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In this paper, a 12-V 1-kW permanent-magnet ac motor drive is tested extensively at a wide frequency range, and the frequency spectra are partitioned for identification of noise sources and their propagation paths. Switching characterization of the power MOSFET and its body diode reverse-recovery characterization are evaluated for circuit modeling. The parasitic components and common mode path are identified and measured with the time-domain reflectometry (TDR) method. The inverter circuit model is then constructed with major parasitic inductance and capacitance in device modules, passive components, leads, and interconnects. To verify the validity of the inverter model, a comparative study is performed with computer simulations and hardware experiments. The fundamental mechanisms by which the electromagnetic interference (EMI) noises are excited and propagated are analyzed, and the significant roles of parasitic elements coupling with device switching dynamics in EMI generation are examined. The results indicate that the identification of parasitic inductance through TDR measurement helps verify the voltage spike during turn-off, or vice versa. The conducted EMI noise caused by parasitic components of bus capacitor, dc bus, and devices is proven to be identifiable with the characterization and simulation techniques used in this paper.