electrician who verifies the electrical safety of appliances and components with measuring instruments

Electrical Safety

The basis for every market approval

Electrical safety is an important basic requirement under which technology products are approved for the market. It is therefore an integral part of the regulatory tests for certification and the associated market approval.

DAkkS
DAkkS
All accreditations
All accreditations

Electrical safety tests

Various plugs that must be tested for electrical safety

Electrical safety is subject to various certification regimes: While the NRTL (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory) approval covers regulatory testing for the US and Canadian areas, the so-called CB (Certified Body) Scheme is an international system that deals with the safety of electrical and electronic components, devices and products. The latter serves the mutual recognition of test reports and certificates among the approximately 50 participating countries.

Various test scenarios

Depending on the approval objective of the equipment to be tested, various test scenarios are run through. Regardless of the approval regime, the necessary electrical safety tests can be divided into the following areas, among others:

Measurement of the protective conductor resistance

The low-resistance passage through the protective conductor is measured. Even a short-term high protective conductor resistance indicates an interruption of the protective conductor or a fault in a protective conductor path.

Measurement of the leakage current and the contact current

Here the possible flow of a harmful current through the human body is tested, if necessary also through the protective conductor resistance.

High voltage tests

These tests are used to check the insulation strength of electronic components in the low voltage range (protection classes I and II).

Temperature tests

In a so-called climatic cabinet the devices are tested for their reactions at extreme temperatures.

Performance measurements for mechanical strength

In accordance with the specifications, the robustness of the test object is measured with Reference to mechanical load checked.

Our accreditations

The European part for electrical safety is defined by the associated EN/IEC standards. We are accredited by the German Accreditation Body (DAkkS) to carry out regulatory testing of electrical safety in accordance with the following norms and standards, and thus accompany you on the way to market approval:

  • EN/IEC 60950-1 for information technology equipment
  • EN/IEC 62368-1 for audio/video, information and communication technology
  • EN 61010-1 Safety requirements for electrical equipment for measurement, control, and laboratory use – Part 1: General requirements
  • AS/NZS 62368-1 and AS/NZS 60950-1 for products such as audio/video equipment and IT and communication technologies used in Australia and New Zealand.
receptacle with plug that is on fire

We also offer electrical safety product testing for other non-European target markets in cooperation with our partner laboratories. In this way, we can guarantee you rapid completion of the regulatory electrical safety tests as part of the market approval process.

If your product requires electrical safety tests that go beyond our accreditations, we will carry out the measurements in one of our partner laboratories. In this way you continue to receive the efficient service of our services from a single source.

Accreditations in detail

DAkkS

German Accreditation Body (DAkkS)

Our laboratory in Essen is accredited by the DAkkS according to DIN ISO 17025 to carry out a wide range of electrical safety tests.
Detailed information on the scope of our accreditation for our laboratories in Germany can be found in our accreditation overview.

Expertise on electrical safety

Why is electrical safety important?

Electrical safety avoids hazards caused by electric current and its effect on the human body – at worst by an electric shock, which even small electrical appliances can cause. It is therefore a basic prerequisite for the market approval of electronic devices.

Is an electrical safety test mandatory?

As a rule, each approval regime has its own standards according to which the electrical safety of technical devices is tested. It is therefore essential to find out about the respective requirements.

What is the difference between an NRTL approval and an approval according to the CB Scheme?

The main difference is the regional availability of the two approval systems NRTL and CB Scheme: Products tested by NRTL-approved laboratories are approved for the US and Canadian markets. The CB Scheme, on the other hand, is a multilateral agreement that has emerged from the European Commission for Conformity Testing of Electrical Equipment (CEE). Products with this approval may be traded in the markets of the member states of the International Commission on the Rules for the Approval of Electrical Equipment (IECEE).

Member States overview

How does the test voltage of 1500 V result in EN 62368 with Ethernet?

The 1500 V are assumed as transient voltage from external circuits.

Cable type Additional conditions Transient voltages
conductors arranged in pairsª – shielded or unshielded The building or structure can, but does not have to be potential equalization

1500 V 10/700 μs

Only differential, if a conductor in the facility is connected to ground

Important: This requirement only applies to interfaces that are not “in-house” interfaces.

Is the Low Voltage Directive (LVD) sufficient for AV devices with a fan as the only mechanically moving element or does this mean that the Machinery Directive must also be observed?

AV devices fall under EN 62368-1, where moving parts are also considered in chapter 8 (mechanics). Fans are classified accordingly and safety measurements are required. The Machinery Directive does not have to be applied from an approval point of view.

What is a CB Scheme?

