Re: Detecting consumer electronics possible ?

Date:         11 Nov 96 01:52:20 
From: (Mike Neus)
Organization: Texas Instruments
References:   1
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In article <airliners.1996.2261@ohare.Chicago.COM>, Jean-Francois Mezei
>There has been much talk lately about the impact of adult toys (laptops,
>GPS, walkmans etc) on on-board navigation equipment.
>Obviously, airlines introducing fancy on board entertainment and
>electronics have a way to ensure that these do not interfere with
>the navigation equipment. Is  it fair to assume that equipment is
>available to detect/measure the emi emissions from a "thing" ?

Yes.  All electronic equipment is designed to meet certain emissions
requirements.  Some requirements are more stringent than others.  Avionics
emissions for example have tighter requirements than most consumer
electronics, and hence the problems when bringing them on airplanes.  Of
course, the aircraft certified device is also much costlier than consumer
devices.  The only way to verify a "thing" will meet its emissions
requirement is to test it as you have suggested.

>Would it be theoretically possible to have such equipment on the plane
>that would detect the use of passenger electronics which interfere with
>the navigation equipment ? (Eg: pilot are told that there are emissions
>which interfere with navigation equipment thus rendering it unreliable).

Not currently.  Emmisions are tested by placing them in a large room.  The
room must not only be RF proof, but must also not reflect any emissions that
might be radiated inside.  Depeding on what the test is, one or more antennas
are placed in the room.  Allot of speciallized equipment is required for the
test.  Not only would the typical airplane not have the space, but the cost
of a labratory and continual re-certification would probably tripple the
cost of you're ticket.

>Seems to me that stopping the electronic toy tidal wave is pretty
>impossible. I am just wondering if airliners could be retrofitted to
>detect if an unfriendly toy is being used.

Not practically.