Author Archive

Wireless & Radio Regulations Changing for FCC & RE Directive

by admin on Apr.16, 2014, under Europe, Wireless

At last week’s TCB Council Workshop in Baltimore, TCBs – including MET Labs – were given an update on upcoming wireless regulatory and compliance changes. Here are the most notable.

The FCC released a First Report and Order (ET Docket No. 13-49) on April 1, 2014 allowing devices in the U-NII-1 band to operate with higher power. The R&O also allows this band to be used outdoors, whereas this has only been an indoor band previously. Some of the key points in the First R&O are:

  • Devices operating in the U-NII-1 band will be allowed 30 dBm (1 W) conducted power, a PSD of 17 dBm/MHz and an allowance of a 6 dBi antenna. However, the maximum EIRP above 30 degrees elevation is limited to 21 dBm. 
  • The upper edge of the U-UNII-3 band has been extended by 25 MHz. Therefore, the band is now 5.725 – 5.850 GHz which is in line with the 15.247 DTS band. Both rule parts will be consolidated.
  • Bin1 radar waveform will be updated to better account for actual Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) waveforms.

For equipment that is already certified, a Class II Permissive Change may be performed to update the device to the new rules. A Class II PC is performed when there are changes to the radio, such as addition of new antenna or if a rule change allows for additional provisions.

The new rules will take effect 30 days after being published in the Federal Register.  The publish date is expected soon.

The FCC has also updated the TCB Exclusion list. The exclusion list is now “empty.” Therefore, TCBs can now grant almost all applications, including equipment operating in the DFS bands and UWB equipment. However, TCBs will have to follow a Permit But Ask (PBA) procedure with the FCC to grant these devices. DFS equipment will still be independently tested by the FCC as before. But this is still expected to reduce the time to market for manufacturers.

The R&TTE Directive is getting a face lift.  It will now be called simply the Radio Equipment (RE) Directive. Telecommunications equipment will be moved over to the EMC Directive. The RE Directive will be limited to wireless RF transmitter devices and receivers. The use of the exclamation mark (i.e. !) and the NB number (if applicable) will not be required adjacent to the CE mark.

EN 300 328 v1.8.1 will become effective end of the year and any new radio device placed on or after this date will need to meet the new standard. The previous version of the standard will cease to give presumption of conformity with the requirements for Article 3(2) of the Radio Equipment Directive.

Want to know how these changes affect your products? Contact us to request a quick-response quote or schedule a free Lunchtime Review.

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CE Marking Directives Recast to Align with New Legislative Framework

by admin on Apr.14, 2014, under EMC, Europe, Product Safety

On March 29, 2014, the European Commission published the recasts of eight CE marking directives. These directives have new reference numbers and are aligned with the rules and responsibilities for CE marking that were published earlier in Decision 768/2008/EU.  Here are three that changed:

  • EMC Directive is now 2014/30/EU (previously 2004/108/EC)
  • Low Voltage Directive (LVD) is now 2014/35/EU (previously 2006/95/EC)
  • ATEX Directive is now 2014/34/EU (previously 94/9/EC)

The new directives enter into force on April 19, 2014, and Member States have until April 20, 2016 to amend their national legislation, as the old directives will be repealed then.

Manufacturer CE Declarations of Conformity (DoC) can start referencing the new directive numbers when they enter into force later this month. By April 20, 2016 the new numbers are required for products that fall within the scope of these directives and which are made available for the first time.

The directive recast was undertaken to align with the European Commission New Legislative Framework (NLF).

Adopted in 2008, the NLF was designed to:

  • Require traceability within the supply chain
  • Improve market surveillance rules
  • Boost the quality of conformity assessment through more stringent requirements imposed on conformity assessment bodies and testing laboratories
  • Install tighter controls on the use of the ‘CE Mark’ to enhance its credibility

MET Labs is experienced and active in testing for 8 directives to support CE marking.  Contact us to discover how these directive changes affect your product lines.

