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External Power Supplies

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Overview

External power supplies – commonly called power adaptors – are used to recharge or power products such as laptops, mobile phones, modems, printers, and other extra low voltage products. They are often supplied along with the product they power.

External power supplies are covered by energy efficiency regulations – even if they come packaged with an appliance or product that may have its own energy efficiency regulations.

Comprehensive frequently asked questions are available below to provide more information on which external power supplies must comply with Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS).

Is your product regulated?

Find out which GEMS determination or regulatory standard applies to your product

All products covered by energy efficiency regulations must meet certain requirements before they can be supplied or sold in Australia or New Zealand.

Depending on the product, this may include Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS), energy rating label requirements or both. There are specific requirements relevant to Australia and New Zealand.

At a glance...

 

MEPS

Energy Rating Label

Australia

New Zealand

External Power Supplies

Yes

No

GEMS Determination

Requirements

Is it an EPS?

The power supply does not connect to the product with a cable or plug, for example an induction charger. Does it have to comply with MEPS?

Part of the definition is that the EPS is connected to the end use product via a hard-wired or removable male/female electrical connection, cable, cord or other wiring. This therefore excludes induction chargers.

The EPS is not for a consumer product. Does it have to comply with MEPS?

MEPS for EPS does not differentiate between applications/sectors. If the EPS meets the definition in the standard, then it must comply with MEPS.

The power supply is used for LED lighting. Does it have to comply with MEPS?

If the power supply is an LED driver, within the scope and definitions of IEC 61347.2.13, it is exempt from the requirements of AS/NZS 4665. Otherwise, if it meets the definition in AS/NZS 4665, then it is within the scope of MEPS.

The Standard states that DC or battery-powered equipment is excluded from the scope of the Standard. Does this mean EPS for products like mobile phones are excluded?

No, EPS for mobile phones, notebook computers, dustbusters etc. have to comply because the EPS plugs into them as they are “end-use products”.

The EPS is connected to a separate battery charging unit. Does the EPS have to comply?

Yes, the battery charging unit is an end-use product and therefore the EPS must comply.

The power supply has one or more USB outputs. Does it have to comply?

If it has one USB output, is has to comply. If there is more than one output, it is outside the scope of MEPS.

The power supply has more than one extra low voltage output.

This is outside the scope of MEPS, as it has more than one output, even if they are at the same output voltage i.e. multiple sockets in the product or cables from the product.

The EPS is used to power a medical device. Does it have to comply with MEPS?

If the device being powered is on the Therapeutic Goods Register then the EPS does not have to comply with MEPS. Refer to the standard for full details of the exemption.

The power supply is not supplied with an AC lead and plug, such as a DIN rail power supply.

These are outside the scope of MEPS. These are not sold with, nor intended to be used with, a separate end-use product that constitutes the primary load. For example, they are mounted and wired, by a suitably qualified person, into some other form of product, such as a control cubicle.

Are Power over Ethernet (PoE) power supplies subject to EPS MEPS?

No, these devices provide power over two or more twisted pairs in Ethernet cables and their operation (not energy performance) is covered by IEEE 802.3 standards. Depending upon the type, they may also include input and output signal wires. These IEEE standards specify their operation and those of powered devices to “interrogate” and detect if a powered device is compliant with the standards and may disconnect power from a non-compliant device to ensure system stability.

The power supply has to be wired to AC and possibly the device it is powering. Does it have to comply with MEPS?

No, these power supplies are not sold with or intended to be used with an end use product. An example is a power supply powering devices inside an electronic/electrical control cubicle.

MEPS and Marking

The EPS has a higher performance mark than shown in the standard

Over time, higher performance marks may be introduced. The standard will be amended to include them. If EPS with higher marks are available before the standard is amended, then a Regulatory Ruling will be issued allowing their use.

The EPS meets or exceeds MEPS but does not have a performance mark on it. Can it be registered and sold?

No – the EPS must have a compliant performance mark on it either on the label or engraved or moulded on the casing.

We need to replace an EPS for a product but the replacement does not or may not comply with MEPS.

