We try to answer all the questions you might have about open source hardware and the Federal Communications Commission.
If you’re looking for “Engineering Roundtable,” worry not - it will go live tomorrow. Our videographer has been in California for the last few days covering the SparkFun West Coast Tour. So check back tomorrow!
As SparkFun has grown over the years, there have been many hurdles that we’ve had to overcome, both internally and externally. In recent years, SparkFun has caught the attention of some rather large and important institutions. First, there was the cease and desist letter a few years back. Then, earlier this year, we were issued a subpoena. We handled these incidents the best we could, shared them with you, and came out relatively unscathed. However, sometimes it’s best to nip a problem in the bud before it comes to bite you. Enter the FCC. The FCC has a very important job: keeping the electromagnetic spectrum in order. This is no simple task, and with the number of electronic devices that use this resource increasing everyday, their job is only getting more complicated. Add to that the increasing amount of open source hardware products, and you have yourself a large group of people and businesses to watch over.
Thus, we wanted to tackle this problem before it became one too large to fix (or pay for). We had never gone through any sort of FCC authorization for any of our products, and we didn’t know what the process really entailed. So, we sent one of our engineers out to an FCC conference to get the skinny on Open Source and how it fits in the FCC’s big picture. We have since started taking a product’s FCC compliance into greater consideration, and have begun the process of getting our own products the FCC stamp of approval. However, it’s not always black and white as to whether a product fits the bill for testing or not. We have written a tutorial to share with all of you our findings and hopefully answer any questions you may have about the FCC as it pertains to you and your product/project. Whether you’re a hobbyist in your garage, a start-up making small quantity production runs, or a huge company manufacturing your own goods, there is a chance the FCC could come after you or your product. We’re here to give you the knowledge and resources necessary to prevent that.