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EMI Compliance Design

Feasibility and cost of EMC measures

Feasibility of EMC measures Cost of EMC measures

Design Stage

improvement of prototype


in field working period

Few coverage points EMI Problems Fundamentals revisit Noise coupling Grounding Shielding filtering Protection General Engineering guidelines

Electromagnetic Interference
There are three essentials to any EMI Problem.

Amplitude, Waveforms, Frequency

Coupling Path
Conducted, Radiated

Receiver or Victim
Sensitivity, Bandwidth

Electromagnetic problems are generally solved by identifying at least two of these elements and eliminating (or attenuating) one of them.

Methods of Eliminating Interference

Shielding Grounding Filtering Isolation Separation and orientation Circuit impedance level control Cable design Cancellation techniques Important : Noise cannot be completely eliminated only can be minimised. Unique solution to noise reduction problem may not exist.

Some fundamentals A Quick Look for Designers

Technology evolved for Backbone for e.g. Intel X86 Family of Processors
4004 8008 8080 8088





Pentium Pro




Technology evolved for Processors

Other view

Source : Intel Website


Ideal vs. In-application use of Passive components

Behaviors of the resistors, Capacitors and Inductors is based on the frequency of the signals passing through them

Frequency we use

Interference we create

Conducted : Common impedance ( mostly resistive) with electrical contact Radiated : Coupling without electrical contact

Inductive or magnetic ( near H field) Capacitive or electric (near E field) Radiative or electromagnetic ( far field)


Coupling Through Common Impedance



I2 CKT. 2





Magnetic Coupling
Due to current flowing at the source Magnetic flux is defined for a region with finite boundary so its representation as inductance is only for a closed loop Inductive effects if dominant, loop area needs to be reduced or alternatively path taken will be of least loop area


Inductive Coupling

CKT. 1 Power source

CKT. 2

CKT. 3



Magnetic Coupling
Important mitigations aspects are Balanced circuits usage offering same impedance to ground on both leads Usage of Twisted pair Usage of shield grounded at both ends If design permits connect small capacitor between two leads of secondary circuits at the terminals of apparatus (selective filtering) Use radial circuits (avoid loops to the extent so as to have any location to be reached from one path only)


Capacitive Coupling
Due to voltage of the source of disturbance Coupling capacitance depends on distance and low coupling capacitance is therefore desirable by increasing the distance Logarithm of distance decided the capacitance


Capacitive Coupling

CKT. 1 c Power source 1

CKT. 2

CKT. 3 Power source 2


Capacitive Coupling
Mitigation methods demands either Increasing separation Usage of shield between source and victim with single point at least grounded Shield quality not that significant


Classical Definition
Ground is "an equipotential point or plane which serves as a reference for a circuit or system".

Alternative Definition
Ground is "a low impedance path by which current can return to its source".

Objective of Good Grounding System

Safety considerations To minimise the noise voltage generated by currents from two or more circuits flowing through common ground impedance Avoid creating ground loops which are susceptible to magnetic fields and differences in ground potential. The purpose of the ground plane is not to provide shielding but to give a low high-frequency ground impedance.

Signal Grounding
Single point Multi Point

Series connection

For freq. < 1Mhz single point grounding For freq. >10Mhz multi point grounding

Earth conductor
Ok for low Freq 50Hz/60Hz but poor for HF

Minimum Wirelength is improvement

Short wide braided strap is better

Short wide metal plate with multiple bond is still better


Advantage of Braided Flat-Cables

Low frequencies (50 Hz) conducting in whole copper

High frequencies only conducting in surface <50um (Skin Effect)


Grounding Issues
Ideally speaking do not separate Analog, Digital, Chassis, audio, Power, etc. grounds. One should have only one ground mainly for intraequipment applications Grounding is The Most Important Technique and most economical weapon in the arsenal of EMI reduction techniques. If grounding is poor, radiation will increase and also other mitigation techniques will become ineffective as there operation would depend upon low impedance ground.


