Meeting Notice

The Southeastern Michigan IEEE EMC Society presents:

Automotive EMC Component Spec Perspective and Essential PCB Design Rules


Presentation Slides

Design Rule Slides

Presented by: Arnie Nielsen
June 17, 2010

 Location: Fairlane Center Campus - U of M Dearborn (Map Code FCN)

University of Michigan
Fairlane Center North – Room:  TBD
Please Park at the North End of FCN Facility
19000 Hubbard Drive
Dearborn, MI 48126

Driving Directions

Please pre-register for this free event online at:


Deadline: Noon on the day prior to the event

Schedule of Events


5:30 – 6:00 Pizza and Refreshments provided by:  Underwriters Laboratories - Novi



6:00 – 7:00 Presentation

The Chapter Presentation is a FREE event.  IEEE Non-Members Welcome!

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The purpose of this two part presentation is to give some history and insight into EMC Component Specifications and some essential EMC module design practices.


Part 1 addresses automotive component EMC specifications.  The responsibility for meeting these requirements is usually the Product Design (PD) Engineer.  Although it is admirable for the EMC community to try and do the best job possible, it has a tendency to go to extremes regarding testing requirements/limits. Such EMC groups are typically a separate community and have a narrow view.  This may be in conflict with some of the realities of the PD engineer - minimal staffing, keep to schedule, keep costs down (weigh cost/benefit), make a profit. 


These specs have evolved over many years, starting at a time when EMC was not well understood and design practices were not in place.  For many present day EMC practitioners, this history is not known so it makes it difficult to know when to “Hold or Fold” when a test anomaly is observed.  Different people looking at the same data can come up with quite different conclusions depending on their background, insight and flexibility.  Specific test examples will be presented to illustrate this.


Test methods have many limitations and compromises - simple pass-fail criteria results in too much non value work (test issues that are not real world concerns) especially for modules that follow basic EMC design rules.  EMC testing is usually lengthy and expensive and diverts from time to “sand box” where real issues are found.  The process should be design guidelines implementation and development testing followed up by design verification with realistic limits.  The main goal is to minimize field issues not just pass specs.


The EMC process has potential to be improved and simplified but due to the large EMC infrastructure (OEM/Vendor EMC staff, Testing facilities/staff, Equipment vendors, Regulators and regulations, EMC committees) it is extremely difficult to change.  Even so, certain practices can be implemented to improve the process (e.g. more realistic acceptance criteria and data analysis).


Part 2 gives some specific module design rules along with actual illustrative examples.  To design a product that meets the severe automotive EMC requirements can seem overwhelming.   Although it is possible to try and apply the many design rules that are well publicized, there are only a relative few that really make a difference 


Speaker Biography:

Mr. Nielsen retired from Visteon-Ford in 2005 with over 35 years experience in a number of disciplines.  After college, he served in the US Navy submarine service after which he was an instrumentation engineer at the Chrysler Corp Proving Grounds for 3 years.  He then started his career at the Ford Motor Company crash test facility as an instrumentation engineer.  Arnie then spent 10 years as a Product Design engineer in powertrain electronics (engine-transmission controllers, actuators, software, etc).  For 20 years he was a Technical Specialist involved in the design and testing of most automotive electronic products and the development & implementation of a comprehensive EMC design and test process.  He has also been deeply involved in Reliability and Product Assurance.  He has a working knowledge of many environmental specs including Ford, Mazda, GM, BMW, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, etc


Since retiring, Mr. Nielsen has been actively consulting on electronic design and EMC for over 20 companies (including electric vehicles).


Mr. Nielsen has a BSEE from Wayne State University and has received 8 patents. He is presently an active member of the SAE EMC and Reliability committees.

Arnie Nielsen


To be added or removed from the Southeastern Michigan IEEE EMC Society email list, just send an email to with ADD or REMOVE as the subject line.

The IEEE Southeastern Michigan EMC Homepage is