0
\$\begingroup\$

I have a wifi module (Advantech WISE-4220) shown in this datasheet.

If I remove the outer plastic casing and put the chip/antenna, unmodified, into another plastic case, am I breaking any FCC regulations/laws?

Any citations are appreciated.

Edit: I no longer intend to modify the unit. I plan on putting the unit, unmodified, into a pushbutton box. The new question is can I do this without seeking FCC approval. After some reasearch I think I only have to declare that the pushbutton box contains an FCC approved device with [FCC ID] and that the pushbutton box needs a minimum distance from an operator for safe operation.

\$\endgroup\$

2 Answers 2

1
\$\begingroup\$

If it's just for you, do what you want. Wifi range isn't that far. If you are doing it for a project to sell, then the FCC rules (part 15 intentional radiators) state that the whole system, including power supply, must be exactly as tested and approved.

\$\endgroup\$
2
  • \$\begingroup\$ "If it's just for you, do what you want" I would have instead put "If it's just for you, it's up to you what you decide to do" or similar. That's just my business practice mind ensuring any breaking of FCC rules was decided by them, not me... \$\endgroup\$
    – TonyM
    Feb 7, 2022 at 22:31
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I am an integrator selling this product so I will abide by the FCC rules. Thank you. \$\endgroup\$
    – user306837
    Feb 8, 2022 at 3:55
2
\$\begingroup\$

I'm not a lawyer, so I can't tell you whether it's strictly illegal, but part 15 is targeted at manufacturers, not users. Even so, I doubt you'll be targeted for modifying a single device for your own use.

If the plastic contains no shielding of any type, you probably won't have any EMC concerns, but if you see metallized plastic or other types of shielding, it would probably be best to provide some replacement...they probably wouldn't have gone to the expense if it met the spec without them.

\$\endgroup\$
7
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am a 3rd party integrator. (ie this product will go inside a pushbutton box and communicate inside a factory) \$\endgroup\$
    – user306837
    Feb 8, 2022 at 3:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, then, at least you're looking at A thresholds; most wifi routers are B compliant for consumer use. You probably want to check with a lawyer...my best understanding is that if you mark it compliant and sell it, and the FCC questions your declaration, you should be prepared to explain a reasonable rationale leading you to believe it was compliant...and "nobody brought it up" won't fly. If you shield it at least as much as it had been previously, that might fly, but checking with a lawyer is usually cheaper than getting fined. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 8, 2022 at 13:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was able to determine from the manual the unit is marketed for use "in a wall, panel, or cabinet" and is class B compliant. And per FCC regulations I have to add a sticker to my panel indicating the panel contains an FCC Certified Transmitter Module with [insert FCC ID]. I have to state to the end-user how far away my device, and therefore the transmitter, must be from operators (20 cm). I am not a lawyer but it seems reasonable to me that I can use the device inside a box as long as it is clearly stated what is inside and that I follow installation requirements by the manufacturer. \$\endgroup\$
    – user306837
    Feb 8, 2022 at 15:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does it say that about the unit or the innards? Unless explicitly mentioned, I'd tend to assume that it can be used that way as bought, not necessarily with arbitrary modifications. You really should talk it over with a lawyer, or at least an FCC test house (although the latter is a little like asking your barber whether you need a haircut). \$\endgroup\$ Feb 9, 2022 at 14:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ The unit. I no longer intend to modify the unit. The question now is whether or not the unit can be placed inside another unit (pushbutton box) without getting FCC approval for the entire pushbutton box. \$\endgroup\$
    – user306837
    Feb 9, 2022 at 18:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.