EMC FLEX BLOG A site dedicated to Automotive EMC Testing for Electronic Modules

DUT Activation & Monitoring Software

12. January 2021 15:51 by Christian in EMC/EMI, EMC TEST PLAN, Test Methods
The DUT Performance Functional Verification is based on a bench test software that does not acc

The DUT Performance Functional Verification is based on a bench test software that does not account for EMC specific considerations and is normally performed prior and following each EMC test method.

Using the same Activation & Monitoring Method and Pass/Fail Criteria for ENV and EMC is not practical. DUT’s functions must be grouped in “operating modes” that are in line with the scope of EMC Test Method. When assessing the level of RF emissions we want the DUT to exhibit the highest level of noise possible as in vehicle. During RF Immunity evaluation we expect the following from a good activation/monitoring software:

  • Capability to activate and have realistic data traffic on all I/O lines as well as individual I/O lines.
  • Electrical Transients or RF coupled in supply voltage and I/O lines may not always trigger repeatable anomalies. Therefore we need a visible flag/indicator to immediately stop the actual EMC test method process for anomaly thresholding (e.g. level vs frequency). As we reduce applied stress level the DUT’s behavior may change, then at some point the anomaly should disappear.
  • The same DUT operating mode may be feasible for one or more EMC test methods but definitely not for the entire test list. We need capability to configure what functions belong to each operating mode including live monitoring method. Log files are not useful during test, we still need them following the test for troublesooting. 
  • All functions must resemble vehicle intent usage. Not all I/O lines will be active simultaneously in vehicle. Therefore do not use unrealistic I/O cables scenarios to facilitate testing since this can generate false current loops and other issues.
  • The functions used by DUT activation & Monitoring Software are not meant to assess complaince to USB, E-Net, LVDS standards.

 Keep in your mind that:

  1. Electrical Transients on supply lines can hard reset the MCU (e.g. dips/dropouts). Is there a test in your monitoring software that captures such condition?  Any other anomaly is not relevant once a hard reset occurs.
  2. Do you have a function to verify that there is no memory loss following inadvertent hard/soft reset?
  3. The RF can be coupled in both supply lines and I/O lines resulting in data traffic interruptions leading to a soft reset. Is there a monitoring function to capture such event?
  4. If CAN bus is used in a design I would consider at minimum two critical errors: CAN BUSOFF & DTC SET. What we normally use is a pass fail criteria that can be adjusted such that is possible to determine if the anomaly occurs with every data transmission attempt or it happens only each 100/1000 attempts.

DUT support software

Do not waste time/money to tweak operating modes during EMC validations. In many EMC labs the cost for one hour of ALSE chamber is $500 regardless to how you spend this time. The operating mode must be pre-selected, yet adjustable if needed during troubleshooting. The "anomaly found" visual indicator is used by EMC test operator to stop the actual EMC test software. If we have a time stamp in log files, there is no need to stop the activation/monitoring support software.

DUT Activation Dwell Time

All functions within the same operating mode must be completed and repeated every 2 seconds. We call these 2 seconds Dwell Time, and it can make a huge difference in test duration and cost. For a 2-second dwell time and only one Operating Mode you can expect RF Immunity in ALSE chamber to last 4-5 days (one shift). For a 4-second dwell time it may last practically 8-9 days and so on. Bottom line, if the initialization of Load Simulator or DUT is time consuming it will cost a fortune to re-initialize following each incident/anomaly. Hard/soft reset must always be the last resort to resume operation. The goal is to minimize the number of operating modes and DUT orientations.

Types of DUT support software 

  • Load Simulator EMC support testing software with specific sections for each Operating Mode.
  • Load Simulator Functional/Parametric verification testing done before and after each Test Method.
  • Full DUT Functional/Parametric testing before and after full EMC validation that is not typically done using the EMC Load Simulator but rather EOL like testers.

 DUT Operating Mode

Ideally is to include in Operating Modes only those DUT functions that are active while driving the vehicle. Functions used for diagnostics at the car dealer shop are not relevant. The worst case scenario is when vehicle is in Run Mode (speed >0) but we also have to simulate the Standby Mode (speed = 0) and Sleep Mode (current consumption < 1 mA).

Christian Rosu, Jan 12, 2021

Grounding for Automotive EMC Load Simulators

15. December 2020 09:02 by Christian in EMC/EMI, EMC TEST PLAN, Grounding
The Load Simulator must be robust and as simple as possible to become a valid reference for DUT EMC

The Load Simulator must be robust and as simple as possible to become a valid reference for DUT EMC performace evaluation. The most common mistake during LS configuration for RE, BCI, RI ALSE is related to how DUT's supply return is interconected with the rest of DUT support equipment. Incorrect grounding between DUT, Load Simulator, Support Equipment, Ground Plane, dedicated Earth Grounding Rod, and Buildin Safety Ground can end up in unwanted grounding loops or as shown below to a situation where the GND LISN Input is connected to GND LISN Output.

