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EMC compliance requirements for vehicles, boats and equipment fitted with internal combustion engines

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Mandatory EMC compliance regulations have been in place on the majority of electric and electronic devices in Australia for more than a decade now. The government body that monitors EMC compliance is the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

EMC compliance regulations have been instituted to protect radio communications, including mobile telephones, two-way radio and free-to-air radio and television services from interference from unintentional emissions emanating from various electric or electronic devices.

Compliance with EMC regulations is indicated by the application of the C-Tick logo to products.

Vehicles and equipment with internal combustion engines are a potential source of RF interference to radio communications.

Diesel engines do not have an ignition system, and as such their RF emission profile is significantly lower than petrol engines, with emissions emanating only from electronic control circuitry. Petrol engines produce significant RF emissions from their ignition systems.

DC electric motors can produce significant RF noise from the intermittent connection of the brushes during rotation of the commutator.

The relevant EMC compliance standard for such products is AS/NZS CISPR 12, the scope of which includes vehicles and boats which are powered from internal combustion engines or electric motors, as well as devices powered from internal combustion engines.

Excluded from the scope of AS/NZS CISPR 12 EMC compliance are aircraft, traction systems (for trains, trams and electric trolley buses), partial vehicles and boats exceeding 15 metres in length.

The ACMA has also exempted vehicles or machines that are supplied by a member of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the Truck Industry Council (TIC), the Construction and Mining Equipment Industry Group (CMEIG) or the Tractor and Machinery Association (TMA), provided they comply with all relevant EMC emission standards applicable to their respective vehicle or unit.

The test procedures detailed in AS/NZS CISPR 12 require EMC measurements performed on vehicles and boats to be carried out on both the left and right sides, in line with the engine position. These measurements are performed with the ignition on (engine off), and then repeated with the engine running.

Single-cylinder engines are operated at 2,500 RPM, whilst multi-cylinder engines are operated at 1,500 RPM.

Vehicles and boats fitted with an electric motor are configured in a free wheeling or unloaded condition whilst simulating an operating speed of 40 km/h (or at maximum speed, if that is less than 40 km/h). Measurements on equipment or devices are performed in the direction of maximum emissions, and for handheld equipment, in three orientations as is practical.

RF emissions are measured at idle and again at normal/full load. If applicable, ignition on (engine off) and engine running measurements are also required.

Aftermarket devices installed into a vehicle do not fall within the scope of AS/NZS CISPR 12, and are required to comply with a separate EMC compliance standard relevant to the specific aftermarket product.

If a vehicle can be connected to the mains electricity supply (such as for charging batteries of an electric vehicle), then other EMC compliance standards may also be applicable.

All suppliers marketing electric or electronic products to the Australian or New Zealand market place, including vehicles, boats or devices fitted with an internal combustion engine, must comply with mandatory C-Tick requirements.

An EMC compliance test report is required for each product as evidence of compliance, and forms part of the Compliance Folder, which must be held at the supplier’s premises.

The C-Tick logo and supplier number must also be affixed to each product to indicate compliance with the applicable EMC standard.

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