IEC presses for a single charger specification for notebook computers

December 19, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Aiming to “significantly reduce e-waste”, the IEC international standards and conformity assessment body for all fields of electrotechnology, has announced what it terms the “first globally relevant Technical Specification” for a single external charger for a wide range of notebook computers and laptops. The detailed IEC Technical Specification 62700: DC Power supply for notebook computer, will be available in early 2014.

Each year billions of external chargers are shipped globally. Power supplies for notebooks weigh typically around 300 but sometimes up to 600 grams. They are generally not usable from one computer to the next. Sometimes they get lost or break, leading to the discarding of computers that may still work perfectly well. It is estimated that the total e-waste related to all kinds of chargers of ICT devices (Information and Communication) exceeds half a million tons each year; basically the equivalent of 500 000 cars.

This new IEC Technical Specification covers critical aspects of external chargers for notebook computers, their connector and plug, as well as safety, interoperability, performance and environmental considerations.

The new IEC Technical Specification opens the way to a significant and very real reduction of e-waste related to power supplies and will allow consumers to use a single external charger with a wide range of notebook computers. This will also make it much easier for external chargers to be reused or replaced when needed. IEC work ensures that the charger is reliable and safe to use, and that it provides the required level of performance.

In 2011, the IEC published the first globally relevant Standard for a universal charger for data enabled mobile phones ( This work was accomplished in the IEC with relevant input by CENELEC and ITU-T, with which the IEC has a long-standing cooperation agreement: the organisation says that today, 82% of European Standards in electrotechnology are identical to, or based on, IEC International Standards.

IEC General Secretary and CEO Frans Vreeswijk said, “The IEC International Standards for the universal charger for mobile phones has been widely adopted by the mobile phone industry and is already starting to help reduce e-waste. A single power supply covering a wide range of notebook computers is the next step in lowering e-waste and its impact on our planet.”

The IEC Technical Specification 62700: DC