An ideal Load Simulator is just a pass-through enclosure with test points, control switches, no active electronics.  Most of the time the DUT is powered straight from the output of the B+ LISN  or a Pulse Generator following certain rules in terms of B+ and GND leads length. The input of the LISN for battery negative pole is always connected to ground plane. Depending on the OEM specification or international standard used, the Load Simulator is powered directly from the automotive battery or from the output of the B+ LISN. If powered from the output of the LISN, the active electronic components part of the LS can play a role in the EMC compliance of the DUT.  In automotive EMC each test bench or EMC test chamber should have dedicated Eart Grounding Rod completely separated from the Buliding Safety Ground. The incorrect grounding configuration below shows how via the test ground plane the building safety ground is in contact with the dedicated earth grounding rod. In this situation the output of the LISN is shorted to its input cancelling the purpose of the LISN.

Never connect the negative terminal from support equipment power supplies to their terminal for safety ground. 

 2020-12-14 Christian Rosu


DUT configuration for CISPR 25 ALSE chamber ambient

28. October 2020 07:03 by Christian in EMC/EMI, EMC TEST PLAN, OEM Specs, Standards, Test Methods
The automotive OEM specs do not specify how to configure the DUT during COSPR 25 chamber ambient mea

The automotive OEM specs do not specify how to configure the DUT during CISPR 25 chamber ambient measurements. DUT must be unpowered, all other DUT support equipment must be powered and as much as possible functional to correctly evaluate RF emissions noise floor before start testing. This leaves at least three scenarios for how to configure the DUT.

1) Disconnect the DUT from test harness. 
  1.  Test harness connectors are removed from
  2.  DUT is unpowered.
  3.  The 1.7 m test harness is unterminated on DUT side, no potential ground loops with Load Simulator.
  4.  The 5uH LISN remains present.
  5.  The Load Simulator and all support equipment remains powered.
2) Disconnect DUT's B+ line from LISN output.
  1.  Test harness connectors are plugged into DUT.
  2.  DUT is unpowered by disconnecting B+ line LISN input from Battery.
  3.  The 1.7 m test harness terminated on both ends, therefore potential ground loops with Load Simulator are possible.
  4.  The 5uH LISN remains present.
  5.  The Load Simulator and all support equipment remains powered.
3) Diconnect DUT's B+ line from LISN output.
  1.  Test harness connectors are plugged into DUT.
  2.  DUT is unpowered by disconnecting DUT B+ line from LISN output.
  3.  The 1.7 m test harness terminated on both ends, therefore potential ground loops with Load Simulator are possible.
  4.  The 5uH LISN is not present anymore, and this somehow violates CISPR 25 requirement.
  5.  The Load Simulator and all support equipment remains powered.
Christian Rosu

Automotive EMC Load Simulators

28. September 2020 11:20 by Christian in EMC/EMI, EMC TEST PLAN, Load Simulator
During EMC compliance validations we monitor DUT (Device Under Test) errors visible for the occupant

The Load Simulator is defined in ISO 11452-1:2015 as: “physical device including real and/or simulated peripheral loads which are necessary to ensure DUT nominal and/or representative operation mode.”


During EMC compliance validations we monitor DUT (Device Under Test) errors visible for the occupant in vehicle in parallel with stored or not stored yet DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Codes). Disruptions in data bus or communication bus that do not set a DTC are not visible for the end user, since many of them are controlled safely by Vehicle Software & BCM.


 The driver can be distracted by vehicle cluster signs/indicators turning red, like an imminent hazard. 

