February 18, 2011

What is behind my Kindle?

I had gotten used to having a couple of cryptic symbols on the back of my electronic devices. But when I recently got my new Kindle 3, there were two whole rows of ant-like hieroglyphics. What exactly was my Kindle telling me? Naturally, I had to go figure out what they were.

The symbols were so faint that multiple rounds of sharpening were required.
Click image for more detail.

Starting from the left on the top row, G.O.S.T. is the part of the federal regulation standard in Russia. Certificate of Conformity in GOST R system affirms that the goods delivered in Russia, and/or production line where they were manufactured, conform to the Russian Safety Standards. Haven't been able to figure out why the certification still says PCT, and I suspect the pages that may hold clues to that, on the Federal standards site are not in English.

Edit: As pointed out by anonymous below, that is not PCT but RST (in Cryllic alphabet), which stands for Russian Standard.

Anatel is the Brazilian regulatory authority, that has evolving and stringent guidelines around standards that are to be followed by all electronic devices to be sold in Brazil. The different thing about Brazil's standards authority is that it mandates testing in Brazil and does not accept results from external testing.

This squiggly guy took a little effort in tracing down. Turns out this is the National Communications Commission of Taiwan. Established in 2006, it is responsible for regulating telecommunications, information and broadcasting sectors.

KCC is the next C-infused icon on the back of my Kindle. KCC stands for Korea Communications Commission, which as you can surmise is regulatory and policy making body for Korea. KCC certification covers three schemes, namely EMC, Radio, and Telecom. As as it turns out they may be getting a new icon shortly.

Other than looking like part of a circuit diagram, this logo refers to Japan's telecom and radio certification authority. Certification is required before the device can be used in the country. Certification is no longer issued only by the government affiliated JATE, but also by private certification bodies. Testing to Japan's technical requirements may be conducted by many laboratories around the world.

This unnamed numerical double arrow took a while. Apparently this is a regulatory requirement for China RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances). Apparently anyone shipping a product to China, that contains hazardous substances, should also specify how long the product can be used before the hazardous products, umm, leak out. In other words, Kindle 3 is designed to be obsolete in 20 years. Note to self: do not plan on bequeathing books to grandchildren. Bequeath book collection to enemies.

I am not quite sure why C is such a favored letter in these telecom regulatory insignia. Nevertheless, the next authority with three of the letter C in their logo belong to China. Effective 2003, the China Compulsory Certification mark is required for a wide range of manufactured products before being exported to or sold in the Peoples Republic of China market.

FCC - Federal Communications Commission is the US Government org that regulates devices which use wireless antennae. Without FCC approval no devices can be sold. You can search details of any device by using the FCC ID. The ID for Kindle 3 has the following parts:
Grantee Code: "X7N"
Product Code: "-0610"
The FCC submission, beyond its regulatory requirements is an interesting collection of technical details of the device, including its SAR.

UL is shortened from Underwriter Laboratories Inc. UL Laboratory is a non-governmental organization in the field of security test and appraisal. It is independent, non-profit and professional institution that performs the test for the public security. UL is mainly concerned with production attestation and business security certification. The purpose of UL is to ensure products are safe for public use.

The next icon takes a break from National Telecom regulatory authorities. WEEE is a EU regulation that imposes the responsibility for the disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment on the manufacturers of such equipment. Also, the companies are compelled to use the collected waste in an ecologically-friendly manner, either by ecological disposal or by reuse/refurbishment of the collected WEEE.

The Normas Oficiales Mexicanas (NOM) Mark is a mandatory consumer protection program requiring that certain products such as cellular devices be certified before they can be sold in Mexico. NOM safety approval in Mexico requires in-country testing in order to create an appropriate safety report accepted by the Mexican safety agency NYCE.

ACMA is the compliance authority for Australia. EMC and radio communications compliance is labeled using the C-Tick mark. The compliance label indicates that the product complies with the applicable standard and establishes a traceable link between the equipment and the manufacturer, importer or their agent responsible for compliance and for placing it on the Australian market.

The CE Mark is a EU requirement that states that the product is assessed before being placed on the market and meets EU safety, health and environmental protection requirements. Kindle is categorized as a radio device and therefore needs to comply with requirements of the R&TTE directive

Last but not the least. And I really mean it this time. Of all the symbols, this is among the most cryptic, and actually needs you to do something - not use the device in Switzerland. This is called a class identifier, which is a graphical symbol intended to indicate that operation of the radiocommunications equipment to which it is affixed is subject to restrictions.

So kids, what have we learned so far? Use the Kindle 3 now, before lead starts leaking out in 20 years (pity future generations that can never discover books in the attic). Regulations do not really help a consumer (who in their right minds would try to do what I did above). Our design for the dump philosophy is alive and well. And finally, you cannot use your Kindle while skiing in the Alps.


Anonymous said...

It's Russian. That's not PCT, thats RST. See also Cyrillic alphabet

Anonymous said...

Living in Europe, I have run across enough public information campaigns, newspaper articles about nice-to-know stuff etc. that I recognized the two European symbols (CE and the electrical waste one) by sight.

Then again, I was under the impression that the CE mark was only about electrical compliance, but it seems that it covers just about every kind of safety requirement.

Anonymous said...

As the previous anonymous has mentioned, that Russian mark is read as RST, which literally stands for "Russian standard" (the word "standard" is written with a "t" at the end in Russian)

Anarchius said...

@Anonymous #1: Thanks for the translation, but no thanks for the link.
@Anonymous #2: Yeah, CE mark seems to cover just about any product with specific safety, health and environmental standards. I remember when I thought it was a generic mark for all branded products, like a (TM) assertion.
@Anonymous #3: Edited the article to add that detail. Thanks!