Tom Livingston | Lectron, Rochester Hills, MI, USA – April 30, 2017

Lectron uses EMxpert EHX for testing.

I’m an electronics technician with 30 plus years in the automotive electronics field.

In 1986 I started working for a company in Rochester Hills Michigan called Lectron Products. At Lectron we worked on a number of automotive modules like chimes, chime with door lock, headlamp auto dimmer, daylight running lamp, compass, tire pressure monitor, remote keyless entry. Through the years I worked my way up to one of the top R&D technicians and took over the day to day operations of the EMC lab.

At Lectron we worked on modules for all the different car companies, each with different testing requirements. Another issue that we had was that some of these modules were very low volume. We could not afford to spend a lot of time and money at the end of the development cycle trying to fix EMC failures, especially at the expensive certified EMC labs that we used for final compliance testing. Our in house EMC lab was used for pre-compliance testing, we were not certified. We would do the development in house and then use a certified lab for the final test.

This allowed us to run very lean, I would set up the test and a DV or PV technician would run it. For susceptibility testing we did: strip line, TEM cell, tri-plate and bulk current injection. This is where EMxpert comes in. When you’re doing susceptibility testing and there is an anomaly, it may not be apparent as to what part of the circuit is malfunctioning.

We would make a transparency with the circuit board traces at 1:1 scaling. With the module running on the EMxpert scanner pad, we would inject a small amount of current, using the BCI method, at whatever frequency the anomaly occurred. We would then run a spatial scan with EMxpert and print it out. By placing the transparency of the circuit traces over the printout of the spatial scan, you could follow the current path and find the trouble spot. Using this technique we could find and correct problems fast and at the beginning of the design cycle, when there was still time to re-layout a board.

For EMC, it is all about the up-front work that is done. Board layout and pre-compliance testing are very important. The farther into the design cycle you are, the more it will cost you to resolve it. If I had to describe EMxpert in one word it would be “up-front”.

It’s like your headlights in the dark.

EMSCAN is the world leading developer of FAST magnetic very-near-field measurement technologies and applications since 1989, providing real-time test solutions to antenna and PCB designers and verification engineers, without the need for a chamber.

The EMxpert, a family of compact EMC and EMI diagnostic tools, and the RFxpert, a family of antenna measurement tools, enable engineers to quickly optimize their designs. EMSCAN solutions dramatically increase designer productivity and substantially reduce time-to-market and project development costs.