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Multimedia Equipment and EN 55032: When to Choose Class A or B

Greg Kiemel
By Engaged Expert Greg Kiemel Product Qualification Testing

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EN 55032 to Replace EN 55103-1 May 2017

The standard EN 55103-1, which covers the EMC emission requirements for professional audio, video, audio-visual and entertainment lighting control products will be replaced by EN 55032 effective March 5, 2017.

About EN 55103-1

The Limits for EN 55103-1 are sectioned into five environments. Manufacturers are responsible for applying the appropriate limits to their products, which include:

  • E1 (Residential)
  • E2 (Commercial & Light industrial)
  • E3 (Urban Outdoor)
  • E4 (Controlled EMC environment)
  • E5 (Heavy Industrial)

At its most basic interpretation, EN 55103-1 required Class B limits for environments E1-E3 and Class A limits for environments E4 and E5. Under EN 55032 CISPR 32, selecting between Classes A or B is not as straightforward. Manufacturers who classify their equipment using Environments E2 and E3, for example, may be challenged with understanding how their products align under EN 55032 Class A or B. What limit is applicable for an audio device used in an urban outdoor setting, a recreation center, or a supermarket?

When to Select Class A or B under EN 55032

Under EN 55032, any equipment primarily used in a residential environment must meet Class B limits. All other equipment must comply with Class A limits.

The EN 55022 Challenge

The challenge under EN 55032 lies in defining whether an environment is a “residential environment”. Since this is not a definition CISPR 32 provides, other standards are needed to help us find a definition.

EN 55022 defines Class B as equipment primarily used in the domestic environment.  It is very specific: Class B is for equipment intended for Home Use. Under EN 55032 the definition is implied rather than clearly defined and is much broader, including both residency and the surrounding area as the "residential environment".

To get a clearer definition, we can default to the generic standard EN 61000-6-3: Generic Standards Emission Standard for Residential, Commercial and Light-industrial Environments. This generic standard clearly outlines the environments to which equipment are used. It is important to note these definitions are in line with both EN 55103-1(E2-E3) and EN 55032.

Need help deciding if your products are Class A or B? Contact Element for more information about new EN 55032 and CISPR 32 definitions.

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