UL developing standard to eliminate ‘the last wire’

Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a resource for safety testing and certification, is developing a first-edition standard for induction power transmitters and receivers for use with low-energy products. UL 2738 applies to induction power transmitters, such as wireless battery chargers, employing magnetic induction coils that transmit energy to receiving coils in low-energy devices, such as cell phones, portable media players and global positioning devices. Induction power coils are the core technology used in wireless charger products already on the market.

While the popularity of wireless devices has multiplied, so have extension cords and chargers. Ultimate mobility has remained elusive, creating a demand to eliminate “the last wire.” With wireless charging products rapidly emerging for devices like laptops and mobile phones, UL sees a need for wireless power safety and interoperability across rechargeable electronic devices.

“UL understands the market need for wireless charging options, and is making sure safety stays a primary focus as the technology becomes more commonplace,” said Carlos Correia, vice president of UL’s high-tech division. “Our goal is to help manufacturers consider safety even before they begin the product development phase.”

The new proposed UL requirements for induction-powered transmitters and receivers for use with low-energy products will apply to:

  • Induction power transmitters intended to be supplied by a branch circuit of 600V or less;
  • Induction receivers intended for use with specific induction power transmitters; and
  • Induction receivers intended for use with induction power transmitters conforming to industry accepted interoperability specifications.

The new requirements will not apply to the actual products powered by the induction transmitters or receivers.

Before becoming a standard, these requirements will undergo a comprehensive review process by a global Standards Technical Panel (STP). Candidates among product manufacturers, supply chains, government, consumers and those responsible for standards enforcement can contact UL to be considered for the panel.