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

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the US is the authority that specifies requirements that must be met by electrical products on the American market. As opposed to the situation in Europe, these requirements are not set out in standards published by standardisation bodies, but are instead incorporated in the FCC's Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), which is a type of legal text. Section 47, Telecommunications, deals with EMC and radio requirements.

The requirements for electrical equipment can be divided into three procedures:

  • Verification 
  • Declaration of Conformity (DoC), and 
  • Certification

Verification and DoC mean that, after obtaining a suitable test report, the manufacturer can declare that the requirements are fulfilled. These two categories apply to all electrical equipment that does not include radio transmitters. 

Radio transmitters cannot be marketed or used on the basis of a manufacturer's declaration, but must be certified by A TCB, i.e. a form of type approval. For DoC and Certification, it is required that the test report is issued by a FCC recognized laboratory which also requires the laboratory to be accredited according to IEC 17025.   

EMC measurements for the US and Canadian markets

There are no official requirements in the US for testing the immunity of the equipment to interference. EMC requirements consist only of permissible levels of radiated and conducted (power mains) interference emitted by the equipment. Parts 15 and 18 of CFR 47 regulate the EMC requirements.  FCC does not accept test reports according to European requirements. They require test performed with US mains voltages (ex 120VAC/60Hz) and according to ANSI standards. RISE (before SP) is accredited for the necessary measurements required by the FCC and is a recognized laboratory under FCC.

During measurements for the US market, the requirements for Canada can also be covered due to the fact that in most cases the measuring methods are the same. RISE is also accredited for the measurements required by Canada and is also a listed laboratory under Industry Canada (IC).

Approvement for radio transmitters on the US market

All radio equipment in the US must be certified and approved by a TCB (Telecommunication Certification Body) before it can be released to the market. Approved radio transmitters are issued with an approval number, their FCC ID, which is linked to an approval referred to as a ”Grant”.

RISE is the only body in Sweden that has been appointed by the FCC as a Telecommunication Certification Body (TCB). In this capacity, we can perform the necessary certification of radio transmitters required by the FCC, and thus issue the required approvals for sale of equipment on the US market.

The “unlicenced” and “licenced” categories

The requirements for radio transmitters in the US can be divided into two categories:  ”unlicensed”, which are low-power short-range radios (SRD), for which no license are required, and ”licensed” which are other radio equipment that must be licensed, or which have dedicated frequency bands,, e.g. Land Mobile Radio, cellular radio systems, marine radio etc. 

The requirements applicable to ”unlicensed” equipment are set out in Part 15 of CFR 47, while the requirements for ”licensed” equipment are spread among various parts. Those for, for example, Land Mobile Radio are in Parts 90 and 95, while those for cellular systems are in Parts 22/24/27 etc. 

RISE is accredited for testing for both these categories and is a recognized laboratory under FCC.

RISE also help with approval in Canada

During measurements for the US market, the requirements for Canada can also be covered due to the fact that in most cases the measuring methods are the same. RISE is also accredited for the measurements required by Canada and is also a listed laboratory under Industry Canada (IC).
For radio transmitters, IC has a corresponding requirement on certification as FCC with an approval number, IC certification number. It is though a separate certification process with Industry Canada for which RISE can provide approval.

Many jurisdictions in the US electrical products- SP accredited

Electrical safety requirements for the American market are specified by various bodies, one of which is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Equipment used in workplaces must be safe, and be certified by an inspection body recognised by OSHA. Other specifiers of safety requirements include insurance companies and local authorities. There are no voltage limits similar to those in the EU Low Voltage Directive. 

Take the opportunity to perform electrical safety review for the US and the EU at the same time
We always recommend that our customers should include an electrical safety review of products intended for the American market. If this is done in conjunction with an inspection for the EU market, the additional cost is minimal. To this must be added the costs for certification and manufacturing inspection. The IEC 60 950-1/UL 60 950-1 telecommunication product standards are very similar to the EU EN 60 950-1 standard.

RISE is an accredited test laboratory for electrical safety in several different product areas.  Through our close cooperation with Intertek Semko, we can offer CB (Certification Body)-certification as well as ETL (Electrical Testing Laboratory)-certification for US and Canada.


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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