Advertisement

Blog

Measuring Up to Today’s Standards in Circuit Design

How do your designs measure up to today’s industry standards? Are standards something you only think about after your circuit design is complete and you’re getting ready for testing?

To optimize the safety and reliability of your design, it’s vital that you get all the facts about today’s quality and test standards. And it’s something you should prepare for while you’re still in the design phase of your project. Why is doing so in advance so important? Because then you can make any required changes when it’s still relatively easy and inexpensive to do so. Then, the final product — your next great circuit design — is sure to be a success!

To ensure regulatory compliance of your circuit designs, know the standards before you get too far.

To ensure regulatory compliance of your circuit designs, know the standards before you get too far.

Here are some of the most important standards for various markets and the recommended circuit protection solutions that can help you achieve compliance.

Automotive
AEC-Q200: Established by the Automotive Electronics Council (AEC) Component Technical Committee, this standard defines the minimum stress test qualification requirements for passive electrical components and devices. Components that meet this standard are ready for use in harsh automotive environments without additional component-level qualification testing. Robust varistors and TVS diodes can help you pass the test requirements of this standard.

Consumer
IEC 60950-1: Published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), this international standard was established for audio/video, information, and communications technology products. Circuit protection solutions, including positive temperature coefficient (PTC) devices, fuses, ESD protectors, and TVS diodes, can help you meet the requirements of this standard.

LED
UL 1449: Established by Underwriters Laboratories, this is the primary safety standard in the US for surge protective devices (SPDs). It describes construction, performance, and installation requirements for SPDs used for the protection of AC electrical circuits.

UL 8750: Underwriters Laboratories developed this document to provide manufacturers with a safety standard that focuses on LED products and related components. (UL 1598 covers the overall luminaire assembly.)

Thermally protected surge protection modules that provide transient overvoltage protection for outdoor and commercial LED lighting fixtures can help you achieve compliance with the above UL standards.

Hazardous Locations
UL 913: Underwriters Laboratories created this “Safety Standard for Intrinsically Safe Apparatus and Associated Apparatus” to protect human life and property in hazardous operating environments. Choose UL913-certified fuses to ensure safety in explosive environments where there is a chance of a gas or dust explosion from faulty circuits.

Want to learn more about the importance of circuit protection in meeting the industry’s leading standards? Have a question or two about choosing the right circuit protection solutions to ensure that your next great design is safe and reliable?

Join us for the Planet Analog Chat Session on Circuit Protection on Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 1:00 p.m. ET (10:00 a.m. PT).

44 comments on “Measuring Up to Today’s Standards in Circuit Design

  1. Myled
    September 23, 2014

    “How do your designs measure up to today's industry standards? Are standards something you only think about after your circuit design is complete and you're getting ready for testing?”

    Tim, thanks for introducing these standards. In this which one is the best or based on what these standards are  used. 

  2. Tim Patel
    September 23, 2014

    @Myanalog — Each of the standards introduced here are applied to different types of products.  Depeding on your application, one or more of these standards may apply to your product.  LED lighting is a great example, where the LED driver is evaluated to safety and performance requirements in UL 8750 and the overall luminaire assembly is evaluated to requirements in UL 1598.  Additionally, safety-critical components, such as fuses, varistors, and PTCs, must be evaluated to their own set of requirements in other component safety standards.

  3. Vishal Prajapati
    September 25, 2014

    Very good information on different different standards. Every standarad is predefined useful for specific application.

     

    Can you please tell us what are the standards mendetory for the IOT products in India?

  4. Tim Patel
    September 25, 2014

    Vishal,

    Unfortunately, I am not very familiar with the local standards in India when it comes to IoT products.  However, regarding safety standards, most of the safety requirements for IoT devices come from IEC-based safety standards for those specific products.  For example, the legacy safety standard for Information Technology Equipment is IEC 60950-1, which is eventually going to be replaced by IEC 62368-1 which covers Information Technology Equipment, Audio/Video Equipment, and Communication Equipment.  Various IEEE standards for communication protocols may also apply.

