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An interchangeable charging solution for all consumer electronic devices is here

After the successful introduction of a common charging solution for mobile smartphones (based on USB technologies), in 2011, the IEC published a common charging interoperability solution in 2016, which went beyond smartphones to also include other electronic devices such as tablets and certain laptops. This solution is now becoming widely available in global markets and realizing the policy goals of e-waste reduction and increased user convenience.

The IEC has now issued an update to the common charging interoperability solution(IEC 63002, which is based on the latest UBS technologies) that will support increasing adoption in an even larger number of electronic devices. With it, different product chargers implementing this solution can be used with any electronic device that also implements this solution. The technology is backwards and forwards compatible, safe and supports future innovation ensuring e-waste reduction and long-term user convenience.

Too much e-waste and lack of convenience

According to a December 2019 study by the Fraunhofer Institute for the European Commission, consumers historically had difficulty identifying the right charger for different electronic devices. Furthermore, because each device had a different charger, once the device was no longer in use, the charger became obsolete and joined others in drawers and cupboards. With evolving USB technologies for charging, these historical issues have already decreased. A further significant reduction of e-waste due to chargers can be forecast for a growing number of different electronic devices.

Common charging solution for mobile phones

In 2011, the IEC published the IEC 62684 standard (updated in 2018) based on USB technologies (IEC 62680 series of standards) that had been widely adopted for data enabled phones. IEC 62684 is now globally used in data-enabled phones and other devices. It specifies the common charging interoperability requirements of external power supplies (EPS) for use with data-enabled smart mobile phones up to 7.5 Watts. EPS for smartphones built to these standards are widely adopted all over the world.

Higher power devices = higher safety requirements

This success initiated the development of a new set of USB technology-based specifications detailing common charging interoperability requirements for higher power devices. This task was a lot more complex since higher power devices such as laptops, or monitors have stricter requirements for safety, reliability, electromagnetic interference on charging performance, and energy efficiency.

Common charging solution for even more and higher-power devices

To address these requirements, global experts worked together to develop the latest USB specifications: IEC 62680-1-3 (USB Type C®) and IEC 62680-1-2 (USB Power Delivery) and the common charging interoperability solution now published as IEC 63002:2021*.

Backwards and forwards compatible

The IEC 63002 standard is fully backwards compatible with IEC 62684. It extends the benefits of common charging interoperability to tablets, notebooks and a wide range of devices up to 100 Watts and more.  Among other things, it provides interoperability and technical guidelines and specifications for cables, connectors, adapters, as well as for data and power delivery protocols.IEC 63002 also specifies minimum baseline requirements for external power supplies (EPS) for interoperability, hardware protection and reliability while recognizing the authority of existing regulatory compliance programmes.

The common charging interoperability solution enables three types of charging scenarios:

  1. Using a charger to charge different devices
    The same charger can be used interchangeably to charge devices from different manufacturers as well as to charge different categories of devices. For example, a tablet charger can be used to charge a camera or a mobile phone.

  2. Using a device to charge another device
    For example, a laptop can be used to directly charge a tablet, or a mobile phone can be used to charge an electric toothbrush or shaver.
  3. Directly charging devices from an electrical socket or power bank
    Tablets, laptops or phones can be charged directly via an electrical socket or other external power source (for example USB power sockets on furniture, appliances, etc.).

Reducing e-waste

The common charging interoperability solution allows consumers to use/re-use their chargers interchangeably with tablets, laptops, displays, phones, e-readers, cameras, and other small electronics, ending the days of drawers filled with old, no longer compatible chargers.

Devices can be used longer, protecting consumer investments

A device no longer has to be discarded because the EPS is broken, discontinued, or was lost.  Consumers get longer use of their devices because EPSs based on this common charging solution are forward and backward compatible across different generations of USB technologies.

A solution that fulfils environmental, convenience and market needs

Global market adoption of IEC 63002, allows:

  • designers to develop EPSs that optimally respond to the needs of new devices in terms of system and charging performance, reliability, and energy efficiency, while enabling them to charge other types of devices from different manufacturers
  • manufacturers to support continuing innovation while ensuring interoperability, quality, and product safety
  • consumers can clearly understand which chargers are optimized for use with each device (based on indicated maximum power) while also being able to use interchangeably, easily and safely the same charger with different devices. Consumers can use their devices longer and contribute to increased environmental sustainability. 

See also a video that explains the benefits of IEC 63002; co-developed by IEC TC 100 experts and USB-IF.


*IEC 63002 specifies requirements for common charging interoperability of external power supplies (EPSs) used with computing and consumer electronics devices that implement IEC 62680-1-3 (USB Type-C® Cable and Connector Specification) and IEC 62680-1-2 (USB Power Delivery)

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