FCC Part 15 Testing

Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Part 15 Testing 

The Federal Code of Regulation (CFR) FCC Part 15 is a common testing standard for most electronic equipment. FCC Part 15 covers the regulations under which an intentional or unintentional (incidental) radiator can be operated without an individual license. FCC Part 15 also covers the technical specifications, administrative requirements, and other conditions relating to the marketing of FCC Part 15 devices. The process for FCC Part 15 compliance is dependent on the type of equipment. Devices fall under either supplier’s declaration of conformity or certification.

See the FCC website for more descriptive information.

FCC Part 15 Subpart A contains specific information regarding testing and certification. Information such as the scope of the rules and legal implications, definitions, prohibition against eavesdropping, labeling, etc.

Definitions of Interest from FCC Part 15: 

Digital Device

“An unintentional radiator (device or system) that generates and uses timing signals or pulses at a rate in excess of 9,000 pulses (cycles) per second and uses digital techniques; inclusive of telephone equipment that uses digital techniques or any device or system that generates and uses radiofrequency energy for the purpose of performing data processing functions such as electronics computations, operations, transformations, recording, filing, sorting, storage, retrieval, or transfer. A radiofrequency device that is specifically subject to an emanation requirement in any other FCC Rule part or an intentional radiator subject to Subpart C of this part that contains a digital device is not subject to the standards for digital devices, provided the digital device is used only the enable operation of the radio frequency device and the digital device does not control additional functions or capabilities.”

FCC Intentional Radiator

“A device that intentionally generates and emits radio frequency energy by radiation or induction.”

FCC Part 15 Class A Digital Device

“A digital device that is marketed for use in a commercial, industrial or business environment, exclusive of a device which is marketed for use by the general public or is intended to be used in the home.”

FCC Part 15 Class B Digital Device

“A digital device that is marketed for use in a residential environment notwithstanding use in commercial, business, and industrial environments. Examples of such devices included, but are not limited to, personal computers, calculators, and similar electronic devices that are marketed for use by the general public.”

VPI offers conformity assessment services aimed at aiding you in fulfilling regulatory prerequisites, streamlining your product’s journey to the market. Leveraging over four decades of experience, our advanced laboratory and abundant resources are finely tuned to cater to your diverse testing needs. In a landscape of evolving technology and shifting regulations, our accumulated wisdom and expertise serve as a dependable companion, ensuring a seamless process for your product’s compliance and certification evaluations. Within the realm of electronic product testing, VPI’s test lab engineers specialize in EMC/EMI testing, providing invaluable insights to navigate your requirements.

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FCC Part 15 Subpart B

Subpart B applies to unintentional radiators. The category of unintentional radiators includes a wide variety of devices that contain clocks or oscillators and logic circuitry but that do not purposely generate radio frequency emissions. Among the common unintentional radiators are personal computers, peripherals, receivers, radios, TV sets, and cable TV home terminals.


The following table from FCC Part 15.101 indicates the classification of these various devices:

Type of Device

Equipment Authorization Required

TV broadcast receiver


FM broadcast receiver


CB receiver

Declaration of Conformity or Certification

Superregenerative receiver

Declaration of Conformity or Certification

Scanning receiver


Radar detector


All other receivers subject to part 15

Declaration of Conformity or Certification

TV interface device

Declaration of Conformity or Certification

Cable system terminal device

Declaration of Conformity

Stand-alone cable input selector switch


Class B personal computers and peripherals

Declaration of Conformity or Certification

CPU boards and internal power supplies used with Class B personal computers

Declaration of Conformity or Certification

Class B personal computers assembled using authorized CPU boards or power supplies

Declaration of Conformity

Class B external switching power supplies


Other Class B digital devices & peripherals


Class A digital devices, peripherals & external switching power supplies


Access Broadband over Power Line (Access BPL)


All other devices



Two levels of radiation and conducted emissions limits for unintentional radiators are specified in FCC Part 15 Subpart B. The two levels are Class A digital devices, the higher or less strict limits, and Class B digital devices, the lower or more strict limits. Manufacturers are encouraged to meet the Class B digital device limits.

FCC Part 15 Subpart C

Subpart C applies to intentional radiators. The various types of intentional radiators covered by Subpart C include cable-locating equipment, cordless telephones, remote control and alarm transmitters, field-disturbance sensors for opening doors, and spread-spectrum systems for wideband data transmission. Intentional radiators governed by FCC Part 15 Subpart C must either have a permanently attached antenna or provide a unique connector to prevent the use of unauthorized antennas. The FCC Part 15 Subpart C rules for operation of radio transmitters detail the fundamental field strength, power, power density, frequency accuracy, and permitted harmonic and spurious emissions.

