IEC Standards: IEC 61000-4-2: Electrostatic Discharge Immunity Test

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IEC 61000-4-2 is an international test standard that outlines electromagnetic immunity requirements for electronic equipment when exposed to electrostatic discharge (ESD) generated from a human body or metal objects. The standard assumes that the source is an electrified human body discharge and testing simulates the current waveform generated in those conditions.

Level Test Voltage (Contact Discharge) Test Voltage (Air Discharge)
1 2kV 2kV
2 4kV 4kV
3 6kV 8kV
4 8kV 15kV

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Discharge Current Waveform

The ESD discharge simulator (ESD Gun) must meet the following specifications:
  • Energy Accumulation Capacity: 150pF (typical)
  • Discharge Resistance: 330Ω (typical)
  • Charging Resistance: 50MΩ - 100MΩ
  • Output Voltage: 8kV for contact discharge, 15kV for air discharge
  • Tolerance: ±5%
  • Polarity: Positive and Negative
  • Hold Time: >= 5 Sec.
61000-4-2 Chart

Testing Your ESD Gun

The following characteristics in the table below must be verified to ensure proper test results:
Level Indicated Voltage 1st peak Current of discharge (±15%) Rise Time (±25%) Current at 30ns (±30%) Current at 60ns (±30%)
1 2kV 7.5A 0.8ns 4A 2A
2 4kV 15A 0.8ns 8A 4A
3 6kV 22.5A 0.8ns 12A 6A
4 8kV 30A 0.8ns 16A 8A

ATEC is the largest rental company that is ISO 17025 accredited to calibrate ESD discharge guns. Testing and verifying the output of an ESD gun is an important first step in the test process due to the slew rate, peak bandwidth, peak energy, and unintended capacitive and inductive coupling (in addition to proper grounding).

To check an ESD simulator's output, you must measure the waveform of the resulting current across a low-impedance, high-frequency resistive shunt connected to ground. The target mounts in the center of a 1.2-m2 ground plane and must have VSWR of less than 1.22 and an insertion loss of less than 0.3 dB up to 4 GHz.

Figure 1Figure 2

IEC 61000-4-2 also specifies that you place the measurement oscilloscope inside a Faraday cage to shield it from the radiated ESD pulse. You will also need good-quality low-loss cables between the target, attenuators, and the oscilloscope. To comply with the IEC standards you should keep the total cable length less than 1 m, and a double-shielded cable that prevents signal leakage from affecting your measurement is strongly recommended.

EUT Test Setup

The direct discharge test simulates the human body model of electrostatic discharge and must be set up to recreate similar conditions. It is important to make sure that you have the proper grounding system in place before you begin testing. When using a tabletop for testing, you want to have a horizontal coupling plane on top of the table but below an insulation sheet. This should be connected to a ground reference plane on the floor using a 2 x 470kΩ bleed resistor cable as shown:

Figure 3

If the EUT is too large for a table top, place the EUT on an insulation pallet that is at least 0.1m in height. For the indirect contact discharge part of the test, a vertical coupling plane should be set up 10cm from the EUT, and also connected to the ground reference plane using the bleed resistors. Once set up, a power supply should be connected to the EUT and ESD gun. It is important to make sure that the room where the test is conducted is at a temperature of 15°C to 35°C and relative humidity is between 30% and 60%.

The test procedure is rather simple. For direct discharge, place the ESD gun to the point of test on the EUT, and discharge at 1 second intervals. This should be performed at least 10 times at both positive and negative polarities, and results recorded. For an indirect discharge test, the same process is repeated except that the discharge goes to the vertical or horizontal coupling plane, rather than directly to the EUT. Multiple discharge points may be required for testing, depending on the EUT.

The results are classified in 4 ways:
  • Normal operation within tolerance of specification
  • Temporary degradation or loss in operation or function, which is able to be recovered by self-recovery function
  • Temporary degradation or loss in operation or function, which needs to be recovered by user intervention or system reset.
  • Damage of the system or software, and unrecoverable degradation and loss of function or data.
More On ESD Testing  

ATEC offers a variety of ESD guns from Teseq, Keytek, Haefely and others. There are many other ESD test standards that we support. To meet these standards, ATEC has a large variety of discharge modules needed to cover your various testing needs.
Standard Discharge Module
IEC 61000-4-2 150pF/330 Ohm
ISO 10605 150pF/2000 Ohm
330pF/2000 Ohm
330pF/330 Ohm
SAEJ1113 150pF/2000 Ohm
330pF/2000 Ohm
ANSI C63.16 150pF/330 Ohm
150pF/15 Ohm
150pF/75 Ohm
MIL-STD-464 500pF/500 Ohm
MIL-STD-883 100pF/1500 Ohm
JASO D001-87 150pF/500 Ohm
Chrysler PF9326/LP388 100pF/500 Ohm

Contact ATEC today and our rental agents will guide you to the ideal equipment to complete your test.

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