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4 ways in which noise can enter a signal cable and its control – Part 2
4 ways in which noise can enter a signal cable and its control – Part 2 (photo credit: news.thomasnet.com)

Continued from part 1… Read here.


Electromagnetic induction and RFI

In previous part of this technical article, I wrote about electrical noise occurs or is transmitted into a signal cable system in the following four ways:

  1. Galvanic (direct electrical contact) – part 1
  2. Electrostatic coupling – part 1
  3. Electromagnetic induction
  4. Radio frequency interference (RFI)

3. Magnetic or inductive coupling

This depends on the rate of change of the noise current and the mutual inductance between the noise system and the signal wires.

Expressed slightly differently, the degree of noise induced by magnetic coupling will depend on the:

  • Magnitude of the noise current
  • Frequency of the noise current
  • Area enclosed by the signal wires (through which the noise current magnetic flux cuts)
  • Inverse of the distance from the disturbing noise source to the signal wires.

The effect of magnetic coupling is shown in Figure 1 below.

Magnetic coupling
Figure 1 – Magnetic coupling

The easiest way of reducing the noise voltage caused by magnetic coupling is to twist the signal conductors. This results in lower noise due to the smaller area for each loop.

This means less magnetic flux to cut through the loop and consequently a lower induced noise voltage. In addition, the noise voltage that is induced in each loop tends to cancel out the noise voltages from the next sequential loop.

Hence an even number of loops will tend to have the noise voltages canceling each other out. It is assumed that the noise voltage is induced in equal magnitudes in each signal wire due to the twisting of the wires giving a similar separation distance from the noise voltage (see Figure 3).

Twisting of wires to reduce magnetic coupling
Figure 3 – Twisting of wires to reduce magnetic coupling

The second approach is to use a magnetic shield around the signal wires (refer Figure 4).

The magnetic flux generated from the noise currents induces small eddy currents in the magnetic shield. These eddy currents then create an opposing magnetic flux Φ1 to the original flux Φ2. This means a lesser flux (Φ2 − Φ1) reaches our circuit!

Use of magnetic shield to reduce magnetic coupling
Figure 4 – Use of magnetic shield to reduce magnetic coupling

Note: The magnetic shield does not require earthing. It works merely by being present. High-permeability steel makes best magnetic shields for special applications. However, galvanized steel conduit makes a quite effective shield.

Go back to Index ↑


4. Radio frequency radiation

The noise voltages induced by electrostatic and inductive coupling (discussed above) are manifestations of the near field effect, which is electromagnetic radiation close to the source of the noise.

This sort of interference is often difficult to eliminate and requires close attention of grounding of the adjacent electrical circuit, and the earth connection is only effective for circuits in close proximity to the electromagnetic radiation.

The effects of electromagnetic radiation can be neglected unless the field strength exceeds 1 V/m. This can be calculated by the formula:

The effects of electromagnetic radiation

where field strength is in volt/meter, power is in kilowatt and distance is in kilometer.

The two most commonly used mechanisms to minimize electromagnetic radiation are:

  1. Proper shielding (iron)
  2. Capacitors to shunt the noise voltages to earth.

Any incompletely shielded conductors will perform as a receiving aerial for the radio signal and hence care should be taken to ensure good shielding of any exposed wiring.

Go back to Index ↑

Reference: Practical Grounding, Bonding, Shielding and Surge Protection – G. Vijayaraghavan, B.Eng (Hons) Consulting Engineer, Chennai, India

About Author //

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Edvard Csanyi

Edvard - Electrical engineer, programmer and founder of EEP. Highly specialized for design of LV high power busbar trunking (<6300A) in power substations, buildings and industry fascilities. Designing of LV/MV switchgears.Professional in AutoCAD programming and web-design.Present on

One Comment


  1. Vineesh
    Sep 19, 2014

    So you cant bring walkie talkies near to power cables.

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