Highlights of the C63 Committee and its Key EMC Standards

Introduction

Periodically we attempt to bring EMC technical personnel up to date with the activities of the ANSC C63 on EMC. This article covers the last five years of Committee activity in electromagnetic compatibility standards for North American markets (U.S. and Canada).

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, progress continued in developing and refining C63 Standards. Subcommittees of the Main Committee (all eight of them) were encouraged to meet on a quarterly basis using teleconferencing techniques for most of 2020, 2021, and 2022. Working groups were encouraged to meet as often as necessary to expedite the development of their respective standards (each C63 standard under development or refinement has a Working Group assigned to do the work under the surveillance of the appropriate Subcommittee).

The end result was that ten C63 Standards were developed,
revised, or reaffirmed during the last five years!

Brief History

As some readers will remember, the ANSC C63 on EMC (the C63 Committee) started in 1935 with an announcement in the “Industrial Standardization and Commercial Standards Monthly – Volume 6 – November – 1935.” This monthly document was published by the American Standards Association (ASA) with the cooperation of a U.S. government body, the National Bureau of Standards (NBS). 

The article was titled “All Interested Groups Will Work On Radio-Electrical Coordination.” It went on to say, in part:

In line, with the procedure of the American Standards Association, every group having an interest in a given project is invited to name representatives to serve on the committee which develops standards. At a meeting called by the sponsor, the Radio Manufacturers Association (RMA), the following men were elected officers: W. R. G. Baker – Chair, L. C. F. Horle – Vice-Chair, and Virgil M. Graham – Secretary.

After its start as an ASA sectional committee on Radio-Electrical Coordination and after having several other variations of names over the years, most recently as the ANSI-Accredited Standards Committee C63 on EMC, 2023 marks the Committee’s 88th year of operation, and the launch of its latest name, the American National Standards Committee (ANSC) C63 on EMC. 

The Committee’s standards continue to be approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and edited and published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). 

What is an American National Standard?

An American National Standard implies a consensus of those substantially concerned with its scope and provisions. An American National Standard is intended as a guide to aid the manufacturer, the consumer, and the general public. The existence of an American National Standard does not in any respect preclude anyone, whether they have approved the standard or not, from manufacturing, marketing, purchasing, or using products, processes, or procedures not conforming to the standard. 

American National Standards are subject to periodic review and users are cautioned to obtain the latest editions.

(Please note that American National Standards may be revised or withdrawn at any time. ANSI procedures require that action be taken to reaffirm, revise, or withdraw this standard no later than five years from the date of publication.) 

Purchasers of American National Standards may receive current information on all standards by calling or writing ANSI.

Change in C63 Committee Leadership

Effective as of January 1, 2023, the Committee has a new Chair, Bob DeLisi, from UL Solutions in Melville, New York. The previous Chair, Daniel Hoolihan, served for 11 years (2012-2022), several years longer than the normal 6-year commitment primarily due to COVID-19 complications. The two previous Chairs before Hoolihan were Donald Heirman (2006 -2011) and Dr. Ralph Showers (1965 – 2005).

Recent Standards

The C63 Committee has approximately twenty active standards which are: 1) currently up to date; 2) being reaffirmed; 3) being revised; or 4) being developed for the first time.

Standards Incorporated by Reference Into the FCC Rules

Recently (February 2023), the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Report and Order incorporating by reference into the FCC Rules the following C63 Standards:

(Note: Incorporation by Reference (IBR) is the process that federal agencies use when referring to materials published elsewhere to give those materials the same force and effect of law in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) as if the materials had actually been published in the Federal Register.)

American National Standards Institute (ANSI) C63.25.1:2018 – American National Standard Validation Methods for Radiated Emission Test Sites; 1 GHz to 18 GHz: The incorporation of this standard consolidates guidance from existing standards to clearly apply through higher frequency bands. This new standard covers 1 to 18 GHz.

ANSI C63.10:2020 – American National Standard of Procedures for Compliance Testing of Unlicensed Wireless Devices: The update of this standard addresses changes in technology since 2013.

ANSI C63.4a-2017 – Addendum to the American National Standard for Methods of Measurement of Radio-Noise Emissions from Low-Voltage Electrical and Electronic Equipment in the Range of 9 kHz to 40 GHz, Amendment 1: Test Site Validation: The incorporation of this standard provides two options for an electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) measurement standard for unintentional radiators to accommodate testing of larger devices and retain the status quo for testing that would not benefit from the updates.

