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Universal PC Charger Gets IEC Spec

12/19/2013 08:20 PM EST
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selinz
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wide variety of batteries
selinz   12/19/2013 11:16:28 PM
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Not sure how they will accomodate the wide spectrum of powers and voltages in a universal spec...

zewde yeraswork
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Re: wide variety of batteries
zewde yeraswork   12/20/2013 9:02:08 AM
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That's definitely a challenge. But they seem serious about the desire to meet it.

Terry Moore
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USB Power Delivery
Terry Moore   12/20/2013 1:44:59 PM
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The IEC standard for mobile phones is based on USB, specifically the USB Battery Charging standard. A year or so ago, USB-IF introduced USB Power Delivery (USB PD), which allows for up to 100W over USB. A few weeks ago, USB-IF announced the "Type C" connector, which is a more modern slim-line connector for use on PCs and peripherals.  Will the IEC universal charger for notebook computers build on that or replace it? The language in the press release suggests that it will compete with it (emphasis added):
Even though some organizations are discussing and examining the merits of a universal power adapter covering numerous ICT (Information and Communication Technology) devices, due to the technical realities, this is likely still a long way from being achievable.  Therefore, rather than chasing a dream that remains out of reach today, the IEC has leveraged its global technical expertise to bring concrete solutions to the market place.

If this spec is based on USB PD, it's great for USB PD. If not, it both removes an important use case for USB PD, and also may challange one of the justifications for the new Type C connector.

Sheetal.Pandey
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Re: USB Power Delivery
Sheetal.Pandey   12/20/2013 2:22:36 PM
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so much agree that these chargers create quite a e-waste. I have a dozen charger lying in my home and ts difficult to know its for which device. For PCs and laptops f there is a single charger the waste can be reduced by quite a big number.

anon0050695
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Re: USB Power Delivery
anon0050695   12/20/2013 2:59:01 PM
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Horse before cart or not?

The 10000m view is that USB PD is based on a progammable power supply, 5V/12V/20V and 1A/3A/5A complicating both power and device. USB Battery Charging was based on a simple standard power supply, makes the phone power design somewhat more tricky but still doable for the power levels needed. 

Big question is if this effort will standardize on for instance 19V/3A and have the PC live with these limitations. Or if they go the USB PD route. In that case both the power supply and the PC will become more expensive and I don't think it will happen unless it is mandated by law.

    

 

Terry Moore
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Re: USB Power Delivery
Terry Moore   12/20/2013 5:18:01 PM
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Sorry, not clear on your comment: which cart and which horse do you have in mind?

I agree that standard chargers won't happen without a legal mandate. IEC standards do not automatically become EU or China regulations; they have to be adopted by the appropriate political bodies. Even for USB phone charging, that was required. Some manufacturers were doing USB charging before the legal mandate, because it allowed them to ship phones w/o chargers, reducing overall cost (even though it made the phone a bit more expensive). Others (the market leaders) stuck with their proprietary chargers because they had more control, and the ecosystem costs of changing outweighed the benefits of standardization.

Anyway, my comment was more about the potential horse race between specs (to extend your metaphor). Despite the cost issues, Intel has been investing in USB PD, and has been showing Ultrabook demos (through USB-IF, I hasten to add -- I don't know of any product demos). If IEC does not use USB PD as the basis, then there may be some interesting battles as regulators consider which (if any) spec to mandate.

Sanjib.A
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Re: USB Power Delivery
Sanjib.A   12/29/2013 12:33:57 PM
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If there is one standard made for all regions, I guess the charger needs to meet the AC input specs for all the regions (universal AC input), which is anyway a feature of the power supply products available from several manufacturers. The challenge would be to optimize the design for various power requirements, which shall make the "universal" power supply bulkier and more costly? While this takes shape, companies such as FINsix is coming up with the "world's smallest laptop power adapter"; Then would the IEC standard going to discourage such innovations? 

_hm
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Will it include Apple Macs too?
_hm   12/21/2013 3:44:05 AM
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Apple MacBook has pretty nifty charger. Size, quality and connecteors are quite innovative and user friendly. Does new IEC spec allows to include similar technology? I wish IEC also include industry players for their feedback.

