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NEW METHOD FOR THE


STATISTICAL EVALUATION OF RFI MEASUREMENTS
Frank Deter, Bauknecht Hausgeraete GmbH, Schorndorf, Germany
Lutz Dunker, Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Post, Berlin, Germany
Wilhelm Kleppmann, Hochschule fuer Technik und Wirtschaft, Aalen, Germany

Abstract:
The paper shows possible problems with the current method
for statistical evaluation of RFI measurements as well as the
advantages and disadvantages of a new proposal in CISPR for
an evaluation in frequency subranges instead of at fixed frequencies. Main item is the presentation of a new method to
check the adherence to the 80%/80% rule, based on the use of
a general margin to the limit. An application example is
given: the use of the new method for appliances within the
scope of CISPR 14-1.

1. Introduction
In many countries the CISPR standards are a legal requirements. The manufacturers use the rules in these standards for
the approval of new types of equipment. For mass produced
appliances the regulatory authorities base their decisions about
the banning of sales or the withdrawal of a type approval only
on a statistical evaluation of the RFI measurements. A wrong
decision may have a big economic impact. Therefore it is
important to consider the shortcomings of the current methods
and to think about possible improvements.

2. Problems with the statistical evaluation of RFI


measurements, according to the current
CISPR standards
The CISPR standards require that on a statistical basis at least
80% of the mass produced appliances comply with the limits
with at least 80% confidence.
For this evaluation three methods are given [1]:

subsequent tests from time to time on items are taken at


random from the production,

statistical assessment based on the binomial distribution


and

statistical assessment based on the non-central


t-distribution.
Subject of this paper is the statistical assessment. Based on the
binomial distribution it can be shown that the required confidence level is reached, if seven products are tested and all of
them are good (below the limit) or if only one of 14 is bad. No
further assumptions are required for this conclusion.
However, the disadvantage of this procedure is the large sample size necessary for this test.

If the data are normally distributed, an alternative test based


on k-values calculated using the non-central t-distribution may
be used. This procedure uses the measured data themselves,
rather than just the information good or bad. Therefore it
is more efficient and allows a test decision with a smaller
sample size and gives a steeper operation characteristic of the
test.
This test is passed, if

x + k s < L

(1)

where
x is the mean and
s the standard deviation of the data,
k is a constant factor derived from the non-central tdistribution (e.g. k = 1.52 for sample size n = 5).
Since the measurement procedure is prone to outliers, especially because the evaluation is done at fixed frequencies, the
assumption of normality is violated in some cases. Then this
test may lead to nonsense-results, see the following typical
examples. The values in both examples have been chosen at
will, but they are based on practical experience with lighting
equipment and household appliances.
Example 1:
The EUT produces broadband disturbances with a maximum
at a certain frequency, which varies from appliance to appliance. All appliances produce disturbances well under the
limit but the test is failed.
(see Table 1)
A resonance of the disturbance voltage in the frequency range
between 5 and 15 MHz as shown in example 1 is typical for
many appliances, e.g. motor driven appliances or switched
mode power supplies.
Example 2:
The EUT produces narrowband disturbances, the frequency of
which varies from appliance to appliance.
All appliances produce disturbances well over the limit, but
the test is passed due to a very low arithmetic mean on each
fixed frequency.
(see Table 2)
Values as shown in example 2 have been observed e.g. with
lighting devices, producing narrow band disturbances, the
frequency of which depends on the parameters of different
components.

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Table 1: Values of the disturbance voltage and statistical evaluation of the results
based on the non-central t-distribution for example 1
Limit in the investigated frequency range: 60 dB(V)
Frequency Measured result with the quasipeak detector [dB(V)]
[MHz]
Appliance 1
Appliance 2
Appliance 3
Appliance 4
10,0
56
52
50
45
10,3
55
56
52
50
10,6
49
55
56
52
10,9
43
49
55
56
11,2
40
43
49
55
Statistical evaluation at 10 MHz:
48,6
Arithmetic mean
x=
Standard deviation:
s=
8,58
Factor for sample size 5:
k=
1,52
61,64
> 60
x +k s=

Appliance 5
38
45
50
52
56

Fail !

