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Ecodesign external power supplies

Disclaimer: This document provides guidance and is not a legally binding interpretation and shall therefore not be relied upon as legal advice.

The EU framework for ecodesign requirements of many energy-related products (ERP) is directive 2009/125/EC.
Within this framework the EU has published three regulations all related to household and office equipment.

Regulation (EC) 1275/2008

Regulation (EC) 1275/2008 defines the ecodesign requirements for the "standby and off mode electric power consumption" of electrical and electronic household and office equipment.
The scope of this regulation is listed in its Annex I and covers four groups of energy-using product families:

  1. Household appliances;
  2. (Domestic) information technology equipment;
  3. Consumer (multimedia) equipment;
  4. (Electric) toys, leisure and sports equipment.

Regulation (EC) 278/2009

Regulation (EC) 1275/2008 defines the ecodesign requirements only for "standby" and "off" mode. The regulation does not take into account that many of these products are sold with an external power supply (EPS), such as an AC/DC adapter in combination with the product. For these products with external power supplies there is a third mode possible: the "no load" condition, when the external power supply is not connected to the product.
The EU decided that the ecodesign requirements for external power supplies in "no load" condition should be more severe and therefore it amended regulation (EC) 1275/2008 with "external power supply" regulation (EC) 278/2009.

Regulation (EU) 2019/1782

The possible energy savings for household and office equipment and external power supplies is huge. The EU evaluated the existing regulations and concluded that an update was necessary. In October 2019 the EU published a new Regulation (EU) 2019/1782 for external power supplies (EPS). It will replace Regulation (EC) 278/2009 on 1 April 2020.

Products added

The main change in comparison to the previous EPS regulation is the addition of external power supplies with multiple (output) voltages. The first EPS regulation was only applicable to power supplies that are "able to convert to only one DC or AC output voltage at a time". The new regulation introduces a definition and requirements for multiple voltage output external power supplies "able to convert AC power input from the mains power source into more than one simultaneous output at lower DC or AC voltage".

Other changes can be found in Annex I of Regulation (EU) 2019/1782, there are a few changes in comparison to Annex I of (EC) 1275/2008 that also applies for (EC) 278/2009. The following products are added to the scope: televisions, time measuring equipment (clocks, watches), game consoles that are not hand-held, desktop and notebook computers.

Products (still) excluded

Article 1(2) of both regulations lists products that are excluded, the regulation is not applicable to those products.
The changes in the new regulation are shown in bold font:
(a) voltage converters

(b) uninterruptible power supplies

(c) battery chargers without power supply function
(d) halogen  lighting converters
(e) external power supplies for medical devices
(f) active power over Ethernet injectors
(g) docking stations for autonomous appliances

Battery chargers

Just before the new Regulation was published a change was made to the exclusion for battery chargers. In the new Regulation the exemption is now only for battery chargers without power supply function. The regulation defines a battery charger as a "device that connects directly to a removable battery at its output interface".
The Regulation does not provide a definition of 'power supply function'.
The intention of "without power supply function" is to make clear that only so-called indirect external power supplies (chargers) are excluded from the Regulation and direct external power supplies (chargers) are not.
Indirect means that the device can only charge a battery when it is removed from the product. These battery chargers are still excluded from the Regulation. Direct on the other hand means that the device can also be connected to a product with a rechargeable battery inside the product (such as mobile phones and laptops). The commission was afraid that these type of 'battery chargers' were excluded from the scope, they are seen as external power supplies (with a battery charge function) that are included in the scope of the Regulation.
The clarification is necessary because there is currently no EU ecodesign regulation for battery charges and if the battery chargers with power supply function would be excluded then that would result in a considerable reduction of energy savings potential.

Product information

Instruction manuals for end users and websites of manufacturers or importers shall publish the following information:

  • Manufacturer's name or trade mark, commercial registration number and address;
  • Model identifier;
  • Input voltage and AC frequency;
  • Output voltage, current and power;
  • Average active efficiency;
  • Efficiency at low load (10 %) and
  • No-load power consumption

A comparison between the current ecodesign energy efficiency requirements in Annex I of (EC) 278/2009, applicable until 1 April 2020 and Annex II of (EU) 2019/1782 applicable from 1 April 2020.

Maximum power consumption no-load condition

Minimum average active efficiency

Po = the output power as specified by the manufacturer on the nameplate (rating plate) in Watts.

1) Regulation (EC) 278/2009 uses 51 Watt as threshold instead of 49 Watt.
2) Low voltage external power supply means a nameplate output voltage of less than 6 volts and a nameplate output current greater than or equal to 550 milliamperes.
3) Multiple voltage output external power supply means able to convert AC power input from the mains power source into more than one simultaneous output at lower DC or AC voltage.


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