Go Down

Topic: FCC and school use? (Read 2940 times) previous topic - next topic


Oct 22, 2010, 10:28 pm Last Edit: Oct 22, 2010, 10:29 pm by liuzengqiang Reason: 1
I've got some possibly misleading information regarding electronics used in schools and FCC. Does an electronics device have to pass some FCC inspection in order to be purchased by schools? I just googled this and got nothing. I've designed a lab apparatus with ATMEGA 328 and I want to know if this is true. Thanks.

BTW, this post will make me a "God member", something I've been waiting for a while. Just don't want to reply my way into 500 posts  ;D

Edit, what? I'm still one post short? I've got make the best of my mortal life with this last post.  ::)
SDI-12 USB Adapter, custom designs
Routinely doing USB host and device stuff


Geeze a lawyer question in the Arduino forum, and by a god member no less.  ;D

Well I suspect if you look hard enough there must be some law requiring certain approvals, but if only federal or both local state and federal laws apply, who knows. Also the local school district might have their own purchasing requirements/policies?

 Good luck. Maybe the old saying of it's easier to ask forgiveness then to ask for permission applies.  ;)



You might also consider implications for UL.

FCC (generally) deals with interference.  UL (generally) deals with safety.  I would think more people would be concerned about UL than FCC.
Capacitor Expert By Day, Enginerd by night.  ||  Personal Blog: www.baldengineer.com  || Electronics Tutorials for Beginners:  www.addohms.com


Thanks guys. Man, I have a good idea, made this far as getting a prototype, learning PCB on my way, I will tell myself not to give up on it and look at UL. Hope someone will eventually buy some units.
SDI-12 USB Adapter, custom designs
Routinely doing USB host and device stuff


I can tell you that all my university requires is that everything is PAT tested.  They couldn't care less about UL or CE markings.


Oct 25, 2010, 06:42 pm Last Edit: Oct 25, 2010, 06:44 pm by timmyw Reason: 1
I would first check the local school's rules, because they should implement policy and laws of the state. Those administrators are actually supposed to be paid to write all those policies and implement them.

Since you are likely to get a bunch of confused looks from the administration because they don't actually know what all those books of policies actually say, you need to think on a more personal level.

Would you want your kid monkeying around with this thing?

Unfortunatly we live in a litigious society. Are you willing to bet your career, life, house, future that this thing is safe?

As James said FCC is for interference with communications, while UL is product safety testing. I doubt that an Ardunio device will ever have these ratings.

Use a UL approved power source, ensure that students can't touch potentially lethal voltages, supervise them closely, and you should be able to sleep at nights.

I remember in Junior High School making a lamp out of a beer can, power cord, and a lamp socket as a class project. Lethal mains voltage, conductive housing, no safety ground, burning hot solder iron--no problem. I'm still alive to talk about it, but I can't imagine doing the same project today. A shame really, because I it taught students to be careful, that there are things in life that appear simple, but are very hazardous if you don't know what you are doing.


Oct 25, 2010, 11:04 pm Last Edit: Oct 25, 2010, 11:09 pm by jbeale Reason: 1
Note: I am not a lawyer. As far as I know, FCC approval (radiated & conducted emissions, and ESD sensitivity) is required for any electronics sold commercially in the US. Has nothing to do with schools particularly.  In practice, I suspect most people don't know and don't care that some cheap widget they got from Ebay was never tested for standards compliance and may be wiping out nearby radio reception, etc. But then, the sellers abroad are out of the reach of US law.

I think UL listing is mostly relevant to AC adaptors, and anything with higher voltage. Safety is always a good idea.

From http://www.faqs.org/faqs/electrical-wiring/part1/section-7.html

     The UL does not have power of law in the U.S. -- you are
     permitted to buy and install non-UL-listed devices.  However,
     insurance policies sometimes have clauses in them that will
     limit their liability in case of a claim made in response to
     the failure of a non-UL-listed device.  Furthermore, in
     many situations the NEC* will require that a wiring component
     used for a specific purpose is UL-listed for that purpose.
     Indirectly, this means that certain parts of your wiring
     must be UL-listed before an inspector will approve it and/or
     occupancy permits issued.

* NEC: National Electrical Code, often written into state law


By the way, I've seen demonstrations in high school and college chem / physics labs, that were far from safe if done poorly (exploding hydrogen balloons, 10 kV Jacob's Ladder arc discharges, liquid oxygen, etc.)  Handled exclusively by the instructor, not students.

You can argue about regulations, but I'd agree the bottom line is a reasonableness test. Is whoever likely to come into contact with your device, in whatever reasonably forseeable way, going to be able to use it without risking injury.


Thanks John and Tim. I will look further into this. I doubt this thing is lethal, it's powered by a 9V battery and doesn't come with its own power supply. Any 9V or 12V DC supply should work. I guess I will buy UL-rated supplies. I'm more attentive now, just like what Tim said, about putting this in a kid's hand. The supplies that I have, they have UL listed symbols. I'll also try to shadow similar commercial products and see what certifications they have.
:) Learn from them for free
SDI-12 USB Adapter, custom designs
Routinely doing USB host and device stuff


Oct 26, 2010, 04:47 pm Last Edit: Oct 26, 2010, 04:48 pm by Grumpy_Mike Reason: 1
The thing to note is that UL cost you a packet and you have to have your factory inspected every quarter (which you pay for). It is not about safety as such but about the risk of fire. Where as the European safety standards are mainly concerned about electrocution. The two at times are mutually incompatible especially over things such as fuses.
The point about safety regulation is not about making things safe but in actually following the regulations, the two are often different things.

The new arduino UNO has actually got an FCC certificate.

Go Up