Table 2: Values of the disturbance voltage and statistical evaluation of the results
based on the non-central t-distribution for example 2
Limit in the investigated frequency range: 46 dB(V)
Frequency Measured result with the average detector [dB(V)]
[MHz]
Appliance 1
Appliance 2
Appliance 3
Appliance 4
1,000
50
0
0
0
1,015
0
50
0
0
1,030
0
0
50
0
1,045
0
0
0
50
1,060
0
0
0
0
Statistical evaluation at 1,0 MHz:
10
Arithmetic mean
x=
Standard deviation:
s=
22,36
Factor for sample size 5:
k=
1,52
43,99
< 46
x +k s=

3. Advantages and disadvantages of the evaluation


in frequency subranges instead of
at fixed frequencies
CISPR recognized the above described problems and the
subcommittee A is working on a proposal to make the statistical evaluation with the maximum value in certain frequency
subranges instead of at fixed frequencies [2].
The problems described above can thus be overcome.

Appliance 5
0
0
0
0
50

Passed!

Problem 1:
If the frequency of a maximum fluctuates around the boundary between two frequency subranges (see figure 1), the test
may be failed because of a too high standard deviation in
both subranges, even though in fact no disturbances above
the limit are to be expected. The problem diminishes, if the
whole frequency range is divided into fewer subranges or no
subranges at all.
U

boundary between two subranges


Limit

However, new problems arise. One of them is, that the RFI
limit in the investigated frequency subrange may be not constant. This can be solved easily by evaluating not the measured absolute values, but the distance to the limit. As basis
for the evaluation in the latest CISPR proposal [2] instead of
the maximum value the shortest distance to the limit in a
certain frequency subrange has been taken.
But the most important question is, how to define the number
of subranges in the investigated frequency range. Here we
face basically two problems:

Figure 1: The frequency of a maximum (resonance)


fluctuates between two frequency subranges

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Problem 2:
If the amplitude of one maximum fluctuates, while another
maximum near the limit in the same frequency subrange is
relatively stable (see figure 2), an inappropriately low standard deviation can be calculated. The problem diminishes, if
the frequency range is divided into many subranges.

Therefore, it is suggested to be conservative and use an estimate for the maximum realistic standard deviation max,
based on previous experience with a particular type of product. As common in acceptance sampling and acceptance
control charts [3], using this conservative estimate max, the
following simple test procedure can be used:
1) a representative sample of size n < 7
(frequently n = 5) is chosen

2) the EMI values for all items are measured


(in dB), xmax is the highest (worst) of them

Limit

3) the EMI-test is passed, if:


xmax + k E max < L
(kE from Table 3, L = Limit):

Figure 2: The fluctuation of the amplitude at one


maximum is concealed by another more stable
maximum in the same frequency subrange
So the number of subranges has to be defined very carefully.
For many appliances all of the above described problems can
be solved with minimum effort by applying the following
new method of statistical evaluation.

4. New method to check the adherence to the


80%/80% rule, based on the use of a general
margin to the limit
For a certain product group usually it is known, what standard deviation is realistic.

The calculation of kE is shown in clause 5. Similar to the


non-central t-distribution, it is based on the normal distribution, but under the assumption, that the standard deviation of
the population is known. Using max ensures that the results
are conservative (i.e. the EMI-test is passed only if the
80%/80%-rule is satisfied). However, it avoids that outliers
particularly far below the limit can blow up the standard
deviation s of the sample to unrealistic values by using the
realistic limit max. The test procedure based on the binomial
distribution (n = 7 and acceptance, if all items are good) is
equivalent to the procedure described here with kE = 0. For
comparison, table 3 gives 0.02, the slight difference being
due to approximations during the calculation of the values for
the test based on the binomial distribution. But again, the
new test method is on the safe side.

