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)
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.
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.
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”).
“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.
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. 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.
Numerous bodies specify requirements for electrical products in the USA
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.