What is electromagnetic compatibility?

Electrical systems and appliances can interfere with each other. These disturbances may be manifested as malfunctions, noise or flashing, etc. and are collectively known as EMC problems.

What is EMC?

Ever since the early days of radio, electrical interference from the power grid and other electrical equipment has been a problem. The interfering signals can travel through the air as radio waves or be transmitted via wires.

Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) is the ability of electrical systems and equipment to be used at the same time without interfering with each other. EMC is therefore also a quality description, in line with reliability, performance or other requirements imposed on a product. Basically, products with poor EMC will result in more interference than products with good EMC.

Where are EMC problems experienced?

Because we are increasingly surrounded by systems and devices containing active electronics, these kinds of interference problems are only likely to increase in scope. Modern smart homes may be susceptible to interference from a variety of sources, both inside and outside the house. Typical problems include DAB radios that stop working when LED lights are turned on, or lights that flicker when the automatic power meter sends a reading.

Electronics in infrastructure and large buildings may also be affected. For example, the LED lighting system at the Rockheim national museum of popular music in Trondheim has interfered with the approach systems at Værnes airport. We have also seen cases of lighting in tunnels disturbing and blocking the emergency network.

Who works with EMC?

Manufacturers of electrical appliances and equipment are working intensively to resolve EMC issues and are constantly improving the shielding against electromagnetic interference in their products. The people who design and install electrical systems in buildings and elsewhere must therefore also take EMC into account, as is illustrated by the examples mentioned above.

DSB is the authority in charge of EMC in Norway. We would like to hear from anyone who has experienced an annoying or dangerous incident linked to EMC. Complete the form to report an incident. Your feedback is important for our preventive work.

Facts about EMC

  • EMC is about ensuring that different electrical systems can work in the same environment at the same time without adversely affecting one another
  • EMC is a description of quality, in line with reliability, performance or other requirements imposed on a product
  • EMC is also closely related to safety in important functions in that emergency communication, aircraft navigation, etc. may be interfered with or even blocked

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