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Technical Tidbit - November 18, 2022

Differences Between ESD Simulators Can Have A Significant Effect on Test Results

Waveform and E-field emission from simulataor

Figure 1.
Contact Discharge Waveform and E-field Emission from an ESD Similator

Abstract: This Technical Tidbit describes the substantial differences between ESD simulators that have a major effect on the outcome an ESD compliance test.

ESD testing often does not yield repeatable results due to differences between ESD simulators that can still be compliant to IEC 61000-4-2. An example of this can be seen in Table 1 below showing contact discharge current waveforms and E-field emissions for two IEC compliant ESD simulators.

Simulator 1 plots
Simulator 2 plots
ESD Simulator 1: Contact Discharge Current (lower) and Radiated E-field (upper)
ESD Simulator 2: Contact Discharge Current (lower) and Radiated E-field (upper)

Table 1. Contact Discharge Current and Radiated E-field Plots for Two Simulators

Looking at the two plots, do you think there will be a difference in test results? There very likely will be. The differences arise from the fact that IEC 61000-4-2 only specified the initial current risetime, the first peak amplitude of current, and the current values at 30 and 60 ns. E-field emissions are not specified at all! So both of these simulators are compliant. So what do you do if your product fails due to the simulator on the right but passes if tested by the one on the left and your test lab uses the one on the right? You need my presentation below.

I have developed over a hundred pages of data on most modern ESD simulators for both air and contact discharge to 5 GHz bandwidth. This data has been incorporated into my new one day web presentation. Attendees get a copy of the data. During the presentation, I intrepret the results and also show how subtle differences in test operator technique in applying the discharges to the EUT can make a 10:1 difference in the stress applied to the EUT. And, an observer may not even notice the difference between operator techniques. Up to date data like this is not available commercially to my knowledge except in my presentation. Commercial cal labs and EMC test labs would not generally have the specialized instrumentation needed to take this data.
If you would like to see my web based presentation, get in touch with me at doug@dsmith.org or my cellphone at +1-408-858-4528. Anyone interested in ESD testing or such testing affects on their product should see my presentation.

And don't forget my upcoming virtual class with unique content and delivery not available elsewhere in the system/circuit design and EMC engineering world!
Click here for more information, both pricate and public presentations are available on demand, most anytime.

Links in this article:
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NEW: Click here, to see descriptions and registration information on my one hour webinars than can solve difficult design problems quickly. Touching on topics like signal integrity, EMC, ESD, and general analog and digital design, these webinars are a quick way to get your design working. There are public presentations every week as well as private presentations on demand for as low as $40/person. New virtual seminars and webinars are added periodically.

Check out my public seminars offered in Boulder City, NV. This is one of the best seminar values anywhere and is held in the historic and beautiful setting of Boulder City, NV,  in the historic Boulder City Dam Hotel and Museum. Click here for more details.

The combination of the material presented, the venue, and the passionate presentation will likely make for the best technical short course/seminar you have ever taken! Didn't think a technical presentation can be passionate? This one is. The result is this short course/seminar will likely be the most informative, practical, and FUN seminar you can attend.

If you like the information in this article and others on this website, much more information is available in my courses. Click here to see upcoming seminars in Boulder City, NV.

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Come for a technical seminar, design review/troubleshooting, or just for a visit and mix a little history of the Old West with your work!

Is your product failing ESD, EMC, or performance testing? Attend one of my seminars or webinars!

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