EMC Pre-Compliance

Today’s Engineers are faced with integrating new technologies, challenging design parameters, and ever decreasing “time to market” development cycles. EMI Test System SoftwareIn most cases, compliance testing is the last hurdle to overcome before releasing a product for sale. Unfortunately, this philosophy can cause big delays if the product fails to pass the first time through the test lab.

You can speed up the process, learn more about your design, and decrease overall cost by implementing pre-compliance testing during your development cycle. Pre-Compliance testing involves using a few tools and techniques to find EMI trouble areas and then use that understanding to fix those issues before you even head to the compliance lab.

To support our customers who are focused on time to market and cost savings, RIGOL provides Spectrum Analyzers, RF Generators, Near Field Probes, detectors, and PC based software to satisfy all of your EMI Pre-Compliance test requirements.

RF Basics Technology Guide

RF Design and Test Fundamentals from terminology through advanced EMI debugging

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Pre-Compliance Primer
App Note

Radiated Emissions

Pre-Compliance Radiated Emissions testing evaluates a design for the unintentional release of energy via an electromagnetic field. These fields can be generated by problems with layout, grounding, enclosures, cabling, and other structures that may be acting as unintentional antennas across the frequency band. Ultimately, the goal is to make sure the design will pass a full compliance test once it is ready for production. Radiated emissions are radiated through the air, so there are two main ways to test for them:

  1. A near field probe helps us visualize potential sources of error by only picking up signals close to the probe head and in the correct orientation. This helps us to identify parts of our board or product that our actually emitting the problem signals. Using a calibrated far field antenna an engineer can closely approximate a full compliance test creating reliable measurements on the amplitude of the signals in question. Comparing these power levels to the relevant compliance limits enables an engineer to understand how much headroom they have in their design and ultimately whether or not it will pass a compliance test.
  2. One other aspect of radiated emissions is cable emissions testing. Connected data cables such as USB or HDMI can act as antennas as well. Current clamps and probes as well as amplifiers may be needed to fully characterize these emissions. Having these cables attached and powered up can make a significant difference in near and far field measurements. Cabling should always be considered when testing emissions.

RIGOL supports engineers by providing instruments, probes, and software programs that can adjust for calibrated antennas and varying emissions limits in a variety of radiated testing. RIGOL helps customers capture, adjust, and analyze radiated emissions data to speed a project’s time to market by identifying potential problems before they require extensive rework that extends the design cycle.

Learn more:

RIGOL’s EMI Pre-Compliance Application Note
This application note covers hints and tips for implementation of precompliance steps to help lower the cost of full compliance EMC testing. It also features a series of documents that have practical use details for EMC testing.

Conducted Emissions

Pre-Compliance Conducted Emissions is how engineers test for unintended power that gets coupled or transmitted back into the power line. The focus these regulations is to make sure the power line remains ‘clean’ and that other devices on the circuit and the power grid won’t be effected.

To isolate the measurements from the power line noise and provide a stable impedance for these measurements a LISN or Line Impedance Stabilization Network is used. Additional hardware such as attenuators and transient limiters may be used to optimize the measurement system to test a certain device. Pre-Compliance testing of conducted emissions helps engineers avoid costly errors in their power supply design or procurement. For engineers selecting an off the shelf AC-DC power adaptor for their product, a basic conducted emissions test can make procurement decisions easier and eliminate surprises at the compliance lab.

RIGOL Spectrum Analyzers and S1210 EMI Pre-Compliance software can be configured to adjust for correction factors from LISNs, attenuators, and other devices. This enables engineers to confidently take their product to a compliance lab with high confidence of passing the first time.

Learn more:

Pre-Compliance Conducted Emissions
Learn more about proper test techniques for performing precompliance conducted emissions testing using a spectrum analyzer including test setup, common error sources, and instrument configuration.


