You won’t get too far when shopping for a new PSU before encountering a series of acronyms. Between IEC, ISO, UL, CE, or DIN, you may feel like you need a dictionary to make the right choice.
Whether you are replacing a power supply at the end of its lifespan or looking to improve the efficiency of your facility, learning the ins and outs of power supply certification ratings is crucial.
Learning how to check power supply certifications can help guarantee the safety of your business operations. Several regulatory agencies have created certified power supply ratings to ensure your device is safe from fires and electrical hazards.
There is a lot to learn in the world of power supply unit (PSU) certifications, and you may be bombarded with power supply certification symbols while shopping that are tricky to decipher at face value.
Thankfully, you don’t have to go it alone when shopping. We decided to use our nearly two decades of experience as PSU and electronic component suppliers, along with the help of our engineering teams, to create this guide.
We’ll review everything you need to know about power supply specifications to help you make the most of your purchase. Let’s kick things off by defining what PSU certifications are in the first place.
What is a Power Supply Certification?
Power supply unit certifications are a set of guidelines backed by rigorous testing and standards that guarantee the safety and efficiency of your devices. These standards apply across industries and types of PSU, from modular power supplies for hospitals to class 2 power supplies for enterprise use.
Purchasing a certified PSU is the best way to ease your mind while shopping, so let’s describe how the process works.
Defining PSU Certification
PSU Certifications offer businesses and manufacturers a consistent way to gauge the effectiveness of power supply units. Certifications are backed by a series of tests, including voltage testing, overload testing, efficiency testing, and, most importantly, safety testing.
These tests often use standards established by government regulatory agencies, which are optimized to maximize safety and energy efficiency.
The Role of Certification in the Power Supply Industry
PSU certification agencies form a crucial part of the electrical component industry. These power supply efficiency ratings help ensure that power supplies meet energy use, safety, and environmental impact standards.
Manufacturers design PSUs with these standards in mind, helping them ensure they are compliant with industry standards and best practices. This also allows manufacturers to build and maintain their reputations for quality and safety over time.
Certification programs in the power supply industry can also drive innovation and encourage manufacturers to create more efficient and environmentally friendly power supplies.
Now that you know why the best power supplies have multiple certifications attached, let’s discuss the certification system you will run into while shopping.
How the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Works
The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is an international body that develops safety standards for electrical components and power supplies. These standards are designed to ensure that electrical equipment is safe and does not pose a risk of electrical shock or fire.
The IEC comprises 89 member countries and works closely with the International Standards Organization (ISO). Many of the IEC’s standards, like IEC 60950-1 and IEC 60601-1, are the baseline on which regional agencies like UL, CE, and DIN base their certifications.
Our discussion is only the tip of the iceberg, so let’s dive further to help you find the right power supply when shopping.
Power Supply Certifications & Safeties Based on Power Supply Type
With so many power supply certifications and agencies out there, we’ll need to break things down into categories to help explain the most common regulations. You may find overlap in certain regulatory standards depending on the exact use case you are shopping for, so the more positive certifications you see, the better!
DIN Rail Power Supply Certifications
You may have already seen this acronym pop up during your shopping journey since DIN is Germany’s national standards agency. While DIN provides a set of power supply certification standards, a “DIN Rail” is a specific type of product with several ratings from various regulatory agencies.
DIN Rails are used to mount industrial equipment, especially during automation processes. Thus, DIN Rail certifications ensure that your choice of power supply matches safety and performance standards.
There are a few important certifications to watch out for.
- UL 508 certifies that DIN Rail power supplies can function safely with industrial control equipment.
- IEC 61558-2-16 certifies that a power supply is suitable as a transformer
- IEC 6100-6-2 provides a set of standards that proves a power supply meets electromagnetic compatibility requirements for DIN Rails and industrial settings.
Industrial Power Supply Certifications
DIN Rails are not the only industrial applications with necessary power supply certifications. Industrial power supply units should be crafted to provide stable and reliable power even in harsh environments.
You can find many of these power supplies in manufacturing or process control settings.
- Like DIN Rails, UL 508 provides an overarching set of standards for all industrial equipment.
- UL 60079 is an important safety certification that ensures electrical equipment can operate safely in environments with explosive materials, including gas or combustible dust.
Medical Power Supply Certifications
The medical industry relies heavily on electricity, but what is a medical power supply?
Medical grade power supplies are built with performance standards and safety in mind. These power supplies can power everything from monitoring systems to medical imaging devices.
As such, many medical industry-specific certifications exist.
- IEC 60601-1 certifies that power supplies meet safety requirements for electrical medical equipment.
- A subsection of the same standard, IEC 60601-1-2, was added to supplement the standard with electromagnetic compatibility requirements.
- UL maintains a standard with the same notation, UL 60601-1, following their standards for safety certification for medical devices.
- UL 60950-1 was similarly created to ensure information technology devices meet safety requirements in medical settings.
LED Driver Certifications
LED drivers provide regulated power to LED lighting systems, and as such, they are subject to safety standards.
