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I am developing an IoT product for a company.

The product runs off of two alkaline batteries at a max of 3.2V. It is fully enclosed in a solid plastic case, with small panel openings for a switch and LED. It broadcasts cellular data.

I will test until the case is able to contain a short on the batteries without damaging/excessively heating its surroundings. This is the worst-case fault I can imagine for the product, under any normal conditions.

If the company and I are satisfied that the product is safe, does it need certification to be deployed to a customer's house unattended? My region is Ontario, Canada. If it needs certification, what is the lowest cost that could be expected?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the minimum you should expect to spend is pretty hard to pin down. I would wager you'd be hard pressed to spend less than say 3500USD to get through an inentional radiator certification through a test lab, which is required even if you use pre-certified modules, though using pre-certified modules reduces the testing requirements. \$\endgroup\$ – vicatcu Nov 8 '19 at 1:39
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I contacted a testing lab and they explained several details to me.

I do need radio certification. This certification is called IC (Industry Canada). I should use a cellular module in my product that already has radio certification. This way I can leverage their certification (provided I use an antenna with the same or less gain and keep the device above 20cm away from people) with an "IC Contained" label. However, I will still need to do EMC testing even if I'm "IC Contained". According to the ballpark figure for this lab, that costs about $3000.

If my module is just FCC Certified that is bad. Although FCC and IC have large overlap, I would be responsible for filling in the gaps between the two tests for the module. Probably out of my budget.

In terms of pure safety tests, I am still not certain. It 'seems' like a CSA (Canadian Standards Agency) test isn't legally required. But it's recommended for marketability.

I will try to talk to someone who has been through this process already in Canada to get more information. I may update this answer when I know more.

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I'm not sure about required certification for battery-powered stuff in general. I don't even know if there are any.

It's an intentional radiator, so you've got all kinds of RF certifications you need to comply with. If you're using a cellular module, then that module's certification should cover you.

If you're selling outside of Canada, you need to comply with regulations in the country you're selling to. In particular, if you're selling into California, come the new year (2020) you'll need to comply with California SB-327.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Even if the module is already certified, will I need further RF certification for my final product? \$\endgroup\$ – bob bob Nov 8 '19 at 1:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @bobbob I'm sure it depends on the country. In some countries in Europe, there are (or were) very tight regulations on pretty much anything that oscillates and might emit. For example, some kinds of AM radios (simple detector types, for example), had nothing to worry about; while others using a 455 kHz IF most definitely did fall under regulation guidance. So I don't think you can qualify in one RF area and thereby necessarily avoid all other rules that may apply for entirely different purposes. You need a comprehensive viewpoint, in short. But that's my lay opinion, only. I'm no expert. \$\endgroup\$ – jonk Nov 8 '19 at 5:21

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