Roadblocks to actual electronics manufacturing (U.S.)

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#1
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(I know this post is somewhat general, so I apologize in advance.)

Can any of you that are experienced in electronics manufacturing give me some insight as to what major roadblocks (in the form of U.S. laws) exist in going from an idea in one's head to actually selling a product? Is UL/FCC/other testing mandatory before you're legally able to sell your device, or is it something that is done to improve the marketability?

I'm really quite ignorant when it comes to this. If some of you have been through this process before, if you can give me ideas regarding this or any other "gotchas" to look out for, it'd be really helpful.

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FCC is mandatory IF certain things are present in the product, including a microprocessor with a clock frequency above some minimum value. OF course, if the device has wireless hardware, testing may also be required. FCC also needed if it connects to the public switched telephone system; not so sure about connection to a cell phone.

In many cases, UL is NOT needed. It IS needed if full line voltage attaches directly to the device. It is generally NOT needed if you use a purchased power supply that feeds low voltage with some maximum power capability (UL deals both with electrical safety and fire).

If you expect to export to the E.U, then you need to deal with RoHS and WEE. While these do not apply to US consumed products, they do apply to the E.U. and you generally DO NOT want separate products for the two markets.

There are also restrictions on export of products containing certain devices. Things such as processors with clock rates above some level. There are more. And some destinations have tighter restrictions than others (Iran being one).

There are other restrictions and standards if your product goes into an aircraft (FAA) or a highway truck or an automobile or a boat or ship or is intended to be used by a child or is a medial product.

Jim

 

Until Black Lives Matter, we do not have "All Lives Matter"!

 

 

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There are also CE requirements for the EU, they are more stringent than the FCC requirements.

Leon

Leon Heller G1HSM

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Quote:

actually selling a product?

You need to narrow this down as well. Are you going to be selling consumer devices? Many of the "rules" don't necessarily apply in an industrial environment.

Lee

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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You will also need UL if connecting to the phone line, or any other source of potentially "harmful" voltage.

Writing code is like having sex.... make one little mistake, and you're supporting it for life.

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Yes, the CE "rules". They are much broader than UL and/or FCC. Among other things, they test for device malfunction in the case of electrostatic discharge to the device or attached cables. They also test for device malfunction in the presence of power spikes and surges. These are all related to proper function of the device, itself.

FCC tends to be concerned with effect on other, nearby devices, which CE also covers. UL tends to be concerned with device safety (with respect to users) which CE also covers.

Jim

 

Until Black Lives Matter, we do not have "All Lives Matter"!

 

 

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Another difference is that CE requires that devices be unaffected by external EM fields up to a certain level.

Leon

Leon Heller G1HSM

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As always, you are all very helpful - thank you for the information thus far. It's very appreciated!

Does anyone have any links they would be able to share for the FCC testing rules in particular? I'm curious as to the actual threshold for device frequency. Also, I know it would depend on the lab you chose and what exactly is being tested for but can anyone give a ballpark figure of what labs charge?

Also, if your devices uses wireless components that already have FCC certification (like ZigBit,) and your device meets all other guidelines, do you still need to have your device tested?

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If the device has a certified module in it, BUT has a processor of its own, outside of the module, it will still have to be tested. And, very likely, the testing will extend to the wireless frequency, so it will also get tested. What WON'T be tested are carrier characteristics - transmitted power, residence time at any give hop frequency, etc. But, all of the "spurious" stuff will likely get scruitinzed.

FCC rules are in CFR47 (Codified Federal Rules, section 47)., You are particularly interested in Part15, which is here:

http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/c...

Pay special attention to 15.3 (esp 15.3(k), 15.5, 15.14, 15.101, 15.103. Note that 15.3(k) just defines the minimum clock rate to be called a "digital device". You need to check in later sections whether or not your digital device falls into a category needing testing.

Can't check in more detail right now, but if you need help later on, send me a message.

Jim

 

Until Black Lives Matter, we do not have "All Lives Matter"!

 

 

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Thanks Jim, I appreciate the info!