The CB Scheme simplifies access to numerous markets by avoiding multiple testing. Obtaining the necessary international certifications for market access can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive. The CB Scheme, created by the IECEE (International Electrotechnical Commission for Electrical Equipment), enables faster and easier access to global markets. It is a process for mutual recognition of test results among participating countries. As a rule, no additional tests are required. A CB test report from a CBTL (CB Testing Laboratory) and a corresponding CB certificate from an NCB will help you meeting a wide range of international safety requirements and gaining access to the market in over 50 countries.

What is meant with battery documentation?

If batteries are installed in the device, a data sheet and a certificate are required. The installed batteries are then tested according to EN 62368-1. There it will be checked if overcharging of rechargeable batteries is possible; short circuit of the battery, charging of a rechargeable battery with reversed poles (if possible) and errors in the charging and discharging circuit will be performed.

What were the new amendments in the annexes (to EN 62368-1) in 2015 und 2017?

For EN 62368-1:2014, AC:2015 to EN 62368-1:2014 and AC:2015+A11:2017 there was only the following change: In annex ZC the Italian deviation in section F.1 was deleted.

If the approval only applies to the current software, does the device have to go through the full approval process when the manufacturer releases firmware updates? Does the certification have to be repeated with each new software version?

No, not necessarily. However, it must be determined by means of risk assessment whether the FW update has an influence on the previous conformity statement. In any case, the DoC (Declaration of Conformity) must also be completed for the new SW/HW combination. The risk analysis shows whether new tests are necessary.

Is there already information about the new version "2020" of EN 62368? Obviously, there are more and stricter tests.

The 2020 version is only available in the IEC version. The committee has rejected the harmonization, so this version will not be implemented into European law. Therefore EN 62368-1:2014 + AC:2015 + A11:2017 is the current version for EN at the moment.

Does the Low Voltage Directive apply to battery operated devices (< 50 V DC)?

The Low Voltage Directive only applies from a voltage of 75 V DC. If your device falls under the RED, the device will automatically fall under the low voltage directive (voltage limits are lowered to 0 V.) If the RED does not cover your equipment, your equipment is not actually covered by the Low Voltage Directive, but the Product Safety Law applies, which states that no equipment is placed on the market unsafe. As the manufacturer, you can either guarantee safety yourself (not recommended) or you can still test according to the Low Voltage Directive. We recommend that you test your device in accordance with the Low Voltage Directive anyway, so that you can prove the conformity of the Low Voltage Directive with a valid test report in your manufacturer’s conformity.

Do I have to perform a test according to EN 62368 for a battery operated flashlight? According to the scope of application this is only covered by EMC and not by LVD.

A battery operated flashlight is not covered by LVD. The product safety law applies, which expresses that no devices are placed on the market unsafe. You should only install certified batteries. If you are not sure that you comply with the Product Safety Law, it is still recommended to test according to LVD. However, EN 62368-1 is not applicable here.

Is there a checklist, so that I can consider the points in advance during the development process?

Unfortunately, there is no checklist. It is recommended to buy the standard and to deal with the security requirements. Since every device is individual, the application of safety features is also individual and cannot be generalized.

Are there counterparts to EN 62368-1 in other countries worldwide that have to be fulfilled?

There are no known counterparts to EN 62368-1. There are, however, other safety standards that industries can demand, but which are not mandatory from a regulatory approval point of view (e.g. CB Scheme or NRTL Scheme).

What is the criterion that makes an EMF test necessary? I have understood the power of the radiation - are there limits above which testing becomes necessary and below which testing can be considered unnecessary?

Essentially, this requirement is also included in the RED (Radio Equipment Directive) under the heading “Health”, but may also fall under the LVD, depending on the circumstances. First, a distinction must be made between body-worn devices with radio interface and non-body-worn devices. Body-worn means that a device is worn or used more or less permanently at a distance of less than 20 cm from the body. Then it is about the output power (radiated). Devices with low output power:

  • Evaluation of compliance with the low power exclusion limit according to EN 62479
  • Frequency range 10 MHz – 300 GHz
  • ≤ 20 mW for exposure of the general population
  • ≤ 100 mW at professional exposure
  • by assessing compliance with the exclusion limit

In general: The guarantee of health protection (RED 3.1a) can be evaluated/tested differently depending on the type of device:

  • Devices with a usage distance > 20 cm –> Evaluation by an MPE calculation.
  • Devices with a physical range < 20 cm –> evaluation by SAR measurements if the output power (radiated) of 20 mW is exceeded.

What are the differences in the required documentation for consumer and enterprise products?

First of all, the directive does not distinguish between end users. This is only done in the 62368. The safety assessment considers who will work with the device and whether it is safe for this user to work with the device. The documentation is the same for all users for the time being. If necessary, the documentation is written differently for the inexperienced user than for the professional user, but this is not mandatory.

