FCC Part 15 Testing Overview
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Part 15 testing is required for digital devices and unlicensed radio products to be sold and marketed in the U.S. This test measures the amount of radio frequency energy from the product and compares those levels to the limits published in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 47 Part 15.
The purpose of the requirements is to reduce the potential for interference to licensed services (such as broadcast, communications and emergency services). Part 15 covers low power intentional and unintentional emitters. Examples of low power intentional emitters are WiFi, Bluetooth, remote control devices, RFID and similar short range radios. Unintentional emitters are classified as devices that operate at greater than 1.705 MHz and use “digital techniques.” Examples of unintentional emitters are computers, digital devices and similar that do not intentionally radiate signals. Part 15 was initially put in the Rules early in the Commission’s development as a place for non-licensed radio frequency devices and equipment. It is now one of the most-used parts of the FCC Rules. Much of the technical standards are harmonized with CISPR 22 limits and Industry Canada (IC) requirements.
Tests include Radiated Emissions and Conducted Emissions. Radiated emissions measurements are performed on an Open Air test Site (OATS) and quantifies the RF energy emitted from the Equipment Under Test through in terms of electric field. Tests may be performed at ten meters or three meters. Conducted emission test are performed on any unit that attaches to the AC mains. The test is performed on a ground plane and measures the amount of RF energy the unit is injecting back onto the AC mains via a Line Impedance Stabilization Network (LISN).
There are two limits or classes: Class A and Class B. The Class B limit is required to be met for any digital device that will be used in a home and (generally) spurious emissions from unlicensed radio products. The Class A limit is reserved for all other digital devices (industrial and commercial environments). The Class A limit is approximately 10dB higher than the Class B limit.
Approvals are defined in specific ways. Revisions of these terms has evolved over the years and, in the future, they may evolve further.
Verification is required for all Class A devices and Class B devices that are not computers or computer peripherals.
Declaration of Conformity is defined for Class B Computing Devices and Peripherals. A DoC is issued by the party that markets the device and requires a particular logo.
Certification is required for all intentional emitters (transmitters) operating under any Rule Part (not just part 15). It is a formal process that requires that a device be tested and technical information provided to a Telecommunications Certification Body (TCB), which has been authorized by the FCC to provide the Certification.
Canada: The Canadian Regulatory agency that is tasked with Spectrum matters is Industry Canada (IC). IC’s requirements are found in Radio Standard Specification (RSS) 210, which covers low power, low voltage devices, much as FCC Part 15.
Scope of Services
We provide accredited (to ISO 17025) test reports for our clients. As an independent laboratory, we can issue test reports that can be used for clients Declaration of Conformity (DoC) which is mandatory for Class B Computers and Computer Peripherals. In addition, we can issue Verification reports and radio device reports for submission for FCC Certification.
We provide pre-scan and design verification services during development of devices. If your device does not meet the requirements, our advisory services department can assist you with achieving compliance.
This testing is often performed in conjunction with product safety testing. Recognizing that changes to designs can affect other areas of compliance, our teams work closely to make sure the proper level of design enhancements.
We have two open area test sites (all weather) and a pair of anechoic chambers which can serve dual-use as emissions and immunity (susceptibility) test rooms. We are instrumented up to 220 GHz.
Standards and References
ANSI C63.4: American National Standard for Methods of Measurement of Radio Noise Emissions from Low Voltage Electrical and Electronic Equipment in the Range of 9kHz to 40 GHz. Procedures for verifying performance of compliance of lower power devices, primarily unintentional devices. Radiated and conducted methods, as well as layouts and reporting are
Code of Federal Regulations, Title 47: Telecommunications
ANSI C63.10: American National Standard of Procedures for Compliance Testing of Unlicensed Wireless Devices. The procedures for testing the compliance of a wide variety of unlicensed wireless transmitters (also called intentional radiators and license-exempt transmitters) including, but not limited to, remote control and security unlicensed wireless devices, frequency hopping and direct sequence spread spectrum devices, antipilferage devices, cordless telephones, medical unlicensed wireless devices, Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices, intrusion detectors, unlicensed wireless devices operating on frequencies below 30 MHz, automatic vehicle identification systems, and other unlicensed wireless devices authorized by a radio regulatory authority are covered in this standard. Excluded by this standard are test procedures for unlicensed wireless devices already covered in other published standards (e.g., Unlicensed Personal Communication Services (UPCS) devices).
C63.26-draft: American National Standard of procedures for compliance testing of transmitters used in licensed radio services: The new standard is intended to cover the procedures for testing a wide variety of licensed transmitters; including but not limited to transmitters operating under Parts 22, 24, 25, 27, 90, 95 and 101 of the FCC Rules, transmitters subject to the general procedures in Part 2 of the FCC Rules and procedures for transmitters not covered in the FCC Rules. The standard will also address specific topics; e.g., ERP/EIRP, average power measurements and instrumentation requirements.
C63.9: C63.9-2008 American National Standard for RF Immunity of Audio Office Equipment to General Use Transmitting Devices with Transmitter Power Levels up to 8 Watts