CE and FCC Certification of Gadgeteer boards

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been asked this question by my students and some of the people in industry and to be honest I’ve wondered about it myself.

From my knowledge, electronic products that are sold in the US need to have an FCC marking and in the UK a CE marking to show that they meet compliance. However the boards that we use from GHI don’t have any such markings.

I’ve also noted that boards from people like XYLINX etc also don’t have a compliance marking. Is there some regulation under which these boards fall that allows for this?

I’m also asking in the context of the use of the boards in custom designs that we create using the GHI hardware and sell to customers.

I hope I’ve explained what I’m mulling over. If anyone can help me to understand I would really appreciate it, this whole issue of compliance is very confusing!


I believe certifications are done on complete products, not components.

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Maybe “off-topic” but CE is abused by Chinese manufacturers as the China Export label, have a look at the picture… It’s just something I had to bring under the attention in my current position where we had real CE devices but labeled with the China Export label…

Do they have no shame…? Thanks for the info.

But its much easier to get a certification for your product if you are using components with a certification !
Most of switching power supply modules have a CE certification and I would not use one in my products without this certification.

Thanks for the info about China Export label !!

Hi Everyone,
Apologies for the late reply. I was actually thought that no one had responded because I didn’t get my customary email notification (I probably forgot to check an option somewhere!)

Thank you to ALL for the responses.

Based on your replies and echoing the concerns of Lutz1, I would hate to get to the point of certifying my product to get a ‘surprise’. Of particular interest are the operating frequencies of these devices 72MHz, 168MHz, 240MHz. These are significantly high operating frequencies.

Another interesting point would be the designation of the GHI products, such as the mainboards and modules, as components vs. products. Is there any clear definition of what a product vs. a component is? Devices such as the Gadgeteer units etc. have been created to facilitate the work of product developer as well as aspiring hobbyist and students. In the educational environment students would use these boards as an experimental platform for learning programming for example. In this case this work may be done in a controlled laboratory but many students would also take the equipment home and continue to use the development boards and modules. In this example is the equipment functioning as an end product and furthermore should there be concern about the level of EM waves that are generated by the devices etc.

Thats what I am wrestling with at the moment. It would seem that these modules and mainboards are considered to be components. I am guessing that the designation of component vs. product is done by the manufacturer. End use of the equipment is dependent on the user/consumer. If I am applying the equipment in a manner where the intent is that of a product scenario then I must take responsibility for ensuring that the required compliance is adhered to.

Please see the following:
[em]The Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Directive 2004/108/EC is one a series of measures introduced under Article 100a of the Treaty of Rome. The Directive is one of the widest in its application and all electrical products must comply whether they are mains or battery powered. The only exceptions are for components or sub-assemblies with no intrinsic function (i.e. their use cannot be defined unless they are combined with other components) and certain electrical products and systems which are already covered by other directives.
Please feel free to disagree/correct me anyone with more experience.

I think this really needs clarifying. CE and FCC certification can be very expensive and if all modules and main boards need certifying then… worrying.

I disagree that a “compiled project” (where you’ve used a handful of Gadgeteer devices connected together) and a “product” (where you would need certification) are the same.

A Gadgeteer mainboard is a development tool, and I suspect that even in small run assembled projects would still be deemed components. Compare that to a Cobra II that has CE and FCC certification. It is clearly GHIs intent to provide customers with the approved building block that can be used as the core component for products.

I think GHI has a perfect balanced view on this, if you look at the G120HDR that comes with CE :wink:

Hi Guys,

I agree with Brett. From what I’ve gathered thus far in my research the need for (or not for) compliance is based on the intended application of your creation.

If all I will be doing is tinkering in my home or research area then this is my ‘project/research’ but if I’ve decide to smack them together to create an end user product that I will be selling to customers then it’s on me to see about getting my ‘product’ certified. I see it as analogous to someone buying a set of ICs and designing a PCB toward creating a product that they want to put on the market. At some point you have to certify the product.

You see the quandary for me is that my students, for example, buy these boards to learn to programme C# etc. So there in the lab, in their dorm in the cafeteria, they’re using these mainboards and modules like you would a Lego Mindstorms, VEX or Raspberry PI kit. What if the products are not compliant, are they disrupting the EM environment in which they are working.

On another note, I have read of other members of the community who have indicated that they are using the boards and modules which do not currently indicate certification for products for their ‘customers’. So again another grey area.

Again taking point from Lutz1, using certified modules in your product goes a long way to ensuring that the end device is compliant. I’m checking the standards right now to verify whether if having ALL/ ONLY certified modules in your product would exempt you from the need to undertake certification (i.e. your compliant by default). I will update as I learn more, these standards are some heavy reading…

Finally, I think you guys might find this to be a really good read:

It’s about the Raspberry PI and the process that they went though to get compliance (yup that little cutey is compliant!). The reference to the ‘China Export’ label is hilarious!

G120, G120HDR and cobra are already certified FCC, CE and more. See product pages please.

So I still think it’s unlikely that anyone will move from an environment where the “bits” they use is unnecessary to certify (spider and a handful of modules for instance) and then move to commercial product (spider and handful of modules, in pretty case). It’s more likely they’d move from prototype product (spider + modules) to small run (spider + modules + case) to full product (custom PCB with integrated modules and EMX module) and the last one is the point where it’s important. As Gus has said the newest lines are all the best option here, so going from an EMX to a G120 is a relatively easy change, and would still be easy since the G120 has the core CE cert.
(Edited for G120/G200 correction :slight_smile: )

G120, not G200 :slight_smile:

I like to add that GHI can get your design through FCC/CE if the cost (in thousands) is within your budget.