Detailed Discussion 

C63.25.1:2018

The C63 Committee has decided to develop three new site validation standards for qualifying sites for their suitability to testing to national and international standards. The first of these to be released and approved by ANSI is C63.25.1:2018 which covers the frequency range of 1 GHz to 18 GHz.

C63.25.1:2018 introduces a new test method called the time domain site validation (TDSV) method which has some advantages over the existing site voltage standing wave ratio (SVSWR) method presently specified in CISPR 16-1-4, Specification for radio disturbance and immunity measuring apparatus and methods – Part 1-4: Radio disturbance and immunity measuring apparatus – Antennas and test sites for radiated disturbance measurements. However, it also continues to allow the internationally accepted SVSWR method. 

The Commission is incorporating C63.25.1:2018 as an option to an already existing requirement so there is no need for a transition period for the standard.

C63.10:2020

This standard was approved by ANSI on September 10, 2020, and updates the measurement procedures set forth in ANSI C63.10:2013, which is currently referenced in sections 2.910, 2.950, 15.31, and 15.38 of the FCC’s rules. The revised standard addresses many procedures for testing the compliance of a wide variety of unlicensed wireless transmitters.

The C63.10:2020 standard was developed with a balloting group including Canadian entities. Thus, it is a North American Standard rather than a U.S. Standard and it accommodates both U.S. and Canadian regulations. To provide a smooth transition to this revised standard, the FCC will permit the use of either ANSI C63.10:2013 or ANSI C63.10:2020 for a period of two years from April 2023.

C63.4a:2017

This amendment introduced modifications to the normalized site attenuation procedures for validating radiated test sites for use in the 30 MHz to 1 GHz frequency range. Some of these modifications involve a new acceptable test distance (five meters) and an expanded test volume to accommodate devices with heights that exceed two meters. The FCC adopted this amendment in order to accommodate the testing of larger devices (greater than two meters in height) and to allow for harmonization with Canada (the Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) department). Thus, by retaining the existing standards and also adopting the amended standard, two options are provided for an EMC measurement standard for unintentional radiators to accommodate the improvements where they are needed and retain the status quo for testing that would not benefit from the updates.

Other C63 Standards

Besides the previously-mentioned standards, a number of other standards have been developed over the past few years for use by North American organizations, including industry bodies and government agencies.

C63.29:2022 – American National Standard for Methods of Measurement of Radio-Frequency Emissions from Lighting Devices: This new standard specifies procedures for verifying the electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) compliance of lighting equipment of various categories, including but not limited to self-ballasted lamps, luminaires (light fixtures), dimmers, etc., and of various technologies, such as fluorescent, gas-discharge, and light emitting diodes (LED). Test procedures for radiated field strength and conducted disturbance measurements are included, with reference to established standards, where applicable. This C63 standard EMC covers measurement methodologies but is not intended to describe regulatory limits.

C63.27:2021 – American National Standard for Evaluation of Wireless Coexistence: Wireless coexistence testing focuses on devices and systems that intentionally use wireless and it extends beyond traditional EMC to examine the device’s performance in frequency bands where it uses wireless communication. This standard provides methods for evaluating the ability of a device to coexist in its intended radio frequency (RF) wireless communications environment. The test process and methods may be used to evaluate any set of technologies or protocols. 

This document has been revised to clarify the procedures set forth in the 2017 version. In particular, the testing requirements for each tier of testing have been streamlined, enabling more concise testing. 

Additional guidance was added to Annex A to address the testing of unlicensed LTE and IEEE 802.11 devices. The guidance surrounding the Likelihood of Coexistence calculation was expanded and is now featured in its own Annex.

On December 19th, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added C63.27:2021 to its list of Recognized Consensus Standards. 

C63.30:2021 American National Standard for Methods of Measurements of Radio‑Frequency Emissions from Wireless Power Transfer Equipment: This new standard specifies procedures for verifying the electromagnetic compliance of wireless power transfer (WPT) devices of various technologies, including but not limited to small charging mat-type wireless power chargers (e.g., for cell phone or laptop), medium-size wireless charging devices (e.g., for home appliances), as well as large wireless power charging systems (e.g., for automobile or industrial machinery).

