There has been a lot of discussion about regulatory compliance on the announcement thread for these radios.
I thought I should explain a bit about why these radios don't already have compliance certificates, and what you can do to get involved in an effort to get them certified. I should first note that I don't work for 3DRobotics - I'm just a volunteer ArduPilot developer who happens to be very interested in these radios. I also wrote most of the radio firmware. So this is not an official 3DRobotics statement.
The basic idea with regards to regulatory compliance is that these are DIY radio parts. It is our understanding that, at least in the US and Australia, it is quite OK to use radios that comply with the relevant standards without getting them officially certified. Other countries have different rules.
So why didn't 3DRobotics get them certified anyway? Part of the problem is that the firmware is being rapidly developed, with new features regularly added. Under some certification systems that may mean re-certifying each firmware. That would cost a lot, and push up the cost of the radios.
The second problem is that there are so many different certification systems. There is FCC in the US, C-Tick in Australia, CE in Europe etc etc. Sometimes it may be possible to get quicker/cheaper certification of one type if you already have another type, but it is still complex.
So what do you do if you want to use/distribute these radios in a way that requires certification? I think the only reasonable answer is for the community to solve the problem. If someone puts their hand up to volunteer to do the legwork to get these radios certified in some area then they could share the results here and hopefully make life easier for someone else to work on certification elsewhere.
Meanwhile, if you post something about certification, please try to make sure you do your research carefully to make sure the information is accurate. If we can build a community effort around this then I think we can solve it together.
Someone might want to look into this section of the FCC rules. Perhaps a "Declaration of Conformity" is all that is needed. Sure sounds a lot easier to stamp "This device complies with Part 18 of the FCC Rules." on each radio rather than try to have them certified.
Edit: Looks like maybe this only applies to receivers. Still worth looking at though, I didn't have the time to ready thoroughly.
Sec. 18.212 Compliance information.
(a) Equipment authorized under the Declaration of Conformity
procedure shall include the following compliance information in lieu of
the information required by Sec. 2.1077.
(1) Identification of the product, e.g., name and model number.
(2) A statement similar to the following:
This device complies with Part 18 of the FCC Rules.
(3) The name and address of the responsible party as defined in
Sec. 2.909 of the rules. This party must be located within the United
(b) The compliance information may be placed in the instruction
manual, on a separate sheet, or on the packaging. There is no specific
format for this information.
The FCC rules are almost completely unintelligible, and will certainly give you a headache unless you have some special form of retardation that allows you to think they were written by normal human beings.
I found an interesting link summarizing the rules though. This is from Ti, who makes the main competitor to the SiLabs chip radio we use. It's a little easier to read, although most measurements are still given in retard units.
It also covers the European rules.
ISM-Band and Short Range Device Regulatory Compliance Overview
Here is the document that describes more indepth the requirement for "Low Power / Non-licensed" transmitters. This is the FCC's published document and contains all the links to the appropriate sections in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
If I've read that document correctly, it looks like you can transmit on 433, but only at 200uV/m@3m, which is around 0.012 microWatts (from top of page 18 and using conversion formula from page 29). That is 10000 times lower than the lowest power setting of the 3DR 433 radios.
Is that how you read it? (I'm assuming telemetry falls in the 'Any' category, not intermittent control signal or periodic transmissions).
Thanks for the info Allen!
Tridge, all you need to do is to program a cable locating feature into the unit and we should be good to go for 1 watt on 433mhz.
I have been working away at this here in the UK / EU for a while now and still I find many dead ends...... :( The latest information I have been sent only confirms all I have found before or have been told by a number of people I speak with.....
In short no one is willing to say that these radios can come into the UK / EU and be sold / used without the CE mark and supporting doc's being supplied to support these radios :( So it would seem to be that the only way forward is to have the radios tested and then have the CE mark applied to them.
Has anyone else had any other news, or seen another way forward with the 3DR Radios, as I have a number of customers asking me to sell them, however I can't at the moment..... Any other dealers in the UK / EU care to share how they have got around this issue and are stocking the radios for sale without the CE approval or paper work? I see dealers quoting the:
"Please note that it is up to you to make sure you are allowed to use these radio modules in your country. These devices can be used as short range licence expemp devices the UK under ESTI EN300 220, please refer to Ofcom IR2030 document, page 17. You will need to configure the device to comply with your countries regulations"
However I can't see how this means the radios can be used here....... I hope someone has some good news :)
Has anyone found out any information regarding the 3dr in Canada. I am looking at ordering, but my Canadian dealer won't sell them. Is it just because they don't have a government stamp on them? I am having a hard time finding much information on the regulatory side of this. From what I can tell, the 900 version is still running on the ISM band. And as far as certification goes what is the difference between this and some of the cheap vTx guys are using, some putting out 1.5 watts?Sorry for the questions, this one has got me confused.
Both versions are in the ISM band. Based on how you use the 433 version it may or may not be operating legally.
I'm not sure how things are in Canada, but IME they are far less oppressive than the US government in most respects.
The simple fact is that most people just ignore the regulations. The chances of a narrow bandwidth, low power, frequency hopping radio like this causing interference to anyone is infinitesimal. Thus your chances of being complained against are so slim as to not be worth worrying about. Having someone complain is really the only possible way to get in trouble unless you're selling them in volume.
No cop knows anything about radio regulations and they're so complicated that even the regulators can't give a straight answer most of the time, and even when they do they're often wrong.
Basically I don't see how anyone could ever get into trouble. The only people I know of that have gotten into legal trouble were up to no good (intentional jamming) or broadcasting shitty signal at hundreds of watts.
I've never had a cop ask an intelligent question about anything of the sort. If they do just start explaining technical details about the radio until their eyes glaze over and they wave you on.
Thank you Jake, that is pretty much what I figured. Fortunately I fly in a fairly remote area and radio waves are the least of anyone's worries around here. Again there is such a low power output on these, no one will give much thought to them unless you are doing something stupid.
I should also point out that neither the Si1000, HopeRF module, or 3DR radio have any certification in any country that I'm aware of. Yet there are probably millions of Si1000 based radios out there transmitting away with no trouble from anyone.
I got hold of some 433 modules now and look forward to testing them.
Having a (recently acquired) ham-license allowing me to transmit in the 430MHz band at power levels enough to cook chicken (500watts), I see no problem in using them other than the general requirement to transmit your call sign at the beginning, end and at regular intervals in any transaction.
You have the LBT and other necessary features all lined up but not the call sign from what I can find. I wonder if the callsign can be included in some way in the packets so that I can honestly say to my critical ham buddies that I fulfill all my obligations when using these things.
Would that be something to add in the future??
73 de TF3BGL
I have been using the 433mhz radios in the UK, did my first proper flight with them last night, the range was not that good on the limited power output settings - I got around 300ft
United Kingdom3DR 433MIN_FREQ=433050 MAX_FREQ=434790 TXPOWER<=8 DUTY_CYCLE=10IR2030/1/10
What range are you expecting to achieve on full-whack?!