What do certifications mean?

PSUs: The source of DC power for all components in the PC & often a big noise source.

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What do certifications mean?

Post by zuperdee » Sun Apr 04, 2004 12:40 am

Alright, I am now curious enough that I am wishing MikeC would create a nice little sticky explaining the various certifications on power supplies. I think it is an important issue for those of us wanting to build quiet PCs, since it is generally said that "the more the better" with certifications on power supplies. But do they really say anything about the quality of the unit? And is it REALLY better to have more? And how are we Joe Averages supposed to appreciate all this alphabet soup of certifications? (And it really does seem like an alphabet soup if you ask me.)

So far, I've only been able to find out about these marks:

1) UL -- Underwriters Laboratories: an independent association formed by the U.S. insurance industry over a hundred years ago. They do testing and certification of products of virtually every kind. If a fire is caused by a non-UL-listed product, your insurance company may not have to pay if you file a claim. UL 1950 is the particular one that seems to pertain to PSUs.

2) CSA -- the Canadian Standards Association. They evidently do testing and certification very similar to Underwriters Laboratories, but some say it is even more stringent. Also, unlike the UL mark, CSA certification is mandated by law for all products sold in Canada. C22.2 is the one we're interested in for PSUs.

3) CCC -- China Compulsory Certification. Implemented on May 1, 2002 and fully effective on August 1, 2003. It replaces two previous compulsory inspection systems, one to check contents of products for import and export, and the other for quality control, as part of China's commitment for entry into the World Trade Organization.

4) TUV/VDE/NEMKO -- so far as I can tell, these are all mostly the same. EN60950 is the number on all of them.

Well, I hope someone can help me add to my knowledge here, cause I'm stuck. It's really daunting. :o

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Post by fmah » Sun Apr 04, 2004 10:56 am

The ratings are primarily for safety. It doesn't have so much to do with the performance. Basically, it has to do with what you mentioned for UL, the manufacturer is at fault if the product has no safety qualifications and you can sue them if the product burns your building down.

That is why large companies and organizations are likely to only buy products that have approvals for their region, because they want to reduce the risk of using products that could harm people or property.

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Post by bomba » Sun Apr 04, 2004 3:49 pm

The marks are pretty much for the same thing; electrical product safety. Most countries have aligned their ITE safety requirements into a single international standard IEC 60950. This standard contains national deviations such that an IEC 60950 test of a PC power supply that includes North American deviations will be equivalent to a UL/CSA evaluation.

I do not believe in more marks equating to better quality. The reason a power supply would display more marks is that it is likely a widely distributed model internationally; the approvals are required to gain market or customer access.

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