Lab Tour Video and Text Summary
Hi Guys, I’m Dennis. I started the lab 16 years ago to help Design Engineers get through the FCC and CE mark process.
Before we started the lab I worked for a couple of fortune 500 companies and a couple of the big corporate test labs. I saw that when Engineers failed the tests the labs would give little to no support to help them redesign so they could pass. Most labs would have some high priced consultant that they would refer people to. Then the cost would sky rocket because now they would pay for the lab and the consultant. This could be easily go over 5-6-7 hundred dollars an hour. I saw some projects last months and months just because the Engineer had little to no support from the labs. I started asking the guys I worked with if there was a fully equipped lab that specialized in mitigation and troubleshooting would they use it and most guys said YES! So we started the lab to help Designers. Since most of my experience over the past 33 years has been in the lab learning hands on how to re-design equipment to pass EMI standards we have a unique set of skills that you rarely find in any of the test labs.
That being said let’s take a look around the lab and see what tools we have available…
When you first walk in you can see our 5317 GTEM, the largest GTEM made. These guys are more popular in Europe where they were invented by Dr Hansen, a Swiss Engineer. Over the years we have seen excellent correlation to probably a dozen chambers and open area test sites across the country. The math that turns the measurement in the GTEM into what you would get on an OATS site was developed by Dr Hansen and the head of the RF Fields group at NIST here in Boulder, Dr Perry Wilson. Their math, based on Maxwell’s equations, is the math that is embedded in the software that turns the readings into what you would measure on an OATS site. GTEM’s have been accepted by the FCC and Europe for full compliance measurements since the mid 90’s. They also have a lower measurement uncertainty than semi-anechoic chambers and OATS sites and the data is much more repeatable. They can do emissions measurements from 30-1000 MHz, the range that most people have emissions problems, in as little as 15-20 minutes. The comparison even to a 3 or 10 meter semi-anechoic chamber is 1.5 to 2 hours for the same data, with a higher measurement uncertainty in the big box chambers.
Across from the GTEM we have racks with most of our fix-it supplies. We have lots of ferrite kits, low, mid and high frequencies. We have surface mount ferrite kits with common mode chokes, single ferrites and high power ferrites for dc power lines. We have miles of conductive foam for sealing aperatures on enclosures. We have conductive paint, various sizes of surface mount resistors, capacitors, tvs’s for fixing esd issues. Pretty much most of what you would need to do experiments at a circuit level. We specialize in fixing EMI at the source!
Next to the racks we have the customer area where you can sit, relax, check emails, get some coffee or munch on snacks. Bottled water and sodas are in the fridge, help yourself.
Next is the Fully Anechoic Room (FAR) we bought from Covidien, now called Medtronic. This chamber has excellent correlation to the GTEM, 1.8 dB standard deviation, thanks to the help of Pete Berquist our resident EMI Guru. Pete has over 40+ years in the EMI world, most of it with HP then Intel and now semi-retired he helps us out with our cals, automated test software and all kinds of technical issues. We’re really lucky to have someone like Pete helping us out. The FAR can also take data very fast – 20 minutes or so from 30-1000 MHz – between the GTEM and the FAR we have two of the fastest chambers in the world for taking repeatable, fully calibrated radiated emissions data. When we take the data in the FAR we dump it into Excel so you can quickly compare runs and see results fast. The FAR and the GTEM are also fully calibrated for radiated immunity, EN 61000-4-3, at 3 and 10 volts per meter.
Next to the FAR we have the re-work area. On the ESD matt we have a good Metcal soldering iron, microscope and everything you need to make circuit level modifications. We’re pretty good at helping you check the schematics and layout to figure out where to solder the cap.
Behind the FAR we have a 1,000 square foot open space with two ground planes against the sides where we can do conducted emissions, ESD (EN 61000-4-2), EFT (EN 61000-4-4), AC Surge (EN 61000-4-5), Conducted Immunity (EN 61000-4-6), Power frequency magnetic fields (EN 61000-4-8), AC Dips and interrupts, AC brown outs (EN 61000-4-11), AC power harmonics (EN 61000-3-2) and Flicker (EN 61000-3-3). We have the ability to do all these tests in parallel with two products or configurations testing at the same time.
In front of this area we have the reception area, an office space and a conference room that you guys can use any time you need it. Some guys set up shop in the conference room if they are here for a while on a large project.
That’s about it. I hope this helps you understand how different we are from most labs. We are set up as a research and development lab first, then we also have the ability to take all the data for full certification with a report.
Thanks for watching and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions. We enjoy supporting the guy with his first project just as much as the billion dollar corporate guys.