CC256x FCC Certification Guide

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Introduction

In order to sell your Bluetooth product in EU and on the North American market, your equipment needs to comply with the regulatory requirements of FCC (Federal Communications Committee), European Commission (R&TTE) and IC (Industry Canada). This page aims to speed up the FCC certification process for designs using the CC256x Bluetooth device.

FCC certification

Fcc logo black.png

Under Part 15 of the FCC rules, all electronic devices with a clock or oscillator exceeding 9 kHz need to be verified that they are not causing harmful radiated emissions. FCC Part 15 covers unintentional testing and evaluation as well as low power un-licensed transmitters. In addition, all transmitters must be registered and certified by the FCC to  ensure they are not causing harmful emissions and interference on regulated frequencies.


Section 15.209 of the radio contains general radiated emission limits that apply to all Part 15 transmitters using frequencies at and above 9kHz. Section 15.247 and 15.249 give more detailed information about the emission requirements in the unlicenced 2.4GHz ISM band.


There are two ways of getting a FCC certification, either directly from the FCC or through a TCB (Telecommunications Certification Body). For almost all devices one can chose either to use a TCB or FCC for the certification, the exception is when the equipment uses new technology or when the test methods are undefined or unclear – then FCC is the only party that can provide certification.

FCC ID

The FCC-ID is a unique identifier, 4-17 characters, for the equipment and consists of two elements, the Grantee Code and the Equipment Product Code. The Grantee code is a three character alphanumeric string representing the Grantee/Applicant. The Grantee Code always begins with an alphabetic character and does not contain the numbers one and/or zero. The Grantee Code is assigned by the Commission permanently to a company for authorization of all radio frequency equipment.The Product Code is the non-grantee code portion of the FCC ID that begins after the first three characters. The Product Code may include hyphens and/or dashes (-). The Product code shall consist of minimum 1 and maximum 14 characters. An example would be: FCC ID: Z64-CC256XEM. and Z64-2564N

The FFC-ID must be permanently marked either directly on the transmitter, or on a tag that is permanently affixed to it. The FCC ID label must be readily visible to the purchaser at the time of purchase.


Note : The URL of the FCCID on the FCC database changes periodically. Thus it is not possible to bookmark the URL for long time. In order to search the FCC reports more efficiently, one of these methods can be used.
1. Search on the FCC ID Search form using the 'Grantee Code'(Z64) only and then manually find individual reports in the result table.
2. Alternatively, use FCCID.io database to search for Z64-CC256XEM or Z64-2564N FCCIDs and get access to the same information.


Documentation

The following information must be submitted for FCC certification:

  • Cover Letter
  • Test Report from Lab
  • User's Manual
  • Schematics with part list
  • Block Diagram
  • Photo of the Test Setup
  • Internal/External photos
  • FCC ID label and placement on device
  • Operational description

Product changes

There are several permissive changes (PC)/modifications that can be made to an RF device without the need for filing for a new equipment authorization, however changes to the basic frequency determining and stabilizing circuitry (including clock and data rate), frequency multiplication stages, basic modulator circuit or maximum power or field strength will always require a new FCC ID and a new equipment authorization to the FCC. There are 3 – three – classes of permissive changes:

  • Class 1: Changes that do not degrade the characteristics reported to the FCC and do not require a modification of the grant – No Filing is required
  • Class 2: Changes that degrade the performance reported to the FCC but are still in compliance with the limits and changes to the grant – Filing required
  • Class 3: Changes to software for a software defined/cognitive radio – Filing required

Class 1 changes could be changes on digital traces Please note that if there are no filing required there is a requirement to document the changes. If uncertain whether the change is a Class1 or Class 2 permissive change please consult with subject matter experts prior to asking the certification test house / TCB for guidance.

Class 2 changes could be a chip replacement of portions of the transmitter that performs some sub-functions such as an amplifier chip or for instance a oscillator chip. A class 2 change requires a description of the changes done and a re-test is needed to show that the devices are still in compliance and a test report showing compliance with the rules shall be provided to FCC. A class 2 change requires a filing to the FCC but the FCC ID will not changed.

