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Why electromagnetic compatibility is necessary

12/11/2021 | General, Knowledge

Why you should turn off your cell phone inside an airplane

”Please turn off your cell phone during the flight or use it only in flight mode!”. This message is probably familiar to anyone who is often gripped by wanderlust. But why do you have to switch off what is probably your most important device during a flight? The reason has to do with electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).

EMC is a measure of how strongly electronic devices influence each other. A smartphone that emits radio signals may interfere with the navigation equipment of an airplane. A power cable near a person with a pacemaker can interfere with it. But also a computer chip which computes at high clock rates can influence measuring instruments nearby.

We call electronic components that emit such an interference signal culprits. Components that are influenced by this unwanted interference are called loads. But how does such an interaction between culprit and load occur?

In fact, the causes for this are manifold. Cables with a high current density can act as culprits. These generate a magnetic field that influences other components. Another cause can be the operation with high voltages. This may create a strong electric field in the environment, which also affects loads. However, it may also be that a device operates at high frequencies. In this case, the emission of electromagnetic radiation (e.g. radio waves) is likely.

How to avoid culprits and loads

It is indeed annoying when a power cable in the refrigerator causes the radio nearby to hiss, but it is extremely dangerous when a refrigerator affects a pacemaker. This is precisely why it is necessary to ensure the electromagnetic compatibility of devices (by law). To do this, it is important to identify the culprits and their cause. This is the only way to effectively reduce the interference signal.

phone signal could be a culprit

If we do not ensure EMC, a phone signal could interfere with a radio or pacemaker

One can mitigate culprits by allowing high currents to travel only over short distances in the components. Avoiding antenna-shaped line sections or excessively high clock frequencies is also of great importance.

But electromagnetic compatibility does not only mean that a device influences its environment as little as possible, it also means that interference loads are avoided, i.e. that components are protected from external influences. The simplest way to achieve this is to adequately shield the equipment. However, complete shielding is not possible for measuring devices or sensors since they are built to interact with the environment. Therefore, it is necessary to filter out the corresponding interference signals.

A manufacturer that adheres to standards

We are DEWETRON and a manufacturer of high-precision measuring instruments. It is important to us that the devices we produce harmonize with their electrotechnical environment. They should neither act as culprits nor as loads. For this reason, we strictly adhere to the legal standards for electromagnetic compatibility. Two of these are the EN 61000-6-4 and the EN 61000-6-2 standard, which guarantee unproblematic use in the industrial environment. All our measuring instruments, such as the  DEWE3-PA8 power analyzer or the DEWE3-A4 all-in-one, meet both standards. This is perfect for use in the automotive or energy industry.

DEWE3-PA8 and DEWE3-A4

 DEWE3-PA8 power analyzer (left) and DEWE3-A4 all-in-one (right)

But these are not the only things we do to make our measurement devices as reliable as possible. You can find more about our efforts on the DEWETRON website, for example in our webinars or whitepapers. We are also present on social media (YouTube, LinkedIn) and inform you about everything that is going on. In addition, it is of course also possible for you to ask us your questions personally.

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