 

_hm
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Time for IEC to work on wireless charger for PCs and similar devices
_hm   12/21/2013 4:02:31 AM
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Since IEC has started this work, it is time for them to next work on wireless chargers for future low power PCs.

They should make it universal so that same wireless charge alos includes other devices like tablets and smart phones.

 

zewde yeraswork
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Re: Time for IEC to work on wireless charger for PCs and similar devices
zewde yeraswork   12/23/2013 9:46:50 AM
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We're already seeing wireless chargers for mobile dev ices. In fact, they've become a pretty trendy and useful gift in this christmas shopping season. I would imagine it's only a matter of time before they migrate to the PC/notebook space although how long is anyone's guess.

chanj0
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Universal?
chanj0   12/21/2013 9:23:32 PM
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No doubt, this is a challenge. To accomplish true universal, not only does the DC output voltage requires to be specified but also the charging connector. Macbook has been using the same power connector for quite sometimes until the new Macbook Pro and Macbook Air which have thinner design and which require a skinner charging connector. In addition, what about output wattage. When consumer reads universal, they are going to believe they can use an "old" power supply which is designed for regular laptop to power up a powerful gaming laptop. Challenges, I believe, include

1) What kind of information shall be printed on the power supply so that regular consumers will pick it up and understand easily?

2) What's the process of agreeing the connector of the power supply? If computer makers don't come to an agreement, what's the alternative?

3) Weight could be a categorization method to put laptop into different power rating. Could actual power consumption be used instead?

I have build my own desktop way back and I always wonder why laptop can't have a universal power supply. There seems to be more challenges. Nonetheless, I believe the move will not only reduce e-waste but also make consumers life easier.

zewde yeraswork
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Re: Universal?
zewde yeraswork   12/23/2013 9:48:39 AM
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Yes, these are obviously significant challenges--espcially the first question, how are consumers supposed to know what they're looking at. But that challenge is already there--the confusion of having multiple adapters and multiple standards is the very problem which a universal PC charger is meant to combat. I see a lot of interest and a lot of demand on the consumer side for this--the question is whether vendors and manfuacturers will go along for the sake of reducing confusion and lost time for end users.

DrQuine
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One More Power Adapter - the Universal
DrQuine   12/22/2013 10:43:00 AM
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It sounds like the housefull of power adapters will gain at least one more - the "Universal" one.  I wonder whether computer companies will agree upon a voltage standard or whether the power adapter will be "intelligent" enough to adapt to each device that it is connected to. Certainly the problem of multiple adapters and the need to sort out which is which will be a treat to get past.

daleste
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Re: One More Power Adapter - the Universal
daleste   12/22/2013 6:33:25 PM
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It would be nice if all of my laptop chargers were interchangable.  It would also save on buying replacements when one gets damaged.

AZskibum
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Re: One More Power Adapter - the Universal
AZskibum   12/23/2013 10:15:06 AM
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Initially it may be one more charger to add to the pile, but if the standard is done well and consumers become comfortable with it, this could be a big improvement in reducing e-waste and consumer costs.

The comfort level needs to be "if the connector fits, it's ok to plug it in" -- much as the micro-USB charger has become for non-Apple mobile phones. Nobody worries anymore about the brand compatibility of a micro-USB mobile phone charger. The connector fits, and people know that if they plug it into their phone, the phone will get charged and will not be damaged.

docdivakar
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Re: One More Power Adapter - the Universal
docdivakar   12/27/2013 5:37:37 PM
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Frank, your phrase "if the connector fits, it's ok to plug it in" is very apt in this context. This is something at the minimum I hope the new IEC Standard achieves when it comes generic chargers for laptops / notebooks / tablets!

MP Divakar

Sanjib.A
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Will it solve the e-waste issue?
Sanjib.A   12/25/2013 11:20:55 AM
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"The estimated e-waste for chargers of computer and communications devices is more than half a million tons each year, and each year billions of external chargers are shipped worldwide." I completely agree with the problem statement above and understand a common charger for all of our phone, tab, PCs at home would reduce e-waste. But this alone would not address the issue as there could be situations when the user would want to charge different gadgets at the same time. Hence the numbers of chargers at home might not get reduced compared to what it is today. One advantage I see that the same charger can be re-used even when the gadget is changed.

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