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What is FCC Certification?

What is FCC Certification?

So, if you have been asking yourself what is FCC certification and what’s its purpose you are at the right place. This article was written to provide answers to these questions so let’s take one step at a time.

At the beginning we have to state that the FCC certificate is issued by the FCC or Federal Communications Commission. It is an independent agency of the US government created to regulate and take care of all types of communication of the United States. 

The FCC certification is a type of product certification that is specifically designed for electronic and electrical products produced or sold in the USA. 

The FCC certification tells us that the radio frequency of a specific product is within the allowed limit according to the FCC. 

There are some technical standards when it comes to testing the equipment according to the radiofrequency the devices emit. These tests are categorized by the type of a device and they are:

  • Part 11 “Emergency Alert System”
  • Part 15 “Radio Frequency Devices”
  • Part 18 “Industrial, Scientific and Medical Equipment”
  • Part 22 “Public Mobile Services”
  • Part 24 “Personal Communications Services”
  • Part 90 “Private Land Mobile Radio Services”
  • Part 95 “Personal Radio Services”.

Any type of product that emits radio frequency needs to be thoroughly tested and certified before it can be sold in the USA. FCC created the necessary standards the device needs to meet. The main idea is to reduce and prevent electromagnetic interference between different products and also protect the public from the same. If a device oscillates above 9 kHz it is required to be FCC certified.

Before they get the FCC certification, all the tested devices need to meet the emission rules and comply with the regulations. There are products that are unintentional radiators like digital cameras or computers, and they need the FCC certification as well.  

Is FCC certification required only in the USA?

FCC certification is necessary for any device that emits some sort of radio frequency, intentionally or unintentionally, and which is manufactured, marketed and sold in the USA. We can see the FCC label primarily on products manufactured in the USA but sold outside of it. Because of that the FCC certification is not recognized in the USA only, but all over the world.

Do all products have to be FCC certified?

In order to remain compliant to the EMC directive the FCC requires electrical devices that emit some sort of radiofrequency to be thoroughly tested. So it doesn’t matter if you are producing an FM transmitter for drive-in church, low power transmitters, Bluetooth speakers or something else, you need to get an FCC certificate in order to sell that product in the USA. 

Generally speaking, we can divide the products that need to be FCC certified into two main groups: Intentional and Unintentional radiators of radio frequency.

The first group of intentional radiators is for products like smartphones, that usually emit radio frequency in order to function properly.

The other group of unintentional radiators is for devices that emit radio frequency by accident, for example digital cameras.

How to Obtain an FCC Certificate?

There are three processes that need to be conducted in order to get a certificate under the EMC directive. It depends on the device and type and the amount of radio frequency emission. Depending on the device you are planning to produce or distribute the screening method will be selected accordingly.

Verification

This is the easiest method the product needs to pass in order to get an FC certificate. It is generally used for digital products that have Part 15 components and that need a part 15 certification. A “Part 15” device means that the device doesn’t have a radio or it has an already approved radio. Therefore, it only needs a verification. It doesn’t require an approval or to have a certified FCC logo.

Declaration of Conformity

The second easiest FCC compliance process is the declaration of conformity (DoC). It is used for “Part 18 devices” or to be more precise for devices that contain or are considered to be a personal computer or a PC peripheral. 

Such devices need to be tested in a certified laboratory where the radio frequency levels emitted by the product can be measured. If the product is approved it needs to be stamped with the FCC logo.

Certification

The most difficult approval process is the Certification. The devices that require this type of certification can cause the highest radio frequency interference and can cause harm to the public. An official Telecommunication Certification Body is required to authorize and issue the certification. This body checks the documentation for the product and the results of a thorough testing before issuing the certification.

I Have a Product. How Can I Get an FCC Certification?

Getting approved by the FCC can be a pretty difficult and tiring process. There are companies that can help with the certification process for products that emit a radio frequency and that are produced and planned to be sold on the US market.

So, if you have a product you can get in touch with a company like CSIA or a similar one, if you want to have clients from the USA and distribute any product that emits radio frequency. They will easily guide you through the FCC approval process so don’t hesitate to contact them if you need help with that. Hiring a company to guide you through the process is definitely highly recommended because they have the knowledge and resources to make the certification process successful. 

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by Chris Howard © 2020 crystalwind.ca


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