International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies

January/February 2014


Single charger for notebook computers

Major step to help reduce e-waste

Janice Blondeau

Each year billions of external chargers are shipped globally. Power supplies for notebooks weigh typically around 300 but sometimes up to 600 grams, and aren’t generally usable from one computer to the next. Sometimes they get lost or break, which can mean that computers which still work perfectly well are thrown away. A new IEC Technical Specification provides another option…one single charger for notebook computers and laptops.

One power supply for many notebooks

IEC has announced the publication of the first globally relevant Technical Specification for a single external charger for a wide range of notebook computers and laptops, IEC TS 62700, DC power supply for notebook computers. This new IEC Technical Specification opens the way to a significant and very real reduction of e-waste related to power supplies. It will allow consumers to use a single external charger with a wide range of notebook computers.


It covers critical aspects of external chargers for notebook computers, their connector and plug, as well as safety, interoperability, performance and environmental considerations. This TS 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.

IEC efforts to reduce e-waste

Commenting on this new Technical Specification, 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. I am proud that the IEC has yet again managed to make the best possible technical solution available.”


IEC TS Specification 62700, DC Power supply for notebook computers, comprises the input of experts from many countries around the world and has been accepted by the National Committees participating in IEC TC (Technical Committee) 100: Audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment.

Real solution for a real issue

Even though some organizations are discussing and examining the merits of a universal power adapter covering numerous ICT (Information and Communications 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. It is estimated that the total e-waste related to all kinds of chargers of ICT devices exceeds half a million tons each year; basically the equivalent of 500 000 cars.

In the footsteps of universal charger for mobile phones

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. With a single power supply covering a wide range of notebook computers, the IEC has achieved another important milestone in the reduction of e-waste.


Now it’s over to industry to make use of IEC TS 62700 and help reduce e-waste.


  • A single charger for notebook computers and laptops is provided for by IEC 62700
  • A significant and real reduction of e-waste related to power supplies is now possible...
  • ....through the single power supply for PCs and the universal charger for mobile phones


IEC provides real solutions

Two major international achievements of IEC TC 100: Audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment have been to standardize a universal power adapter and charger solution for data-enabled mobile telephones and a single power supply for portable personal computers.


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