Immunity tests a product’s ability to function when in close proximity to electromagnetic fields. There are two main types of signals used to test a product’s immunity:

  1. Modulated waves – Often AM modulated waves across the frequency ranges of interest. These waves test the product’s ability to ignore power at frequencies that may be coupled into the device over time. These signals may effect a product’s communication, reliability, or logic.
  2. Pulsed and Burst waves – These transients affect a device immediately and can cause a number of power and functional issues. Electrostatic discharge or ESD testing is a common type of transient immunity testing. These fast pulses can have different effects on a product and need to be considered as a potential source of reliability and functional issues.

In addition to RIGOL’s other Pre-Compliance instrumentation, immunity testing requires an RF source to generate high power modulated waves. Other types of equipment may need to be purchased for transient generation.

Learn more:

How to use an RF generator to test radiated immunity and susceptibility.

Pre-Compliance Products

S1210 Pre-compliance Software

The S1210 software enables engineers to control, record, automate, and report on their EMI tests. It directly controls the DSA800 Spectrum Analyzers and includes correction factors for other antennas, PreAmplifiers, LISNs, Attenuators, Cables, and more. Test vs. imported or custom created limit lines in real time. Automate tests with separate pre scan and final scan settings and cycle through a complete test plan if needed. This level of repeatability and reporting brings new value to Pre-Compliance measurements. Finding EMI issues sooner in the design process saves time and money in product development.

Near-Field Probes

The RIGOL NFP-3 near-field probes can be used in conjunction with any spectrum analyzer to help identify sources of EMI as well as leaks in enclosures. They are electrically insulated to prevent shorting of live circuits and feature a thin profile to make it easier to probe daughter boards, standoffs, and other tight spaces in your design. The kit includes 4 magnetic (H) field probes, cable, and BNC-to-N-Type adapter.


The EMI option for the DSA800 series Spectrum Analyzers is a software option that can be added to an instrument at any time. EMI enables the Quasi-Peak detector and enables users to select additional RBW settings for EMI work. This option brings your Pre-Compliance measurements closer to the results from a compliance lab.

RSA5000 Series Spectrum Analyzer DSA800 Series Spectrum Analyzer DSG3000 / DSG800 Series RF Signal Source
9 kHz to 3.2, or 6.5 GHz Frequency Range 9 kHz to 1.5, 3.2, or 7.5 GHz Frequency Range 1.5 GHz / 3 GHz / 6 GHz versions available
25MHz Standard Real-time Bandwidth upgradeable to 40MHz PreAmplifier now included on all new instruments Optional I/Q modulation and I/Q baseband outputs
*(DSG3000 Models Only)
Displayed Average Noise Level (DANL) of -161 dBm typical normalized to 1 Hz Displayed Average Noise Level (DANL) normalized to 1 Hz ranging from -135 dBm to -161 dBm typical USB/LAN/GPIB interfaces standard. Supports LXI-C and SCPI command set
-80 to -98 dBc/Hz @10 kHz offset Phase Noise -80 to -98 dBc/Hz @10 kHz offset Phase Noise AM/FM/øM modulation standard. Standard pulse modulation
Standard EMI Filters and Quasi-Peak Detectors plus available S1210 EMI Precompliance Software Total Amplitude Uncertainty from <1.5 dB to <0.8 dB nominal Pulse train generator option
1 Hz Minimum Resolution Bandwidth (RBW) 10 Hz Minimum Resolution Bandwidth (RBW)
Options include Tracking Generator, Advanced measurement kit, Preamplifier Options include Tracking Generator, EMI measurment kit, Advanced measurement kit, Preamplifier and Case
Starting at ₩12,760,000
Starting at ₩1,969,000
Starting at ₩3,111,338


Rigol DSA800 series spectrum analyzers have drivers for some of the most popular compliance software packages. This makes integrating a Rigol Spectrum Analyzer into your existing test systems even easier:

NOTE: These links are for third party systems. Please contact the original vendor with questions pertaining to system requirements.


Conducted Emissions

  • References

    Here are some links that can help you find answers to some basic measurement techniques as well as consultants and classes that can help you learn more: