April 22, 2012

New Proposed Efficiency Standards for Battery Chargers and External Power Supplies

U.S. Department of Energy recently issued Battery Chargers and External Power Supply (BCEPS) Notice of Proposed Rule. DOE proposes amended efficiency standards for Class A external power supplies (EPSs) and new standards for non-Class A EPSs and battery chargers. The proposed standards set the minimum average efficiency in active mode and the maximum power consumption in no-load mode as a function of the nameplate output power. The greatest challenge for SMPS power supply designers in my view will be the proposed limit of maximum power in no-load mode. For EPS below 50 watt it will be <0.1 watt. Since a power supply has to be able to “wake up” when connected to a load, it needs to keep active certain control circuit. Keeping a consumption of an off-line bias supply below 0.1 W will be a real challenge.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will hold a public meeting on May 2, 2012 to discuss the analyses presented and issues identified in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Technical Support Document. These proposed standards, if adopted, would apply to all applicable external power supplies manufactured in, or imported into, the United States on or after July 1, 2013.

At abote the same time, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking about Consumer Products and Industrial Equipment Non compliant with applicable Energy Conservation or Labeling Standards. CBP will refuse admission into the customs territory of the United States to consumer products and industrial equipment deemed non compliant with the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA).

I feel our government is just one step short of stopping anyone at the border for carrying a cell phone with non-efficiency-compliant charger.