourages customers to stay loyal to your product when considering replacement or expansion, and can reduce warranty issues which in turn can increase profits.

Why use an accredited test house ?

Using an accredited test house to test your product gives you the confidence that your product is being tested thoroughly and in accordance with the requirements of the applicable standards. In the U.K., it is extremely important for a test house to be accredited by the government organisation UKAS.
Globally, almost all countries recognise the validity of a report produced from a UKAS accredited test house and in many cases this can be used as a direct equivalent instead of seeking specific accreditation from that countries governing body. For a product launched in multiple countries, this can save a considerable amount of time and money arranging testing abroad and separate type approvals.

Why choose 3C Test ?

Quality of service
Accreditation: UKAS ISO17025 quality system and test procedures. Extensive knowledge & expertise
Friendly, helpful advice
Latest test facilities
Fast report generation (typically 2-3 weeks from end of test )
Price: 3C Test Ltd is one of the most competitive independent EMC laboratories in the country with the facilities that we offer. The pricing depends on the work that needs to be carried out so please call for a quotation or an estimate if you are budgeting for EMC testing.
Central location – Excellent Motorway & A road access