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EMC Compliance in the USA

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EMC compliance is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations (47CFR). Part 15 of these regulations covers specific rules for radio frequency devices, including intentional transmitters (mobile phones) and non-intentional radiators (PCs and TV receivers). Part 18 of regulations covers Industrial Scientific Medical (ISM) equipment, but only those that specifically designed to generate and use radio frequency energy, similar to Group 2 equipment outlined in CISPR 11, EMC requirements for ISM equipment (EN55011 for European Union certification).

The FCC requirements only relate to radiated and conducted emissions. There are no immunity limits, which are associated with European EMC Certification.

There are two sets of limits for Part 15, which relate to the intended environment of the product. Class A limits cover commercial and industrial environments, and Class B relates to residential environments. Class B limits are more severe than Class A. The limits specified in CISPR 22 (Revision 2) are also accepted by the FCC, but measurements above 1GHz may be required.

With recent changes in the FCC requirements, certification has moved to a predominantly self-certification regime from one of type approval. There are now three main routes to compliance:
  • Verification,
  • Declaration of conformity (DoC), and
  • Certification.


The route used is specified in the rules and depends on the type of product, see table below for examples.

Part 15


Type of DeviceCertification
TV broadcast receiversDoC
FM broadcast recieversDoC
CB receiversDoC
Scanning receiversCertification
All other receivers to Part 15DoC
Class B PC and PeripheralsDoC
CPU boards and PSUDoC
Class A digital devicesVerification

Verification is a totally self-certification process, where the manufacturer tests his product, prepares a technical report demonstrating compliance. The Technical documentation must be retained and, if required, submitted to the FCC on request. The DoC route is the same, except that testing must be carried out in an NVLAP or A2LA accredited laboratory. The certification process requires approval by the FCC or a Telecoms Certification Body (TCB). TCBs are private organizations accredited to carry out certification approvals.

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