- IEC 61347-1 certifies that a driver meets safety requirements for electronic control gear for your LED modules.
- IEC 61347-2-13 similarly ensures drivers are capable of working with LED modules and arrays under the same safety standards.
- UL 8750 judges drivers under similar standards as IEC 61347-1, ensuring your power supply is safe for use with the rest of your LED equipment.
You may be wondering, what LED driver do I need for my lighting systems? There are several different types of LED drivers out there, and we recommend reaching out to our team at Bravo Electro for a personalized recommendation. We have many LED drivers for sale, all backed by IEC safety standards.
Adapters or External Power Supply Certifications
Adapters are designed to power many different types of devices. As such, safety standards must guarantee that power supplies are safe to use across the board.
- IEC 60950-1 is perhaps the most prevalent listing, as this certification provides safety requirements for all manner of technology and equipment.
- You can also find similar 60950-1 standards from UL and DIN in the USA and Germany, respectively.
- IEC 62368-1 guarantees power supplies meet audio, video, or IT equipment standards.
Looking for those standards is an excellent start to ensure you purchase the right power supplies for your business. Computer power supplies have their own set of standards, so let’s briefly touch on those below.
Computer Power Supply Certification Levels Explained
The gold standard (or, in this case, titanium standard) for PSU certifications was created by Ecos Consulting by way of EPRI, or Electric Power Research, in 2004. They dubbed this system “80 Plus” as a way to certify PSUs that are at least 80% efficient at 20%, 50%, and 100% loads.
The efficiency ratings of the 80 Plus system will vary slightly based on your power supply voltage, so we are using a 115-voltage unit as an example for each tier. High voltage power supplies are often more efficient, so keep that in mind while shopping for the best results!
Computer Power Supply Certifications
80 Plus’ computer PSU rating system comprises five tiers denoted by different rare metals. Here is a look at what each tier offers:
- Bronze: This entry-level certification still packs a punch, with a minimum of 80% efficiency at 20% and 100% loads.
- Silver: Silver-rated PSUs operate at 85% efficiency at 20% and 100% loads, making them an excellent choice for desktops, workstations, and small servers.
- Gold: These PSUs offer 87% efficiency at 20% and 100% loads. They are prevalent in high-range desktops and servers, along with research labs.
- Platinum: With a whopping 90% efficiency at 20% and 100% loads, platinum-rated PSUs are powerhouses perfect for data centers, research labs, and medical imaging.
- Titanium: As the best-rated computer PSUs, titanium-rated devices push the limits of thermodynamics to deliver up to 94% energy efficiency at 50% load. They are common in large enterprises, including data farms, research labs, and medical facilities.
You should now have a good idea of how various power supplies are rated and certified. With that established, it’s time we discuss the various regulatory agencies you will encounter while shopping and why paying attention to these ratings is vital.
The Importance of Regulatory Standards in Power Supply Certification
Power supply certification ratings are paired with regulatory standards to ensure you can accurately assess the qualities of a PSU before purchase. Without these helpful power supply regulations, you would have no way to discern the differences between different PSU certifications.
Additionally, regulatory standards offer power supply manufacturers consistent guidelines that span across jurisdictions and countries. This allows electrical engineers and businesses alike to guarantee consistent and efficient results during custom power supply design or the setup of an electric network.
Explanation of Common Regulatory Standards: IEC, UL, CE, DIN, RoHS, and More
Safety and quality are paramount when shopping for a PSU. You’ll want to watch out for these names and symbols, which represent powerful regulatory agencies with strict testing standards.
- DIN stands for the Deutsches Institut für Normung, the German national standardization agency. They are a member of the ISO, helping to contribute to IEC standards.
- TUV Rhineland is a technology agency based out of Germany which also provides certifications for power supply devices according to DIN standards.
- UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories, a safety certification organization based in the United States. UL listed power supplies have a long track record of product certification, and many jurisdictions require the UL rating before a product is marked for sale.
- Underwriter’s Laboratories also provides ratings under “UL Recognized” for products containing UL-rated power supplies. You may also find “UL Canada” devices for the equivalent Canadian subsidiary.
- Additionally, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) works with UL to denote products acceptable under Canadian safety regulations.
- CE is the European Union’s safety certification marking, which has existed for over 30 years. Among other safety features, their standards include the low voltage directive, which prevents devices from exceeding 1000 volts in either AC or DC power.
- RoHS is another EU directive, the Restriction of Hazardous Substances. This standard ensures dangerous materials are not present in your power supplies, making this a must-have for every purchase.
- The US commonly uses the FCC to regulate media, but power supplies also fall under their jurisdiction. The FCC seal of approval ensures PSUs do not emit excess electromagnetic or radio frequency interference. This is crucial for medical facilities and data centers.
- The United States Environmental Protection Agency runs Energy Star, which judges and guides energy efficiency. While their standard is not required for a product to be sold, purchasing a product backed by Energy Star can help you save money and help the environment.
