February 28, 2017 by Jeff Schnabel
Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) is something that concerns us all. The problems caused by electromagnetic interference (EMI) have long been understood and regulations to limit radiated emissions have been in place for decades. That is certainly the case in the sphere of IT equipment, broadcast radio and TV receivers, and various professional audio, video and lighting control apparatus, where compliance to a number of standards has been a mandatory requirement since the 1980s and 1990s†. So why is it then that the European Union is now replacing three existing standards with one new standard regulating all such “multimedia” equipment? More importantly, what does it mean for manufacturers of this equipment and their suppliers?
The first thing that needs to be grasped is that this is happening now. The publication of the new EN55032 standard in the European Union Official Journal last summer requires all multimedia equipment§ destined for Europe to be compliant from March 5, 2017. And, as there is no grandfathering under the new standard, pre-existing product designs will all need to be reassessed to ensure compliance and, where necessary, brought into line with the new requirements.
Previously, EN55022 defined the EMC compliance requirements for IT equipment, EN55013 covered sound and television broadcast receivers and associated equipment, and EN55103 was applicable to professional use audio, video and entertainment lighting apparatus. While the intent of each of these standards is essentially the same, their precise requirements and test methods were developed to meet the specific types of equipment they covered.
Since EN55032 is a superset of the requirements of the standards it replaces, for a given device, additional compliance testing may be required under this new standard. In part this is due to the broader scope of EN55032 that focuses more on the interface ports and port types of the equipment under test (EUT), and the associated connectors and cables, which are most often the source of emissions. For example, there is no longer a definition for a “telecoms port” as this is now covered by the broader description of a “wired network port.” Equally, multi-function ports will need to meet the requirements of all the relevant port types they support. Furthermore, the definition of what constitutes the highest frequency generated or used within an EUT now includes any frequencies generated within an integrated circuit.
The provision of power in an EUT is also more clearly defined in EN55032. Ac-line power ports are subject to conducted and radiated emissions testing and an EUT is considered to be ac-line powered if it is designed to be powered by a dedicated ac-dc power adapter. In this instance the EUT must either be tested with the adapter provided by the equipment manufacturer or with a representative power supply. Note that an EUT with a dc power port can only be considered dc powered if it does not get its power from a dedicated power adapter or a power-over-Ethernet (PoE) port, also noting that a PoE port falls within the definition, and hence compliance requirements, of a wired network port.
With regard to power, EN55032 therefore applies both to multimedia equipment that uses a built-in power supply or one that uses an external power adapter. In designs where the external power adapter is a sourced component from another supplier, the end-equipment manufacturer must ensure that the unit is already compliant with EN55032. This does not avoid the equipment manufacturer needing to test its equipment for compliance using that external power supply, but it is fairly obvious that an adapter that does not meet EN55032 in its own right is likely to cause the EUT to fail compliance testing. It is also important to note that the power supply manufacturer will need to update their CE Declaration of Conformity (DoC) to state EN55032 compliance as CE documentation will no longer be able to reference the older standards.
CUI Inc manufactures and supplies a broad range of external power adapters in wall plug-in and desktop configurations. These power adapters meet stringent regulatory standards for safety, efficiency and EMC compliance. All models from CUI now meet the latest EN55032 standard, providing a worry-free choice for OEMs whose markets include Europe and other territories, such as Australia, New Zealand and Korea, which are adopting EN55032 test methods, either in full or in part.
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