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IEC/EN 61000-4-2: Test Standard for Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Immunity

IEC 61000-4-2 is the most commonly called out ESD immunity compliance standard for commercial electronics required to attain CE Mark, UL, and other product certification. The full standard is not available for free but provides a brief overview below, and regularly consults it's customers on performing test and debugging for electrostatic discharge (ESD) immunity. Preview of IEC 61000-4-2 Compliance Test Standard for ESD Immunity, purchase the full version at the IEC website.

IEC 61000-4-2 Testing

Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) is the phenomena that occurs when you rubbed your feet on the carpet and touched a doorknob. ESD happens everywhere, between high density electrical components found in just about everything manufactured today like your cellphone and television. The occurrence of ESD is impossible to predict, so the best method is to take as much preventative measures to prevent damage or malfunction when it does occur. Enter IEC 61000-4-2, the most commonly called out compliance standard for testing robustness and certifying commercial electronics. IEC 61000-4-2 is one of a handful EMC test standards that are required to attain a CE Mark, allowing you to sell your product into Europe (and makes it much easier to sell in most other countries). Below is a brief overview of the test levels performed when conforming to IEC 61000-4-2, for the detailed document you'll have to purchase it at the IEC website. Visit the Test Set-up and Waveform Verification pages for a general overview of ESD testing, the information should be sufficient for verifying your product before sending it to the test lab (pre-compliance). 


Test Levels from IEC 61000-4-2

Contact Discharge  Air Discharge


IEC61000-4-2 Test Setup

ESD Test Setup

Pass/Fail Criteria for IEC 61000-4-2

  1. If more than 1 error occurs in the first 50 discharges applied to a test point, the EUT fails the test at that test point and test level.
  2. If 1 error occurs in the first 50 discharges applied to a test point, a second testis run at that test point applying 100 new discharges.If no error occurs in this set of 100 discharges, the EUT passes the test at that test point. If more than one error occurs in this set of 100 discharges, the EUT fails the test. If exactly 1 error occurs in this set of 100 discharges, a third test is performed.
  3. The third test is to repetition of point. If no error occurs in this set of 100 discharges, the EUT passes the test at that test point. If 1 or more errors occur in this set of 100 discharges, the EUT fails the test.


See more Articles & Documents for recent scholarly articles in regards to IEC 61000-4-2.

IEC 61000-4-2 ESD Simulators Comparison

Popular IEC 61000-4-2 ESD Simulators

  • Meets IEC/EN 61000-4-2 
  • Battery or mains operation
  • Programmable auto test runs
  • Predefined test levels 
  • Displays discharge voltages

  • LCD touch screen control
  • 30kV Output
  • Predefined Test Levels
  • Touch Screen Interface
  • IEC 61000-4-2, ISO 10605
  • Rentals $495/month


IEC 61000-4-2 in Technical Jargon

IEC 61000-4-2:2008 relates to the immunity requirements and test methods for electrical and electronic equipment subjected to static electricity discharges, from operators directly, and from personnel to adjacent objects. It additionally defines ranges of test levels which relate to different environmental and installation conditions and establishes test procedures. The object of IEC 61000-4-2:2008 is to establish a common and reproducible basis for evaluating the performance of electrical and electronic equipment when subjected to electrostatic discharges. In addition, it includes electrostatic discharges which may occur from personnel to objects near vital equipment. IEC 61000-4-2:2008 defines typical waveform of the discharge current, range of test levels, test equipment, test setup, test procedure, calibration procedure and measurement uncertainty. IEC 61000-4-2:2008 gives specifications for test performed in "laboratories" and "post-installation tests" performed on equipment in the final installation. This second edition cancels and replaces the first edition published in 1995, its amendment 1 (1998) and its amendment 2 (2000) and constitutes a technical revision. It has the status of a basic EMC publication in accordance with IEC Guide 107. The main changes with respect to the first edition of this standard and its amendments are the following:

  1. the specifications of the target have been extended up to 4 GHz. An example of target matching these requirements is also provided;
  2. information on radiated fields from human-metal discharge and from ESD generators is provided;
  3. measurement uncertainty considerations with examples of uncertainty budgets are given too.


EN/IEC 61000-4-2 Testing Solutions