When a consumer electronics device is sold in the US, especially if it has a wireless aspect, it must be tested for compliance with FCC regulations and the test results filed with the FCC (see preparing your product for FCC testing ). These documents are then made available online for all to see in the Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) Laboratory Equipment Authorization System (EAS). In fact, it’s this publishing in this and other FCC databases that has led to many leaks about new product releases, some of which we’ve covered, and others we’ve been privileged enough to know about before the filings but whose breaking was forced when the documents were filed, like the Raspberry Pi 3 . It turns out that there are a lot of useful things that can be accomplished by poring over FCC filings, and we’ll explore some of them.
The first thing to know is how to get to the EAS tool. If you search, you need to search for FCC OET EAS (as FCC EAS is the Emergency Alert System. Thank you FCC for all your helpful TLAs). Or just head directly to the FCC OET EAS . Now that you’re there, you’ll see lots of search fields. The first four rows are probably all you ever need. Every company that registers with the FCC will get a grantee code, which is a unique 3 or 5 digit code that represents the company. Any product they register gets its own product code. Simple enough.
If you don’t know either (any product that you’re holding in your hand that has an FCC ID is required to put it on the packaging and on the device and in the user manual), just enter in the name of the company in the applicant name and you’ll likely find what you are seeking. The date range is helpful for limiting the results, but also enables another fun option. Just enter today’s date in the from-to fields and you’ll have a list of all the paperwork filed today. This is how the leaks happen. As soon as it’s listed, helpful people will see it and report it.
For fun, let’s look up something that’s near and dear to us; the Raspberry Pi 3. Search for Raspberry Pi in the applicant name and there are a few entries, some dated from 2016, and some from 2014. The 2016 ones are clearly the Pi 3, and their only difference appears to be the frequency range; it’s unclear why there are three separate filings.