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New Radio Equipment Directive Adopted by EU, Awaits Publication in OJ

by admin on Mar.31, 2014, under EMC, Europe, Wireless

The new Radio Equipment Directive (RED) was adopted by the Members of the EU Parliament (MEPs) on March 13, 2014 by 550 votes to 12.  It is now awaiting approval by the EU Council and then publication in the Official Journal (OJ) of the European Union.  Member states will have two years to transpose the rules into their national laws and manufacturers will have an additional year to comply.

The RED will take the place of the R&TTE Directive.  You can read more about this change in a previous post.  The draft directive lays down harmonized rules for placing radio equipment, including cellular telephones, car-door openers and modems, on the market. The new rules aim to keep pace with the growing number and variety of radio equipment devices and ensure that they do not interfere with each other or human health.

On the same day as the vote, MEPs called for a renewed effort to develop a common charger for certain categories of radio equipment, in particular mobile phones, because it would simplify their use and reduce waste and costs.

MEPs also backed provisions in the directive that would give the authorities additional market surveillance tools to detect radio equipment products that fail to comply with the new safety rules.  After an evaluation, the European Commission will identify those categories of equipment which will need to be registered before they can be put on the market. A similar database already operates in the U.S.

The next meetings of the RTTE Compliance Association (CA) and the European Union Association of Notified Bodies (EUANB) will take place May 19-20, 2014 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The details of the new RED will be the main subject of the meeting.

MET Labs will keep you updated on Compliance Today as new developments take place.  In the meantime, contact us today to test your radio equipment devices for Europe or any other major global market.

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EN55032 Replacing EN55022 and Others for CE Marking of Multimedia Equipment

by admin on Mar.26, 2014, under EMC, Europe

Do you supply IT or multimedia (MME) equipment into Europe? To comply with EMC Directive 2004/108/EC, new harmonized emission and immunity standards are being added to the EU’s Official Journal (OJ), making them available for demonstrating conformity with the essential requirements of the directive.

Note: Due to the convergence of technologies, the EMC standards for audio/studio equipment and broadcast receivers (and associated equipment) are being merged with information technology equipment into a single standard.

Emissions: EN55032 (CISPR32)
For emissions, EN55032 replaces EN55022 (IT equipment), EN55013 (broadcast receivers and associated equipment) and EN55103 (audio & studio equipment).  EN55032 was approved in December 2012 and consists of CISPR32+A1+A2. It has officially been added to the OJ – meaning it can now be used by manufacturers – with a transition period until March 2017. 

Apart from the power disturbance measurement, which is no longer permitted, all the other limit values and measurement procedures remain broadly unchanged.

Immunity: EN55035 (CISPR35)
For immunity, EN55035 will replace EN55024 (IT equipment), EN55020 (broadcast receivers) and EN55103 (audio & studio equipment).  EN55035 has not yet been added to the OJ and cannot be used by manufacturers – it is expected to enter into force within the next year with a transition period until 2017.

Something to look forward to: Multiple measurements for multifunctional devices will no longer be necessary in EN55035.

MET Labs has tested thousands of products to support CE marking declarations of conformity.  MET can test to the new EN55032 or any of the older, still-in-service standards.  Contact us today to find out which is the best standard to use in a test program for your products.

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MIL-STD-461F Testing Deviations Save Time and Money

by admin on Mar.10, 2014, under EMC, Military

Some Military EMC testing projects are routine.  This post describes a recent one that wasn’t.

Hydraulics International, Inc. asked us to test its four-wheeled 2-ton hydraulic power generator (pictured in MET’s Military EMC chamber), which is used to check the flight control of the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey.  The V-22 Osprey is well known for its Rolls-Royce engines that tilt, allowing it to take off like a helicopter and fly like an airplane. 

The test plan was based on MIL-STD-461F, but MET was able to get approval on a couple deviations to save the customer time and money. 