Table 3: Factor kE for different sample sizes


sample size
kE

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
1,68 0,97 0,63 0,41 0,24 0,12 0,02

The following pictures explain the principle of the new


method:

Interference limit, 80% of the population


has to be below - this is the case, if the mean
of the population is at * = 0.8416

distribution of the highest of 7 values


80% of its area has to be over the limit,
this corresponds to 80% confidence
distribution of the
population

-2

* = 0.8416

-1

(2)

Figure 3: Distribution of a population with = 1,0 and application of the test


based on the binomial distribution with a sample of 7 appliances, the acceptance limit AL is identical to the interference limit L

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Interference limit L

distribution of the highest of 5 values the area over the limit L is less than 80%

distribution of the
population

-2

* = 0.8416

-1

Figure 4: Distribution of a population with = 1,0 and a sample of 5 appliances.


The confidence in the evaluation result is less than 80%.

interference limit L
acceptance limit AL
for the highest value of 5
at 0.24 below L
this is exactly kE in table 3

distribution of the
population

-2

distribution of the highest of 5 values


80% of its area is over the AL,
this corresponds to 80% confidence

* = 0.8416

-1

Figure 5: Distribution of a population with = 1,0 and application of the


new test method with a sample of 5 appliances the acceptance limit AL is 0.24 below the interference limit L

Figure 3 shows the mathematical basis of the test, based on


the binomial distribution: If the highest value out of 7 is with
80% probability over the limit, a confidence of 80% is
reached. In figure 3 the population has a normal distribution,
but this works also with every other distribution.

Figure 4 shows the same picture, but with a sample of 5.


Comparing figure 3 and figure 4, first it can be seen that the
distribution for the highest value in a sample of 5 has a similar shape as for the sample of 7, but the center is moved to
the left. The area above the interference limit L is less than
80%, therefore the confidence level of 80% is not reached, if
all appliances in a sample of 5 are under the normal limit.

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Figure 5 shows the mathematical basis of the new test. Here


the normal distribution of the population is a necessary assumption. Exactly 80% of the area of the distribution of the
highest value of 5 is over the corrected limit AL. Therefore
the adherence to the 80%/80% rule is assured again, if all
appliances in a sample of 5 are under the corrected limit.
With a standard deviation of the population = 1,0, the limit
has to be corrected exactly by the factor kE, given in table 3,
e.g. 0.24 for a sample of 5.
If instead of = 1.0 a maximum realistic standard deviation
max is used, the factor kE has to be multiplied by max and
the same conditions of adherence to the 80%/80% rule are
given.
The advantage of this new method is that, since the acceptance is based on the largest value of the sample, the value
for kE is much smaller than for the method based on the noncentral t-distribution (starting from the sample mean). Therefore the method is not very sensitive to errors in max. It is
only a slight extension of the method based on the binomial
distribution to allow acceptance with a smaller sample size of
5, if after 5 it is already clear that the product is good.

ommended in CISPR 16-3. In each subrange the maximum


value is determined and the statistical evaluation has to be
done on the basis of the non-central t-distribution, as defined
in the new proposal for a modification of CISPR 16-3. The
main difference is, that as basis for the evaluation not the
value itself can be taken, because the limit may be not constant in the frequency subrange. Instead the evaluation has to
be done with the distance to the limit. [2]
Step 3
If step 2 has been failed due to a high standard deviation and
not due to measured values over the limit, it has to be investigated, whether this high standard deviation is due to fluctuations of the frequency of a maximum between two
subranges. In this case the values of this maximum can be
evaluated again on the basis of the non-central t-distribution
in a new frequency subrange fmax +/- 20%.
Step 4
If step 3 has been failed, or at once if step 2 has been failed,
more appliances may be measured and the evaluation is performed on the basis of the larger sample.

