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FCC / CE tick reference

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gregariz:
Can anyone recommend a good tutorial type book on getting a product FCC certified and CE-ticked? I'd like to do as much of it as possible myself without using test lab services.

Neilm:
I will start this by saying that I am most familier with the requirements for european CE marking.

It is possible to do a certain amount of pre-testing to see if your product has any problems. The easiest way would be with a spectrum analyser and probes. However, you would probably not be able to use this as proof of compliance as this would be mostly detecting near field signals not far field signals. It will give you some idea if your product has any potential emission problems.

Also, depending on what the product is, some tests might require equipment that is large or dangerous. You might be able to hire this but the costs would quickly out weigh any savings. For example if your product is mains powered you might have to test the following:

1. Mains surges the level of which depends on input voltage but could easily be a 3kV spike. In order to do this test the tester must be attached to a supply with a very low impedance.

2. Conducted Emissions (the noise the product outputs down the mains)

3. Burst. (High frequency repeating spikes that can upset some electronics)

4. Electrostatic discharge to the mains plug / input socket.

5. Conducted Immunity (how the product reacts to noise <30MHz on the mains)

6. Harmonic emissions (another measure of output noise.)

7. Voltage brownouts / blackouts.

8. Flicker tests (see if the product could cause the lights to flicker)

Those are the tests I know about - we have a test lab at work and we have the equipment to do these tests. Given that many of these can broadcast noise and cause interference they are done in a special shielded room.

The one advantage of a test house is that they will be experienced in interpreting the standards you have to meet. For instance it is possible that there are several different standards that could be applied - they will be able to help with the correct standard. Also, should you have problems with passing the experience of the technicians will be invaluable to help suggest possible cures.

If this has not detered you, I would suggest going to http://www.compliance-club.com/ and looking through that - I know that there are some links to how to do some of these test.

Yours

Neil

gregariz:
Thanks Neil,

I've done a number of the pre-compliance emissions and conducted tests at work however for final compliance I've taken it out to a test lab and we pay for them to produce the final reports. On occasions we've paid about $10k for the submissions. As I moonlight on my own products however I was less keen to fork that kind of money out for something that may turn out to be a fizzer. I know the FCC does continue to allow direct submissions (around 1 to 2K) (without going through a certified lab) for certain types of equipment. I'm not sure of the CE requirements in that regard. In the back of my mind I was thinking that maybe I could rent the certified test facilities and then prepare the reports and make the submissions myself.... maybe I'll just have to suck and see...

In the same vain.. are there any products you know of that you can market without FCC or CE-ticks?. I know in the US there are exemptions from the FCC requirements for most electronics sold as kits. Not sure about the kit requirements in the EU. However I've bought all sorts of test equipment and gadgets over the net and I'm pretty sure alot of them are not certified... so are they exempt somehow or are they simply illegal?

jahonen:
To be simple on CE "certification", if you are absolutely confident that your product will fulfill all the requirements of applicable directives (there are others than just EMC) and you can provide the technical file promptly on request, then you can just put the CE label and start selling it without any testing. Of course, that is pretty steep leap of faith, so almost nobody does it, except in dodgy "warm countries". In case the compliance is disputed, you must show that your product will comply. Here in northern Europe we usually test and debug to the death to fulfill all the requirements :)

Regards,
Janne

Psi:
Unless the product is made in china, in which case "CE" is just "Chinese Export" and means nothing about safety or certification.

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