(Phys.org) —A new specification focused on a charger that can work on notebook computers from different manufacturers was announced on Monday. The IEC Technical Specification 62700: DC Power supply for notebook computer will be available in early 2014. The intent is for a charger that will work with a wide range of notebook computers from different manufacturers in order to allow consumers use of a single external charger for a wide range of notebook computers. Founded in 1906, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is involved with preparing and publishing standards for electrical, electronic and related technologies—addressing devices that contain electronics, and use or produce electricity. The significance of the Monday announcement is that, according to the IEC, this is the first globally relevant technical spec for a single external charger for a wide range of notebook computers.
Why bother? Consider the e-waste, answers the IEC: A single power supply covering a wide range of notebook computers represents a major step in lowering e-waste.
"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," said the IEC. "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."
The spec covers various aspects of chargers for notebooks: their connector and plug, as well as safety, interoperability, performance and environmental considerations.
The announcement comes at a time when news broke on Tuesday of a Google and Hewlett-Packard recall of power chargers for the Chromebook 11 laptop. The headline from the Consumer Product Safety Commission was "Google and HP Recall HP Chromebook 11 Chargers Due to Fire and Burn Hazards; Charger Can Overheat and Melt." (It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product. Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.)
This recall involves chargers that were sold with the HP Chromebook 11 and affects about 145,000 units. In a Google Chrome blog posted on Tuesday, Google's Caesar Sengupta, VP, Product Management, said that, "with guidance and approval from the CPSC and other regulatory agencies, Google and HP are recalling the original charger for the HP Chromebook 11. Customers should visit http://chromebook.com/hp11chargerform to request a free replacement charger." Sengupta also noted, "With our partner HP, we are resuming sales of the HP Chromebook 11. All new packages will include the replacement charger."
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