The first deviation was to decrease the unit’s RPM during testing.  The test procedure called for measurements taken at 2,500 RPM, but MET was able to justify a lower RPM by proving that the unit’s electronics would not be affected by its engine speed.  This deviation was important because the EUT’s 160 HP diesel engine would heat the military test chamber rapidly when run at high RPM.

The second deviation was for test method RS101, which normally requires many close proximity measurements using a small radiating loop sensor.  For this large EUT, a non-deviated test plan would have required 60 hours’ worth of testing just for RS101.  MET was able to acquire a deviation from the Navy by getting permission to take measurements only near the unit’s electronic control panel.

A challenge that did not require a deviation was how to exhaust the diesel fumes out of the test chamber, while maintaining the 200 V/m EMC chamber’s RF shielding effectiveness.  Radiated emission ambients were shielded by using a small diameter steel exhaust tube that was secured to the chamber ceiling using metal-to-metal bonding techniques.

This project also required Data Item Description (DID) documentation.  Read more about DID documentation, its benefits, and process on the bottom of this Military EMC testing page

Have an upcoming MIL-STD-461 test requirement?  Ask about MET’s complimentary MIL-STD-461 Pre-Testing Program, which greatly increases your chance of first time compliance.  Contact us today.

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Product Safety Professionals Meet at ICPHSO to Discuss Changes in 2014

by admin on Feb.28, 2014, under Product Safety

This week, the nation’s top product safety organization – ICPHSO – is meeting for the 21st time, at its 2014 Annual Meeting and Training Symposium in Orlando, FL.  MET Labs is participating as an exhibitor and sponsor. 

George Borlase

There were a number of interesting sessions on product safety regulations, compliance, and legal issues.  George Borlase, Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) Assistant Executive Director for Hazard Identification and Reduction, led a session on “CPSC Activities in 2014.”  Here are the highlights of his presentation:

Sequestration is officially over.  During the mandatory 5% cut, CPSC experienced a decrease in funding of $6M.  CPSC’s FY 2014 appropriation is $117M, equaling the agency’s full request, a rare feat in Washington, D.C.

So, CPSC is planning these changes in 2014:

  • Workforce growth
  • Full funding in Consumer Product Safety Risk Management System and IT infrastructure
  • Full investment in nanotechnology research agreements
  • Full investment in lab equipment recapitalization
  • Continue import surveillance Risk Assessment Methodology pilot

Ongoing CPSC rulemakings include fuel gels, rare earth magnets, and recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs).

A priority for CPSC is deeper engagement in voluntary standards in these areas:

  • CPSIA Section 104 durable products
  • Electrical equipment
  • Gas-powered appliances, to reduce carbon monoxide emissions and deaths from portable generators

The voluntary electrical equipment standards are concentrated on products that cause fires, including kitchen ranges, clothes dryers, space heaters, and power cords (the mechanical properties of insulation).

MET is expert in electrical/electronic product compliance and performance testing and certification.  Contact us for a quick quote for an upcoming testing requirement, or attend one of our Compliance College seminars or webinars.

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FCC Equipment Enforcement Focuses on HAC, U-NII & Digital Devices

by admin on Feb.06, 2014, under Wireless

The FCC took 20 enforcement actions in 2013 against RF equipment manufacturers and vendors for violations of the FCC’s marketing rules and technical standards. These actions include enforcement of Rule Parts 2, 15, 18, 22, 24, 27, 90, and 95.  Fish & Richardson P.C. summarizes FCC Equipment Manufacturer Violations from 2006-2013 here.

Four of the six largest violations (with Consent Decrees ranging from $100,000 to $280,000) involved the FCC’s hearing aid compatibility (HAC) rules. The HAC rules require handset manufacturers to report annually on their HAC compliance status, so manufacturers should expect that the FCC will continue to pursue HAC violations.

The FCC also continued its focus on Part 15 U-NII devices and digital devices. Violations involving equipment in the music industry, such as amplifiers and mixers, led to some of the year’s largest Consent Decree payments.

