#TindieChat Transcript Feb 28, 2017 - Certifications

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Jasmine BrackettJasmine Brackett 02/28/2017 at 20:310 Comments

Jasmine Brackett says:2 hours ago

Hello Everyone! We're about to start this month's TindieChat!

Sophi says:2 hours ago
We have a list of really interesting questions to discuss :

Sophi says:2 hours ago
This is a chat where people can share their experiences and an ask general about getting certifications. However, please be aware that we're not lawyers and can't answer very specific questions. You still need to do your due diligence for your specific situation.

Jasmine Brackett says:2 hours ago
Before we get into individual questions, I'd like you to let us know:

- Who here has a product with FCC, CE, or OSHAC?

- And for FCC/CE did you do it in-house or use another company?

Gordon Williams says:2 hours ago
The Espruino Original and Pico boards I sell have CE and RoHS - I got them certified by an external company

Sophi says:2 hours ago
@Gordon Williams how much did it cost?

Sophi says:2 hours ago
And did you have to send the boards away to get them certified?

todbot says:an hour ago

Our blink(1) USB light is getting FCC & CE marks for current production run

Gordon Williams says:an hour ago

@Sophi I can't remember exactly how much it was, but it was around $1500 if I recall - I'll check now. And yes, I had to send (just one) away.

Max Vilimpoc says:an hour ago

@Gordon Williams: What kind of documentation did you have to provide?

Dirty Engineer says:an hour ago

did it pass first try?Sophi says:an hour ago

@Gordon Williams how long did it take to get back?

Max Vilimpoc says:an hour ago

@Gordon Williams Did they tell you what they had to check?

Gordon Williams says:an hour ago

Just checked. CE and RoHS came to $1300 - that's via Seeed, using SGS for one board and Shenzen CTL for the other. I can't remember exactly - it was maybe 2 weeks?

Gordon Williams says:an hour ago

I didn't have to provide any documentation - but it's possible that Seeed did - and yes, it passed first time

Gordon Williams says:an hour ago

They give you a test report showing how well it did and whether it passed. However at the end of the day *I* have to sign the declaration

Gordon Williams says:an hour ago

I think. Could be wrong there - it was over a year ago now

todbot says:an hour ago

My experiences are the same as @Gordon Williams: we use Seeed for assembly and they handled the FCC & CE tests. We had to submit fully-assembled samples. And it cost about the same. We were just going for FCC Unintentional Radiator test and CE EMC & LVP directives

Jasmine Brackett says:an hour ago

@todbot - are part way through the process? Is it similar to Gordon's experience so far? GOrdon is based in the UK and you're in CA, USA.

Jasmine Brackett says:an hour ago

:)Dirty Engineer says:an hour ago

interesting.. cheaper than I thought.

todbot says:an hour ago

I think both of these examples are non-RF devices. It gets expensive fast if you don't use pre-certified modules

todbot says:an hour ago

If you use pre-certified modules, then I think you can do FCC unintentional radiator tests for the most part

Jasmine Brackett says:an hour ago

Good to know.

Gordon Williams says:an hour ago

Yes, it was cheaper than I thought too. As @todbot says I intentionally used modules for Puck.js because I'd heard scary things about CE certifying wireless stuff

Jasmine Brackett says:an hour ago

Can you do FCC & CE at the same time? Is it just different declarations?

todbot says:an hour ago

Yes, you can do FCC & CE at the same time. Different tests officially but I suspect the tests are very similar.

Jasmine Brackett says:an hour ago

Has anyone done certification not through Seeed?

Gordon Williams says:an hour ago

I was Seeed both times - I'd be interested to hear others experience though

Jasmine Brackett says:an hour ago

They do seeem to be the favorite.

Ben Hencke says:an hour ago

Is CE the European equivalent of the FCC?

Shulie Tornel says:an hour ago

Just tweeted out to tindie seee if anyone has experience with non-seeed

Radomir Dopieralski says:an hour ago

isn't CE a do-it-yourself thing?

todbot says:an hour ago

I've gotten quotes from Intertek US ($15k for an FCC Intentional Radiator cert for a contract non-module Bluetooth project) and TUV America ($5k for FCC Unintentional Radiator for a contract USB device)

Radomir Dopieralski says:an hour ago

in that you certify that the product fits the norms, but it's actually your responsibility to do the testing?