Ground Noise


Grounding Considerations
Whenever, we make use of different grounds based on function we connect them together at one point(at least for DC purposes). For the reasons as mentioned back, Single Ground- Direct metallic connection is the best practice. In a typical system following structures could be under use : one or more PCB ground planes metal cabinet or chassis Shields on external (and internal) cables, Power supply ground Earth and safety ground

Single Ground
In case where inter equipment require ground isolation at power line freq. ( to lessen the problem caused by power-line noise and excessive ground return currents)join the ground capacitively (@1000pf) so that for high frequency noise these grounds do become one. PCB ground planes One or more entire planes in a PCB should be reserved for ground. Never try to supply ground to the various components via tracesexcept for 1 /2 layer board where ground traces should be as wide as possible Never route traces on a ground plane nor take any actions that results in cuts or slits in the ground plane that are over 0.5 inches long.


Single Ground
Multiple Ground Planes Use two or more dedicated ground planes with vias at frequent intervals for effectiveness.(One connections per sq. inches) Ground Flooding on signal layers Ground flooding is the process where remaining open space (after interconnections) on a layer is flooded with copper. Care should be taken that no islands of Cu are left floating.Vias used for connecting flooded regions to the ground plane should be atleast one per sq. inch


Single Ground


Shield is a metallic partition used to control propagation of electric and magnetic field from one regions to other Important : Shield acts both as a barrier to radiated interference and as a reference point for ground return currents.

No external field

Noise source



Holes are better than slots




Design criteria of Equipment and Systems

Input / Output Connections Isolation transformers (with grounded shields can have few hundred pF of capacitance) Opto-isolators ( for digital ckts. Preferably have few pF stray capacitance) Optical fibres ( offers high BW but cost can be criteria) Relays ( on/off switching and low freq. Application ) Balancing techniques ( use of twisted pair/ cabling offering same impedance w.r.t ground)


Design criteria of Equipment and Systems

Filtering Should offer maximum mis-match between the input impedance of the filter and the line carrying the disturbance so as to offer maximum insertion loss The voltage/current ratings and the insulation resistance must be properly evaluated


Power line filtering

Based on loss desired the filters to be designed taking into account input and output impedances ( commercial only for 50e) Value of series inductance is restricted by operating freq. Voltage drop while, Y capacitors is limited by allowable leakage current(0.4ma typ.). To achieve desired insertion loss multi stage filters may be required to be used. Placement of filters is very very important for achieving desired performance


Power line filtering


Transient Suppressor Devices

For EFT, ESD tests resistors, ferrite beads and capacitors usually dont provide the necessary level of suppression. The energy and speed is higher and faster than these passive components can handle. Different devices Spark Gap, MOV, Tranzob


General Topology of Transient Protection Network




Diverter generally handles high currents but do not offer precise control of voltages ( Gas tubes and MOVs) and Clamp devices ( Tranzorb) have lower impedance than the diverters but have lower energy handling capabilities, however offers fast clamping

Surge protective devices

Transient suppressor diodes Fast switching speed Suitable for low voltages typically upto 400v Offer large capacitance ( 500- 2000 pF) Are basically diodes Suitable to be used close to the circuit to be protected


Varistors Slower than avalanche diodes Higher voltages relatively typically upto 2kV Offer large capacitance (100-4000pF) hence not suitable for HF applications Are basically Non-linear resistive elements based on Zinc oxide Popularly used in power circuits

Surge protective devices


Surge protective devices

Gas arrestors / Spark gaps Very slow speed Highest voltages typically upto 10kV ( min around 90V) Are small sealed spark gaps containing rare gases like neon/argon. Very low capacitance (1-3pF) Have relatively smaller life Used in protection schemes requiring high power handling capability specifically during lightening or power faults Preferred placements at cable entry points


Surge protective devices


Principles of Decoupling
Need for decoupling ? Decoupling capacitor should act as local charge reservoir to satisfy the sudden current demands of a high speed digital IC as it changes states Decoupling capacitor ideally is expected to be low pass filter so as to meet emissions related requirements


