Effective June 17, 2016, all RF LED lighting devices, including those that have been considered to operate on frequencies below 1.705 MHz, are now required to have Radiated Emissions measurements performed at a minimum from 30 MHz to 1000 MHz.
The FCC Office of Engineering and Technology Laboratory Division has released its expected Knowledge Database (KDB) document to define and clarify its rules on LED lighting products, making Radiated Emissions (RE) testing required for all RF LED lighting devices. In the past it has been feasible to exempt RE testing and still sell LED lamps in the United States – but that has now changed.
RF LED lighting is defined as a device with the primary function of generating light by electrically powering semiconductor materials. RF LED lighting devices intentionally generate RF energy via electronic power conversion or digital circuitry, but are not intended to radiate RF energy by radiation or induction and are thus classified as unintentional radiators according to FCC rules. Generally, RF LED lighting devices employ either an independent or an integrated electronic driver that operates at RF frequencies similar to those used in electronic products – and as such, are subject to the Part 15 rules for unintentional radiators and subject to the “verification” equipment authorization procedure. RF LED lighting devices’ primary function is general illumination and also includes other applications such as roadway lighting, traffic signaling, agriculture and manufacturing processes. RF LED lighting products today employ single or multiple LED chips, but can also include: organic LEDs (OLEDs), polymer LEDs (PLEDS), quantum dots, etc.
Why the new rules?
Emissions from RF LED lighting devices have been found to be non-periodic, broadband in nature, and are produced as a byproduct of the internal driver circuitry within the RF LED lighting device. These types of broadband, non-periodic emissions have adequate energy and potential to generate radiated emissions well above 30 MHz. In many cases, the specified operating frequency has been found to be inconsistent with the actual emissions, given the “broadband” nature of the radiated and conducted emissions generated by the device.
How this affects testing:
Previously, the FCC only required radiated emissions testing on digital devices with an operating frequency greater than 1.705MHz. Since most LED lamps sit below that level, manufacturers were able to legally bypass the RE test altogether and only perform a Conducted Emissions (CE) test. Today, all RF LED lighting devices, even those that operate on frequencies below 1.705 MHz are required to have RE measurements performed at a minimum from 30 MHz to 1000 MHz.
If you believe this ruling impacts you, please contact your ACS representative to ensure that your products are in compliance with these new standards.