6. Derivation of Table 3
5. Application example for the new method:
household appliances.
Based on samples of 5 appliances each for 25 different types,
measured by the German authority for market surveillance,
all of which were in the scope of CISPR 14-1, max = 7,5 dB
has been estimated as a conservative value of the expected
standard deviation. This was three times the average standard
deviation in selected subranges.
On the basis of max = 7,5 dB the following table can be calculated (see Table 4):

Table 4: Possible margins to the limit of the disturbance


voltage for appliances within the scope of CISPR 14-1, based
on max = 7,5 dB
sample size
1
12,6
margin
to the limit
[dB]

2
7,3

3
4,7

4
3,1

5
1,8

6
0,9

7
0,15

The margin to the limit of 0,15 for an evaluation with sample


size 7 has no practical meaning , because the application of
the binomial distribution leads to a margin of 0,0 dB. This
value just shows that the calculated margins to the limit are
on the safe side.
To keep the expenditure at a minimum, the statistical evaluation of RFI measurements for household appliances can be
carried out in a 4 step procedure, where the next step is necessary only in case the previous step has been failed.
Step 1
5 appliances are measured. If the maximum value of all appliances over the investigated frequency range is more than
1,8 dB under the limit, the test is passed. It can be assumed,
that this will be the case for the majority of appliances.
Step 2
If step 1 has been failed, the frequency range can be divided
into subranges, as defined by a product committee or as rec-

For reasons of completeness here the mathematical basis for


the derivation of the factors kE in Table 3 is given.
L = limit for RFI (compliance to be shown using the
80%/80%-requirement)
AL = acceptance limit
AL = L kE
(3)
(all data in the sample have to be below this value)
= standard deviation of the normal distribution of the population, use max for it
Using the formula for converting a normal distribution with
and into a standardized normal distribution, we get that
80% of the population are better than L,
if
L*
= u 0.8 = 0,8416
(4)

where:
= maximum acceptable mean of the normal distribution of
the population
U0,8 = 80% quantile of the standard normal distribution (80%
of the area for the population (=full line in figure 3, 4 and 5)
are below this value).
On the other hand, 80% confidence is achieved, if the probability that the highest of the values x1, x2, x3, xn in the
sample is above the AL is 80%. The dashed line in figure 3, 4
and 5 shows the distribution of the highest of 7 and 5 values
respectively, as examples. This conditions in figure 3 and 5
are equivalent to a probability of all values below AL of
20%, i.e.
P((x1 AL) and (x2 AL) and (x3 AL) and...(xn AL) ) = 0,2
(5)
Since the individual values are independent of each other and
from the same normal distribution, this is equivalent to
(P( x 1 AL ) )n = 0,2

(6)

P( x 1 AL ) = n 0,2

(7)

or
or

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AL *

= un

0.2

(8)

Combining the two equations and eliminating gives

AL = L u0,8 + un 0,2 = L kE

(9)

k E = u 0,8 u n 0,2

(10)

with

where u are the quantiles of the standard normal distribution.


The factors kE are tabulated in Table 3.

7. Conclusion
The proposed new method for the statistical evaluation of
RFI results is based on the use of a general margin to the
limit, calculated on the basis of a known conservative value
of the standard deviation.
It is faster and has fewer shortcomings or problems than the
current methods. Because the new method is a conservative
one, it should not be used as a full replacement of the other
methods. Failing the new method does not mean fully failing
the statistical evaluation of RFI test results. The use of the

more extensive traditional methods can still show compliance


with the 80%/80% rule.
Therefore a step by step procedure for the statistical evaluation of RFI measurements is recommended.

8. Bibliography
[1] CISPR 16-3:2000 Specification for radio disturbance and
immunity measuring apparatus and methods - Part 3:
Reports and recommendations of CISPR
[2] CIS/A/337/CD Amendment to CISPR 16-3, Clause 2:
Statistics; new subclause 2.5: Rules for applying the statistical 80/80 rule and use of partial frequency ranges;
2001
[3] Wilrich, P-Th.: "Qualitaetsregelkarten bei vorgegebenen
Grenzwerten", Qualitaet und Zuverlaessigkeit 24 (1979)
S. 260-271, Muenchen-Wien: Carl Hanser Verlag
[4] Edward R. Heise, Robert E. Heise: "Uncertainty Rationale For Compliance Factors", IEEE International Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility 2000, Washington pp. 669-673