EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) and radio requirements for the US market

In the USA, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is the government agency that imposes requirements on the placement of electrical products on the market. Unlike in Europe, these requirements are not contained in standards issued by standardisation bodies. They are instead incorporated in the FCC's statute book, known as the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations). The part that relates to EMC and radio requirements is called Title 47 Telecommunication.

The FCC uses two approval procedures for electrical equipment:

  • Supplier Declaration of Conformity (sDoC)
  • Certification

sDoC involves the manufacturer issuing its own declaration that the requirements have been met, documented on the basis of a test report. This procedure applies to all electrical equipment that does not contain a radio transmitter, plus those few types of radio that do not require certification.

Most types of radio transmitter are subject to the certification procedure involving type approval via a TCB (Telecommunication Certification Body). Certification requires a test report issued by an "FCC recognized laboratory". This means, among other things, that the laboratory must be accredited in accordance with IEC 17025.

EMC measurements for the US and Canadian markets

The USA has no authority requirements for immunity tests (immunity against interference). The EMC requirements only relate to radiated and conducted emissions. The EMC requirements are dealt with in CFR 47, part 15 subpart B, and part 18. The FCC will not accept test reports issued under European requirements. Instead, measurements must be based on US mains voltages (e.g. 120 VAC/60 Hz) and measurement methods in accordance with ANSI standards. RISE is accredited for the necessary measurements and is approved by the FCC as a "recognized laboratory".

When measurements for the USA are performed, requirements for Canada can also be dealt at the same time, as similar measurement methods apply in most cases. RISE (formerly SP) is also accredited for the measurements required by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and is an approved laboratory for that body.

Approval for radio transmitters for the American market

Radio equipment which in the USA requires certification and approval from a TCB before the product can be placed on the market is identified by an approval number (FCC ID) linked to an approval ("grant").

RISE is the only organisation in Sweden that has been appointed by the FCC as a TCB. This means that we can carry out the certification of radio transmitters required by the FCC and therefore also issue the necessary approval for the American market.

"Unlicensed" and "licensed" categories

Requirements for radio transmitters in the USA can be split into two categories. "Unlicensed" transmitters are low-power short-distance radios (SRDs) that are not subject to licence requirements. "Licensed" transmitters comprise other radio equipment that is subject to licence requirements or which has dedicated frequency bands, such as land mobile radio systems (LMRS), cellular radio systems and marine radios.

The requirements for "unlicensed" devices are contained in CFR 47, part 15. For radio equipment in the "licensed" category, the requirements are set out in different parts of CFR 47. The requirements for land mobile radio systems are in parts 90 and 95; cellular systems come under parts 22/24/27 etc.

RISE is accredited for performing measurements for both these categories and is approved by the FCC as a "recognized laboratory".

RISE also assists with approval in Canada

When measurements for the USA are performed, requirements for Canada can also be dealt at the same time, as measurement methods are similar in most cases. RISE is also accredited for the required measurements and is listed by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) as a "recognized laboratory". ISED imposes requirements similar to those of the FCC for certification of radio transmitters with an associated approval number, the so-called IC certification number. There is however a separate certificate process under ISED and we can help with the relevant approval.

Numerous bodies specify requirements for electrical products in the USA – RISE is accredited

Electrical safety requirements for the US market are specified by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), among other bodies. Equipment used in workplaces is required to be safe and certified by a body recognised by OSHA. Other bodies that specify safety requirements can include insurance companies and local authorities. There are no voltage limits similar to those specified in the EU's Low Voltage Directive.

Take the opportunity to carry out electrical safety inspections for the USA and the EU at the same time

We always recommend that you also carry out an electrical safety inspection for the US market. If this check is done in conjunction with an inspection for the EU market, the additional cost is minimal. Additional charges are made for certification and manufacturing inspection. The IEC 60 950-1/UL 60 950-1 telecommunications product standard is very similar to the EU's EN 60 950-1 standard.

RISE is an accredited electrical safety laboratory for a range of product types. We offer CB (Certification Body) certification and ETL (Electrical Testing Laboratory) certification for the USA/Canada thanks to our collaboration with Intertek Semko.

  • IEC 17025 - General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories
  • IEC 60 950-1/UL 60 950-1 - Information technology equipment – Safety – General requirements
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Phone 010-516 50 00, E-mail info@ri.se

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