  5. samicksha
    September 25, 2014

    Even i am interested in undertanding about what standards are the foundation of the IoT, i guess IEEE should play major role here.

  6. amrutah
    September 25, 2014

    Timothy, thanks for sharing the information regarding various standards.

      Usually what I see is a standard is defined for a particular field like, AISG 2.0 for baseband station or the AEC-Q200 for Automotive.  But the products that are developed on these standards come to market very late.  For example, the latest automotive standard is AEC-Q200, but I have seen people still developing products for Q100 compliance.  How does this workout?

    Do the standards have a roadmap that they must be released without the EOL of a previous standard, or as soon as a new standard is created the old one should be discarded.

  7. Tim Patel
    September 25, 2014

    @amrutah — For the Automotive market, AEC-Q100 covers requirements for Integrated Circuit (active) components while AEC-Q200 covers requirements for passive components.  Each standard covers a different subset of stress qualification requirements.

    Typically, when new standards are published, each Standards Development Organization (SDO) decides on how it wants to phase out the old standard.  Some SDOs withdraw the old standard as soon as a new standard is released, but many SDOs do provide a “phase-in” period where either the new or old standard can be used for qualifications (up to a certain cut-off date).

  8. vasanjk
    September 26, 2014

    Hi Timothy,

    There seems to be a school of thought that when it comes to circuit protection, it would greatly help to use certified components to obtain  compliance on the whole to the design on an aggregate. As I understand that every circuit protection challenge can be unique and may not fall under all the thumb rules.

    What are your views?

    P.S : Could not attend the chat due to a late evening meeting.

  9. dassa.an
    September 26, 2014

    @Tim: Implementing standards are fine but putting them to practice is another thing. We have to make sure that all these standards are being put into practice properly. 

  10. dassa.an
    September 26, 2014

    @samicksha: Yes I too feel that IEEE is the best out of the lot.  

  11. geek
    September 26, 2014

    “Can you please tell us what are the standards mendetory for the IOT products in India?”

    @Vishal: I don't think there would any standards be that only exist for the Indian market. I think the global standards would continue to be applicable here as well. Overall, across the globe the standards are still in the evolving phase and haven't yet reached a point where they're mature and established.

  12. Vishal Prajapati
    September 26, 2014

    I have searched on the internet and found out that only BIS standard has made mendatory for some of the consumer electronics devices. But that too for some 15 products. So, all other consumer electroincs products are not covered and I think none of the industrial product has any mendetory standards. But some companies are there which follows international standards to be followed to manufacture their products.

  13. geek
    September 26, 2014

    “it would greatly help to use certified components to obtain  compliance on the whole to the design on an aggregate”

    @vasanjk: Despite the certified components, the curcuit can still be in danger because the process of assembling the circuit is equally important. Hence, you also need to ensure that the manufacturing process is also as per the standards. Secondly, there's still a need for circuit protection despite the fact that the components are certified. This may be because of the application that the circuit is used for and the risks surrounding it.

  14. samicksha
    September 26, 2014

    I agree you Vishal, BiS can be there at place and one of the reason is it is completely managed by Ministry of Consumer Affairs. But with same i have not seen its participation in many products.

  15. Tim Patel
    September 26, 2014

    “…there's still a need for circuit protection despite the fact that the components are certified. This may be because of the application that the circuit is used for and the risks surrounding it.”

    @tzubair — This is a very good point.  While using certified components helps ease the certification process for the overall end-product, the specific application of those components in the end-product may still warrant additional testing and/or evaluation.  Not all of the component standards can cover requirements that would apply to all applications, and thus application-specific testing is often needed.  Some safety standards, though, may not require any additional testing beyond what was done for the component certification.  In general, certified components do tremendously help compliance of the overall design.

  16. Tim Patel
    September 26, 2014

    “We have to make sure that all these standards are being put into practice properly.”

