Frequently Asked Questions:
New Federal Battery Charger System Test Procedure

Beginning November 16, 2016, battery charger system manufacturers will be required to use the amended federal test method [10 C.F.R. Section 430.23(aa) - Appendix Y to Subpart B of part 430] which took effect on June 20, 2016, by the U.S. Department of Energy. Provided for your convenience is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and guidance related to the amended battery charger system test procedure and how it interacts with California standards.

If clarification is needed on any of the information contained in the FAQ document, please contact the Appliance Efficiency Program via email at: appliances@energy.ca.gov with the following title in the subject line: Battery Charger FAQ.

General

What are the effective dates of the federal test procedure?

The effective date of the federal test procedure is June 20, 2016, and representations made on or after November 16, 2016, regarding the energy consumption of battery charger systems must be based upon results generated under this test procedure.

Where can I get a copy of the U.S. Department of Energy’s new test procedure for battery charger systems?

The final rule, including a discussion of the changes and rationale, is published in the Federal Register at 81FR31827 (May 20, 2016) and is available online at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EERE-2014-BT-TP-0044-0023.

Where can I get more help about battery charger systems?

For general questions about battery charger systems, the Appliances Efficiency Program has created a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) available at: http://www.energy.ca.gov/appliances/bulletins.html. For more information, visit our Appliance Efficiency Program Outreach and Education website at http://www.energy.ca.gov/appliances/outreach/index.html to access documentation guides and upcoming educational webinars.

How does the Energy Commission define and categorize battery charger systems?

Under the Title 20 Appliance Efficiency Regulations, battery charger systems are separated into two categories: small battery charger systems and large battery systems. A large battery charger system is a battery charger system with a rated input power of more than 2 kW, whereas a small battery charger system is a battery charger system with a rated input power of less than or equal to 2 kW. Note, a golf cart battery charger system (regardless of the output power), a battery backup or uninterruptible power supply, an inductive charger system, and a USB charger system are all considered small battery charger systems.

How does the U.S. Department of Energy define and categorize battery chargers?

A battery charger is a device that charges batteries for consumer products, including battery chargers embedded in other consumer products. (See 42 U.S.C. 6291(32).) Functionally, a battery charger is a power conversion device used to transform input voltage to a suitable voltage for charging the battery. Battery chargers are used in conjunction with other end-use consumer products, such as cell phones and digital cameras. However, the battery charger definition prescribed by Congress is not limited solely to products that are only powered from AC mains (or "mains”) - i.e., products that plug into a wall outlet. Further, battery chargers may be wholly embedded in another consumer product, wholly separate from another consumer product, or partially inside and partially outside another consumer product.

The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) defines a consumer product as any article of a type that consumes or is designed to consume energy and which, to any significant extent, is distributed in commerce for personal use or consumption by individuals without regard to whether such article of such type is in fact distributed in commerce for personal use or consumption by an individual. (See 42 U.S.C. 6291(1).) Manufacturers of battery chargers are advised to use this definition in conjunction with the battery charger definition to determine whether a given device is a covered product and subject to DOE’s regulations.

The Department of Energy created seven product classes for battery chargers based on various electrical characteristics shared by particular groups of products. As these electrical characteristics change, so does the utility and efficiency of the devices.

Testing

How is the new federal test procedure different from the previous version of the federal test procedure for battery charger systems?

There are several changes to the federal regulations related to battery charger systems within Title 10, Parts 429 and 430 of the Code of Federal Regulations; a detailed summary is available in Table 1 in this document. The major changes are: the scope excludes backup batteries and uninterruptible power supplies from using this test method, battery selection criteria for testing, a new represented value to calculate, the conditioning of lead acid batteries prior to being tested, and a clarified sampling methodology

To what types of battery charger systems does the new federal test procedure apply?

The new federal test procedure applies to all battery chargers that are consumer products being sold in California. The chart below illustrates which test procedure should be used for each type of battery charger system
Test Procedure Decision Chart

* Consumer product is defined in 42 U.S.C. 6291(1). Questions regarding the applicability of the Federal Test Procedure for specific battery charger systems should be directed to the U.S. Department of Energy at ApplianceStandardsQuestions@ee.doe.gov.

Prior Federal Test Procedure that was in effect on January 1, 2016 can be found at
https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2016-title10-vol3/pdf/CFR-2016-title10-vol3-part430-subpartB-appY.pdf.

What test procedure should be used when making representations to the California Energy Commission of energy or power consumption for small battery charger systems that are battery backup chargers or uninterruptible power supplies?

A battery backup charger system that is a consumer or a non-consumer product shall be tested using 10 C.F.R. section 430.23(aa) (Appendix Y to Subpart B of part 430) that was in effect on January 1, 2016.

An uninterruptible power supply system that is a consumer product shall use 10 C.F.R. section 430.23(aa) (Appendix Y to Subpart B of part 430) that was published on December 12, 2016, and that became effective January 11, 2017, and is mandatory on June 12, 2017 https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EERE-2016-BT-TP-0018-0010.

