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New regulation according to DoE Level VI for power supplies


Why is there a new policy?

Despite the replacement of linear technology by switching power supplies, the share of total power consumption is still significant, so environmental authorities around the world introduced guidelines to reduce it, conserve resources and thus protect the environment. The first legally mandated energy efficiency guideline for external power supplies was introduced in California in 2004. Similar standards followed worldwide and were harmonized as the International Energy Efficiency Marking Protocol for external power supplies. Further development of the directive has resulted in increasingly stringent regulations regarding minimum efficiency and no-load operation requirements.

Today, most of the external power supplies sold in the U.S. must meet the U.S. Department of Energy's (DoE) new "Energy Conservations Standards," also called the Level VI specification, and bear the Roman numerals IV on the nameplate. For the EU, the Level V specification still currently applies.

What are the differences with Level V?

  • Stricter regulations for efficiency and idle power
  • Expanded product range covered by the standard:
    • Multiple output voltages
    • With over 250W output power

Who is affected by this new regulation?

External power supplies* are affected by the change,

  • that are intended for direct device operation (i.e., without a compelling need for a battery)
  • that were manufactured after February 10, 2016 and are
  • that are intended for the North American market
  • that are shipped as a standalone product or packaged together with consumer products such as notebooks, smartphones, etc.

*An external power supply is defined as an external power supply circuit that converts household power to DC power or to low voltage AC power to operate a consumer product.

A consumer product is an item that consumes or is designed to consume energy and which is sold through commercial channels for individual personal use or consumption.

What are the exceptions?

External power supplies

  • operate devices that are Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) listed and medically approved
  • with less than 3V output voltage and greater than or equal to 1A intended to charge a battery of a product that is wholly or partially motorized
  • for life-saving and safety equipment need not meet zero-load requirements in all cases

What are the specific requirements?

The following table lists the specified idle power consumption and minimum average efficiency for all categories of external power supplies.

Single-Voltage External AC-DC Power Supply, Basic Voltage
Nameplate Output Power (Pout) Minimum Average Efficiency in Active Mode (expressed as a decimal) Max. Power in No Load Mode (W)
Pout ≤ 1W ≥ 0.5 x Pout + 0.16 ≤ 0.100
1W < Pout ≤ 49W ≥ 0.071 x ln(Pout)-0.0014 x Pout + 0.67 ≤ 0.100
49W < Pout ≤ 250W ≥ 0.880 ≤ 0.210
Pout > 250W ≥ 0.875 ≤ 0.500
Single-Voltage External AC-DC Power Supply, Low Voltage
Pout ≤ 1W ≥ 0.517 x Pout + 0.087 ≤ 0.100
1W < Pout ≤ 49W ≥ 0.0834 x ln(Pout)-0.0014 x Pout + 0.609 ≤ 0.100
49W < Pout ≤ 250W ≥ 0.870 ≤ 0.210
Pout > 250W ≥ 0.875 ≤ 0.500
Single-Voltage External AC-AC Power Supply, Basic Voltage
Pout ≤ 1W ≥ 0.5 x Pout + 0.16 ≤ 0.210
1W < Pout ≤ 49W ≥ 0.071 x ln(Pout)-0.0014 x Pout + 0.67 ≤ 0.210
49W < Pout ≤ 250W ≥ 0.880 ≤ 0.210
Pout > 250W ≥ 0.875 ≤ 0.210
Single-Voltage External AC-AC Power Supply, Low Voltage
Pout ≤ 1W ≥ 0.517 x Pout + 0.087 ≤ 0.210
1W < Pout ≤ 49W ≥ 0.0834 x ln(Pout)-0.0014 x Pout + 0.609 ≤ 0.210
49W < Pout ≤ 250W ≥ 0.870 ≤ 0.210
Pout > 250W ≥ 0.875 ≤ 0.500
Multiple-Voltage External Power Supply
Pout ≤ 1W ≥ 0.497 x Pout + 0.067 ≤ 0.300
1W < Pout ≤ 49W ≥ 0.075 x ln(Pout) + 0.561 ≤ 0.300
Pout > 49W ≥ 0.860 ≤ 0.300
Table I. Energy Conservation Standards for Direct Operation EPSs (Copied from US DoE, 10 CFR Part 430 document)

Will this regulation also apply in the EU?

It is expected that the EU and other countries will also tighten their own regulations in line with Level VI. In December 2015, a panel of political and business experts already initiated the implementation of a similar directive for the European Union. Adoption by the European Commission is expected from the end of 2016.

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