FCC Wireless / Inductive Charging Rules

What rules regulate short distance wireless inductive coupled charging pads or charging devices?


Wireless power transfer (WPT) devices operating at frequencies above 9 kHz are intentional radiators and are subject to either Part 15 and/or Part 18 of the FCC rules. The specific applicable rule part depends on how the device operates, and if there is communication between the charger and device being charged.

Devices specifically intended for use for wireless power transfer, or inductive charging, require FCC guidance for frequency exposure review. This includes Part 18 devices. It may be necessary for the responsible party (manufacturer) to seek guidance from the FCC on specific WPT devices by submitting a KDB inquiry, http://www.fcc.gov/labhelp.

The inquiry should include the following:

  • complete product description, including coil diameters , number of turns and current;
  • FCC Rule Part(s) the device will operate under and the basis for selecting the Rule Part(s);
  • planned equipment authorization procedure (i.e., SDoC or certification);
  • drawings, illustrations;
  • frequency of operation;
  • radiated power;
  • operating configurations; and
  • conditions for human exposure.

Intentional radiators transmitting information must be certified under the appropriate Part 15 Rules and will generally require an equipment certification. A WPT device may operate in two different modes: charging and communications. It is possible for the device to be approved under Part 18 for the charging mode and Part 15 for the communications mode, if it can be shown that (1) the device complies with the relevant rule parts; and (2) the functions are independent. Part 18 consumer devices can be authorized using either certification or SDoC, once the appropriate RF exposure evaluation has been completed.

Finally, it is possible that the power charging function could be approved under Part 15 rather than Part 18 if the device meets all of the requirements of the appropriate Part 15 rule.

Attachment 680106 D01 RF Exposure Wireless Charging Apps v03 provides general guidance on the information necessary to determine RF exposure evaluation and compliance requirements when submitting a wireless charging application inquiry.

Download the full set of rules here: FCC-Wireless-Charging-Rules


Computers & Devices Assembled From Pre-Authorized Components

What are the equipment authorization requirements for Class B personal computers, Class B motherboard, power supply, peripherals and enclosure components sold separate and Class B personal computers assembled from authorized components?

Guidance for Class B computers and their components is specified in the attached guidelines, 657217 D01 Personal Computer v02 below.


Devices Requiring FCC Guidance Prior to TCB Grant Authorization

What devices require FCC guidance prior to a TCB issuing a grant of equipment authorization, and what are the procedures to obtain this guidance?

The attached documents provide guidance on the Pre-Approval Guidance (PAG) procedures (Section 2.964) formerly known as the Permit But Ask (PBA) procedure. Attachment “388624 D02 Pre-Approval Guidance List v16r03” provides a list of the RF devices that are subject to the Pre-Approval Guidance procedure and attachment “388624 D01 Pre-Approval Guidance Procedure v11r01” provides the Pre-Approval Guidance procedures.

388624 D01 Pre-Approval Guidance v11r01

388624 D02 Pre-Approval Guidance List v16r03

Industrial Scientific and Medical (ISM) Equipment [FCC Definition]

What equipment is considered to be Industrial Scientific and Medical (ISM) subject to Part 18?

Industrial, scientific, and Medical (ISM) equipment is defined as equipment or appliances designed to generate and use locally RF energy for industrial, scientific, medical, domestic or similar purposes, excluding applications in the field of telecommunication.1 Typical ISM applications are the production of physical, biological, or chemical effects such as heating ionization of gases, mechanical vibrations, and acceleration of charged particles.

The Commission has historically treated RF devices that transmit a radio signal for purposes such as measuring the level of a fluid in a container or for measuring some quantifiable property of a material as Part 15 devices.2 Due to the modulated transmission of information, the Commission determined that Part 15 intentional transmitters were best treated as low power transmission communication devices as opposed to Part 18 equipment where RF energy is generated for the primary purpose of performing work energy, such as in an industrial heater or microwave oven. [3]

With some other applications, however, the applicability of Part 15 or 18 rules requires a caseby-case analysis. For example, in the case of magnetic resonance imaging systems used to stimulate molecules to produce a detectable RF field to form body images, the Commission determined that the use was so unique that it was appropriate to apply Part 18 rules. 4 Similarly devices that use Nuclear Quadrupole Resonance (NQR) techniques for detecting metal properties, have been authorized under Part 18. In this case, we have focused on the fact that the RF energy is used to excite the molecules to create nuclear resonance of the material to determine its property. For certain wireless charging devices that use load modulation to adjust the instantaneous power levels, it was determined that this function should be appropriately authorized under the Part 18 rules.

More recently, there is the heightened interest with using RF spectrum in the frequency ranges above 95 GHz for devices, including devices designed for terahertz spectroscopy, to analyze material molecular properties and for imaging applications.5 Such applications are also appropriate for a case-by-case analysis. Under this approach, the Office of Engineering and Technology has authorized some equipment operating above 95 GHz designed to detect the presence of powders, solids and liquids inside sealed parcels and envelopes under Part 18 rules. Under the Part 18 rules, such devices have been subject to our Supplier’s Declaration of Compliance (SDoC) procedures.6 Those rules require product to be tested and that compliance information be supplied with the product at the time of marketing.[7] The Commission will continue to review devices using similar techniques or frequency bands on a case-by-case basis to determine if it is appropriate to authorize them under Part 18 rules or some other rules, if applicable.


  1. 47 CFR § 18.107(c).
  2. Amending Part 15 Subpart E –To Provide for RF Operated Measuring Devices, Docket No. 18260, Report and
    Order, 20 FCC 2d 158 (1969).
  3. Id.
  4. 47 CFR §§ 18.107(c) and 18.121.
  5. Terahertz spectroscopy is a technique in which the properties of a material are probed with short pulses of terahertz
  6. 47 CFR §§ 2.1071 through 2.1077.
  7. In cases where measurements may not be possible over the required frequency range, parties must consult with the
    Commission staff by submitting a Knowledge Database inquiry at https://www.fcc.gov/labhelp.

See FCC Document 227764 D01 ISM Equipment v01

Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC)

The  Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) is a newly formed FCC committee charged with “accelerating the deployment of high-speed Internet access, or broadband, in communities across the country”

One of the first things the BDAC will be asked to do is draft for the Commission’s consideration a model code for broadband deployment. This model code will cover topics like local franchising, zoning, permitting, and rights-of-way regulations. Building, upgrading, and deploying broadband networks isn’t easy, and red tape often can make the task harder than it needs to be. Similarly, many localities that have a strong interest in promoting a digital economy within their borders may not have the resources or expertise to develop and implement deployment-friendly policies. Consumers ultimately pay the price in terms of less access to next-generation services. Our hope is that with a model code approved by the FCC, one that any city could use as a template, the case for broadband deployment would be much easier, especially for communities that seek to proactively encourage it.


Brian Hurley – Designated Federal Officer

Paul D’Ari – Deputy Designated Federal Officer


BDAC Statement – DOC-343243A1

BDAC News Release – DOC-343242A1