Rick Hartley on EMI, Noise Reduction

Judy Warner
|  Created: August 7, 2019  |  Updated: February 5, 2021

Today we talk to Rick Hartley about EMI, noise control and why it can be so difficult to get under control in your PCB designs. Listen in, because this is really a sneak peek into the full-day class Rick will be presenting at AltiumLive. 

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Show Highlights:

  • What in your childhood gave you some clues that you’d end up being an Engineer? It started with trying to repair an old alarm clock at age 5, by the time I was 12 I was dabbling in radios and repairing home appliances by age 14, which made it obvious that I would end up going in this direction.
  • Rick has agreed to teach a full-day class at both of this year’s AltiumLive Summits in San Diego and Frankfurt; the title of his class on October 9 in San Diego is Keys to Control Noise, Interference and EMI in Printed Circuit Boards. 
  • What inspires this topic? During the mid-eighties, many issues became apparent, listening to Lee Ritchey motivated action and they formed a design council with Rick sharing the information, which continued growing to where we are today.
  • In September 2019, Rick will also teach at PCB West as well as Eric Bogatin, Lee Ritchey, Susy Webb, Gary Ferrari, Mark Finstad on Flex Design, Dan Beeker - and the list goes on.
  • Altium will also have a booth at PCB West where Ben Jordan will speak on RF Design and do demonstrations.
  • AltiumLive is not just for Altium users, Rick believes the thoughts generated at these summits are extremely valuable.
  • Why is the AltiumLive class so important for designers today? Everything is fast because the rise times of IC outputs have become so fast. 
  • Faster rise times equates to higher frequencies, it doesn’t matter what your clock frequency is, what matters is what devices you use.
  • According to Dan Beeker, most of his customers design expecting to fail EMI the first time. People need these classes to ensure solid design from the outset and passing EMI the first time.
  • Dr. Bruce Archambeault recently quoted that there really is no such thing as voltage. 
  • Topics that will be covered at AltiumLive: The relationship between energy and noise; what to look for when you’re selecting ICs; the impact of frequency; length versus distributed circuits; the basics of grounding and grounding methods; the keys to controlling common mode current - the leading cause of EMI; routing and termination styles of transmission lines to prevent reflections and signal integrity problems; basic component placement and the impact it can have on EMI; IO connector placement and IO connector pin-out; routing to control EMI; power delivery; capacitor placement relative to via inductance; decoupling boards with routed power; how to create proper power distribution on boards based on their stackup.
  • Rick will be presenting the same talk in Frankfurt at AltiumLive October 21.
  • Registrations for AltiumLive will be opening soon, don’t miss it.   


Links and Resources:

Previous Podcasts with Rick 
Last year’s AltiumLive Keynote
Cartoon ‘the knack’
PCB West 2019 
AltiumLive 2019, San Diego



Learn, connect, and get inspired at AltiumLive 2019: Annual PCB Design Summit. 


About Author

About Author

Judy Warner has held a unique variety of roles in the electronics industry for over 25 years. She has a background in PCB Manufacturing, RF and Microwave PCBs and Contract Manufacturing, focusing on Mil/Aero applications. 

She has also been a writer, blogger, and journalist for several industry publications such as Microwave Journal, PCB007 Magazine, PCB Design007, PCD&F, and IEEE Microwave Magazine, and an active board member for PCEA (Printed Circuit Engineering Association). In 2017, Warner joined Altium as the Director of Community Engagement. In addition to hosting the OnTrack Podcast and creating the OnTrack Newsletter, she launched Altium's annual user conference, AltiumLive. Warner's passion is to provide resources, support, and advocate for PCB Design Engineers worldwide.

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