Can certain safety instructions be omitted if "professional" users are assumed (assumption: skilled electrician)?

The safety precautions depend on the user. Depending on the device, safety instructions can be omitted if it is obvious to a professional user. In principle, however, it also applies that no increased safety risks should be allowed for skilled workers

Can delta tests be applied for devices tested according to 60950-1 and 60950-22, or does the 62368-1 have to be completely “re-tested”?

Since this standard has a completely new approach, it must be completely retested. The 60950-22 is accepted in EN 62368-1 and does not require retesting.

Does the transition from 60950 to 62368 also apply for power tools with Bluetooth interface (usage by skilled employees)?

Yes, because the Bluetooth interface turns the product into a radio, so it must also be newly certified according to 62368-1.

Which directive is responsible for the electrical safety of electrical equipment < 75 V DC?

In principle, the LVD does not apply here. The Product Safety Law applies, which expresses that no equipment is placed on the market unsafe. As the manufacturer, you can either guarantee safety yourself (not recommended) or you can still test according to the Low Voltage Directive. We recommend that you test your device in accordance with the Low Voltage Directive anyway, so that you can prove the conformity of the Low Voltage Directive with a valid test report in your manufacturer’s conformity.

What are the advantages for the final device if components of the final device have already been tested according to the safety standard?

The biggest advantage is of course the cost factor. If, for example, power supply units, transformers, VDR or similar are installed in the device, they are only tested for the area of application within the scope of 62368-1. Safety-relevant components must be certified according to certain standards. Otherwise they would have to be tested separately.

What needs to be considered with motherboards with regard to EN 62368 (Assumption: Motherboards to be integrated into a PC or device)?

In general, it is not required to test the integrated component itself. Anyway, it would make sense to respect the final device requirements for LVD. This applies to temperature usage range, for example, as the motherboard and its components will be checked together with the final device. So a pretesting can take place, but it is no “must”, as the board itself cannot operate solely. Anyway, a pretested motherboard will save cost for the final product, to be tested.

What about components requirements, such as fans?

The requirements are the same as for other components, plus everything that comes with the fan rotation.

EN 62368-1 refers to EN 60950-22 for outdoor equipment. But this one expires. Why is this? And does this mean an update of the safety assessment of the product is required later on when the EN 62368-1 will refer to a new standard?

As of today, there is no successor standard for the 60950-22. That part of the 60950 is still valid and can be tested according to. We cannot foresee how the 62368 will develop, but we expect the “new” part of 62368 will be an integration of the 60950-22.

If a device is labelled with a power rating of for example 12 V DC - 10A. What does this mean exactly? Under which conditions this rating must not be exceeded - normal usage or also fault conditions?

The voltage and current ratings apply to the device in any case and condition, as these are the normal operating conditions. These are listed to prevent an operation with for example 110 V. Fault conditions are not covered here.

Why does 62368 insist on an IEC standard for battery safety test when in the case of a Li-Ion battery, testing against UN38.3 is a requirement for manufacturers to ship the product? This results in both tests having to be completed with high cost and high

62368 does not necessarily insist on an IEC Standard for a battery. It was mentioned that a battery best comes with a certificate so that additional testing is not necessary.

What will happen to products (i.e. comm. modules) which have been certified according to EN 60950 after December 2020? How to "update" to the new standard fastest?

These modules must be certified according to 62368-1 if they are newly produced or still brought into the market after December 2020.

Where can I find a list of DIN standards?

Are passive loudspeakers covered under the LVD? Input signal is typically an audio signal and not a power/mains signal as mentioned in the LVD directive.

No, these fall not under the LVD, as they are not actively powered.

RED OJ does not reference safety standard 62368-1. Does this mean I can continue to use any of the legacy safety standard (60065/60950-1)?

No, this is not allowed. The RED OJ will point to 62368 sooner or later, as 60950-1 will no longer be valid from December 2020 onwards.

Is ground aviation equipment required to undergo Safety under EN 62368, and what is the definition of ground aviation equipment?

Ground aviation equipment does not fall under LVD, but under aviation requirements.

Can a device pass the EN 62368 and fail requirements in the CB scheme?

Yes, a device can pass 62368 and fail CB Scheme, even if this is unlikely.

For the RED Safety-compliance (3.1a) there is being used EN 62368 (...2017). Currently IEC 62368-1 2018-10 is published by IEC, why is this one not used for testing in the EU?

IEC 62368-1: 2018 is not harmonized in the EU. The 2017 version is the standard currently to be tested.

Are you interested in more details on this topic or are you looking for answers to urgent questions? Please contact us. Benefit from our expert support for all challenges regarding the market approval of your products.

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