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Upcoming Changes to Measurement, Control and Laboratory Equipment – EN61326

Silicon Valley Immunity TestingBy Conrad Chu, EMC Engineering Manager,
NTS Silicon Valley

Recently, a new version of EN 61326-1 has been adopted and published in the EU’s Official Journal. As this standard is the applicable standard for Measurement, Control and Laboratory Equipment, it affects a large number of devices.

The EN 61326-1:2013 version of the standard supersedes EN 61326-1:2006 and becomes mandatory on August 14, 2015.   EN 61326-1:2013 is equivalent to international standard IEC 61326-1:2012.

Summary of Significant Changes

Emissions:
The 2006 version references CISPR 11:2003, while the 2013 version references CISPR 11:2009 +A1:2010.  The first amendment to CISPR 11:2009 has established alternative radiated emissions limits at 3 meters test distance  for “small equipment”, where “small equipment” is defined as “equipment, either positioned on a table top or standing on the floor which, including its cables fits in a cylindrical test volume of 1.2 m in diameter and 1.5 m above the ground plane”.

Basic Immunity Environment (Immunity):
– The test levels for electrostatic discharge (ESD) have increased from ±4 kV contact discharge and ±4 kV air discharge in EN 61636-1:2006 to ±4 kV contact discharge and ±8 kV air discharge in EN 61326-1:2013.

– For magnetically- sensitive equipment, EN 61326-1:2013 adds a new requirement for power-frequency magnetic immunity (IEC 61000-4-8) at a test level of 3 A/m.

Controlled EM Environment (Immunity):
EN 61326:2006 has a port category called “Measurement I/O”, where the manufacturer is allowed to define the test level (i.e. no mandated test level) and state in the product documentation what level the EUT was tested to.   In EN 61326:2013 this port category has been removed.  Hence the ports that would previously fall under the “Measurement I/O” category would now fall under the remaining “I/O signal/control” category, where the required tests levels are defined by the standard and not left to the discretion of the manufacturer

Portable Environment (Immunity):
For magnetically-sensitive equipment, EN 61326-1:2013 adds a new requirement for power-frequency magnetic immunity (IEC 61000-4-8) at a test level of 3 A/m.

How this Affects Existing and New Test Programs:
NTS Silicon Valley has begun testing to this latest standard with all future reports to be issued to the EN 61326-1:2013 version of the standard. Future test programs will be quoted and reports issued to this standard.

Customers who wish to update their product(s) to the 2013 version can do so based on applicable testing needed. Once the additional test requirements are fulfilled, the report (s) can be reissued to reflect the 2013 version.

In regards to ESD immunity testing, it is recommended to first test at the EN 61326:2006 test levels and subsequently test the higher EN 61326:2013 test levels.  This ensures that if product damage occurs during the higher EN 61326:2013 test levels, the product has already met the lower EN 61326:2006 test levels, and as an interim solution the product can be declared compliant to EN 61326:2006 (compliance to EN 61326:2013 is not mandatory until August 14, 2015).  On a related note, it is also recommended to perform ESD testing towards the end of test programs due to the potential of equipment damage.

Despite the addition of new magnetic immunity requirements in EN 61326-2:2013, in most cases magnetic immunity testing will still not be required as the testing is only required for devices  that contain components inherently susceptible to magnetic fields.

Conclusion

Manufacturers should plan to test to the EN 61326-1:2013 version of the standard moving forward.

For more information about how this change affects your products or for a price quote for services, please contact us at svinfo@nts.com or call at 510-578-3500.