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Rohde & Schwarz “Demystifying EMC” 2020 @ Silverstone, UK

It’s that time of year again when one of the things I look forward to the most comes around. No, not Christmas! Where have you been?

Every year, Rohde & Schwarz UK organise their “Demystifying EMC” event, organising technical training on a variety of topics as well as a compact but well formed trade show. 2020 is my third year in a row as an attendee. These last two years, Unit 3 Compliance has had an exhibition stand and I’ve been privileged to give a technical presentation as part of the training available on the day.

This year the Rohde & Schwarz team outdid themselves with record attendance causing them to have to close the registrations for the event early.

Not surprisingly the Unit 3 Compliance stand was as busy as ever with visitors from a wide range of companies and backgrounds, many new faces and some familiar ones from last year stopping by to say ‘hi’.

We also had a demonstration of the effects of poor PCB layout and it’s effect on EMC emissions being picked up by one of our near field probe kits (which flew off the table like hot cakes)

The highlight of my day was getting to deliver another technical talk – amazingly they had me back after last year! – on the subject of ground and grounding for EMC.

Rather than a list of “do this, don’t do this” I really put a lot of background work into this talk, creating images for each slide to try and illustrate clearly some of the concepts I was trying to illustrate.

I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with ‘G’

It seemed to go down really well and I had a lot of positive feedback on the day. Thank you for that, it’s sometimes hard to know if you’ve hit the mark or not. People coming up to me afterwards and saying “you’ve put into words what I’ve been struggling to say for years” and “I’ve really learned something new” makes the many hours spent on preparing this talk well worthwhile.

Whilst a “here’s-a-picture-talk-about-the-picture” makes for a great in person talk, it works very poorly as reference material after the event with just a picture and no text to go with it. So I decided to record the presentation again and push it out on YouTube. Powerpoint has a really nifty record presentation tool that can then export to a video.

So if you didn’t make it to the talk, or want to refer to the talk again, then here’s a link to the video.

Enjoy, and I’ll see you next year.

 

James Pawson presenting at R&S EMC 2019

Rohde & Schwarz Demysifying EMC 2019

A fantastic day at the Rohde and Schwarz Demystifying EMC 2019 show down at Silverstone. It provided a chance to reconnect with some familiar faces and meet a whole load of new ones. R&S always put on a good event with varied content and lots of interest.

I was presenting a talk entitled “From Design To Pre-Compliance: Pitfalls and Pro Tips” which received lots of positive feedback from the attendees.

The weather was glorious with bullet blue skies and The Wing venue in the centre of the circuit makes for a great location.

The Unit 3 Compliance stand was very popular throughout the day with a queue of people stopping by to say hello and talk about pre-compliance testing.

The Pocket EMC Debug Probes flew off the table too.

Busy, and a Birthday

It has been a very busy few months at Unit 3 Compliance; it feels like the chamber turntable hasn’t stopped spinning. There has been a wide range of products through the door from prosthetics to video wall controllers, from high spec IoT products to motion sensors, from lighting power supplies to RF amplifiers. I really love the variety of work!

I’ve also had some safety assessment work to carry out on which is always interesting. Disassembling mains transformers to measure the creepage distances inside is fascinating, getting out the angle grinder to hack the laminations apart just adds to the fun.

There have also been a fair amount of design reviews and general consulting work in between. To be able to work with customers right at the start of the project is invaluable as it sets them on the right path without having to find problems further down the line.

I’ve found lots of interesting nuggets of EMC information during this process that I’m looking forward to sharing with you in some future blog posts once I get time to sit down and write them up.

I managed to escape down to Lincoln to speak at the Open Source Hardware User Group oshcamp18 meetup on the subject of EMC testing. The delegates came up with lots of good questions at the end and the audience participation (see below slide) of the talk went down well. Higher! Lower!

play your compliance cards right!

Good to see reconnect with some old contacts and make some new ones. The other talks were very interesting also, lots of good work going on in the open source hardware field at the moment.

Lastly, and it snuck past without me spotting it, Unit 3 Compliance had it’s first birthday. It’s been a whole year since I got the keys to the unit. In that time, and with lots of help, it has gone from this:

the empty unit

Via this:

To this:

And finally this:

 

Here’s to the next 20 years of compliance, I hope to see you on the way.

 

 

james pawson emc speaking at iot leeds

“EMC for IoT” Presentation at the IoT Leeds Meetup

I had the pleasure of speaking at the local IoT Leeds meetup, held at the newly (and finally) renovated “Platform” venue just outside of the train station. The views over Leeds city centre from our 10th floor suite where the event was being held were impressive.

view over Leeds from floor 10 of the Platform building

Paul Wealls of Mokanix had the first slot and gave an interesting talk on their development toolkit for mobile applications. I’m not a software engineer (my code makes grown men weep) but the usefulness of this cross network toolkit was evident and seemed to generate a lot of interest among the attendees. Well worth checking out if that’s your bag.

The synopsis of my presentation, titled “EMC for IoT” was a very high level overview of the European EMC and Radio Regulations for IoT hardware, CE marking, and the importance of spectrum protection through compliance. Because I didn’t know the makeup of the audience beforehand it was tricky to know exactly what sort of content to put in. I opted for more graphics than words which gives more flexibility in the subjects covered.

emc for iot slide front page

In the end, in the audience of around twenty people, there were two (and a half) hardware engineers, mostly software engineers but everyone had a technical background. As such I skewed the presentation towards the general but still went into detail where necessary. I really enjoy speaking on EMC matters and it’s great fun to share knowledge with like-minded interested professionals.

The questions received after the presentation were all very intelligent and well thought out. They ranged from instances of counterfeit components causing EMC problems, understanding risk, the costs involved and the use of mobile devices on aircraft. Despite what can be seen as a dry subject the feedback from the presentation was very good.

james pawson emc speaking at iot leeds

photo credit Will Newton

It was also great to see my ex colleague Chris who I hadn’t seen for a long time and catch up with him. We both headed to the Leeds Brewery Tap for a pint of Midnight Bell with Will (organiser) and Neil and for a chat that ranged from the local job market to AI before hopping on the train home. All in all, a good evening!

I’m looking to take the talk out on the road for other meetups or organisations so if you know anyone running an technical event where this would fit in then I’d be interested to hear about it.