What is an FCC certification?
FCC certification is a form of product certification for electronic and electrical goods manufactured or marketed within the United States. It certifies that the radio frequency radiated from a product is within measured thresholds accredited by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The Federal Communications Commission has produced technical requirements for testing electronic and electrical equipment based on the type of radiofrequency emitted. The FCC regulations and policies are codified in Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
Testing is categorised by device name and device type:
• FCC Part 11 CFR “Emergency Alert System”
• FCC Part 15 CFR “Radio Frequency Devices”
• FCC Part 18 CFR “Industrial, Scientific and Medical Equipment”
• FCC Part 22 CFR “Public Mobile Services”
• FCC Part 24 CFR “Personal Communications Services”
• FCC Part 90 CFR “Private Land Mobile Radio Services”
• FCC Part 95 CFR “Personal Radio Services”
FCC certification is generally required for any electronic device that can oscillate above 9 kHz. In addition, manufacturers must ensure that their products will neither interfere with other products nor cause risk and harm to the public. Therefore, all electrical devices must fulfil the emission requirements and be tested to receive an FCC Certification. There are monetary fines, and product recalls If manufacturers sell products without the appropriate approval.
Where is FCC certification required?
Any radio frequency equipment produced, sold or distributed in the United States must have FCC certification. The seal is often found on products sold outside the United States because those products were either manufactured in the United States and then exported or sold in the United States. This makes the FCC certification seal recognisable in the United States and worldwide.
Which products should have FCC certification?
The Federal Communications Commission requires electronic goods with radiofrequency to undergo testing to comply with the EMC directive. The following types of products often need FCC certification:
• Electronic products,
• Electromagnetic compatibility products,
• Power adapters,
• IT equipment,
• Radio and telecommunications terminal equipment,
• Bluetooth devices,
• Wireless local area networking equipment,
• Wireless medical telemetry transmitters,
• Garage doors and openers,
• Remote control transmitters,
• Land mobile radio transmitters,
• Equipment and protective systems are meant for use in potentially explosive environments.
In summary, products that require FCC certification are divided into two groups:
• Intentional radiators of radiofrequency energy (e.g. smartphones) – such products require to broadcast radiofrequency energy as part of their function or operation.
• Unintentional radiators of radiofrequency energy (e.g. cameras) – such products can unintentionally create and broadcast radio signals due to their operation.
FCC testing requirements for electronic products
The FCC has three options for product approval under the EMC directive: verification, certification and Declaration of Conformity. Each procedure presents its challenges. The available options for approval depending on product type and intensity of radiofrequency emission.
Verification Testing is used for Part 15 electronic products or devices like a Class B external power supply and Class A and/or B digital devices that are not computer-related. Class A devices are used primarily in commercial, industrial, and engineering settings. Class B products are for general consumer purposes. Manufacturers can carry out the testing at a non-accredited test centre. The procedure helps determine how much radiofrequency energy is emitted by a device. If a product complies with the FCC technical specification requirements, the device can be released for sale without FCC approval. Manufacturing companies must maintain a record that contains their products’ test reports and documentation.
Declaration of Conformity
This procedure is stricter than verification testing. It is typically required for Part 18 electronic devices or products like personal computers or PC peripherals. Manufacturing companies have to perform the tests at an ISO Guide 17025-accredited testing centre. The testing will determine the radiofrequency energy expelled from a product and ensure that the product fulfils all relevant FCC technical specification requirements. Any compliant product must have the FCC seal affixed to itself. Manufacturers must maintain a record that contains their products’ test reports and documentation and create a Declaration of Conformity. The Declaration of Conformity must be verified and confirm that all information in the documentation record is accurate and up to date.
FCC product certification is the most detailed, stringent, and formal procedure. It is typically required for electrical devices that are most likely to interfere with other devices, signals and emergency information: E.g. Bluetooth devices, WLAN, intentional radiators, and more. Manufacturing companies are obliged to test their products in an accredited testing institute. If a product is determined to be compliant with all relevant FCC technical requirements, it must feature an FCC ID on its label.
Procedures in FCC certification
The FCC certification procedure consists of the following steps:
Step 1 Selection of the radiofrequency
Manufacturing companies of electrical devices must make sure that the radio frequency is within the range of the legal limits. They can use the FCC guidelines on the radio spectrum allocation as a reference. Factors to consider are: power consumption, radio range, propagation of radio waves and optimisation.
Step 2 Pre-compliance testing during the development
Manufacturing companies of electrical devices must perform as many pre-compliance testing in-house as much as feasible to ensure that their devices are developed in accordance with the legal guidelines. The performance of pre-compliance testing will ensure the avoidance of any expensive mistakes later on.
Step 3 Registration with FCC
The electrical devices using the radio spectrum must have an FCC Registration number (FRN) to obtain certification authorisations. Manufacturing companies can obtain FRN at FCC CORES. Manufacturing companies will need to provide their contact information and business address to obtain the FCC number.
Step 4 Testing in an accredited test facility
Manufacturing companies will need to contact an FCC-registered testing facility to perform all necessary external testing. A product sample is sent to the test centre. Testing can run from a number of days to several weeks depending on product complexity
Step 5 Certification & Filing
When device testing has been successful, a TCB (Telecommunication Certification Body) will review the product’s test results and issue the FCC approval.
Step 6 Grant of Equipment Authorization
The TCB will release the product’s information to the FCC database and send the Manufacturing companies a Grant of Equipment Authorization (GEA). The GEA will allow a device to be legally advertised, marketed and sold in the United States.
SPG Controls FCC certification
SPG Controls’ S1000 Smart Controller and Peripherals are FCC certified under 47 CFR PART 15, SUBPART B/ICES-003 issued by the independent testing company EMC Technologies Pty. Ltd.
For a copy of the FCC certificate or the comprehensive testing report, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org