An uninterruptible power supply system that is a non-consumer product shall use 10 C.F.R. section 430.23(aa) (Appendix Y to Subpart B of part 430) that was in effect on January 1, 2016.

How many units need to be tested to generate the required represented values?

Under the sampling methodology for battery chargers, manufacturers may determine the number of samples tested as long as the sampling requirements are satisfied. One of these requirements is presented in the sampling plan for battery chargers per Section 429.39(a)(2)(i), which references Section 429.11, that “the minimum number of units tested shall be no less than two.” Ultimately, the manufacturer must test a sample of “sufficient size” to make a statistically valid assessment and to account for variability.

Certification

What happens to the consumer small battery charger systems currently certified in the database?

Any model number certified, prior to November 16, 2016, to the Energy Commission’s Modernized Appliance Efficiency Database System (MAEDBS) based on the previous federal test method, will be moved from the Active Database to the Archive Database on that date with the exception of backup battery and uninterruptible power supply models. Model numbers that appear in the Archive Database may continue to be sold or offered for sale in California without recertification. Any disclosures to the Energy Commission, including certification to MAEDBS, for new models manufactured after June 20, 2016, and certified to MAEDBS on or after November 16, 2016, must be made using the amended federal test method [10 CFR. Section 430.23(aa) – Appendix Y to Subpart B of Part 430].

On June 13, 2018, the federal standards for consumer battery charger systems go into effect and all products sold or offered for sale in California must meet new nationwide energy conservation and disclosure requirements.

You may determine which of your models will be archived by conducting a search of the Energy Commission’s appliance efficiency database using the public quick search function available on our website at https://cacertappliances.energy.ca.gov/Pages/ApplianceSearch.aspx.

Can archived models still be sold in California?

Yes. Models that were certified as compliant to the standard before November 16, 2016, can still be sold in California after the compliance date, and will be displayed in the archived section of MAEDBS.

Summary of Changes and Affected Sections Related to the Federal Battery Charger Systems

Certification, Compliance, and Enforcement for Consumer Products and Commercial and Industrial Equipment [10 C.F.R. section 429.39 – Battery Chargers]

Modified Sections Description of Modifications
(a) Determination of represented values Revised the requirements of the sample methodology to be used for determining represented values for battery chargers.
(b) Certification reports Created a new paragraph specifying product certification reporting requirements for battery chargers.

Definitions [10 C.F.R. section 430.2]

Modified Sections Description of Modifications
Alphabetical order Added definition of “back-up battery charger.”

Test Procedures for the Measurement of Energy and Water Consumption [10 C.F.R. section 430.23]

Modified Sections Description of Modifications
(aa) Revision to the paragraph to indicate which measurements are needed from testing battery chargers.

Uniform Test Method for Measuring the Energy Consumption of Battery Chargers [10 C.F.R. section 430.23(aa) - Appendix Y to Subpart B of part 430]

Modified Sections Description of Modifications
1. Scope Test method excludes testing of battery backups and uninterruptible power supplies.
2. Definitions

Inserted unit (C) in the definition of C-Rate in section 2.10.

Replaced “rated” with “nameplate battery” in section 2.10.

Replaced “rated” with “nameplate” in section 2.17, 2.19, 2.20, and 2.21.

3. Standard Test Conditions

Added units and an additional calculated value to Table 3.1.

Steps for measuring equipment are replaced with references of specific sections from IEC 62301 in section 3.2.

4. Unit Under Test Setup Requirements

Clarified in section 4.3(b) that a single battery must be selected as a result of applying the battery selection criteria in Table 4.1.

Inserted a paragraph in section 4.3(b) to require selecting the single battery resulting in the highest maintenance mode power when following Table 4.1 results in two or more distinct batteries

Updated Table 4.1 to remove instances of multiple batteries for test and instructed that, where applicable the battery with the highest voltage must be selected for testing. If multiple batteries meet the criteria of highest voltage, then the battery with the highest charge capacity at that voltage must be selected for testing. Removed column ‘‘number of tests.’’

Replaced “rated” with “nameplate battery” in section 4.3(c).

5. Recording General Data on the UUT

Replaced “rated” with “nameplate battery” in section 5.1(4) and in section 5.1(5).

Replaced “rated charge energy” with “nameplate battery energy capacity” in section 5.1(6)

Changes to section 5.3(a) and section 5.3(d) allows lead acid batteries to be conditioned prior to testing by applying the current procedure used for other battery chemistries.

Corrected the unit of discharge current to “C” in section 5.8(c)(2).

Added a footnote in Table 5.2 regarding situations with protective circuits preventing batteries from reaching the specified discharge voltage.

Added a new section, section 5.13, for instructions on calculating the unit energy consumption (UEC) for a battery charger.