On January 1, 2014, the California Energy Commission (CEC) fully implemented a mandatory regulation for both consumer and commercial electronic devices that are, or contain, battery charger systems (BCS). A BCS is any product that uses AC or DC power to recharge a battery. Whether it’s a golf cart or an electronic toothbrush, a phone or a laptop, a great number of products sold in California have fallen under this regulation now for 2 years.
The US Department of Energy (DoE) had withdrawn federal rulemaking activities for BCSs, citing the California Title 20 efficiency regulations as having established a de facto more stringent national standard for BCS products. State inspectors will be checking to ensure that all BCSs found on the market are listed on the CEC’s online Appliance Efficiency Database. Those not listed in the database would be subject to civil penalties, with a potential fine of up to $2,500 per violation. It is a serious matter that manufacturers need to pay attention to. And now two and a half years later, we have our first round of significant changes to the testing process.
On June 29th a revision was made to the test method for Battery Charger Systems (BCS), 10 CFR Appendix Y to Subpart B of Part 430. Notable changes are the simplification of battery selection for test for the charge and maintenance mode test and the addition of the calculation of Unit Energy Consumption (UEC) in kWh/yr. While the DoE has not yet enacted minimum efficiency standards for BCSs, the test method was updated according to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) published in August 2015 by the DoE.
California’s Appliance Efficiency Regulations (Title 20) specifies the use of the federal test method, Appendix Y to Subpart B of Part 430, with no specific date reference. Because the federal test method changed subsequent to the last publication of Title 20, this created confusion as to which version of the test method should be used; the 2011 or 2016 version.
The new test method is advantageous to BCS manufacturers and testing laboratories, as the changes made to the battery selection for test, affecting multi-port and multi-capacity BCS, reduces the total number of test configurations for the charge and maintenance mode test from as many as three configurations in the previous version to a single configuration for testing. Because the charge and maintenance mode test duration is 24 hours or more, this represents a significant reduction in testing time for some chargers.
The California Energy Commission (CEC) has not published new rules or guidance documents as yet, but here’s what we expect:
-CEC will require testing to the 2016 version of Appendix Y to Subpart B of Part 430, including calculation of UEC.
-MAEDBS, the CEC online appliance efficiency database, will be updated to include reporting fields for UEC and associated parameters.
-CEC will not publish standards (limits) for UEC initially, but may consider UEC limits in the future.
The California Energy Commission is presenting a webinar on September 8 at 10 AM Pacific to present updates of the new test method and Title 20 changes. Click here for information
As an approved Third Party Certifier for the CEC, ACS can handle your testing and certification for CEC BCS. Our testing services are fast and economical, and include uploading to the MAEDBS in the cost. ACS charges $850 for a single port BCS and $1250 for a multi-port BCS, which is about the most economical CEC BCS approval cost in the industry. Please contact your ACS representative for details on the process, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.