FCC Part 15 is a section of Title 47, Part 15 of the Code of Federal Regulations, a set of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules and regulations for unlicensed transmissions. FCC Part 15 applies to most electronics devices sold inside the United States, governing their levels of intentional, unintentional and incidental emissions.
Subpart A: Incidental Radiators
An incidental radiator (defined in Section 15.3 (n)) is an electrical device that is not designed to intentionally use, intentionally generate or intentionally emit radio frequency energy over 9 kHz. However, an incidental radiator may produce byproducts of radio emissions above 9 kHz and cause radio interference. A product that is classified as an incidental radiator device is not required to obtain an equipment authorization. Nonetheless, the incidental radiator is regulated under the general operating conditions of Section 15.5 and if there is harmful interference the user must stop operation and remedy the interference. Manufacturers and importers should use good engineering judgment before they market and sell these products, to minimize possible interference (Section 15.13).
Examples of products that are classified as incidental radiators include AC and DC motors, mechanical light switches, basic electrical power tools (that do not contain digital logic).
Subparts B & G: Unintentional Radiators
An unintentional radiator (defined in Section 15.3 (z)) is a device that by design uses digital logic, or electrical signals operating at radio frequencies for use within the product, or sends radio frequency signals by conduction to associated equipment via connecting wiring, but is not intended to emit RF energy wirelessly by radiation or induction.
Today the majority of electronic-electrical products use digital logic, operating between 9 kHz to 3000 GHz and are regulated under 47 CFR Part 15 Subpart B.
Examples include coffee pots, wristwatches, cash registers, personal computers, printers, telephones, garage door receivers, wireless temperature probe receiver, RF universal remote control and thousands of other types of common electronic-electrical equipment that rely on digital technology. This also includes many traditional products that were once classified as incidental radiators – like motors and basic electrical power tools that now use digital logic.
Products that only contain digital logic may also be specifically exempted from an equipment authorization under Section 15.103.
Subparts C through F and H: Intentional Radiators
An intentional radiator (defined in Section 15.3 (o)) is a device that intentionally generates and emits radio frequency energy by radiation or induction that may be operated without an individual license.
Examples include wireless garage door openers, wireless microphones, RF universal remote control devices, cordless telephones, wireless alarm systems, Wi-Fi transmitters, and Bluetooth radio devices.