The Trade Practices Act 1974 requires a part to be „reasonably available‟ after the acquisition of goods by a consumer. Therefore an external power supply that is made available by a manufacturer directly to a consumer or to a service or repair facility as a service part or spare part, after and separate from the original sale of the product requiring the external power supply, shall be exempt from meeting MEPS requirements for a period of 5 years from the date of introduction of MEPS i.e. if you purchased the product prior to 1st December 2008, then a non-compliant EPS may be legally supplied up to 30th November 2013. It does not have to be tested.

The product the EPS is powering is subject to MEPS. Does this mean the EPS is exempt?

Unless otherwise stated in the product’s MEPS requirements, the EPS must comply with MEPS. Read the product’s standard carefully, as a higher efficiency or performance mark than EPS MEPS may be required.

The EPS meets different performance marks at 230 Va.c and at 115 Va.c. How do we mark it?

In Australia and New Zealand you can mark it with what it achieves at 230 Vac only. Alternatively it can have two performance marks, but qualify each mark with the voltage it applies to.

What if one or more of the efficiencies measured is less than MEPS or a higher performance mark level?

It is the average of the efficiencies used to determine the performance mark when the EPS is tested at 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% of nameplate output power. One or more efficiencies may be lower, meaning that one or more must be higher to achieve the required average for a particular mark.

Why don't AC-AC EPS have a no-load requirement for MEPS?

There was sufficient evidence during the analysis for the introduction of MEPS, which demonstrate it would be difficult for AC-AC EPS to meet both efficiency and no-load requirements i.e. they could achieve one but not the other. Also, in typical use, AC-AC EPS no-load situations are not common, so efficiency was deemed to be the important criteria.

Testing and other countries

Test voltages for MEPS

If the external power supply (EPS) nameplate voltage is marked as 230 Va.c .or the voltage range includes 230 Va.c., then it shall be tested at 230 Va.c. If the EPS is marked 240 Va.c. only, then it shall be tested at 240 Va.c. Testing at 115 Va.c. is not required for MEPS.

My EPS meets Mark III or higher in America - is it suitable for MEPS?

US regulations only require testing at 115 Va.c. If it has not been tested and complies at 230 Va.c., then the test report cannot be used for MEPS and you will need to get the EPS tested.

Are tests and reports from other countries accepted?

The test method and performance marks were a collaborative development by a number of countries and other parties. Therefore there are a number of standards and protocols that are technically equivalent and may be used for testing to establish the performance mark achieved.

Examples include California Energy Commission regulations, ENERGY STAR requirements (now superseded by the US Department of Energy Federal Regulations 10 CFR Part 430, published June 1 2011), The China Standard Certification Center (CSCC) and the European voluntary Code of Conduct.

Whilst the test method and marking protocols are equivalent, testing must be done at 230 Va.c. or 240 Va.c. if applicable.

EPS in the US are no longer marked with the Energy Star symbol

From 31st December 2010 US ENERGY STAR ceased allowing the use of the ENERGY STAR logo on EPS. US Federal legislation covers the performance and performance marking of external power supplies. This legislation uses the same test method and performance marking protocol as specified in the ENERGY STAR version 2.0 specification.

Do Australian and New Zealand performance marks differ from standards and protocols in other countries?

Australia and New Zealand standards use the same levels for performance marks and test method. However, MEPS only requires testing and compliance at 230 Va.c. (or 240 Va.c. if the EPS is only marked with 240 Va.c.)

MEPS for AC-AC EPS are for efficiency requirements only. They are not subject to the no-load requirements of the International Marking Protocol.

Do I have to use an independent or accredited test laboratory?

No, testing can be undertaken in-house however, testing must comply with the full requirements of AS/NZS 4665.1 or equivalents from other jurisdictions.

Where can I buy a copy of the Standard?

AS/NZS 4665 can be purchased from www.saiglobal.com or www.standards.co.nz Check that the Standard includes the latest amendments.

Registration and Sales

Can an EPS manufactured in Australia or imported into Australia before 1st of December 2008 be legally sold?

Yes, but you should keep accurate records in case you have to prove it.

Is a test report required with the application?

No, but you must retain it for five years and provide a copy if requested by regulatory authorities. You can provide the report at the time of application for registration.

Can we register a family (series) of EPS and what is the fee?

