An improved technique, and electronic circuitry to implement the technique, have been developed for a military-standard electromagnetic-compatibility (EMC) test in which one analyzes susceptibility to low-frequency ripple conducted into the equipment under test via a DC power line. In the traditional technique for performing the particular test, the ripple is coupled onto the DC power line via a transformer. Depending upon some design details of the equipment under test, the inductance of the transformer can contribute a degree of instability that results in an oscillation of amplitude large enough to destroy the equipment.

It is usually possible to suppress the oscillation by connecting a damping resistor to the primary terminals of the ripple-injection transformer. However, it is important to emphasize the "usually" in the preceding sentence: sometimes, the resistive damping becomes insufficient to suppress destructive oscillation. In addition, undesirably, the resistor contributes to power dissipation and power demand, and thereby also necessitates the use of a larger ripple-voltage amplifier. Yet another disadvantage of the transformer-coupling technique is that the transformer introduces low-frequency distortion of the injected ripple voltage.

The improved technique makes it possible to inject ripple with very low distortion at low frequency, without inducing oscillation. In this technique, a transformer is not used: Instead, power is fed to the equipment under test via series power field-effect transistors (FETs) controlled by a summing operational amplifier. One of the inputs to the amplifier controls the DC component of the power-line voltage; the other input, generated by an external oscillator, controls the ripple component. The circuitry for implementing this technique includes panel displays, an internal power supply for the operational amplifier and panel displays, and amplitude controls for the DC and ripple power-line voltage components.

This work was done by Vatche Vorperian of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, download the Technical Support Package (free white paper) at under the Electronics/Computers category.


This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Document cover
Maintaining Stability During a Conducted-Ripple EMC Test

(reference NPO-30652) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

Don't have an account? Sign up here.