Consumer Electronics Certification and Regulation
Chapter 1: Overview of Common Certification and Regulatory Standards
Chapter 2: Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) Certification Standards and Testing
Chapter 3: European Conformity (CE) Certification Standards and Testing
Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Directive
Low Voltage (LV) Directive
Chapter 4: Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Certification Standards and Testing
The FCC has set electromagnetic compatibility standards such that, if your device passes the test (and your neighbor's TV or other device also passes the test), you device will (probably) not interfere with your neighbor's TV reception, and your neighbor's other devices will not interfere with your device.
All products containing electronics that oscillate above 9 kHz must be certified . (There is a special section 15.103 exemption from certification for devices that do not operate when connected to the AC power lines, are digital, do not intentionally radiate, and both the highest frequency generated and the highest frequency used are less than 1.705 MHz ).
Nearly all electronic devices fall into one or the other of the categories and therefore require one or the other tests described in "FCC Part 15" (Wikipedia: Title 47 CFR Part 15):
- Intentional radiators that require a license to use
- Intentional narrowband radiators that use the "unlicensed spectrum" in a way that does not require a license to use
- Intentional ultra-wideband radiators
- Unintentional radiators
Many manufacturers perform other tests on prototypes that -- while not legally required -- often help flush out design flaws that lead to excessive returns or support costs or both:
- drop tests are often performed even on products that aren't technically required to pass that test   . One drop test standard is "49 CFR 178.603 - Drop test".
- electrostatic discharge testing (Wikipedia: Electrostatic discharge#Simulation and testing for electronic devices