Principles of Decoupling


Decoupler as charge reservoir

During state transitions, most of logic ICs have a period of time of few nano secs or smaller , where both output transistors are ON and hence forcing very high current demand which with associated series inductance can cause a very high voltage drop and with fast rise/fall time pulsed requirements it also leads to emissions Using decoupler as charge reservoir facilitates local high current requirements with least inductance and hence facilitating in maintaining voltage stability


Decoupler as filter

Practically decoupling capacitors have series eqvt. Ckt. as shown above. Due to this they have resonant freq. Where they offer least impedance and below which effect is capacitive and above which it is inductive.( add also lead/trace inductance) For filtering purpose it is expected to offer minimum impedance and hence resonant freq. Becomes an important parameter for its selection. Also above resonant freq, since it effect is inductive it also forms a voltage divider with the power bus impedance which most of the time as such is not too significant


Selection of Right value of Capacitor

The decoupling capacitor ideally should be selected based on Minimum value which is set based on transient current demand of the IC The maximum value is influenced by the desire to filter noise at the power freq.


Some inputs for decoupling capacitors

Decoupling capacitor of unequal value should not be used in close proximity in parallel because due to unequal value they form a parallel resonant ckt. which reduces noise rejection at such freq. Of formation which overall detoriates the performance which could have been achieved by single capacitor Decoupling capacitor of same value can be used in parallel since it reduces overall inductance(ESL) and hence increasing self resonant freq.


Some Thumb rules

Always locate the decoupling capacitor as physically close as possible to the IC being decoupled Use a separate decoupling capacitor for each of IC package and its respective pin/s Never parallel two or more dissimilar values of decoupling capacitors, unless they are separated by more than 1 inch Choose decoupling capacitors with extremely low ESL and ESR values. For e.g ESR of high quality decoupler should remain below 0.1ohm through 100MHz. Always provide vias to the ground and power planes immediately adjacent to the ends of the decoupler (I.e. avoid use of traces)


Antenna due to poor PCB Layout


Circuit boards layering

The assignment of specific traces to specific layers in a printed circuit board is an important part of overall task to suppress emissions. Multi-layer boards should have following considerations for high speed traces (Pulse repetition time less than 500nS) :
All high speed traces should be buried between two solid copper layers that are at ground potential for RF purposes. (Power plane can also be considered at ground potential as it has large no of decoupling capacitors w.r.t ground plane)


Grounding hole vias

All flooded region of grounded copper should be viaed to the ground plane/s as frequently as practical. As a guideline, there should be no region of flooded grounded copper that is more than one inch from the via to the ground plane. The grounding vias for large holes like used for fixing screws that fasten to the main board ground should be surrounded by minimum four vias surrounding the main hole so that the impedance is reduced


Routing of high speed digital traces

1 Only slow ( < 2 MHz ) traces should be routed on the two surface layers 2 Ground and or power planes should be used to separate layers dedicated to slow speed traces from those carrying high speed traces

Top surface of PCB

Other layers Ground and/or power planes

High speed traces

Other layers

Lower surface of PCB


PCB design few guidelines

Minimise loop areas ( power and ground traces may be kept closer together) Signal lines should be kept closed to ground, logically a ground line should run next to signal line, ground plane can be kept opposite to PCB signal plane, unused areas to be filled with ground plane, Bypass capacitors appropriately should be made use of Keep line length as short as possible Power and signal should be fed from the centre of the PCB to the extent possible to reduce length of tracks


Role play : PCB Designer

High speed traces routed on surface layers and not between ground and or power planes of the board Slow speed traces routed partially on surface layers and partially on buried layers, resulting in coupling of high frequencies to slow speed traces Connecting decoupling or port filtration capacitors via traces rather than direct connections to ground and power planes Improper positioning of decoupling capacitors and or port filtration components Improper layer assignments No signal layer flooding Floating islands of copper Using insufficient vias around mounting holes Allowing slitting of a ground plane by a large multi-pin connector