How These Standards Impact PSU Certification
Certification and regulatory standards go hand-in-hand. Many certification agencies, like the 80 Plus system, require regulatory compliance as part of their rating system. These strict requirements help shoppers guarantee they are buying a quality product.
This includes safety considerations, which are covered by UL, DIN, and CE, along with environmental concerns that Energy Star and RoHS watch over. The best brands for power supplies manufacture their products within these guidelines, as failure to do so would strip them of their certifications.
Regulatory standards are vital, and thankfully you don’t have to look too far to find their presence when shopping. Let’s switch gears and show you how to find these regulatory seals of approval.
How to Check Power Supply Certification Symbols Yourself
There are so many symbols and markings on power supplies that it may seem like you are reading hieroglyphics at first. Thankfully, these regulatory agencies have made it simple for consumers to verify their markings once you know what to look for.
Where to Locate Certification Symbols
Certification symbols for power supplies will often be located in a prominent location near the outlet of the device. You should also be able to find them prominently displayed on product pages and manuals.
You can also verify the regulatory compliance of various power supplies by consulting with agency websites or resources.
Interpreting Various Symbols
The logos and symbols on power supplies are relatively straightforward, so here’s a list of how to read them.
- UL power supplies feature a logo with the letters “UL” and you can usually find a serial number paired with it. You may also find “UR” symbols to represent UL-Recognized products.
- CSA’s products are denoted by a Large “C” with a smaller “SA” inside. You may also find a smaller “US” written next to the logo for products approved for US and Canadian sales.
- CE-rated supplies feature a stylized “C E” logo and a four-digit identifying number.
- DIN is one part of TUV Rhineland’s safety standards. You can identify these products by a logo featuring the three letters “DIN” between two parallel lines.
- 80 Plus uses five different logos color-coded for your convenience. Look for a rectangle logo with 80 PLUS, along with additional text describing which level the PSU fits into.
- RoHS compliance is denoted by logos featuring the four-letter acronym. They are often stylized with a checkmark or a leaf and carry a serial number.
- Energy Star’s logo is cursive, with a stylized star and additional text.
The Importance of Verifying Certification Before Purchase
Double-checking the certification on your power supply is essential to guarantee you are receiving a safe product. Buying a certified PSU is the only way to ensure the safety of your employees and critical business operations.
Unfortunately, many scams exist on the market. Low-quality manufacturers will skew numbers and tests to try to meet guidelines set by regulatory agencies. If you fail to research your purchase thoroughly, you may encounter unexpected bad power supply symptoms or exorbitant energy bills.
Therefore, it’s critical to only purchase from a verifiable dealer and manufacturer with a strong track record of reliability. We’ve got just the supplier in mind, so read on for the best place to shop for power supplies.
Find the Perfect Certified Power Supply For Your Operation at Bravo Electro
From AC DC power supplies to fans, there is no better place to shop for electrical components than Bravo Electro. We only carry power supplies compliant with every major certification agency, ensuring you receive a safe and efficient device that will stand the test of time.
Here at Bravo Electro, we’ve been in the business of power supplies, fans, and components for nearly 30 years. All that time focused on our field has allowed us to cultivate a dedicated team that loves to rave about technical lingo.
Our on-site California-based engineers are always available to talk shop and help you find the perfect choice for your organization. We even offer customized power supply designs, so feel free to let our dedicated team take the stress away for you.
We recommend hopping on a call with our award-winning customer support team for a personalized recommendation. Here’s a look at some of our favorites:
- Our DC power supplies pass certification tests with flying colors. We have 12 volt DC power supplies for small applications, 24 volt DC power supplies for LED lighting and medical facilities, and 48 volt DC power supplies for data centers and other large systems.
- Our DIN rail power supply inventory is perfect for industrial settings, with overvoltage and short-circuit protection that will provide durability and peace of mind. These power supplies are backed by Germany’s top electrical component regulatory agencies, DIN and TUV Rhineland.
- We also carry both enclosed power supplies and open frame power supplies, depending on the needs of your operation.
Bringing Our Conversation on PSU Certifications to a Close
Shopping for new power supply devices for your business or facility can be a journey fraught with confusing symbols, dubious products, and safety risks. Thankfully, buying a certified PSU from Bravo Electro can provide you peace of mind during the process.
The only way to guarantee a hazard free-experience and efficiency throughout a power supply lifespan is to look for power supplies backed by regulatory agencies like IEC, UL, CE, and DIN.
Of course, knowing the ins and outs of certification doesn’t mean you can’t call for help when shopping. In fact, we love helping organizations and businesses find the perfect power supplies for their needs, which is why we take strides to train our customer support team on technical knowledge.
Our blog is also jam-packed with in-depth articles to help you learn more about the world of electric power devices, like what is a modular power supply, the difference between AC and DC power, and comparing power supplies linear vs switching.
If you are ready to streamline the power supply shopping process, browse our inventory or contact our team for a personalized recommendation today!