FCC Testing?

If i were to develop a product family that used the nRF9E5 (http://www.nordicsemi.com/eng/Products/Sub-1-GHz-RF/nRF9E5) does it have to be FCC certified as an intentional radiator?

Said product would be a transmitter/receiver pair. A low power panic button system because all the panic button systems I have seen on the market are high current draw and have no consideration for low power. Companies such as Inovonics and Linear sell serial receivers and wireless panic button systems but all draw 100's of mA which is just crazy to me when I feel you can get considerable lower current draw with RF chips made by Nordic Semiconductor.

Truthfully I feel the design of the panic button and receiver would be a piece of cake and could be done in a couple months by just me and using a pre-built transceiver chip such as the one above. My concern is FCC.

From what I have read unintentional radiators (so the receiver end of the unit) are like $2,000 but the transmitter from what I've read can be like $20,000.

As a college student in EE with what I think is a viable and good product idea. It kills me that there is this huge barrier to market entry. The way I see it I have two options:

  1. Develop working prototype (or a few) and try and license or sell idea to larger companies with deep pockets.

  2. Develop working prototype (or a few) and try and fund through a crowd sourcing site etc. although this option seems less likely to work.

So would a product that uses a pre-buit and pre-tested RF chip still have to be FCC tested? And if so are there ways of making it actually affordable?

Also, are there any other tests I might need to look into that I don't know about? I have heard murmurs of UL testing before but not entirely sure what that would involve or cost wise.

Any thoughts are appreciated, thanks!

The device does not matter .
The finally designed circuit does.
If you build something from say 3 certified devices that does not get you the required certification.

The whole product has to be tested.

I recall a story where I think Hewlett Packard made a product and tested it .
They later changed the colour of a panel led which invalidated their FCC approval.

May be dead granny though.

UL testing is not to do with just RF issues its all about safety as well.
Its expensive as well.
One of the reasons for using cheap and pre approved wall warts for power supplies.
For a small production run that can save a lot.

Be aware of the Chinese export symbol which is very similar to a CE mark as well.

If you build something from say 3 certified devices that does not get you the required certification.

That's what I was afraid of. So sounds like I really have no chance of ever trying to sell said product on my own, I would need to try and sell the idea to a bigger company if I really wanted to pursue my concept.

What does the FCC do with all the money they collect? Does it get given to the government?

What does the FCC do with all the money they collect?

It is used to run the FCC. And they get money from the government because this is not enough.

It is used to run the FCC. And they get money from the government because this is not enough.

Haha that's fair enough. It just seems like a lot of money to me as a college student but I guess for big companies a few thousand dollars is like pennies and they spend it no problem. And ya it didn't dawn on me that it probably does cost quite a bit to employ all the FCC employees etc.

Thanks for deleting the other post for me! And thanks for your response on that thread as well.

I recall a story where I think Hewlett Packard made a product and tested it .
They later changed the colour of a panel led which invalidated their FCC approval.

UL testing is not to do with just RF issues its all about safety as well.
Its expensive as well.
One of the reasons for using cheap and pre approved wall warts for power supplies.
For a small production run that can save a lot.

Be aware of the Chinese export symbol which is very similar to a CE mark as well.

The story about the LED is crazy, Mike mentioned it as well.

And it sounds like UL is an optional cost which would not affect me. But definitely FCC testing is out of my reach so I suppose I can just develop the product for fun and put it on YouTube or something like that.

wes000000:
That's what I was afraid of. So sounds like I really have no chance of ever trying to sell said product on my own, I would need to try and sell the idea to a bigger company if I really wanted to pursue my concept.

That's not ever true. Find some business partners to help you with the various aspects of your produce. Warning! The most expensive part of your product will be marketing and selling the produce, not the FCC/UL compliance testing.

Also, the labs doing the testing are licensed by the FCC and U/L to do the work and issue the certificates. FCC and U/L are simply paper pushers.

Paul