Medical devices containing electronics require Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) testing to ensure they can be used in the intended environment without causing other equipment to fail nor failing themselves. Here are some simple and inexpensive tools an electrical engineer can build that enable quick EMC prescreening. This article includes steps one can take during product development to ease the task of medical device EMC compliance.
An earlier post on medical device design EMC challenges provided a definition of EMC, listed some of the roadblocks that might delay one’s product launch, and started discussing strategies for avoiding these delays. EMC testing addresses two categories of interference:
- Emissions: Emissions testing measures Electromagnetic (EM) interference radiated or conducted out of the device. Emissions from your device can cause malfunctions in nearby equipment.
- Susceptibility: This measures the device’s immunity to external EM interference conducted or radiated into the device. An example of external interference is Electrostatic Discharge (ESD).
Basically, Emissions testing confirms that the device is unlikely to interfere with other devices, while Susceptibility testing confirms that the device will keep operating despite outside interference.