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Author Topic: Fraudulent FCC RFI Certification  (Read 13025 times)
K4KYV
Member

Posts: 41




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« on: February 18, 2014, 10:53:47 AM »

A company was caught providing the FCC one thing to get part 15 certification, then selling something else.

This involves 433 MHz which most hams probably don't care about, but it reveals what goes on, and I'm sure
the exact same thing is done with junk radiating all over HF. The device in question was an unlicensed Part 15
intentional radiator, but no doubt the same kind of fraud occurs with "unintentional radiators" like touch lamps
and switching power supplies that bear the "Part 15 certification" label. In fact, hams examining some RFI-producing
consumer electronic junk have reported blank holes in the circuit boards where the RF filtering components were
supposed to go.

Prior to marketing the Big Drops System, EnerTrac submitted relevant information and a sample device to the
FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET). The OET certified the device as being in compliance with
Part 15 rules.

In July 2012, however, the FCC received a complaint that the Big Drops System was not operating within the
terms of its authorization. The Commission issued a Letter of Inquiry to EnerTrac relating to the system’s
compliance with Part 15. Responding to the inquiry, EnerTrac reminded the FCC that the 433 MHz
Big Drops System had been tested for compliance with Part 15 rules and had been certified by the FCC.
The OET tested the system, however, and determined that it exceeded Part 15 emission limits, suggesting
that there may have been differences between the unit tested for certification purposes and the version that
EnerTrac marketed.


http://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-and-manufacturer-conclude-consent-decree-on-marketing-of-noncompliant-device
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PA1ZP
Member

Posts: 236




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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2014, 11:42:09 AM »

Hi

We find these products all the time.
In Europe there are a few organisitions that can aprove products and electronic gear to get a CE stamp , we always joke and call it a Chinese Export stamp.
We very often find products like computer speakers and switching power suplies, even LED light bulbs, that have filtering parts left out, to produce it more cheaply.

The problems you get with the power suplies and light bulbs are RFI as QRM in recieving on HF.
The other problems you get is products will not withstand HF radiation and start to act weird.
PSU that fall into shortcut safety mode.
Blown up router ports etc.
SSB signals will come in through the PC speakers etc.

Yes the lights that you will only have to touch to get them on in 4 levels are the most fun in SSB they go on and off and walk through the cycle the whole time you are transmitting.
The infrared detectors on outdoor garden lights, great fun especialy the 1000 watt light version.
Light on and off as often as you like hihi.
Also lovely was the coffeemachine that produced a unwanted cup of coffee when we went to CW TX.
Automatic garden sprinklers that would go on in the middle of the night etc.

CD player that shut off when I produced 80 mtr TX.

The biggest fun was wireless mouse and computer keyboards.
You keyd the mike on 433 MHz and your neighbour can not type no more and his mouse stopped working.

Overhere the 70 cm band is 430-440 and loads of gadgets used that band from 433-440.
Wireless headphones are on 70 cm, garage door openers, wireless doorbells, car alarms, remote light switches, wireless weather stations etc, etc.
If we key 50 watts on 434 MHz, all  those gadgets would fail in a radius of about 100 yards or even further, big fun, cars not starting garages will not open, or open when not wanted, car alarms going of, lights switching on or off, babyphones doing weird.
Range Rovers wouldn't start also.

We even found a reasonable large bank here had an alarm that you could trip with 100 watts of power on 10 mtrs, The police had to come a few times a month for falls alarms, we could open every Opel Vectra (Vauxhall) central door locking system with 25 watts of RF on 10 mtrs.
A Peugot 205 could not stand 25 watts of 2 meter power and its dashlight for engine management system problems would go on, and it would not go off no more without disconnecting the car battery for 5 minutes.
 
73 Jos
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KF7CG
Member

Posts: 834




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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2014, 12:29:13 PM »

I do not know about European consumers, but in my part of the USA consumers tend to blame any problem with their commercial products on the Amateur. This is even after they have been shown that the device do not meet the rules.

The response is: I bought this from the Electronics Dump and it works OK until you transmit. Fix your radio so it doesn't happen! If your equipment "kills" someone's car or something like that you may get a visit from the local law; just to keep the peace you know.

The sloppiness mentioned in much of the consumer electronics is, i believe, one of the reasons for the continued popularity of any CC&Rs and HOA rules that make it nearly impossible to operate from a location.

Shoddy consumer products and consumer superstition combine to create an interesting problem. In the days of "Off The Air" television reception I was told that just the presence of my antenna in the neighborhood would cause problems. Those antennas would suck all the signal out of the air and not leave any for the TVs.

David
KF7CG
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K6JH
Member

Posts: 42




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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2014, 07:03:42 PM »

Here in the US it seems the FCC only cares about a device generating interference, not its ability to reject interference. At least the EU has EMC standards for most products.

I looked up the FCC ID in question, "X94-0003822". You can download pictures and even the test report - which was prepared by an accredited lab (Compliance Worldwide Inc) and the grant was issued by an approved TCB (Timco Engineering Inc). Not originally tested by the FCC, just FCC approved labs.

In looking through the report, it looks to me that the test lab made a mistake - they said the device was tested under 15.231 a) through c), which would be appropriate for a non-periodic transmitter, or a safety related transmitter ( like this propane tank monitor?) that checks status once an hour. But then the lab used the lower field strength limits from 15.231 e) in their results tables. The device looks like it will comply with either section, provided the real product actually does transmit at a low enough duty cycle to meet 2 seconds per hour total per 15.231 (a)(3).

What complaint caused the FCC OET to ask EnerTrac for a sample to retest isn't mentioned. Nor what parameter was actually non-compliant. We aren't privy to the correspondence leading to the consent decree, so we don't know how it really went down.