    @dassa.an — Yes, the interpretation and application of standards is always somewhat of a “gray area.”  When obtaining third-party compliance approvals, you'll often find that each certification body has differing interpretations of requirements in the same standard.  This doesn't necessarily need to be viewed as a negative, since this often can allow for flexibility and discussion of how certain requirements should apply to a particular application.  Also, the more “flexible” a standard is, the more possiblity to create innovate designs while still meeting the requirements in the standard.

  17. Vishal Prajapati
    September 27, 2014

    The reason behind that is lack of strong regulatory body and strict laws. That are strongly implemeted in the USA and Europian countries.

  18. samicksha
    September 27, 2014

    I am not sure if this is the only reason, but if you look around BIS had not been able to establish the testing infrastructure necessary to ensure timely certifications.

  19. Vishal Prajapati
    September 28, 2014

    Agreed. If you impose a standard on a product and make it mandatory, then you should first have an infrastructure to facilitate the standard certification, which is adequet right now. And then to make it valuable. Right now, people are applying for the certification voluntarily but that dosn't make much value addition to the product from the customer point of view. Which has to be cured somehow.

  20. samicksha
    September 28, 2014

    You keep up a good point about value addition, of course if we are announcing some certification mandatory to run business then it has to add some value.

  21. geek
    September 28, 2014

    @Tim: Are there standards that can be used to perform application-specific testing? Or does every application has it's own set of rules and checklists that companies use to enforce the testing process?

  22. Myled
    September 28, 2014

    “Each of the standards introduced here are applied to different types of products.  Depeding on your application, one or more of these standards may apply to your product. “

    Tim, thanks for the clarification. Now I understood how various standards are incorporated in single products.

  23. Tim Patel
    September 29, 2014

    @tzubair — There are some newer safety standards that are taking more of an “application-specific” testing and assessment approach.  For example, for IT, Audio/Video, and Communication Equipment, IEC 62368-1 takes more of a flexible approach that looks at specific fault modes of equipment to see if fire or shock hazards are created.  This approach may be adopted in other standards as products continue to evolve in complexity.

  24. vasanjk
    September 29, 2014

    tzubair

     

    Agree completely. However, for me, a list of components always include circuit,protection components too. Every schematic will have blocks of circuit protection components and form part of the whole design naturally.

  25. bjcoppa
    September 30, 2014

    More and more chip companies have gone fabless, outsourcing chip production to foundries- often overseas in places like Taiwan. This has allowed them to focus more on design of new creative chips using less captial to maintain billion dollar fabs. Also, it has elevated their focus on direction product applications and the consumer/end-users more. Companies such as ARM have risen to the top in advanced chip design over top fab-based chip producers weighted down by the complexity and cost of the R&D and manufacturing of advanced chips.

  26. Davidled
    October 3, 2014

    UL 1598C and UL 8753 indicate LED retrofit conversion kits and LED lighting engine. LM-79 and LM-80 provided by Illumination Engineering Society (IES) illustrate testing guideline. Generally, manufacture should verify whether the product is tested under LM-79 and LM-80.       

  27. ue2014
    October 29, 2014

    Agree with you Samicksha. A mandatory certification could bring very important two things to the industry. One would be the quality standards of the products. If you have few players in the market and one is having the certificate for the product, others will also be pushed to obtain the certification as it will work as a quality indicator for the product. So obviously the one with certification will have a better demand in market. Also any new players who are planning to enter the market would also know the standards they need to maintain. On the other hand, such certification will provide the end consumer a better trust regarding the products too. They will feel more comfortable and safety to buy a product with certification.

  28. PCR
    October 29, 2014

    I also do agree with you on this ue2014. It's a pretty comfortable buying a product with a certificate. And it will lead to maintain the quality of the product. 

  29. PCR
    October 29, 2014

    analoging  I am pretty sure that there are outsourcing processors and regular parts manufacturing to countries like Taiwan and  India not because of  design focusing, but mainly because of having a cheap labor in those countries. 

  30. chirshadblog
    October 30, 2014

    @Ranasinghe: Exactly, it's the labour cost that matters but when we are considering Korea, the technical skills too does matter. 

  31. chirshadblog
    October 30, 2014

    @Ranasinghe: Yes also most importantly you are not breaching the law. 

