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Have you ever wondered what all the symbols, logo schemes and fine print intricacies on the back of a laptop adapter actually indicate? Perhaps you’ve never noticed the hieroglyphics that cover the underside of these power packs, much less understand what they mean.
The following glossary should clear up any confusion and satisfy the stunning curiosity you may have harnessed when coincidentally faced with the underside of your laptop power adaptor. Basically, the symbols are indications that the device and its inner contents are in accordance with various environmental policy, international trade requirements, and quality standards. There are a lot of pictures because there are a lot of regulations. Many of these need not apply, nor interest the average laptop user. Others, however, might be worth inspecting. Either way, we have cracked the code and aren’t keeping the secret to ourselves.
Underwriters Laboratories® is an independent product safety certification organization that has been testing products and writing standards for safety for more than a century. UL evaluates more than 19,000 types of products, components, materials and systems annually with 20 billion UL Marks appearing on 66,000 manufacturers' products each year. UL's worldwide family of companies and network of service providers includes 68 laboratory, testing and certification facilities serving customers in 102 countries. The UL Listing Mark is one of the most common UL Marks. If a laptop power adapter carries this Mark, it means UL found that representative laptop adapter samples met UL's safety requirements. These requirements are primarily based on UL's own published standards for safety.
TUV Rheinland of North America's US certification mark is recognized and accepted by state, city and county regulators (building officials, fire marshals and electrical inspectors) throughout the US as an equivalent alternative to the UL mark for laptop adapters.
RoHS is an acronym for Restriction on the use of certain Hazardous Substances. The concept behind California’s RoHS Law is to limit the amounts of certain hazardous heavy metals in specific waste electronic devices (laptop power adaptors) so that those metals never find their way into landfills or elsewhere, where they can eventually be released into the environment. California's Legislature modeled the California RoHS Law after the European Union's (EU's) Directive 2002/95/EC which bans certain hazardous substances from electrical and electronic equipment sold in the EU. The California RoHS law required DTSC to adopt regulations prohibiting ac dc power adapters from being sold or offered for sale in California if that adapter is prohibited from being sold or offered for sale in the EU due to the presence of lead, mercury, cadmium, or hexavalent chromium above certain maximum concentration values (MCVs). DTSC's California RoHS regulations took effect January 1, 2007.
The CCC (China Compulsory Certification) Mark is a mandatory safety and quality mark for electrical, electronic and many other products sold in China. The manufacturers are not allowed to self-declare to the requirements of the CCC Mark and products must be tested in China, and a CQC auditor must conduct the initial factory inspection. All the laptop adapters listed in Compulsory Certification Catalogue (19 species, 132 products, 9 industries) should bear the CCC mark issued by the specified certification organization and be pasted the CCC label before leaving factory for distribution, importing or using in the business activities.
The China Commission for Conformity Certification of Electrical Equipment issues the CCEE Mark, also known as the Great Wall Mark. CCEE is a non-profit impartial organization established in 1984, to provide safety certification for electrical products. The organization is made up of experts and representatives from various governmental agencies in China. CCEE is authorized by the China State Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision as the Chinese National Certification Body (NCB) and is the Chinese representative in the CB Scheme.
The CE Marking is a mandatory (legally required) mark for any product that falls within the scope of a European Directive, and is intended for sale in the European Market. This covers an estimated 70% of all products sold today in the EU. The rules for CE Marking are valid for any manufacturer of such goods, whether resident within the EU, or of foreign origin. The main catalyst behind the CE Marking of products is to allow the entry and free movement of goods within the European Union and some partnering nations. To accomplish this, European Directives (or laws) were introduced, which contain the essential requirements that a product must meet to be sold in the EU. These directives are supported by European standards, which specify the essential health and safety requirements of the Directive. Essentially, these Directives specify the minimum level of safety for laptop adapters sold within the European Union (EU). Compliance is thereby demonstrated with the manufacturer affixing the CE Marking to their laptop adapter, indicating that their product conforms to any and all applicable directives. It is important to note that the CE Marking is not a certification, approval or quality mark, but merely a manufacturer’s declaration that the laptop power adaptor meets the essential requirements of the respective directives - no more. CE Marking is the manufacturer's claim that the laptop adapter meets these essential requirements. Additionally, a product may not bear the CE Marking unless a directive that specifies the use of the CE Marking requires it.
NYCE (Spanish acronym for Electronics Standardization and Certification), is a non-profit civil association created in November of 1994 by a group of leading companies from the Electronics, Telecommunications and Information Technologies sectors in Mexico. NOM safety approval in Mexico requires in-country testing in order to create an appropriate safety report accepted by the Mexican safety agency NYCE.
IRAM (Instituto Argentino de Normalización y Certificación) is Argentina Institute of Standardization and Certification. IRAM is the main certification body in Argentina is a not-for-profit private association founded in 1935. It is the national standardization body, and it operates certification activities under an independent management.
Established in 1970, the Korea Electric Testing Institute (KETI) is the National Official Professional Testing Research Institute, which is a well-known reputation organization in Korea in performing testing. It is also a Certification Body which can issue KC or EK Mark Certification for products importing into Korea.
The PSE Mark (Product Safety Electric Appliance and Materials) is designed to signify that a the laptop adapter complies with the law according to a new set of standards for electric devices. The PSE Mark is a mandatory mark for Japan according to the Electrical Appliance and Material Safety Law (DENAN). The DENAN law is meant to essentially prohibit the sale of all electric appliances and materials that do not comply with the new standards.
The Canadian Standards Association is a not-for-profit membership-based association serving business, industry, government and consumers in Canada and the global marketplace. CSA Marks appear on over one billion products worldwide. Each mark tells you that an authorized testing laboratory has evaluated a sample of the laptop ac dc adapter product to determine that it meets applicable national standards.
So there you have it. Basically everything that has ever been scribbled on your laptop adapter now has a bit of meaning behind it. The presence of hieroglyphics on your power pack is probably a good thing, as it suggests your product is legitimate and abides by code. The lack of these symbols is probably more of a concern. Hopefully this glossary has been helpful, and please let us know if we have missed any.