Jasmine Brackett says:an hour ago

There's some quit good info about the steps for CE here: Launchbury-Clark says:an hour ago

@Ben Hencke In this instance pretty much. A CE mark means that the product complies with the relevant standards and tests for that type of of product. Low risk products you can sign off yourself. Higher risk products such as medical devices have to be inspected by an approved agency.

Dorijan says:an hour ago

@todbot how much did you pay for bluetooth licenses? Was it regular Bluetooth or BLE?

Jasmine Brackett says:an hour ago

TI also has some info about FCC for bluetooth products - Engineer says:an hour ago

just the symbol...?

todbot says:an hour ago

@Dorijan: I didn't personally do any of the Bluetooth licensing. It was a EE contract gig

Sophi says:an hour ago

I've done self certifying for CE

Gordon Williams says:an hour ago

I could be wrong here, but especially with the Nordic chips I thought Bluetooth certification was basically built in - hence the faff with the pre-compiled binary blob

Max Vilimpoc says:an hour ago

I think you still have to register w/the Bluetooth SIG the QDID of the module.

todbot says:an hour ago

If we're doing links, this one from SparkFun is also good wrt FCC & RF:

Max Vilimpoc says:an hour ago

IIRC also you have to pay something like $2500 - $4k to the Bluetooth SIG, even when you're using someone's precertified module...

todbot says:an hour ago

another bookmark, about CE and is various sub-directives:

Jasmine Brackett says:an hour ago

This article is a little old, but it's a good getting started guide to FCC

Jasmine Brackett says:an hour ago

Is anyone thinking about self assessment for Open Source Hardware Association Certification?

Max Vilimpoc says:an hour ago

@Sophi When you self certified for CE, what documentation did you compile?

Max Vilimpoc says:an hour ago

And did the device involve wireless?

Dorijan says:an hour ago

i have the same information. You have to buy Bluetooth Mac and it can cost up to 8000$ if you are not part of the Bluetooth alliance.

But I am curious if it is the same for BLE. because 15k$ + 8k$ is a bit much for a first product.

Professor Fartsparkles says:an hour ago

Is this Unintentional Radiator certification something you need to do everytime you have any sort of RF hardware in your product, even if its just an off the shelf wifi usb dongle?

Sophi says:an hour ago

@Max Vilimpoc, it was mostly paperwork. Listing all the parts which were already CE certified, then signing off on the equipment

Max Vilimpoc says:an hour ago

@Dorijanj Ahh the Bluetooth SIG has an intro rate of $2500 for companies w/revenue of less than $1M/year:

Max Vilimpoc says:an hour ago

Also, IIRC the higher cost is if you want them to assign you well-known BLE Service UUID or Characteristic UUIDs.

Max Vilimpoc says:an hour ago

@Sophi Is there an example / template Declaration of Conformity out there somewhere?Dorijan says:an hour ago

for CE un intentional radiator with all voltages under 50V you have to provide technical folder consisting of at least: schematic, layout, BOM with declaration for every component that it complies with RoHs directive,

Sophi says:an hour ago

@Max Vilimpoc yes, we started off with a template. sec, let me see if I can find something similar

Jasmine Brackett says:43 minutes ago

You can download an example form from this link

Max Vilimpoc says:43 minutes ago

This is very useful.

Sophi says:42 minutes ago

here's another one:

Ben Hencke says:41 minutes ago

Are there exceptions for diy or hobbyist projects? I can imagine a few $k being a non starter for many hobbyist projects I'd like to sell on tindie. Where is that line where certification becomes a requirement

Dorijan says:41 minutes ago

@Professor Fartsparkles

un intentional radiator is for non RF devices. RF also has to hqve intentional radiation and power certified. and unintentional radiation is measured to a higher frequency.

Professor Fartsparkles says:41 minutes ago

oh ok

Jasmine Brackett says:40 minutes ago

Basically, you do need certification, but you can sell kits (that require soldering) with a pre-certified component.

