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Tech Specs

International standards group pushes for universal laptop charger

The IEC aims to reduce e-waste created by chargers, which is said to exceed half a million tons each year.

A EUROPEAN TECHNOLOGY organisation aims to have most laptops and notebook computers adapting a universal charger in a bid to reduce e-waste.

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has announced the publication of the first “globally relevant Technical Specifications for a single external charger for a wide range of notebook computers and laptops.”

The report covers the major factors behind laptop chargers such as their connector and plug, safety, performance and environmental issues. The specifications for this universal charger is expected to be published in early 2014.

The group says that billions of external chargers are shipped globally, and are usually designed for one type of laptop or notebook computer. It estimates that the total e-waste created by this exceeds half a million tons each year.

Back in 2011, the IEC published the first globally relevant standard for a universal mobile phone charger to reduce e-waste, and the organisation’s General Secretary and CEO Frans Vreeswijk hopes that a universal laptop charger would do the same.

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.

However, it says that due to technical realities, creating a universal charger that can be used for any device is “likely still a long way from being achievable,” but believes that companies adapting a universal laptop standard is realistic.

While it’s likely that Apple will keep using its MagSafe power adapters, the standard could be adopted by major laptop manufacturers like Dell, Acer, and HP.

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