What is Electromagnetic Interference?
Understanding what electromagnetic interference (EMI) means is essential to the safety and efficiency of countless electrical devices we rely on daily. This invisible yet pervasive force has many adverse effects that can interrupt, degrade, or even stop electronic devices and systems from performing as intended.
If you want to know what EMI is, we’ll explore what causes it, its potential impact, and some prevention techniques involved in shielding your devices against it. Through an in-depth look at these topics, you become equipped with the necessary knowledge to protect your electrical components from harmful EM interference.
Electromagnetic Interference At A Glance
EMI is the disturbance or unwanted noise affecting an electrical path in electrical devices and communication systems caused by external electromagnetic fields. This disruption can cause these devices to malfunction and operate poorly. Frequently, it will interfere with the transmission of signals, produce errors, and generate data corruption in digital devices.
Constant exposure of devices to EM interference will cause their circuits to degrade over time. It might also stop it from working altogether. Regarding data path, the negative impacts range from an increase in error rate to a total loss of data.
What Can Cause Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)?
Many factors cause EM interference, mainly due to the close relationship between electricity and magnetism. All electrical flow produces a small magnetic field, and a moving electrical field produces an electrical current. Therefore, high-powered electrical sources can affect susceptible electronic devices with EMI.
EMI is caused by many things, so it may also be caused by man-made and natural sources. Examples include:
- Ignition systems from internal combustion systems
- Cellular networks from mobile phones
- Northern and Southern lights
- Solar flares
- Atmospheric electrical phenomena and lightning
- Radio jamming
- Near-field communication
- Transmission from televisions
- Satellites and AM/FM radio
- Airport radar
- Electrical contacts, motor bushes, and arc welders
- White noise
The causes listed will generate changes in electrical currents and voltages, triggering electromagnetic interference in electronic devices. The electrical noise caused by these activities can disrupt the normal functioning of the devices, which is why utilizing EMI protection techniques is vital to prevent them from failing.
How To Deal With Electromagnetic Interference
The best way to prevent EM interference is by purchasing superior quality electronics tested against emission standards to ensure they don’t cause excessive EMI against other devices. Depending on the device affected and the source, EMI can be treated in various ways. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available for you to deal with it successfully.
Some of these prevention techniques include:
- Keep electronic devices away from heavy machinery
- Utilize shielded cables
- Encasing the circuits inside sealed enclosures made with copper, steel, or aluminum
- Employ high-quality passive EMI filters
- Use a snubber network between two contacts
- Multiple grounding points on an extensive ground plane
- Isolate circuits from ground loop voltages
- Separate grounds for analog and digital circuits
EM interference filters are commonly used to reduce EMI effects in inverters. These are generally employed in the input and output side of inverters. To protect circuits against EMI, consider using materials that can eliminate the source of noise. You can also upgrade the receiving device and check the coupling channel between the source and receptor. Finally, shielded cables are ideal for protecting devices against capacitively coupled interference.
EMI Services From Robert McKeown
The growing number of wireless devices and our increasing dependence on technology mean the exponential inflation of EM interference in our daily lives. Therefore, it’s crucial to know what causes it so that you can employ the proper prevention techniques to ensure the safety and efficiency of your electronic devices.
At Robert McKeown, we design and develop high-performance EM interference shielding products to prevent EMI’s devastating consequences on your electronics. From EMI gaskets to tapes, we have the perfect solution to meet your needs. Contact us today for more information about our offers, and you can also request a quote for a cost-effective solution based on your project’s requirements!