  32. PCR
    October 31, 2014

    chirshadblog , I do not understand you . You are saying that the Korean people has more skill ?

  33. PCR
    October 31, 2014

    And also  chirshadblog, it's a great help for those third world countries. 

  34. Sachin
    October 31, 2014

    @Timothy Patel, thanks for the post. I am curious to know what happens if the product doesnt meet the required quality and test standards ? Will such products gets clearence to be relased to market ?

  35. Sachin
    October 31, 2014

    Can you please tell us what are the standards mendetory for the IOT products in India?

    @Vishal, One of the standards which is extensively used in IOT is  The Internet Protocol for Smart Objects (IPSO) Alliance. I am not sure if this standard is mandatory.

  36. Sachin
    October 31, 2014

    Each of the standards introduced here are applied to different types of products.  Depeding on your application, one or more of these standards may apply to your product. 

    @Tim, is it good idea to merge all the different standards into a single standard becaues having multiple standards might confuse the developers and might increase the product design time.

  37. Tim Patel
    October 31, 2014

    @SachinEE — Normally, local regulations and markets will dictate whether or not products that don't meet the requirements can be released to market.  For example, in Europe, products cannot be sold into the European Union without having the CE mark, where a manufacturer declares compliance to all European Directives (law) that apply to its products.  In other regions, products aren't necessarily required to meet certain standards or carry third-party certifications, but the market will not accept products that don't carry certifications, making it difficult to sell those products.

  38. Tim Patel
    October 31, 2014

    @SachinEE — Although it may seem like a good idea to merge the standards, that actually takes away some of the flexibility offered to designers.  Every product is unique in the way it's designed, and sometimes products need to meet different standards based on how they are designed.  For example, traditional luminaires need to only meet the traditional luminaire standards, while LED luminaires need to meet the traditional luminaire standards and the LED standards (for drivers, light sources, etc.).  Having separate standards that cover sub-assemblies or components helps manufacturers of those products meet only those requirements without having the burden to meet end-product requirements that wouldn't necessarily apply to their sub-assemblies.

  39. Sachin
    October 31, 2014

    In other regions, products aren't necessarily required to meet certain standards or carry third-party certifications, but the market will not accept products that don't carry certifications, making it difficult to sell those products.

    @Tim, thanks for the clarification. When you say market will not accept the products are you suggesting that the end users are all aware about these standards and they wont buy any products which dont meet these standards ?

  40. Tim Patel
    October 31, 2014

    @SachinEE — Yes, in the consumer market, most end-users are becoming more aware of the importance of safety certifications.  A lot of appliance manufacturers, for example, cannot effectively market their products if they don't carry some sort of third-party certification.  In the commercial and industrial markets, this is even more prevalent.  Industries buying goods refuse to purchase equipment that does not hold certification, and most of the time, it is the buyer specifying the certifications he/she requires.

  41. Sachin
    October 31, 2014

    Do the standards have a roadmap that they must be released without the EOL of a previous standard, or as soon as a new standard is created the old one should be discarded.

    @amrutah, I dont think they will discard the old standards just like that. I think it will be slow process and manufacturers will be given sufficient time to adopt to new norms.

  42. Sachin
    October 31, 2014

    Yes, in the consumer market, most end-users are becoming more aware of the importance of safety certifications.

    @Tim, this is very good news. This will put pressure on the appliance manufacturers to strictly adhere to the standards and will improve the reliability and safety of the product.

  43. Sachin
    October 31, 2014

    Companies such as ARM have risen to the top in advanced chip design over top fab-based chip producers weighted down by the complexity and cost of the R&D and manufacturing of advanced chips.

    @analoging, totally agree with you. I think that is reason why companies like TI sold off its fab units and just retained analog fabs. This helped them to concentrate more on analog side of business.

  44. amrutah
    October 31, 2014

    @sachinEE: Usually there are groups from different companies across different geographies who will be working on particular standards and once the standard is finalised and released the older ones are no more supported… It is usually seen that the standards are backward compatible.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.