  • If the incident self-recovers, it may not be a problem but it depends on DUT's Classification and Required Immunity Level.
  • If the DUT does not self-recover and require driver's intervention, then the LS support software must mimic the user response to resume operation (automation). Such anomaly is marked in a data log but should not be a reason to stop on-going testing.
  • If the DUT does not self-recover requiring Hard Reset (VBATT on-off-on), then it's really bad. This is like a stop show but make sure it is always driven by DUT, never the LS.
  • The pass/fail criteria mentioned in EMC test plan must guide your LS design effort, especially to decide on what type of FO monitoring equipment is needed.
  • Ideally is to use production intent DUT's I/O loading and Vehicle Software reducing the entire effort to monitoring the communication bus & FO equipment (e.g. FO Voltage Probes, FO Signal/Data Probe).
  • The moment you’re forced to use excessive HW/SW simulation, you practically spend more time validating the Load Simulator instead of focusing on DUT's EMC performance.
  • If possible, avoid using active electronic components for the LS placed inside ALSE chamber.
  • Use production intent loads, ideally EMC validated by OEM.
  • Use FO devices that are certified for 200 V/m, CISPR 25, 30KV ESD.
  • The support software should not stop the show if errors occur, only the DUT should be able to stop the show.
  • Pay attention how is the shielding of I/O lines terminated/grounded in vehicle and use if possible production intent cables and proper wire gauge.
  • For remote grounded module, make sure the only possible connection to battery negative pole is via supply return line. 
  • The LS metallic enclosure is bonded to GP (ground plane) being used as shield. 
  • The LS metallic enclosure is not being used as grounding point for DUT or LS electronics.
  • All signal return lines are closed to their source, never to GP.


Grounding Requirements

If DUT and LS grounding requirements are not defined by the automotive OEM EMC spec or Test Plan, then using automotive industry standards is acceptable (ISO 11452-2:2004-11-01, ISO 11452-4:2011-12-15, ISO 7637-2:2011-03-01, CISPR 25:2016-10-27):

"The DUT shall be placed on a non-conductive, low relative permittivity (dielectric-constant) material (εr ≤ 1,4), at (50 ± 5) mm above the ground plane. The case of the DUT shall not be grounded to the ground plane unless it is intended to simulate the actual vehicle configuration.”  


Preferably, the load simulator shall be placed directly on the ground plane. If the load simulator has a metallic case, this case shall be bonded to the ground plane. Alternatively, the load simulator may be located adjacent to the ground plane (with the case of the load simulator bonded to the ground plane) or outside of the test chamber, provided the test harness from the DUT passes through an RF boundary bonded to the ground plane.” 


“Bonded – grounded connection providing the lowest possible impedance (resistance and inductance) connection between two metallic parts with a d.c. resistance which shall not exceed 2,5 mΩ. Note 1 to entry: A low current (≤100 mA) 4-wire milliohm metre is recommended for this measurement" . This resistance needs to be verified with a milliohm meter. (ISO 11452-1:2015-06-01, MIL-STD-461G:2015-12-11).



Grounding Solutions:

  • Copper Tape (colored) with conductive adhesive.
  • Silver Tape with pressure sensitive adhesive (better contact), and tin-plating allowing soldering the tape directly to the ground plane, overall better resistance to corrosion.
  • Bonding Strap made from a semi-rigid flat metallic braid/weave that is copper tinned/untinned. Bonding straps are better than wires since their length to width ratio has lower inductance per unit length. The EMC test plan ahould specify that any ground straps used maintain a “5:1 length to width ratio or less” per MIL-STD-464C:2010-12-01. The impedance of ground straps at high frequencies varies with their width, length and addition of connectors (e.g. banana plugs). Since the ends of the braid may fray, ideally is to solder the ends of the braid. If adding a hole for a fastener (e.g. screw), the edges of the hole should be soldered to prevent fraying. The best grounding solution is to solder the braid to the ground plane.

Before using any of the above grounding solutions, the ground plane should be cleaned from oxidazation to achive better conductivity.


Grounding Point:

The EMC Test Plan should specify the DUT's case grounding point to ensure repeatsble results. The same for Load Simulator. 


Christian Rosu, Sep 28, 2020.



CISPR-25 RF emissions ambient test pitfalls

25. April 2017 15:48 by Christian in EMC/EMI, EMC TEST PLAN, Standards
CISPR-25 is not very specific in regards to chamber ambient test setup configuration in regards to d

CISPR-25 is not very specific about device under test and support equipment configuration during chamber ambient test. The automotive OEM require the ambient for RE, CE-V, CE-I with support equipment energized. The test laboratories will typically disconnect VBATT line from LISN output. The GND line remains connected to LISN. By doing so is assumed that DUT is not energized. The support equipment remains connected to the input of the LISNs being turned on (energized). The CAN bus is powered but w/o traffic. It is unclear if the load simulator energized it means powered but inactive (standby). By activating PWM pulses as inputs for DUT it may yield unwanted CE-I and RE ambient noise. All these aspects must be clarified in the EMC test plan.

In the sample presented the CE-V ambient noise is well below the 6 dB requirement. However, this type of noise is being captured while DUT's integrated buttons are being pressed and released via a pneumatic system with no electrical connection to DUT or test ground plane. Specifying that DUT must be unpowered may not be enough, the DUT's buttons should not be mechanically activated, nor its inputs subjected to electrical signals.

Christian Rosu