EMC FLEX BLOG A site dedicated to Automotive EMC Testing for Electronic Modules

RF Boundary in automotive EMC for electronic components

RF Boundary is the element of an EMC test setup that determines what part of the harness and/or&nbsp

RF Boundary is the element of an EMC test setup that determines what part of the harness and/or peripherals is included in the RF environment and what is excluded. It may consist of, for example, ANs, BANs, filter feed-through pins, RF absorber coated wire and/or RF shielding.


RF Boundary is also an RF-test-system implementation within which circulating RF currents are confined


  • to the intended path between the DUT port(s) under test and the RF-generator output port, in the case of immunity measurements (ISO 11452-2, ISO 11452-4, ISO 1145-9), and
  • to the intended path between the DUT port(s) under test and the measuring apparatus input port, in the case of emissions measurement (CISPR 25),


and outside of which stray RF fields are minimized.


The boundary is maintained by insertion of BANs, shielded enclosures, and/or decoupling or filter circuits. The ideal RF boundary replicates the circuitry of the device connected to DUT in vehicle.

The standard test harness lenght for automotive EMC electronic components is (1700mm -0mm / +300mm). This 1.7m test harness runs between the DUT and the Load Simulator (Shielded Enclosure) that plays the role of RF Boundary.


If the Load Simulator enclosure does not include all DUT loads and activation/monitoring support equipment, additional support devices may be placed directly on the ground plane. The connection of additional devices to LS enclosure must be done via short wiring running on the ground plane.


Testing at subsystem level is preferable to any simulation. Whenever possible, use production intent representative loads.


Running long coax cables directly from DUT outside the chamber via SMA bulk filter panel would violate the 1.7m test harness length rule invalidating the test result. Ideally is to use Fiber Optic to exchange data with devices placed outside the test chamber.


Running long coax cables between Load Simulator and a support device placed outside the chamber is acceptable as long as the I/O line in question is not just an extension from DUT without proper RF boundary at the end of maximum 2-meter length of standard test harness.


It is critical to use the test harness length as defined by CISPR-25, ISO 11452-2, ISO 11452-4, and ISO 11452-9 to achieve valid compliance for your product. The length of the test harness as well as the grounding method (remote vs local) can result in different RF emissions level. Longer the test harness, higher RF emissions above 100 MHz due to its resonance pattern. The local grounding would show less magnitude variation across resonance peaks above 100MHz.


Christian Rosu