'PICs and the FCC.....'
|> Date: Thu, 03 Aug 1995 09:28:49 -0600
> From: Paul Greenwood <AUSTIN.IBM.COM> pablo
> Subject: PICs and the FCC.....
> I was wondering if anyone on this list has ever tried to get a product that
> uses a PIC FCC registered, certified, or whatever. What troubles did you
> have? How much did it end up costing you? Any other helpful hints!
> Thanks in advance!!!
> This is non-IBM related....
> -- Paul Greenwood -- (austin.ibm.com) pablo
> Newton's Fourth Law: Every action has an equal and opposite satisfaction.
We have produced a couple models of contactless smartcard read/write units
which have gone through some FCC compliance checks. We employed an
independent agency, a contracted laboratory, which offered a few
recommendations regarding conducted radiation through power-supply lines,
etc. Among other things, we added some ferrite beads and changed the PIC
Peter F. Klammer, Racom Systems Inc. ACM.OrgPKlammer
6080 Greenwood Plaza Boulevard (303)773-7411
Englewood, CO 80111 FAX:(303)771-4708
Paul Greenwood <AUSTIN.IBM.COM> wrote: pablo
>I was wondering if anyone on this list has ever tried to get a product that
>uses a PIC FCC registered, certified, or whatever. What troubles did you
>have? How much did it end up costing you? Any other helpful hints!
PICs are among the quietest microcontrollers on the market... 6805s are a
little better, by the way, and 8051s are A LOT worse. You shouldn't have
Sorry I can't give you any estimates of cost; all my PIC designs were
certified on our company's own FCC-approved test range.
P.S. There's an appnote in the Embedded Control Handbook called "16C54
EMI Results" or something... Check it out.
Andrew Warren - ix.netcom.comfastfwd
Fast Forward Engineering, Vista, California
PA>I was wondering if anyone on this list has ever tried to get a product that
PA>uses a PIC FCC registered, certified, or whatever. What troubles did you
PA>have? How much did it end up costing you? Any other helpful hints!
I took a product of mine thru the FCC hoops last year:
small PCB, 2 sided, FR4. I put ground copper under PIC whever there
was free space.
PIC was C55 using a 4MHz AVX ceramic resonator with built in caps.
None of the port pins were driven at any high frequency.
The guy at the testing lab has to find all peak radiation levels from
30MHz to 1GHz and make sure that
they are less than the FCC allows for your type of device. Then he has
to go back and look at the
highest 6 points, maximizing each one by moving the product around,
moving antenna around,
changing orientation of the antenna, whatever else he can come up with.
My device was consumer, non-intentional radiator, not connected to a PC,
so I needed class B verification ( not certification )
Anyway he had a hard time finding 6 peaks that were worth maximizing.
The highest point was 17dB below the limit.
I used Intellistor OATS in Rollinsville CO 303-682-6600 (Patrick
and would not hesitate to recommend them. Patrick sent me a nice
overview of the company
with some helpful recommedations on getting the part to pass.
They charge $160/hour with a 4 hour minimum - test report INCLUDED in
Average test takes at least 3.5 hours, mine tool 4.2 hours.
I emphasize the report being included as most places that quoted me
said report was an extra $2-300.
The report shows all equipment used, results of all tests, and includes
pictures of the device under test
both apart and assembled.
What I learned from the process:
- If you can keep the oscillator below 1.706MHz, then you don't have to
test for radiated emmissions.
- If the product plugs into AC power, then you have to test for
conducted emmissions if the clock is above 9 KHz
(yes I said K Hz) I don't know if you are exempt if you use a
certified wall wart (?)
- Look at the FCC rule book and see if your product is exempt, lots are!
- get several bids, there will be a wide spread in cost
- try to find a local site. It is good if you can be there to answer
- The final complete product sold to the consumer is what must be
if you are making a piece of a larger product, testing it by itself
means very little
unless you are especially concerned about your piece.
It is the responsibilty of the final seller to meet FCC.
There is a good article on this topic in the latest Circuit Cellar Ink
I pulled the following list off the CCI bbs last year when I started
I got bids from the first 3:
Retlif Testing Laboratories NY (516) 737-1500
International Science & Technology Inc. NH (603) 736-8414
(these guys have a nice free booklet on the topic)
MET Laboratories MD (410) 354-3300
Compliance Design MA (506) 264-4668
Celect Testing Labs OH (513) 573-6800
Certelecom NY (315) 393-6546
Philips Consumer Electronics Company TN (615) 521-4720
Radiation Sciences Inc. PA (215) 256-4133
Radiometrics IL (708) 932-7262
Wyle Laboratories AL (205) 837-4411
Hope this is of use,
drop me a line if you have more questions.
Gary Skinner, Electronic Solutions Inc, 303-469-9322
PA>You said in your note about the FCC that if you kept the crystal down under
PA>1.7MHz, then you don't have to be tested for radiated emmissions. What do
PA>you test for then?
My understanding is that if you are *battery powered*, unintentional
then you are exempt from FCC verification.
reference: FCC 47 CFR edition 10-1-93 subpart B - unintentional
section 15.103 (exempted items) item H - "Devices in which both the
highest frequency generated
and the highest frequency used are less than 1.705MHz and which do not
operate from the AC
power lines or contain provisions for operation while connected to the
AC power lines. Digital devices
that include, ..., AC adaptors, ...,do not fall under this exemption."
Other exemptions include: anything for use in a motor vehicle or
airplane, devices used for industrial,
commercial, or medical test equipment. devices used in appliances.
Devices consuming less than 6 nW of power.
But if you generate enough RF noise to mess up someone's TV or radio
then the FCC will probably want to talk to you.
PA>Of course, I DO want to use a wall-wart to power my device,
PA>I MAY have to get that tested anyway.
I don't know what happens when you connect to a wall wart. You will
have to ask
someone at the FCC. My experience is that you need to ask several
testing labs to get a concensus.
I asked 5 labs, 2 said no radiated testing if clocked under 1.706MHz.
When I told the other three, they said they would get back to me,
Those that did
So.. you will have to ask around to see what happens with a wart,
Please let us know the answer if you ever find it. (Statement above
seems to say it could be trouble)
PA>But, staying under 1.7MHz may save me
PA>bunch of bucks - right?
Again, my understanding is less than 1.7MHz - no radiated test
which saves at least $700.
But you may still need conducted emmisions test.
That is the part I am unsure of in the case of a wall wart.
Be sure to get several bids, conducted test is less expensive, but you
may get hit with minimum charge.
Ask if they can fit you in on a time available basis, meaning they will
do it whenever they get a small vacancy at
Of course, NONE of this has to do with UL, CUL, VDE, ETL, .....
that is a whole 'nother deal.
Also if you connect to the phone network, that opens a bigger can of
Hope this helps, Gary Skinner
A couple of more numbers:
FCC 301-725-1585 x229 Ed Givens
TUV labs, Boulder CO 449-4165
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