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Countdown to February 2016: preparing for CEC Level VI

07 February 2016

A new standard, due to be implemented this month, will seek further reductions in the energy consumed by external power adapters, writes Jon Vallis.

In some cases, the reductions could result in as little as 20 percent of the levels allowed in previous standards. 

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

The last ten years has seen a lot of rapid development in the reduction of power consumption by external power supplies. 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.

CEC Level VI does not apply to direct operation power supplies - those that function in an end product without the assistance of a battery. It does apply to indirect operation devices - those devices which are not battery chargers, but which cannot operate the end product without the assistance of a battery. There are other excemptions, including devices that may need FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval for medical use.

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.

Jon Vallis is sales and marketing manager, Ideal Power

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