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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 with its own energy efficiency regulations.

Frequently asked questions below 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 EPS does not connect to the product with a cable or plug, for example it connects with an induction charger. Does it have to comply with MEPS?

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

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

If the EPS meets the definition in the Determination, then it must comply with MEPS.

The EPS 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 the Determination.

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

No, EPS for mobile phones, notebook computers, dustbusters etc have to comply because these devices are end-use products and the requirements apply to the EPS.

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 the EPS must comply.

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

The Determination regulates single output external power supplies. If there is more than one output, it is outside the scope of MEPS.

The EPS has more than out output voltage, it is in scope?

Where a device is capable of multiple output voltages, but these are not user selectable on the device, the product is not in scope of the Determination and cannot be registered. These devices may change the output voltage depending on the end use product being connected or via some other selection method on the end use product. They are also sometimes referred to as ‘quick charge’ units which vary the voltage to charge the end product quickly at a higher voltage.

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  the EPS does not have to comply with MEPS. Refer to the Determination for details of the exemption.

The EPS 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?

Yes.  Paragraph (e) of the definition of “single output external power supply” in section 4 of the Determination indicates that an EPS is “connected to the end-use product via a hard-wired or removable male/female electrical connection, cable, cord or other wiring.”  PoE power supplies meet this element of the definition (even though the cable connecting the power supply to the end-use product also carries data).  Assuming it meets all of the other elements of the definition of “single output external power supply”, a PoE power supply must comply with the MEPS requirements and be registered.

The EPS 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 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.

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 also comply with MEPS.

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

In Australia and New Zealand you can mark it with what it achieves at 230V AC 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 to 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 EPS nameplate voltage is marked as 230V AC or the voltage range includes 230V AC, then it shall be tested at 230V AC. If the EPS is marked 240V AC only, then it shall be tested at 240V AC Testing at 115V AC 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 115V AC. If it has not been tested and complies at 230V AC, 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.  However, testing must comply with the full requirements of AS/NZS 4665.1 and be referenced on the test report. Testing must be done at 230V AC or 240V AC.

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 230V AC (or 240V AC if the EPS is only marked with 240V AC).

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.

Where can I buy a copy of the Standard?

AS/NZS 4665 can be purchased from www.saiglobal.com or www.standards.co.nz.

Registration and Sales

Is a test report required with the application?

Yes, you can provide the report at the time of application for registration or you can reference an approved registration that includes the relevant test report.

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

A ‘family’ of products can be registered via a single application: refer to the Determination for the definition of a family. The registration fee for a family registration is the same as for a single model registration.

How long does a registration last and when can the EPS be supplied?

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 registration site allows us to choose from Australia and New Zealand. Which one should we choose for registration?

You may choose Australia during the online application and once registered, it is registered for 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 unless that products falls within the scope of another GEMS Determination. It this instance, the product it is powering would require its own registration.

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.

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 ‘AC adaptors’, ‘plug packs’ or ‘power packs’) manufactured or imported for sale in Australia or New Zealand have been 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 the MEPS:

External Power Supplies Flow Chart

Products covered are mains powered external power supply units with a single output at extra low voltage (ELV), either AC or DC and a maximum output of 250 W or 250 VA (see the standard for further details on products covered).

MEPS do not apply to:

  • EPS with simultaneous multiple output voltages (e.g. some personal computer power supplies)
  • DC to DC voltage conversion equipment such as DC to DC 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 115V AC 60Hz and shall be marked with the performance mark with 115 beside the mark if they comply only at 115V AC
  • 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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16 Nov 2018 10:00 AAEDT
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