Instructables

Find schematics, wiring diagrams, etc. for everyday electronic devices

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video Find schematics, wiring diagrams, etc. for everyday electronic devices
Introduction

If you've ever found yourself taking apart various electronics to build something of your own, this Instructable is for you.

Sometimes it might be handy to have more detail on the inner workings of the device. Wouldn't it be nice if you could get the full schematics, interior photos, and other technical detail before you even pick up a screwdriver? Well you may be able to!

The US Federal Communications Commission (or FCC) regulates interstate and international communications by radio and television, wire and cable, and satellite. They have very specific guidelines for "equipment authorization" which requires vendors to go through a certification process for any device that uses the radio spectrum and will be marketed or imported into the US.

One of the requirements is that these devices be labeled with a uniquely assigned "FCC Identifier, or commonly known as FCC ID".

Fortunate for us, this FCC ID number is the key to a wealth of information about the device that you probably didn't even know existed (as it rarely shows up in any search engine results).

To Begin

1. Take the device you're interested in learning more about. Note that not all electronics are required to have FCC certification, but odds are if it transmits, receives, or potentially emits RF in any way, it will have an FCC ID.
2. Find the FCC ID on the device. Sometimes this is in plain view on the back. Other times you need to remove the battery cover to find it. The FCC requires that the label be readily accessible so you should never have to actually take the device apart in order to find the FCC ID.
3. Once you have the FCC ID, visit the following page: http://www.fcc.gov/oet/ea/fccid/
4. Now enter the "Grantee, or Applicant" code which is the first 3 letters of the FCC ID, followed by the remainder of the ID known of the Product Code. Note that the Grantee Code will always be three alphanumeric characters and the Product Code may consist of hyphens and/or dashes.
5. Click Search and see what comes up!
6. You should see a list of all applications submitted regarding this particular device. Note that you may see multiple submissions in the case where a vendor has updated or modified the electronics which may have required re-certification.
7. Click on Detail and you'll see information such as the original cover letter application for the device, external photos, internal photos, test reports, etc. all available as PDFs for download.
8. Note that in some cases, the vendor may specifically request that certain documents remain confidential and therefore not available on this site. I've found more often than not this is not the case and usually everything is available.
9. And that is all there is to it! You now have lots of extra data and schematics available for your hardware hacking pleasure!

Learning More

Fellow author throbscottle has created a great Instructable on How to reverse engineer a schematic from a circuit board. I encourage you to check it out for some great tips on reverse engineering!

Visit the FDA Equipment Authorization page (http://www.fcc.gov/oet/ea/Welcome.html) for more information and FAQ's about what devices are required to have FCC certification, the rules required for such certification and loads of other information about what is required to get approval on devices that use the radio frequency spectrum.

ManganLabs.com
Idea Generation In Progress
Liamthe1st8 months ago
I am in the UK we do have a lot of devices from Taiwan, Japan and China which will also be for the USA . My question is what is the UK equivalent?
Ian0110 months ago

Does anybody know where to find the FCC ID lookup tool on the new FCC website? The old link is broken.

siliconghost (author)  Ian0110 months ago

Hmm, URL still works for me. Are you using this? http://www.fcc.gov/oet/ea/fccid/

Ian01 siliconghost10 months ago

That's the one. I get a page with this message:

Not Found
The requested object does not exist on this server. The link you followed is either outdated, inaccurate, or the server has been instructed not to let you have it.

Kirbsome!3 years ago
This is great!
But does the FCC "work" outside of the USA?
siliconghost (author)  Kirbsome!3 years ago
Only for products that are intended to be sold within the USA (whether they are made in the US or not).
Azayles4 years ago
This is AMAZING! Why am I only finding this NOW? This is a brilliant holy grail of electronics knowledge, and thank you SO MUCH for sharing!
I was wondering what the inside of my Logitech MX Performance mouse looked like, but with a price tag exceeding £100, I was reluctant to open the case. Now I've had a good detailed look at the inside by virtue of the photos offer up by the FCCID search.
This is surely THE most informative and helpful Instructable I've come across to date. Five of these * to you!
siliconghost (author)  Azayles4 years ago
Your feedback just made my day!  Comments like these are why I continue to spend countless hours of personal time documenting my projects, ideas, and  tips & tricks.

Thanks and glad I could help!

- John
mandra5 years ago
i want to know the fcc equivalent in canada please

it's for long time i search for this advice, thank you! i hope you cantell me what is for canada, i look in back of some device i have, and isee fcc, but no id with it

look that exemple:   have two rectangle about fcc on back ofsatellite bell express Vu device.

in the first rectangle i see that:

Fcc, they mention model: DE01,DE04,DE06
tested to comply with fcc standards for home or office use

end of the first rectangle

in other rectangle on back, other side of the first rectangle i havethis:

complies with part 68 fcc rules
ringer equivalence0.1B, 0.3B or 0.5B
fcc registration #5G6USA-43025-DT-E
                           OR
                            #US-5G6DT03BIDO13
                           OR
                            #US-5G6DT05BID015
       see manual for details.

end of the second rectangle

where you see the three first character inside these two rectangle icopied for you?????
siliconghost (author)  mandra5 years ago
If the device is not imported or sold in the USA, it doesn't need to be FCC certified. That may be why you are not finding the FCC ID which is required in order for this to work.

Just because they mention that the device complies with certain FCC rules does not mean it has been certified (which would give it the FCC ID).  It also may be registered by another authority such as CE.
qwertyboy5 years ago
this is sweet, i just found the info for the mouse i'm using
Wow. This is awesome! Till now, I've been breaking my gadgets just to learn how they work and wasting so much time in drawing schematics by looking at complicated PCBoards. Thanks for the instructable! 5 star!
Thanks for posting this. This will be very helpful as I try to repair or create new and exciting things. To think of all the times I've tried to find such information only to learn it was always there, just for the asking (well, at least in the internet age...)
siliconghost (author)  engineeringnerd5 years ago
Your welcome! I've run in to quite a few people who didn't know this existed (hence the reason I thought it would make a good instructable). Part of the problem is that the fcc database is not index by any of the major search engines out there. You won't find anything unless you go to this specific site.
iectyx3c5 years ago
This is so great. I have pulling apart junk for years and realize I have missed out on a lot of valuable information. Thank you for posting this. Outstanding and gets my vote.
siliconghost (author)  iectyx3c5 years ago
No problem Bruce! Glad this was helpful and thanks for your vote! - John
revelae5 years ago
very nice.
siliconghost (author)  revelae5 years ago
This was created because I was surprised how few of my hardware geek friends knew about this option. I figured there must be others out there that don't know what they are missing out on. This information does not show up in search engine results other than directly on the FCC site. Thanks for your feedback!