Code Example

So, you want to FCC/ETSI certify your awesome Bluetooth low energy solution? This (short) step by step guide shows one way of adding test modes to your current solution. To see some code example used for FCC/ETSI test, have a look here:

BLE Test Cases

The tests that are assumed to be run are:

  • TM1: TX MODE CH 0(2402 MHz)
  • TM2: TX MODE CH 59(2441 MHz)
  • TM3: TX MODE CH 39(2480 MHz)
  • TM4: TX MODE no modulation (CW) CH 59 (2441 MHz)
  • TM5: RX MODE CH 0 (2402 MHz)
  • TM6: RX MODE CH 59 (2441 MHz)
  • TM7: RX MODE CH 39 (2480 MHz)

NOTES: TM4: TX mode with no modulation is required for testing in China, Japan, and South Korea only. RF connector: Testing must be at antenna connector for countries in Asia. Provide samples with rf connector (such as SMA) for testing. Supply voltage: Testing must be done with supply voltage variations. Provide samples with a connection for DC input voltage from an external bench power supply. Please include clear instructions for operating the test tool or software used to operate the radio in the above test modes.

There is not test command to place the BLE in hopping mode; however, the following data can be used to do the required calculations. BLE has four modes of operation. For each use case, the worst case scenario is provided.

BLE Mode Description
Undirect Advertisement

3 packets over 3 channels, repeating over advertisement period (20ms).
Maximum TX time per packet is 376uS.

Direct Advertisement

3 packets over 3 channels, repeating over a minimum of 3.75msec. Our system sends them at least every 2.5msec.
Maximum TX time per packet is 176uS.

Connection - Multiple Connection

Maximum TX time: 328uS, Minimum RX time: 380uS. Our system limits to 2 packet pairs in a raw, then switch frequency.
Therefore, worst case is 10msec connection interval, out of which 2 x 328uS TX time.

Connection - Single Connection

Maximum TX time: 328uS, Minimum RX time: 380uS. When no other (BT/BLE) connection exists, we allow to extend the transmission interval to up to 6 BT frames, in which 7 packet pairs can be exchanged.
Therefore, worst case is 10msec connection interval, out of which 7 x 328uS TX time.


BT Test Cases

Below are the test configuration modes for Classic BT:

  • TM1: TX MODE GFSK CH 0(2402 MHz) 3Mbit
  • TM2: TX MODE GFSK CH 59(2441 MHz) 3Mbit
  • TM3: TX MODE GFSK CH 39(2480 MHz) 3Mbit
  • TM4: TX MODE 8DPSK CH 0(2402 MHz) 3Mbit
  • TM5: TX MODE 8DPSK CH 59(2441 MHz) 3Mbit
  • TM6: TX MODE 8DPSK CH 39(2480 MHz) 3Mbit
  • TM7: π/4-DQPSK modulation CH 0(2402 MHz)
  • TM8: π/4-DQPSK modulation CH 59(2441 MHz)
  • TM9: π/4-DQPSK modulation CH 39(2480 MHz)
  • TM10: AFH (Adaptive Frequency Hopping) mode
  • TM11: Hopping on all channels with data packet mode DH1
  • TM12: Hopping on all channels with data packet mode DH3
  • TM13: Hopping on all channels with data packet mode DH5
  • TM14: TX MODE no modulation (CW) CH 59 (2441 MHz)
  • TM15: RX MODE CH 0 (2402 MHz)
  • TM16: RX MODE CH 59 (2441 MHz)
  • TM17: RX MODE CH 39 (2480 MHz)

NOTES: TM14: TX mode with no modulation is required for testing in China, Japan, and South Korea only. RF connector: Testing must be at antenna connector for Asian countries. Provide samples with rf connector (such as SMA) for testing. Supply voltage: Testing must be done with supply voltage variations. Provide samples with a connection for DC input voltage from an external bench power supply. Please include clear instructions for operating the test tool or software used to operate the radio in the above test modes.