Jasmine Brackett says:40 minutes ago

That's one reason why there are a lot of kits on Tindie.

todbot says:39 minutes ago

Can the "kit" be "put PCBA into plastic enclosure" or do you need to have it be soldered? :)

Jasmine Brackett says:38 minutes ago

You can't just leave a knob off or not put it in a case and say it's a kit. It requires assembly. If it has to be soldered, you are on the safe side of this rule.

Ben Hencke says:38 minutes ago

Jasmine, thanks that helps!

Jasmine Brackett says:37 minutes ago

Ok, any other questions or insights about FCC / CE? If not, we'll move onto Open Source Hardware Association Certification.

Max Vilimpoc says:36 minutes ago

So wait, just to be clear, if I use a precert BLE module in an end product, I still have to throw it into certification?

Max Vilimpoc says:36 minutes ago

Intentional RF certification?

Jasmine Brackett says:35 minutes ago

I think by putting it in something else, you can potentially change the properties, so it needs to be checked again.

Sophi says:35 minutes ago


Jasmine Brackett says:35 minutes ago

So yes.

Max Vilimpoc says:35 minutes ago

Even if you're following the module design rules and the case is RF transparent?

Sophi says:35 minutes ago

The end product always has to be certified

Sophi says:35 minutes ago

if it is a radiator

Dirty Engineer says:34 minutes ago

there's a good book on tindie that details getting a product certified.

Dirty Engineer says:34 minutes ago

or there was....

Jasmine Brackett says:34 minutes ago


Gordon Williams says:34 minutes ago

Just IMO, but with CE you can self-certify? So if your module is certified and you're confident that you aren't doing anything to mess it up, it could be fine to certify it yourself

Gordon Williams says:33 minutes ago

(for CE)

Jasmine Brackett says:33 minutes ago

Sorry I didn't get Andy on this chat.

Sophi says:32 minutes ago

I think you can self-certify for most parts of CE

Sophi says:31 minutes ago

but I believe there are additional requirements for noise and radiators

Gordon Williams says:31 minutes ago

Ahh, could be :(

Sophi says:31 minutes ago

here's some info about noise:

Max Vilimpoc says:30 minutes ago

Is there anyone here who has used a precert module and gone through the process of putting it on the market?

Professor Fartsparkles says:30 minutes ago

what if I sell to just on entity, e.g. have a contract with them to do specific piece of electronics for them and dont sell to the public, does that make any difference? Does customer then have to certify the product if they want to use it for themself?

Jasmine Brackett says:28 minutes ago

You can develop your own items and there is a little leeway for demo items or prototypes. I think it's 1-5 units

Professor Fartsparkles says:27 minutes ago

for the US or EU or both?

Jasmine Brackett says:27 minutes ago


Jasmine Brackett says:26 minutes ago

Also, if they contract you to make something for them, then you can use what you want. It's only if you're going to replicate and sell.

Jasmine Brackett says:25 minutes ago

that you need to make sure it's certified.

Jasmine Brackett says:25 minutes ago

Ok. 5 mins left. :)

Jasmine Brackett says:25 minutes ago

How many of you have Open Source Hardware products, and who is thinking about it but not taken the plunge?

todbot says:25 minutes ago

blink(1) IS OSHW certified

Jasmine Brackett says:25 minutes ago

For certification

Jasmine Brackett says:24 minutes ago

I heard it's one of the first pieces of hardware to be part of the OSHWA Open Source Hardware Certification program.

todbot says:24 minutes ago


Jasmine Brackett says:24 minutes ago

Well done!

todbot says:24 minutes ago

haha, thanks

Jasmine Brackett says:24 minutes ago

Was it an easy process?

Sophi says:24 minutes ago

congrats @todbot!

Jasmine Brackett says:24 minutes ago

to get certified?

Professor Fartsparkles says:23 minutes ago

I'm thinking about doing an oshw product from time to time, at some point I'll just do something an see how it goes. As long as I don't have to certify the entry costs are luckily very low

todbot says:22 minutes ago

yes, it's really a self-certification process, mostly to let others know that you value open source. the OSHWA org is not an enforcement agency. They do look over your submission to see if you've made as much of your design open as possible and use compatible licenses.

Jasmine Brackett says:21 minutes ago

Registration is free, so it's low.

