IEC/EN 61000-4-3 Dissected: How to Ride The Big Waves

6th June 2023

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IEC/EN 61000-4-3 Dissected

Radiated radio-frequency electromagnetic fields, in simple terms, refer to invisible energy waves that are emitted by various electronic devices and wireless communication systems. We can think of these fields as a kind of “invisible blanket” of energy that surrounds us. Many devices we use every day, such as smartphones, Wi-Fi routers, and televisions, rely on radio waves to transmit information wirelessly.


Just like a radio station sends out signals, other devices emit signals that can be interfere with our precious equipment. It’s important to note that while these fields are generally considered safe at the levels produced by everyday products, EN 61000-4-3 is a set guidelines and limits to ensure that equipment will operate correctly under these levels without disruption.


Testing to EN 61000-4-3 is typically conducted in specialised test facilities that are equipped with the necessary equipment and infrastructure to generate and measure radiated electromagnetic fields. These facilities ensure controlled and repeatable testing conditions to evaluate the immunity of electronic and electrical equipment.  It is important to note that testing facilities must comply with specific requirements outlined in the EN 61000-4-3 standard to ensure accurate and reliable results.

The tests are normally performed in the frequency ranges 800 MHz to 960 MHz and 1.4 GHz to 6 GHz. The frequencies or frequency bands to be selected for the test are only applicable where mobile radio telephones and other intentional RF emitting devices operate.  Table 1 below provides approximate electromagnetic field strengths for different transmitting devices that might interfere with our equipment.

EN 61000-4-3 electromagnetic field
Table 1 - Approximate electromagnetic field strengths for different transmitting devices at 1m

Please note that these values are approximate and can vary depending on several factors, including device model, transmission power, distance from the device, and environmental conditions. Electromagnetic field strengths are subject to regulatory guidelines and may be limited to ensure safety and minimize interference with other devices.


Table 2 represents different field strengths used during radiated immunity tests as specified by the EN 61000-4-3 standard. The field strength values indicate the strength of the electromagnetic field applied to the device during testing. Each test level corresponds to a specific field strength to evaluate the device’s performance and ability to withstand or resist interference caused by radio-frequency electromagnetic fields.

radiated immunity test level table
Table 2 – Radiated immunity field strength test levels

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Placing any product on the open market requires a certain level of compliance testing. With regards to electronic and electrical systems the key ones that apply will be safety and EMC requirements…

When designing electronic equipment that has to have excellent immunity to electromagnetic fields, there are several key considerations engineers should keep in mind.

1. Grounding

Establish proper grounding techniques to minimize the impact of electromagnetic interference (EMI). This includes ensuring a solid and low-impedance connection to earth ground, as well as proper grounding of internal components and subsystems.

2. Shielding

Implement effective shielding techniques to prevent external electromagnetic fields from entering the device. This can involve using conductive materials and enclosures to create a Faraday cage that blocks or attenuates incoming electromagnetic waves.

3. Filtering

Use appropriate filters, such as low-pass filters or EMI filters, to suppress unwanted electromagnetic interference. These filters can help attenuate high-frequency noise and disturbances that may adversely affect the device’s performance.


4. Layout and Component Placement

Carefully plan the layout and placement of components on the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) to minimize the coupling of electromagnetic fields between different sections. Separating sensitive circuitry from noise sources and optimizing the trace routing can help reduce the impact of electromagnetic interference. 

5. Proper Ground and Power Planes

Design the PCB with dedicated ground and power planes to provide a solid reference and minimize impedance. This helps to reduce the effects of electromagnetic interference and maintain signal integrity.

6. Component Selection

Choose components (especially power supplies and displays) that have good immunity to electromagnetic interference. Comprehensive data sheets should show compliance for these products in their own right, but care must be taken to ensure that the overall system is still compliant.

7. Robust Design and Testing

Conduct comprehensive design reviews and testing procedures to identify and address potential vulnerabilities to electromagnetic interference. This includes testing the device under realistic electromagnetic field conditions to verify its immunity and performance.

By considering these factors during the design process, electronic equipment can be engineered to have excellent immunity to electromagnetic fields and pass the requirements of EN 61000-4-3 with minimum fuss.

As always, our highly trained technical staff are on hand to take your calls if you have any questions.

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