CE certification

CE logo.png

In order to CE Mark and place any radio equipment on the market in EU you need to demonstrate compliance with the R&TTE directive. CE marking is a mandatory conformance mark on products placed on the European market. A CE mark indicates that the manufacturer or its authorized EU representative has declared that the product or equipment complies with all applicable European Directives, and enables the free movements of product within the European market. The CE marking is a declaration by the manufacturer, importer, or the entity first placing the product on the market that the product conforms to the appropriate directives. This is confirmed by the legally binding signature on the Declaration of Conformity.


The R&TTE directive relies for its operation on Harmonized Standards developed by the recognized European Standards Organizations. These Harmonized Standards define technical characteristics which can be used to meet the essetnial requirements of the Directive, as:

  • Protection of health and safety
  • Electromagnetic compatibility
  • Effective use of the radio spectrum


For Short Range Devices operating in the 2.4GHz ISM band the relevant Harmonized Standards are::

  • EN 50371 - compliance to human exposure to electromagnetic fields'
  • EN 300 328 - radio equipment testing of data transmission equipment operating in the 2.4GHz ISM
  • EN 301 489 - electromagnetic compatibility


Download the Harmonized Standards for free at www.etsi.org.
There are several routes to demonstrate compliance with the R&TTE Directive, for most cases meeting with the requirements of the relevant Harmonized Standards will provide presumption of conformity required thus enabling you to sign a Declaration of Conformity with confidence. A certified test house will provide the necessary guidance and help required to place your radio product on the market.

Industry Canada (IC) certification

Industry Canada (IC) is the Canadian authorities for certifications and standards making. As for FCC certification can either be done through IC or a TCB. For an IC certification one is required to have a Canadian representative, and IC requires that a confirmation letter from the representative is submitted with the application.


IC-ID

As for equipment intended for the US market the radio/EVM needs to be marked with the IC-ID. The IC-ID consists of two pars; Company Number (CN) and a Unique Product Number(UPN) which is chosen by the manufacturer. To optain a CN number use the E-filling system, when submitted the required information an e-mail will be sent with the CN.

An excamble would be: IC: 451H-2541SENSOR


Documentation

The following information must be submitted for IC certification:

  1. A completed and signed original copy of Appendix A ― Application and Agreement for Certification Services;#a covering letter explaining the type of certification services requested and a brief description of the radio equipment;
  2. A completed and signed original copy of Appendix B ― Test Report Cover Sheet;
  3. A detailed test report meeting the technical requirements of the applicable Radio Standards Specification (RSS);
  4. A completed and signed copy of Appendix (A and B) or C of RSS-102 - Radio Frequency Exposure Compliance of Radiocommunication Apparatus (All Frequency Bands);
  5. Photographs and product literature of the new model;
  6. Achematic diagrams and block diagrams; and
  7. A drawing, sample or illustration of the product label.


There is no need for extra RF testing when applying for certification in Canada if the equipment is already certified by FCC and meets the following conditions:

  1. The test report must be less than one year old
  2. The test house must have their Test Site (OATS or Anechoic chamber) approved by IC
  3. A cross-reference table must be submitted with the test report to show that the equipment meets all of the applicable Canadian requirements.


Useful tips

  • Recommended Test House: Nemko
  • Do a pre scan at a test house early in design
  • Put ferrites or chokes on external cables extension
  • Add “in country” to statement about Canadian representative
  • Need test mode for AFH with 20 channels selected centered at 2441 for Japan
  • For fcc the grantee code is 3 characters if assigned before May 1, 2013, or 5 characters after May 1, 2013

Useful Resources

http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engineering_Technology/Public_Notices/2000/da000705.doc

https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/kdb/forms/FTSSearchResultPage.cfm?id=41677&switch=P