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HQ 953953

MAY 4 1993

CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 953953 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 9022.90.70

Mr. David L. Mohn
International Electronic Products
Corporation of America
6-8 North Williams Street
Whitehall, NY 12887-1119

RE: Piezoelectric Buzzer Element; Parts of Apparatus Based on the Use of Alpha, Beta or Gamma Radiationa; Part of Ionization-Type Smoke Detector; Parts of Burglar or Fire Alarms, Subheading 8531.90.00: Electrical Parts of Machinery, 8548.00.00; Principal Use, Chapter 90, Note 2(b), HTSUS; HQ 952878 Revoked

Dear Mr. Mohn:

In a letter dated February 25, 1993, you present additional evidence as to the principal use of a piezoelectric buzzer element you propose to import from China. We addressed the tariff status of this merchandise in an earlier letter to you, dated February 11, 1993 (HQ 952878).


In general, buzzer elements operate on the piezoelectric principle to transduce an electric signal into a mechanical audio signal in a specific hertz range. Depending on the electricals of the parent device and the frequencies at which they are programmed to react, buzzer elements can emit a variety of audio signals such as buzzing, chiming, beeping, etc. in automotive warning indicators, burglar alarms and smoke detectors, calculators, door bells, watches, pagers, timers, games and similar articles.

As imported, this particular element, designated part DMX1029, is a ceramic wafer bonded to a metal disc. After importation, silver electrodes are fused at three points on the circumference of the buzzer which then fits into a molded plastic housing. The end of the electrodes fit snugly into corresponding protrusions on the housing that function as legs. The electrodes and legs fit onto a pc board inside a home ionization-type smoke - 2 -
detector. In devices of this kind, small quantities of alpha, gamma and beta radiations create an electric current in the sensing chamber. Smoke entering the chamber interrupts the current and opens a circuit that sends AC voltage from a 9 volt battery across the wafer. This causes the wafer to vibrate at the frequency of the applied voltage, thus creating sound waves as an alarm.

In our February 11, 1993, ruling, we concluded that lacking evidence of the principal use of the class or kind of articles to which this buzzer element belongs, it would be classified in subheading 8548.00.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as electrical parts of machinery or apparatus, not specified or included elsewhere in chapter 85.

You note that buzzer element DMX1029 is programmed to react at a frequency of between 2,000 to 3,000 hertz (hz), which is the range common to home smoke and fire detectors. Accordingly, you suggest that this buzzer element may be provided for in subheading 8531.90.00, HTSUS, as parts of electric sound or signaling apparatus.

You submit engineering drawings for both the buzzer element and the plastic housing into which it is fitted to form an alarm horn housing assembly; a sample alarm horn assembly designated part H58-92-XX; a First Alert home smoke detector which contains an alarm horn assembly identical to the sample; and, a letter from BRK Electronics, Aurora, IL., a company to whom you supply the buzzer elements in issue. The letter, dated February 19, 1993, states that both buzzer element DMX1029 and the molded plastic housing with which it is used, are proprietary designs of the First Alert smoke/fire alarm systems and buzzer element DMX1029 serves as the audio alarm device.


Whether a principal use for the buzzer element designated DMX1029 has been established.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

If there is no specific provision appropriate to buzzer element DMX1029, it will be classified with the machines, instruments or apparatus with which it is found to be solely or - 3 -
principally used. See Chapter 90, Note 2(b), HTSUS. In this context, principal use is that use which exceeds any other single use of the merchandise.

Whether principal use has been established depends on the evidence in each case. Many times, the character of the merchandise itself and the circumstances in which it is used can be evidence of principal use. In administrative proceedings Customs has considerable latitude in evaluating the available information in a light most favorable to the importer, particularly where there is no other contradictory evidence.

In this case, the thickness and diameter of buzzer element DMX1029 are closely toleranced for a specific service application. But, more importantly, the propriety nature of the buzzer element and its corresponding plastic housing is an indication that the two are dedicated for use with home smoke detectors. Also, the element is programmed to react to frequencies in the 2,000-3,000 hz range, which is typical in home smoke detectors. While there are doubtless other devices that produce frequencies in the same range, and with which the subject buzzer element may be compatible, the record here does not permit us to draw any definite conclusions.


Under GRI 1, buzzer element DMX1029 is a part solely or principally used with apparatus based on the use of alpha, beta or gamma radiations of heading 9022. Actual classification is in subheading 9022.90.70, HTSUS, as other parts of ionization type smoke detectors. The rate of duty is 2.7 percent ad valorem. This decision is based on the information available to us at this time. It will not preclude Customs from evaluating additional evidence of the principal use of the merchandise that may come to our attention in the future.


Under the authority of section 177.9(d)(1), Customs Regulations, HQ 952878 is revoked.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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