Is FCC certification required for something you put together for personal use or only for something you actually sell to someone else?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Does it broadcast RF energy in significant amounts? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 22, 2011 at 0:58

3 Answers 3


I believe that you aren't required to certify hobby electronics, but you still may get a knock at the door if your product is interfering with someone's commercial gear next door.

Certification is required for commercial products.

Certification is also required for anything that plugs into the telephone network.

IANAL (I am not a lawyer), by the way.

There are some other caveats to keep in mind; if you build something powerful that ends up burning down your house or maiming someone, and your insurance provider finds out that it's not 'approved', your chances of getting coverage are likely slim.

If you're tinkering with 5V / 12V stuff at low power, not emitting tons of RF and not polluting the mains, you're probably OK.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @semaj, I actually have had one friend that was payed decently by the FCC to drive around his city with alot of electronics in the back of his car. If a light turned on up front, he went and recorded the readings from the back and sent them to the FCC. This is how the FCC would get the location of violators, random chance of if you radiate while he drives by. Frequencies that you are allowed to radiate on you should be okay as long as you stay below the maximum allowed power, and small spurious emissions will just be background noise at a distance. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jan 23, 2011 at 16:04

If you build it for yourself, it would fall under 15.23 so FCC authorization isn't required, but you still need to design/build it in a way so that it doesn't disrupt telecommunications. See http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2010/octqtr/47cfr15.23.htm


You aren't required to certify hobby stuff, but you still need to stay within guidelines. You really need to spend some time on the FCC regulations, but the quick rundown is that really low power stuff may be allowed if it only radiates in certain bands (and certain very low power levels). Higher power requires the user to be licensed. Exact license depends on the power level and band. Some levels and bands are simply not permitted at all. An amateur radio license gives one a pretty large area to play in (both band-wise and power-wise).


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