Certifications for a consumer product?

Thread Starter

infy

Joined Jun 18, 2020
11
Hey everyone, I'm entering what feels like a regulatory/legal realm here and while there are some guidelines online it also seems that there have been some changes in 2019. I'm just trying to figure out how to proceed with the next steps.

The premise is simple: I've designed a PCB, sourced the components, and have a supplier to provide assembly services. Along with all the other parts including CAD enclosures, connectors, power supply, etc. Prototypes are looking good. So now I'll be providing a few beta units and if things go well - selling a product under an LLC.

Here's where it gets.. ugly. Turns out you can't just do that. I'm sure I could go to a business and spend $5,000 or $10,000 to have them take care of this for me. But are there any more affordable paths to bringing a product to market?

My product is based around an off-the-shelf ESP32 dev MCU with a heavy emphasis on a cloud service and iOS/Android apps which connect everything. But the actual PCB motherboard I designed (assembled in China) is fairly simple. Just a few resistors, headers, and traces to put everything together. A few of my prototypes are also using adafruit modules for a 16bit ADC. The device is specifically designed for recreational boats.

I am hoping that by integrating off-the-shelf modules it will make certification less likely to fail. And that is what's different about this thread than some of the others I've read through. I'm purposefully hoping to reduce certification costs/risk by leveraging the R&D already completed.

If anyone has any advice it would be appreciated. Also - I'm just learning here so take it easy on me :)
 

Sensacell

Joined Jun 19, 2012
2,820
If you are only selling it in the USA - then it's just the FCC test.
For Europe, it's the CE mark test.

This is the bare minimum.
 

BobaMosfet

Joined Jul 1, 2009
1,767
There are places, like UL Labs which do certification in the US, and CE which does it in Europe (and many others- just look online). Certification is about product testing, which can be expensive but is done in order to ensure that danger of your product when misused, and liability to you is acceptable. From a business standpoint, you are required to carry insurance in order to protect yourself from said liablity.
 

BobaMosfet

Joined Jul 1, 2009
1,767
UL = not reqired

It's not a government organization- and it's super expensive and time-consuming.
You must understand it is a question of liability. The entire reason you get a certification is so that if someone hurts themselves, you as an entity can push liability onto the testing agency. It isn't about whether or not it's required- it's whether or not you can withstand the liability if somebody gets hurt.
 

BobaMosfet

Joined Jul 1, 2009
1,767
Hey everyone, I'm entering what feels like a regulatory/legal realm here and while there are some guidelines online it also seems that there have been some changes in 2019. I'm just trying to figure out how to proceed with the next steps.

The premise is simple: I've designed a PCB, sourced the components, and have a supplier to provide assembly services. Along with all the other parts including CAD enclosures, connectors, power supply, etc. Prototypes are looking good. So now I'll be providing a few beta units and if things go well - selling a product under an LLC.

Here's where it gets.. ugly. Turns out you can't just do that. I'm sure I could go to a business and spend $5,000 or $10,000 to have them take care of this for me. But are there any more affordable paths to bringing a product to market?

My product is based around an off-the-shelf ESP32 dev MCU with a heavy emphasis on a cloud service and iOS/Android apps which connect everything. But the actual PCB motherboard I designed (assembled in China) is fairly simple. Just a few resistors, headers, and traces to put everything together. A few of my prototypes are also using adafruit modules for a 16bit ADC. The device is specifically designed for recreational boats.

I am hoping that by integrating off-the-shelf modules it will make certification less likely to fail. And that is what's different about this thread than some of the others I've read through. I'm purposefully hoping to reduce certification costs/risk by leveraging the R&D already completed.

If anyone has any advice it would be appreciated. Also - I'm just learning here so take it easy on me :)
@infy
Nobody's opinion in this forum is relevant to your concern. You're asking a LEGAL question. Legality is always about liability. If you want the correct answer, and the only answer that will protect you, you need to contact an attorney. Usually the first consultation is free- and in my experience attorneys will answer your question straight up in that meeting alone.

Beyond that- educate yourself:

https://www.pilz.com/en-US/support/knowhow/law-standards-norms/international-standards/north-america
 
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