Simple Probe Sniffs Out EMI

Unable to account for the strange glitches he was seeing on his DIY CNC router, [Daniël Van Den Berg]  wondered if his electronics might be suffering from some form of electromagnetic interference (EMI). So he did what any good hacker would do, and rummaged through the parts bin to build an impromptu EMI detector.

[Daniël] is quick to point out that he’s not an electrical engineer, and makes no guarantees about the accuracy of his tossed together gadget. But it does seem to work well enough in his testing that he’s able to identify particularly “noisy” electronic components, so it’s probably worth putting one together just to hear what your hardware is pumping into the environment.

The hardware here is very simple, [Daniël] just attached a coil of solid copper wire to one of the analog pins on an Arduino Nano with a resistor, and hung a speaker off of one of the digital pins. From there, it just took a few lines of code to read the voltage in the coil and convert that into a tone for the speaker. The basic idea is that a strong alternating magnetic field will set up voltage fluctuations in the coil large enough for the Arduino’s ADC to read.

If you’re looking for a bit more insight into what kind of interference your electronic creations might be putting out, [Alex Whittimore] gave a fantastic presentation during the 2020 Hackaday Remoticon about performing RF debugging using a cheap RTL-SDR dongle.

Build Your Own EMI Probes

[Gerald Musy] wanted to investigate the source of electromagnetic interference (EMI) in his switching power supply design. Stymied by the high cost of EMI probes, he decided to build his own. Lucky for us, he wrote up his results of experimenting with four different designs.

The probes include an unshielded loop, a shielded loop, a ferrite core probe, and an electric field probe. None of these are especially complex to build–the ferrite core one is probably the most involved–you can see from the scope traces that the different probes pick up different information.

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