This first edition includes measurement procedures applicable to wireless power transfer devices that are or are soon to be introduced on the market at the time of publication of this standard (2021). As new WPT technologies mature, they will be addressed in future revisions of this standard. 

The C63 Committee has petitioned the FCC to Incorporate by Reference this new standard and make it part of the FCC Regulations.

C63.24:2021 – American National Standard—Recommended Practice for In Situ RF Immunity Evaluation of Electronic Devices and Systems: The use of electronic products and systems requires a sufficient level of radio-frequency (RF) immunity to help ensure that they operate at acceptable quality levels in their intended use environments. While fluorescent lights, microwave ovens, portable wireless devices, commercial radio and TV stations, and other RF sources have been part of the electromagnetic (EM) environment for a number of years, interference problems with many types of equipment have been exacerbated by the recent dramatic growth in personal RF devices such as cellular telephones, wireless network connections, cordless telephones, and security/fire protection portable transceivers. 

It is common today to have multiple wireless devices transmitting in close proximity to one another. Type testing, in which a representative sample of a product or system is tested in a lab, is a common method of evaluating the RF immunity of the design. However, type testing has its limitations. 

Type testing cannot ensure that all manufactured samples of a product will have the required RF immunity. In general, there is some manufacturing variance, and at times design changes can negatively impact RF immunity. A second issue, particularly with large distributed systems, is that it is difficult and sometimes impossible to replicate in a laboratory the actual configuration to be used and the complex electromagnetic environment in which the product is to be installed. Nonetheless, testing for immunity where both the electronic device and system are installed and where interference has been found is most representative of the immunity an end user will experience. 

This recommended practice addresses the need to evaluate the actual RF immunity of devices and systems as they are installed and used. This is particularly true for large, complex systems that are too large to be set up in a laboratory in the same way they would be set up and installed at the user’s location. Often such systems are custom installed to meet the unique needs of each customer, which further changes it from the laboratory sample that was type-tested.

Another contribution of this recommended practice is that it more closely replicates the actual RF threats to which the equipment will be exposed, as it is focused on only performing immunity tests where actual interference has been experienced. For example, radiated immunity tests are performed with a spacing between the equipment under test (EUT) and the portable RF source where the EUT performance was degraded. In general, there is nothing to control how close or far a cell phone or other transmitting device will be from other equipment in actual use. Using the actual cause of interference is the most representative of what is actually happening when interference occurs. 

Thus, this recommended practice was developed in response to the recognized need to supplement type-testing with in-situ evaluation when there is a strong need to ensure adequate RF immunity in the actual installed equipment. It provides methods that can be used after electronic equipment or systems are delivered and installed.

C63.17:2013 (Reaffirmed 2020) – American National Standard Methods of Measurement of the Electromagnetic and Operational Compatibility of Unlicensed Personal Communications Services (UPCS) Devices: In November 1993, the U.S. FCC invited ANSI C63 “to consider development of standard measurement procedures to support” proposed new provisions to Part 15 of Volume 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations (47CFR15) for unlicensed personal communications services (UPCS) devices. 

At its December 1993 meeting, ANSI C63 established a subcommittee (SC 7) to attempt to develop such standards in cooperation with representatives of the Wireless Information Networks Forum (WINForum) and other interested parties. 

The standard ANSI C63.17-1998 was the result of the efforts of C63/SC 7.

In the Fall of 2004, the FCC revised provisions of 47CFR15 governing the 1920 MHz to 1930 MHz UPCS band. A working group was formed under the aegis of SC 7 to rewrite ANSI C63.17-1998 to reflect the changes in 47CFR15. The revised standard, ANSI C63.17-2006, was, again, the result of the efforts of SC 7.

In July 2012, the FCC released revised provisions of 47CFR15 governing the 1920 MHz to 1930 MHz UPCS band. These revisions facilitate the implementation of improved services utilizing this band. A working group was again formed under the aegis of SC 7 to revise ANSI C63.17-2006 to reflect the changes in 47CFR15. The revised standard, C63.17-2013, was the result of the efforts of SC 7.

The 2013 version of the standard was reaffirmed by the C63 Committee in 2020.

