Countdown to February 2016 – Preparing for CEC Level VI.

Jon Vallis – Sales and Marketing Manager, Ideal Power, discusses the impending regulations.

Successes in reducing the no-load power of external power supplies has resulted in estimated savings of 32billionKW in energy consumption, a reduction in CO² emissions by more than 24million tons and an annual saving of $2.5billion – €2.2bn or £stg1.64bn – (US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency figures). These figures are impressive, and the result of a decade of regulation and programmes by the industry, both voluntary and mandatory ones. The drive for ‘greener’ energy, however, means that an upcoming standard, due to be implemented in February 2016, will further reduce the energy consumed by external power adapters. In some cases, the reductions could result in as little as 20% of the levels allowed in previous standards.

IdealPower VI logoThe CEC (California Energy Commission) Level VI standard is due to come into effect on February 10, 2016 and will bring in some significant revisions and definitions. OEM manufacturers will need to be aware of new performance thresholds, direct and indirect operation models and exemptions.

The last 10 years has seen a lot of rapid development in the reduction of power consumption by external power supplies. In 2004, the CEC introduced the first mandatory standard for energy efficiency, denoting a power supply that meets EnergyStar Tier 1 and Australia’s MEPS (Maximum Efficiency Performance Standards). The EU introduced the ErP phase 1 (Energy related Products) directive in 2010 and harmonised CEC and EISA (Energy Independence and Security Act) the following year, in the ErP Directive 2009/125/EC. Around the same time, the EnergyStar certification ceased to apply to power supplies.

Today, all external power supplies must meet CEC Level IV for the USA and Canada and Level V if shipped to the EU.

The next step, driven by CEC VI, is to further reduce no-load power in single and multiple voltage external power supplies. It introduces multiple output power supplies into the regulation and also addresses external power supplies below 250W. The standard has no-load power thresholds for single voltage, external AC/DC power supplies, low voltage and basic models, for categories of 1W and below, 49 to 250W and 250W and above. There are also limits for no-load power for multiple voltage external power supplies in the same power ranges.

Another distinction of CEC Level VI is that it does not apply to direct operation power supplies, i.e. those that function in an end product without the assistance of a battery. It does apply to indirect operation devices, i.e. those devices which are not battery chargers, but which cannot operate the end product without the assistance of a battery. EISA2007 will govern the limits of indirect operation power supplies.

Exemptions to CEC Level VI include any device that may need FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval for medical use; power the charger of a detachable battery pack, or charges the battery of a product that is fully, or primarily, motor-operated; and products made available as a service or spare part by the end-product manufacturer before July 1 2008.

The EU is revising its EcoDesign Directive (or ErP II for energy related products) which is considered to be a parallel standard. Countries such as Canada and Australia are expected to adopt CEC Level VI.

OEMS must ensure compliance with all regulations for whichever region products are shipped to. For help in meeting the increased levels of energy saving required to comply with CEC Level VI, contact the IP Support team at Ideal Power, the power conversion experts.

Ideal Power provides external power supplies and adapters, open frame, encapsulated and DIN Rail power conversion products and battery chargers to markets including industrial, computing, medical, communications, LED Lighting, security, consumer and leisure. Products are sourced from market leading suppliers including EOS and Glary,

Ideal Power’s British based IP Support Engineering Team are available to work with customer’s design engineers to create modified-standard and full custom designs for quantities from 100 pieces upwards.  Their IP Support team has over 40 years of experience in the power supply industry and provides local assistance throughout the whole design process from concept, design, quotations, samples and testing to approvals and standards compliance, shipping, stock-holding and after-sales service.

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