But if I was the FCC guy I would have a chat with the Lab and TCB as well. Yes, a company is ultimately responsible for their products, but if the test lab screwed up also it lessens the manufacturers culpability in my eyes.

Hams like to bitch, but the reality is that if this gizmo really only transmits for 25mS every hour, the potential for interference to Ham operations is almost non-existent. Even if the field strength was much higher than the limit. So ultimately the FCC decided to let the product stay in the field until 2017 without a recall. And had the company make a Treasury donation to help pay for their manpower used in the investigation. ;-)
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ZENKI
Member

Posts: 934




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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2014, 01:18:07 AM »

If you jammed the TV you would get thrown into jail. I wonder why our politicians see it fit to  give the chinese a license to cheat. In every part of Europe you can go into shop and the shop is full of chinese crap that can cause and can be interfered too. This is while our own manufacturers have to spend 1000's  of dollars passing these EMC laws. Where is  fair trade? It seems to be free trade one way from China and  screw your laws we dont care from China. China is allowed to be cheating crooks while our companies suffer from harassment  from the Brussels bureaucrats.

 

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KD0REQ
Member

Posts: 928




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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2014, 11:05:15 AM »

some outfits are shameless, others respond to Facebooking or "crummobrandsux.com" type website complaints.  regardless, they should be tagged on the popular emedia as fragile, and maybe the market will correct their practices by crashing their sales.

certainly regulations and certificates are leaving a lot to be desired.
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PA1ZP
Member

Posts: 236




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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2014, 02:42:46 AM »

Hi David and Zenki

Yes if you are a ham and you have an antenna that looks like a somewhat big antenna, you are always blamed if even the vacuum cleaner doesn't work because it went out with big smoke hihi.

It is also fact I ran my amplifier for years every evening on 20 mtrs with a PZ sked.
Only had a many complaints in the beginning of running my station on HF.
About RFI with computers speakers and wireless mouses and keyboards.
All sorts of idiot  complaints, like screwing up TV cable recieving etc.
They even complained when I wasn't using my rig for 2 weeks, or they complained their TV was disturbed and I was watching the same program and all radios in the shack were not even turned on.

I  found out that after a month or 3 complaints got fewer and fewer untill they stopped completely, I think they were getting used to it and found out that something else was causing the troubles instead of my radio signals.

As soon as you put up an antenna you will get complaining, even before you have the chance to connect the coaxial cable to it hihi

73 Jos

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ZENKI
Member

Posts: 934




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« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2014, 03:41:51 PM »

Yep thats the way to fix the idiots. Put your antenna up and connect no coax.  Make sure you point the beam towards their house and watch how the interference complaints go up. Call in the inspectors and then then  tell the inspectors you have no coax or that none of your antennas are connected yet.

A shame there was not law against lodging malicious complaints. If the case is proven they should be fined and all costs recovered for the investigations. If you submit false reports to the police you get charged why can idiots waste governments time, resources and money being malicious.

Its just how the world has become, everyone seems to have the right to stick their those into your business and tell you what you can and cant do on your property.
I am sure they will be telling you cant paint your house certain colors because the neighbors dont like the color. Its coming dont worry. In the USA they already telling people what cars and what they can and cannot park in their driveways and street.

As we become more civilized we becoming more like  a bunch of nazis and freedoms  are fast disappearing. Its the political class who have become weasels and cowards
who are letting this happen. However its the sheeple who  vote!

Hi David and Zenki

Yes if you are a ham and you have an antenna that looks like a somewhat big antenna, you are always blamed if even the vacuum cleaner doesn't work because it went out with big smoke hihi.

It is also fact I ran my amplifier for years every evening on 20 mtrs with a PZ sked.
Only had a many complaints in the beginning of running my station on HF.
About RFI with computers speakers and wireless mouses and keyboards.
All sorts of idiot  complaints, like screwing up TV cable recieving etc.
They even complained when I wasn't using my rig for 2 weeks, or they complained their TV was disturbed and I was watching the same program and all radios in the shack were not even turned on.

I  found out that after a month or 3 complaints got fewer and fewer untill they stopped completely, I think they were getting used to it and found out that something else was causing the troubles instead of my radio signals.

As soon as you put up an antenna you will get complaining, even before you have the chance to connect the coaxial cable to it hihi

73 Jos


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NO2A
Member

Posts: 779




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2014, 07:12:40 PM »

If you jammed the TV you would get thrown into jail. I wonder why our politicians see it fit to  give the chinese a license to cheat. In every part of Europe you can go into shop and the shop is full of chinese crap that can cause and can be interfered too. This is while our own manufacturers have to spend 1000's  of dollars passing these EMC laws. Where is  fair trade? It seems to be free trade one way from China and  screw your laws we dont care from China. China is allowed to be cheating crooks while our companies suffer from harassment  from the Brussels bureaucrats.

 

And now we`re giving China even more power over the internet. What is going on in this country?
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N0MKC
Member

Posts: 68




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« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2014, 12:33:16 PM »

Yep thats the way to fix the idiots. Put your antenna up and connect no coax.  Make sure you point the beam towards their house and watch how the interference complaints go up. Call in the inspectors and then then  tell the inspectors you have no coax or that none of your antennas are connected yet.



Happened to me....  I had an antenna up solely for SWL, no transmitter at all, and the neighbors started complaining that I was interfering with their cordless phone.  Even after I pointed out that I was not transmitting and that the interference was most likely from someone else's cordless phone in the 3 20-story apartment buildings in the next block, they wanted to blame me anyway.  It wasn't until I took down the antenna temporarily (a long-wire) and they still got interference that they got off my back about it.
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