This standard sets forth uniform methods of measurement of the electromagnetic and operational compatibility of unlicensed personal communications services (UPCS) devices. The recommended methods are applicable to the radio transmitter and monitoring devices contained in the UPCS device. These methods apply to the measurement of individual UPCS devices. Additional methods may be added to this standard to fulfill future requirements.

This standard does not cover licensed personal communications services (PCS) devices.

C63.23:2012 (reaffirmed in 2020) – American National Standard Guide for Electromagnetic

Compatibility—Computations and Treatment of Measurement Uncertainty: ANSI C63.23 is intended to provide measurement laboratories with guidelines and generally-accepted laboratory practices in the determination of EMI measurement uncertainties. The primary application of ANSI C63.23 is for use with ANSI C63.4. This guide may apply to other C63 standards as appropriate.

This document concentrates on the measurement instrumentation uncertainty, which is a subpart of the total uncertainty of the measurement, and it includes only the effects of those contributors that are related to the measurement instrumentation.

The guide provides methods for determining the uncertainty of measurement for electromagnetic interference (EMI) measurement results. It provides information on the application of Type A statistical evaluations. For Type B evaluations, this guide also provides information on where to obtain specified published information that can lead to an evaluation of uncertainty. 

The current document provides information on the range 150 kHz to 30 MHz for conducted emissions on main lines and 30 MHz to 18 GHz for radiated emission measurements.

C63.19:2019 – American National Standard Methods of Measurement of Compatibility between Wireless Communications Devices and Hearing Aids: This standard has a history starting in the 1995-1996 period initiated by a Steering Committee organized by the U.S. FCC. As a result of that meeting and subsequent work by Subcommittee 8 of the C63 Committee, ANSI C63.19-2001 was approved by ANSI and published by the IEEE. That original version was followed by two revisions; ANSI C63.19-2006 and ANSI C63.19-2007. Several modifications were made to the 2007 version which resulted in ANSI C63.19-2011. 

In 2015, a project was authorized to prepare a new version of ANSI C63.19 to address the following issues: 1) the growing importance of VoIP and VoLTE for telephony services; 2) hearing aid user satisfaction with HAC; 3) adequacy of volume control; 4) adequacy of T-coil reception; 5) harmonization with IEC 60118-13; 6) cover new technologies, particularly with television white space  (TVWS) devices and other cellular devices at 600 MHz, 3.5 GHz, and 5.0 GHz, which may include extending the lower boundary of the frequency range covered; 7) use of software-defined radio (SDR) and other new instrumentation in HAC measurements; and 8) simultaneous transmissions, particularly in smartphones. 

The 2019 version of the C63.19 standard addressed all eight of the above issues.

C63.18:2014 (Reaffirmed in 2019) – American National Standard Recommended Practice for an On-Site, Ad Hoc Test Method for Estimating Electromagnetic Immunity of Medical Devices to Radiated Radio-Frequency (RF) Emissions from RF Transmitters: This Recommended Practice is a guide to evaluating the electromagnetic immunity of medical devices from radiated radio-frequency (RF) emissions from common RF transmitters such as two-way radios; walkie-talkies; mobile phones; wireless-enabled tablets, e-readers, laptop computers, and similar devices; RFID readers; networked MP3 players; two-way pagers; and wireless personal digital assistants [PDAs].

A comprehensive test or a guarantee is not provided by this protocol, but instead, a basic evaluation is given that can help identify medical devices that might be particularly vulnerable to interference from common RF transmitters. Existing or newly purchased medical devices can be evaluated by this ad hoc test protocol or the protocol can be implemented for pre-purchase evaluation. 

This recommended practice applies to medical devices used in healthcare facilities but can also be adapted to medical devices in home healthcare settings and/or mobile healthcare settings. It does not apply to implantable medical devices (e.g., pacemakers and defibrillators), transport environments such as ambulances and helicopters, or RF transmitters rated at more than 8 W of output power. 

Testing with transmitters greater than 8 W in healthcare facilities is not recommended because of possible adverse effects on critical care medical devices that are in use in nearby areas of the facility. 

Also, in-band RF interference where the fundamental frequency of an RF transmitter overlaps with frequencies used by a hospital wireless network or wireless monitoring, or other medical device wireless links is not addressed by this recommended practice. 

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