Effective September 13, 2013, the FCC raised the maximum penalty for most equipment violations from $112,500 to $122,500 per single violation.

The bottom line is that manufacturers and importers need to be careful about FCC compliance. Manufacturers with compliance issues can face delayed equipment approvals, contract disputes and lost sales opportunities, and even competitor or consumer lawsuits.

We can help keep you out of trouble.  MET has tested and/or certified thousands of products for FCC compliance over the last decade.  Get a quote now.

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Top 10 Compliance Today Blog Posts for Electrical Compliance Engineers in 2013

by admin on Jan.27, 2014, under EMC, Product Safety

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ENERGY STAR Certification for Computers Now to Version 6.0

by admin on Jan.20, 2014, under ENERGY STAR

Effective last week (January 15, 2014), ENERGY STAR Certification Body (CB) MET Laboratories will no longer certify new products to the Version 5.2 Computer Specification for ENERGY STAR, per U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements.  V5.2 remains effective until June 2, 2014, when Version 6.0 will become effective. 

The Computer specification includes the following product types:

  • Desktop Computers
  • Notebook Computers
  • Workstations
  • Small-Scale Servers for non-data center use
  • Thin Clients

EPA is evaluating the inclusion of portable computers with detachable keyboards or with no keyboards (Slates/Tablets) in the computer specification. These products are excluded from the scope of Version 6.0, but EPA’s goal is to develop acceptable definitions to allow them to be included in a Version 6.1 specification.

The V6.0 specification updates the long-standing ENERGY STAR program for computers in several ways, including:

  • Incorporating long and short idle state power in TEC (Typical Energy Consumption) calculation
  • Revising the category system, and treatment of integrated displays and graphics for notebooks, desktops, integrated desktops, and thin clients to better reflect the characteristics that influence energy consumption
  • Adding new incentives for energy-saving features such as Energy Efficient Ethernet, Switchable graphics, and power supplies that retain high efficiency at low load

Note to previously-certified manufacturers: When a specification is revised, manufacturers need to have existing models certified to the new specification.  Due to the changes in test methods and TEC calculations in the new specification, CBs will not be able to use existing test data to re-certify existing models. All previously certified models to version 5.2 will have to be retested and certified to the new specification by June 2, 2014 in order remain on the Qualified Product List (QPL). To avoid delays and administrative burdens associated with retesting and certification, EPA encourages manufacturers to work with CBs to have their products certified to the new specification during the early certification period.

MET Labs is an EPA-approved lab and certification body for 15 product categoriesGet a quote now to evaluate your product to Version 6.0.

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ANSI C12 Committee Discusses Changes to C12.1 & C12.20 for Watthour Meter Testing

by admin on Dec.17, 2013, under Meters

In October, MET Labs joined other C12 Accredited Standards Committee members in Charleston, SC at the EEI Transmission, Distribution & Metering Conference to discuss proposed revisions to ANSI C12.1, ANSI C12.20, and others, for the evaluation of Watthour Meters.

This post is a summary of some of the proposed changes discussed during the Electricity Metering Subcommittee 1 & 16 meetings. 

Accuracy Class
ANSI C12.1-2013 is now in a draft format and is due for release soon.  The 0.5% accuracy class will be added to C12.1.  This will effectively allow non-Blondel meter forms to have a specification at the 0.5% accuracy class.

Service Switch Working Group
Technical Report C12.30 on testing metering devices equipped with service switch has passed the comments phase and is ready to go to publication.

Harmonics tests will be added under Section 5.5.6 of the C12.20 standard in the next revision, due out in 2015.

Safety Working Group
UL 2735 Safety standard for Electric Utility Meters is now published as a non-consensus standard.

The next C12 Accredited Standards Committee meeting is April 9, 2014 in Phoenix, AZ.

Questions about the proposed changes?  Ask Pat, our meter approvals expert.

Contact us to discuss your electricity meter testing requirements.

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