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Author Topic: FCC certification stuff?  (Read 1691 times)
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So what if you designed a product that uses an AVR micro with a 16mhz clock, when does it cross from being a hobbyist product to a consumer product.  (I see lots of projects on Kickstarter, for example).

When do you need FCC certification?

I understand if you're a big conglomerate corporation, I guess FCC/CE/UL cert costs is just peanuts ... but if you're a small business (or one-man business), they could certainly cost more double/triple than your whole R&D and production costs combined.

So I guess one can bite the bullet and either go for the FCC cert (and spend what? 10K-$20K?)
or just ignore it and release their product?
But what's the penalty?
Is there a penalty? If you're product isn't causing nuisance, interference with other equipment/TV/radio/etc...

Now... to be a good citizen, I guess one can be pro-active in adding EMI/RF protection to their "whatever" product. Just to make sure it doesn't cause interference to others.

Anybody here use EMI/RF protection on their power and/or data lines?
I checked Mouser and they're pretty cheap... costing only cents (SMD).
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So what if you designed a product that uses an AVR micro with a 16mhz clock, when does it cross from being a hobbyist product to a consumer product.  (I see lots of projects on Kickstarter, for example).

When do you need FCC certification?

 I suspect the law is complex and subject to many exceptions and rules. If you sell something as a bag of parts and a blank PCB then the rules maybe different then if you are selling complete consumer finished product to the general public?

I understand if you're a big conglomerate corporation, I guess FCC/CE/UL cert costs is just peanuts ... but if you're a small business (or one-man business), they could certainly cost more double/triple than your whole R&D and production costs combined.

So I guess one can bite the bullet and either go for the FCC cert (and spend what? 10K-$20K?)
or just ignore it and release their product?

As they say, ignorance is no excuse from the law, so any risks you take is on your own I guess.
 
But what's the penalty?
Is there a penalty? If you're product isn't causing nuisance, interference with other equipment/TV/radio/etc...

Most likely nothing happens until some kind of formal complaint is issued to the FCC via an unhappy customer, unhappy near by homeowner, or maybe some competitor looking to try and 'level the playing field' against you.

Now... to be a good citizen, I guess one can be pro-active in adding EMI/RF protection to their "whatever" product. Just to make sure it doesn't cause interference to others.

The big cost isn't the added components, but rather it's the 3rd party testing validation and paper work and delay gaining FCC acceptance that is the big costs and time sinks I suspect. Just adding stuff to your design doesn't fulfill the legal obligations I suspect.

Anybody here use EMI/RF protection on their power and/or data lines?
I checked Mouser and they're pretty cheap... costing only cents (SMD).

Again the cost of components isn't the main costs and headaches.

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good read!
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Ive been reading up on the UK i think its the CE mark here. It seems you can self certificate it all if you are capable. Not as expensive as it's been made out to be.
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Quote
It seems you can self certificate it all if you are capable.
No you self certify full stop.
This is in the UK and EU, in the USA things are very different.
You need some evidence as to why you said it was CE complaint. An offense is only committed once your product has been tested in a certified test house and found not to comply. You will then be "visited" and depending on the due diligence you showed / not showed, you will either be helped to comply or they will throw the book at you, or anything in between.  Penlites range from a fine to equipment confiscation.
http://www.electronicsweekly.com/blogs/test-and-measurement/2010/07/is-uk-really-sharpening-its-teeth-for-ce-marking-enforcement.html

In the U.S. I believe the fine is per product sold so if you sell 100 then you get the fine (I think $2,000) times 100.
FCC has two categories:-
1) Intentional emitter (RF energy) - this needs an FCC number which consists of two parts. One unique to your company, and the other unique to that product. This is for things like transmitters including RFID readers and some types of tokens. This certification is difficult and expensive to get and you need to interact with FCC or an FCC agent to get it.
2) Unintentional emitters - that covers everything else electronic. You do not have to contact FCC but you have to have the appropriate certificate produced by an FCC authorised test house to back up the FCC logo on your product. If you do not have the logo marked the equipment may be confiscated at import. The galling thing is that every minor change requires a new certificate, so if you have 10 products that are all very similar unless the only difference is in the labeling you need to put each one through the test house. So if the LED is a different colour, it needs it's own test certificate. In my opinion is is actually a form of import control.
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