Thursday, January 22, 2009

Minimizing electrical noise

Factories are electrically noisy places, (acoustically too, I know,) and from time to time this can cause problems with sensitive electronics, as found in machine vision systems. One tip, building on my previous post, “Who needs long cables?” is to keep cable runs to the absolute minimum, and definitely avoid coiling up cables that are too long.

There’s a lot more information in a fascinating (no, seriously,) paper I found on the
Basler web site, with the snappy title of “Avoiding EMI and ESD Problems in Basler Camera Link, IEEE1394, and GigE Camera Installations.”

You can probably just skim the text, but the diagrams are genuinely interesting. Apparently, and this was news to me, the big issue is ground loops, which create electrical noise and are best avoided by having a single point ground.

So next time you’re struggling with strange or seemingly random events, remember to consider electrical noise.

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