Gordon Williams says:21 minutes ago

Personally I'm not sure how I feel about the OSHW certification yet so I'm holding off on it. Last thing I need is more paperwork :)

todbot says:20 minutes ago

basically if you have a github of your firmware source, schematics in readable form, and similar source material, you can get OSHW certified pretty easily. If you want to keep proprietary stuff, then you'll have a harder time

Jasmine Brackett says:19 minutes ago

@Gordon, your puck.js is open source and hardware, isn't it?

Gordon Williams says:19 minutes ago

Yes, totally. All on GitHub

Jasmine Brackett says:18 minutes ago

Very nice!

Jasmine Brackett says:18 minutes ago

Alright. I think it's about time to wrap up.

todbot says:18 minutes ago

it sounds like then if you want to fill out the form here (more paperwork!): you could get one of your projects certified

Philip says:17 minutes ago

I sell two products on Tindie that are open source, and considered OSHW cert the day it came out. After reading through all the legal stuff, I couldn't see the point.

Gordon Williams says:17 minutes ago

I just feel a bit iffy about having to register with a central authority - seems kind of against my view of OSHW being a nice, free, decentralised kind of thing. I'm not against it, I'm just not in a massive rush to do it :)

Sophi says:17 minutes ago

hi Philip!

Philip says:17 minutes ago

Hi Sophi !!

todbot says:16 minutes ago

The point is to let other people know you are OSHW. At least that's my read on it. The open gear logo has been bastardized by non-open companies. By having a minimum of oversight, the OSHW logo becomes a useful mark to customers who want to support open hardware

Jasmine Brackett says:16 minutes ago

I think a lot of it is about showing your support for open hardware and also making it easy for other people who want to buy open hardware to find you.

Jasmine Brackett says:12 minutes ago

Thanks again everyone for taking part. You're free to hang out here and carry on chatting. Or going over to and registering your product. :)

Jasmine Brackett says:12 minutes ago

If you have any other tips or recommended companies for certification, please let us know.

Philip says:12 minutes ago

My issue was the need to sign a legal document that included penalties on me if someone felt I was not living up to their standards. In return I get a sticker. I couldn't sign something like that without getting a lawyer to review it, and that is $$$. Since I've been selling my open source products on Tindie for a little over a year, I have not had a single complaint or request with regard to my "open-ness", so I don't see how OSHW cert is going to find me more customers, or change my fully open approach to date. vs lawyer fees.

todbot says:11 minutes ago

yes, that is a problem and I think the OSHW people are trying to figure how to do create a logomark that has some sort of strength behind it while not being a burden to those want to use it ethically

Professor Fartsparkles says:9 minutes ago

from what I can read it seems that if you are doing something they dont like, all you have to do is to remove the logo again from your product if you want to avoid any sort of trouble in the first place

Professor Fartsparkles says:9 minutes ago

doesnt sound very threatning

Sophi says:9 minutes ago

thank you @Jasmine Brackett, lots of great info here

Philip says:9 minutes ago

It is if it is in the silk-screen of 300 PCBs

Professor Fartsparkles says:8 minutes ago

I doubt they force you to do it retroactively

Professor Fartsparkles says:7 minutes ago

I just sounds like they want to avoid shady kickstarter from slapping the logo on their closed souce product that allows you to run arduino code on it

todbot says:5 minutes ago

Exactly. They're trying to solve the problem of "how can users identify products believe in open hardware"? We as engineers can dive into the engineering docs and see that, oh no wait, these aren't all the schematics and there's no firmware source here, just object files. But not everyone is that saavy. How do you help those people?

Jasmine Brackett says:3 minutes ago

Looking at the certification website, you get notified twice of infringement and then after 120 days they will put you on the naughty list on the site. They only seek punitive amounts after 6 months and in that time you can stop using the mark and they will leave you alone

Jasmine Brackett says:3 minutes ago

More info here:

Philip says:2 minutes ago

I don't have a solution to that problem, On the other hand, if you aren't savy enough to tell it isn't open enough, are you savy enough to do anything with open sources :-)

Jasmine Brackett says:a few seconds ago

Food for thought. I have to run. Hope you all have a great week.

Jasmine Brackett says:a few seconds ago

Catch you next month. Topic tbc - let me know if you have suggestions.

Jasmine Brackett says:a few seconds ago

Bye bye