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FCC Compliance and Certification Made Easy

The FCC under rule part 15 tells us that most electronic devices need to either be verified to not cause harmful emissions or need to be certified to not cause harmful emissions.

The difference between Verification and Certification:

Verification
The verification process is typically the creation of a Declaration of conformity stating that the emissions limits are within the FCC Part 15 rules. Devices that are not intentional transmitters would typically get a FCC Part 15 Declaration of Conformity by submitting their device to an accredited Test Laboratory, having the device tested, and then receiving a test report and Declaration of Conformity.

Certification
The FCC has decided that all devices that are intentional radiators, in the governed frequency spectrum, must receive a certification. This is a slightly more complex process where an accredited Test Lab typically will test the unit; the completed test report must be submitted to the FCC for approval.

  1. The complete FCC Certification process will typically follow these steps:
  2. The manufacturer will authorize the Test Lab to apply for a FCC Grantee Code.
  3. The manufacturer will receive the Grantee code from the FCC.
  4. The Manufacturer will submit their device to an accredited Test Lab for evaluation.
  5. The appropriate testing will be performed, per appropriate standards.
  6. The Test Lab will create a test report which details the tests performed, results and equipment used.
  7. The test report, along other documentation, will be submitted to the FCC for approval.
  8. The FCC typically takes 8-12 weeks to respond to certification requests.

Optional steps in the process

Confidentiality
The manufacturer may request Confidentiality of the information from the FCC. This usually involves an additional $155 filing fee. If Confidentiality is not requested, all documentation will appear on the FCC website at the time the certification is granted. With the optional fee, the manufacturer can typically eliminate all design documents from this posting process.

TCB – Expediting the process
Due to the 8-12 week delay in the certification process, the FCC realized that a more expedited process was needed. They have authorized several private organizations to issue certifications. There are some types of devices that still must be submitted to the FCC, however in most cases, devices can be approved via a TCB.

Submitting a grant request through a TCB can significantly improve the time frame for obtaining a certification. In most cases, it only takes 1-2 weeks to obtain an approval from a TCB.

Note: Once obtaining approval from the TCB, the manufacturer can begin marketing the device immediately. The FCC does occasionally audit grants. If the grant is less than thirty days old and the device is non-compliant, the FCC can set aside the grant. For grants older then 30 days and is non-compliant, the FCC will work with the TCB and the Manufacturer to resolve the problem of non-compliance. After thirty days, the grant cannot be set aside, but the non-compliance issue still must be resolved.

Summary
An independent test laboratory, working closely with a TCB, can greatly simplify the verification and/or certification process. Their expertise in understanding the FCC rules, can guide a manufacturer to a successful certification. In addition, the paper work required of the manufacturer is significantly reduced. Your time to market can be substantially reduced by choosing the right independent test laboratory for your FCC certification.

Our partner laboratory has thousands of successful certifications. They work closely with the FCC to understand the appropriate rules and to ensure our clients applications are processed seamlessly. Each application includes a pre-project review with the client, regular status updates throughout the test cycle, notification of any issues or problems, and notification that the grant has been accepted. We look forward to working with you to ensure your verification or certification is rapid, successful and stress free.

For additional information on the certification of low power transmitters in the US, Canada and the European Economic Community, please follow the link to our power point presentation:

Low Power Transmitter Certification

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