A ‘Family’ of products can be registered via a single application, however refer to the standard for the definition of a family. The registration fee for a family registration is the same as for a single model registration and it is shown during the online application.

Does registration have an annual fee and when can the EPS be sold?

A registration lasts for up to 5 years or until the MEPS requirements are changed, whichever comes first. There is no annual fee. The fee is part of the application/registration process and the EPS cannot be sold until it is registered.

Who pays the registration fee?

The applicant (who can be either the manufacturer or importer or a third party consultant or approvals agent) usually pays the fee. The payment method is part of the online application process.

The website allows us to choose from a number of States and New Zealand. Which one should we choose for registration?

You may choose any of the States during the online application and once registered, it is registered for ALL of Australia and New Zealand (NZ).

To register in NZ, the applicant must have its registered office in NZ. In this case the EPS must be imported into NZ first or be manufactured in NZ before export to Australia.

We are trying to register our product but it is not on the list of products.

It is only the external power supply that must be registered, not the product it is powering.

We supply more than one client with the same EPS but they have a different brand or model number on them. Does each one have to be registered?

No, they can be done in one application as a ‘Family’ of products with all the brand/model names/numbers listed. If any one model or brand is found not to meet the claimed performance mark, then it is your responsibility to advise all parties using the EPS of their non-compliance and cessation of sales.

Overview and Test Procedures - AS/NZS 4665 External Power Supplies

Overview

From 1st December 2008 in Australia and 9th June 2011 in New Zealand  most external power supplies (often known as ‘a.c. adaptors’, ‘plug packs’ or ‘power packs’) manufactured or imported for sale in Australia or New Zealand will be required to meet minimum energy performance standards (MEPS). These units are used to power or re-charge low voltage products such as laptop computers, mobile telephones, modems and many other low voltage products, both fixed and portable.

The following flowchart can assist in determining if a power supply is covered by this Standard.

External Power Supplies Flow Chart

Products covered include external power supply units with a nominal 230 V a.c. supply input and a single output at extra low voltage (ELV), either a.c. or d.c. and a maximum output of 250 W or 250 VA (see the standard for further details on products covered).

MEPS do not apply to:

  • External Power Supplies with simultaneous multiple output voltages (e.g. some personal computer power supplies)
  • D.C. to D.C. voltage conversion equipment such as D.C. to D.C. converters

Any external power supplies imported into, or manufactured in Australia prior to December 2008 and prior to 9th June 2011 in New Zealand, and held in stock, may continue to be sold or used to provide replacements after this date, however non complying products imported or manufactured after the MEPS start date cannot be sold or supplied.

The standard also defines minimum efficiency levels for “High Efficiency External Power Supplies”. Only products which meet the specified efficiency levels can apply this term to promotion or advertising materials.

These performance requirements are technically identical to the following program requirements for external power supplies, with the exception that there is not a requirement for AC-AC external power supplies to meet any no-load criteria.

  • US Energy Star
  • China Certification Center for Energy Conservation Products
  • California. Note: External Power Supplies sold in California need only comply at 115Vac 60Hz and shall be marked with the performance mark with 115 beside the mark if they comply only at 115vac
  • European voluntary Code of Conduct

Summary of Test Procedures for External Power Supplies

Test Standards: Regulatory standards and test procedures for external power supplies are published by Standards Australia.

AS/NZS 4665: Performance of External Power Supplies

AS/NZS 4665.1-2005: Test method and energy performance mark

AS/NZS 4665.2-2005: Minimum Energy Performance Standard (MEPS) requirements

These Standards can be purchased from www.saiglobal.com or www.standards.co.nz.

AS/NZS 4665.1: Test Method and Energy Performance Mark

Abstract: Specifies the method of test to assess the energy performance of external power supplies, and the international system for marking the efficiency on the power supply.

This test method is technically identical to the test method used by the US EPA in the Energy Star program. It describes the general test conditions, and the measurement approach for determination of efficiency at 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% of rated power output, and under no load conditions.

This Standard also describes the system for marking a power supply with a Roman Numeral to indicate its overall energy performance. The requirements in AS/NZS 4665.2 are equivalent to numeral III.

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