FCC Part 15 Subpart D

Subpart D outlines the regulations for unlicensed personal communication service (UPCS) devices operating in the 1910 – 1930 MHz frequencies bands.

FCC Part 15 Subpart E

Subpart E sets out the regulations for unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices operating in the 5.15 – 5.35 GHz, 5.47 – 5.725 GHz, and 5.725 – 5.825 GHz bands.

FCC Part 15 Subpart F

Subpart F sets out the regulations for unlicensed ultra-wideband transmission systems.

FCC Part 15 Subpart G

Subpart G sets out the regulations for Access Broadband over Power Line (Access BPL) devices operating in the 1.705-80 MHz band over medium or low voltage lines. This section outlines the geographical area within which Access BPS operations are not permitted in certain frequencies bands.

FCC Part 15 Subpart H

Subpart H sets out the regulations for Television Band Devices (TVBDs) which are unlicensed intentional radiators operating on available channels in the broadcast television frequency bands at 54–60 MHz, 76–88 MHz, 174–216 MHz, 470–608 MHz, and 614–698 MHz bands.

What does it take for a product to be FCC Part 15 certified?

Certification is the most rigorous approval process for RF Devices with the most significant potential to cause harmful interference to radio services. The authorization is issued by an FCC-recognized Telecommunication Certification Body (TCB) based on the evaluation of the documentation submitted by the responsible party. An FCC-recognized accredited testing laboratory must perform testing. Information including the technical parameters and descriptive information for all certified equipment is posted on an FCC-maintained public database.1

1 - Contact

Clients may call or email VPI Laboratories to request information regarding the testing, procedures, and fees for FCC certification of their equipment.

2 - Quote

The information and materials listed under ‘Materials Required for FCC Declaration of Conformity’ lower on this page are required by VPI Laboratories to be able to complete FCC Part 15 Certification. VPI will review the materials when received. If additional information is required, VPI will contact the client.

3 - Work Time

VPI Laboratories will begin work when required information, equipment, purchase order, and required deposit are received. The project can normally be completed within two to four weeks.

4 - Failures

If the equipment fails to meet the test requirements, VPI Laboratories will notify the client to outline the failures. Depending on the service requested by the client, VPI will work to determine and/or correct the possible sources of the failures. If the failures cannot be corrected with the sample VPI has, an outline of where the problems originate and design changes that may correct the failures will be given to the client. If the failures continue, the client may take the following actions:

  1. Schedule time to have an engineer familiar with the design and operation of the equipment come to VPI and assist in finding the proper modifications to the unit.
  2. Send a list of possible modifications for VPI personnel to make on the unit.
  3. Send a unit with modifications already installed.

If the problems cannot be resolved in a reasonable length of time, the client will be invoiced for the work completed to date on a prorated basis. VPI will continue to assist the client in any way. A new quote will be issued for the remaining work once the corrections have been made.

5 - Completion

After the satisfactory completion of the tests, VPI Laboratories will organize the test data and filing materials into a complete FCC report. A copy of the report will be delivered electronically to the client for their records. The FCC report will be submitted to the Telecommunications Certification Body (TCB) for approval through the FCC.

6 - TCB Grant

The FCC has created the Telecommunication Certification Body (TCB) program to allow independent laboratories to provide equipment certification through the FCC. VPI Laboratories will use a TCB which means that we can now grant the equipment certification through the TCB program. Once all the necessary documents are received, the FCC TCB Grant process normally takes about one to three weeks. Or you have the option of using a TCB of your choice.

Congratulations! The equipment can now be sold in the U.S. as a Part 15 Certified device.

Materials required for FCC Part 15 Certification:

  • Equipment: One (1) set of the equipment to be certified. The interconnecting cables, power supplies, and software must be included. If the equipment is a computer peripheral, it must be tested with a host computer. The host computer must have the necessary software installed to interface with the equipment under test. Any additional peripherals needed to form a complete “system” are required.
  • Client’s contact name, address, and phone number.
  • Applicant company name and address.
  • Manufacturer company name and address.
  • FCC Identification number.*
  • Model number(s) and/or trade name(s) of the equipment to be certified. Specify differences between the multiple model numbers.
  • Schematic diagram(s) of equipment being certified.
  • Block diagram showing the signal paths and clock frequencies of the equipment being certified.
  • User’s operating/installation manual which contains the required FCC statements.*
  • Additional instructions if needed for VPI to operate and install the equipment properly for testing.
  • The actual FCC label is to be affixed to the device. This may be submitted as a photograph, engineering drawing, or actual sample.*
  • A diagram showing the FCC label placement on the equipment.

* Additional information is available from VPI explaining these requirements.