By GRL Team on July 09, 2024

A Quick Guide to USB Type-C® and PD Compliance with EU RED & IEC 62368-1

This technical blog is a summary of a GRL exclusive technical webinar [Demystifying USB Type-C® & Power Delivery: Compliance with EU RED & IEC 62368-1]. Subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on LinkedIn to be alerted on our next free technical webinar or read on for a quick summary of what went down.

With the European Union (EU) Council passing the Common Charger Directive 2022/2380, manufacturers and OEMs of small electronic devices by 28 December 2024. The mandate, which requires consumer electronic devices to feature a USB-C port before being sold within the region, will also kick in for laptops come April 2026.


What is IEC 62368-1 and EU RED?

USB Power Delivery’s (PD) higher power levels of 240W via USB Type-C® connectors will introduce new safety challenges, necessitating compliance with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC 62368-1). This electrical safety standard applies to audio, video, and ICT equipment to ensure that safety requirements are met under both normal and abnormal circumstances. 

Abided by globally, the IEC 62368-1 classifies power sources into three different categories and prescribes safeguards accordingly, the standard can help product designers incorporate safety principles into their design process. Latest technologies such as USB PD,Type-C® and hazards related to these technologies are not  addressed  by this standard although it includes electric shock and fire hazards. Additional evaluation for Functional Safety is needed to fulfill requirements as per IEC 61784-3 or IEC 61508-1

EU RED refers to manufacturers who have to comply with the EU Radio Equipment Directive (EU RED) 


Why USB PD 3.1 and USB Type-C® are the de facto standard for wired charging

The reversible, user-friendly design of USB Type-C® connectors allows both Host and Peripheral to provide power in either direction. In addition, its compatibility with USB 3.1 Gen2 and USB4 on top of a supported power range over USB Type-C® ports from 100W to 240W, known as Extended Power Range (EPR) allows USB Type-C® to support faster data transfers with devices that they already have. That said, it's important to note that power transfers above 100W require EPR capable sources, sinks, and cables. When classified as a  Power Source (PS3). USB Type-C® EPR may become a potential source of ignition hazard without the proper evaluation and proper safeguards.

Moreover, USB PD 3.1 introduces Adjustable Voltage Supply (AVS) alongside existing Fixed Voltage and Programmable Power Supply (PPS) modes. AVS optimizes power delivery and minimizes energy wastage by allowing devices to dynamically adjust voltage levels based on specific power requirements. Its versatility and high power delivery capabilities lends it to stay compliant with new regulatory requirements such as EU RED and IEC 62368-1 on top of future compliance requirements that may arise in the future.

For a full summary on charging modes and power profiles, download our webinar notes.

USB-IF compliance testing recommendations

To ensure product functionality, cross-device compatibility, and minimize risk against potential safety hazards, USB-IF compliance testing is highly recommended. This requires manufacturers and OEMs to validate protocol, timing, and power according to the latest specifications. To guarantee the best user experience, errors in protocol and timing can be remedied by calling for hard resets and fall backs into the 100W (SPR) range.

In addition, designs must be tested with fail safe functionality to minimize fire hazard risk. It's also important to note that additional tests and validations may be required based on your target market’s specifications.

Under the IEC 62368-1 standards, all Type-C Sink and DRP (Dual Role Power) devices capable of connecting to power sources supplying over 100W must undergo thorough functional safety validation. While sources operating within the 7.5W to 85W power range are exempt from additional safety evaluations, those in the 86W to 100W range where power under overcurrent conditions can exceed 100W must be evaluated. Similarly, sources operating between 100W and 240W where power levels consistently exceed 100W are required to undergo additional functional safety evaluations.


EU RED requirements

Under EU RED, radio equipment designed for wired charging must incorporate USB Type-C receptacles according to EN IEC 62680-1-3:2021 specifications. Additionally, they must be compatible with cables that meet the same EN IEC 62680-1-3:2021 standards for USB Type-C® connectors.

Implementing USB PD based on EN IEC 62680-1-2:2021 specifications are also applicable for devices charging at voltages higher than 5V, currents exceeding 3A, or powers surpassing 15W. Moreover, devices must support supplementary charging protocols that preserve full USB PD functionality across all compatible charging devices.


Manufacturers therefore have two compliance options:

  1. Ensuring that their devices, connectors, and cables are certified by USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) or; 
  2. Obtaining a comprehensive test report aligned with the IEC 62680 series, including interoperability testing conducted by independent laboratories such as GRL


USB Type-C® Power Delivery Tester & Analyzer (GRL-USB-PD-C2-EPR) 

Functional safety requirements as per IEC 61784-3 and USB PD requirements as per IEC 62680-1-2 standards can be easily met with the GRL-USB-PD-C2-EPR, an integrated solution equipped with two independent ports capable of handling up to 240W for both Source and Sink. By consolidating multiple testing functionalities—protocol exerciser, analyzer, electronic load, power supply, oscilloscope, and multimeters—allows manufacturers to streamline test setups and enhance operational efficiency.


In addition, real-world conditions can be simulated to ensure optimal performance under various circumstances. API capabilities in C# and Python also empowers developers to create custom test programs tailored to specific product requirements. In other words, GRL-USB-PD-C2-EPR facilitates next-generation technological advancements while ensuring close compliance.


Test USB Type-C designs to IEC 62368-1 and EU RED effectively with expert engineers and industry leading solutions

Watch the full webinar on-demand or download the presentation deck here. To be alerted about our next free technical webinar, follow us on LinkedIn or subscribe to our newsletter

Reach out at any time for personalized advice on how you can design and certify your USB Type-C® and Power Delivery devices. Choose us for unmatched reliability, efficiency, and support on your compliance journey.

Published by GRL Team July 09, 2024