What you need to know about The LVD and IEC/ EN 62368-1

At the end of 2020 changes were put into effect, with regards to the LVD (Low Voltage Directive). The latest revision of the 62368 standard, refers to the end-user product, but also to the components and subsystems, such as power supplies and batteries, which are included as a critical component for LVD compliance.

LVD at a glance ….

The Low Voltage Directive outlines essential safety requirements for electrical equipment, operating with a voltage between 50-1000v AC and 75-1500v DC.

It applies to a wide range of electrical equipment for both consumer and professional usage, such as household appliances, cables, power supply units, laser equipment, certain components, e.g. fuses.

One route for equipment manufacturers to demonstrate compliance with the LVD, is to design and test a product, against a published product safety standard. Traditionally, Fire & Security companies have referred to safety standards IEC60960-1 and IEC60065, however these have now been superseded with IEC62368-1.

But what is the IEC62368-1?

This international standard is a product safety standard that classifies energy sources, prescribes safeguards against those energy sources, and provides guidance on the application of, and requirements for, those safeguards. The prescribed safeguards are intended to reduce the likelihood of pain, injury and, in the case of fire, property damage.

In the past ICT equipment have used IEC60950-1 and AV equipment used IEC60065. But now with these being merged into IEC62368-1, this means there are different engineering principles and terminologies to be adopted.

As with any update in standards there will be a number of existing products that will need to be reviewed to meet new criteria. To help manufactures manage this transition, both American and European bodies agreed a date for this to take place. This was on December 20, 2020.

Iec

Is the safety standard 62368-1 applicable to batteries?

The simple answer is yes, panel manufacturers and subsequently installers, will need to source batteries, for all devices fitted since 20/12/2020, which are compliant with the new standard.

Which batteries comply with the new standard?

Batteries fall within IEC62368-1 and the LVD, in relation to their flammability rating. The majority of approval bodies and testing houses, advise the requirement for all combustible plastic material within a fire enclosure, to have a V-2 or better flammability rating.

Currently most standard VRLA batteries, are produced with HB rated casing. For panels installed after the 20/12/2020, batteries will need to be rated V-2 (burning stops within 30 seconds on a vertical specimen; drips of flaming particles are allowed).

Fairfield continues to support our customers with a broad range of leading battery brands and will now be stocking, a range of high-quality V-2 flame rated batteries, which are designed to meet the latest Low Voltage Directive guidelines.

Classifications

From lowest (Least flame-retardant) to highest (Most flame-retardant):

HBSlow burning on a horizontal specimen; burning rate < 76 mm/min for thickness < 3 mm or burning stops before 100 mm
V-2Burning stops within 30 seconds on a vertical specimen; drips of flaming particles are allowed.
V-1Burning stops within 30 seconds on a vertical specimen; drips of particles allowed as long as they are not inflamed.
V-0Burning stops within 10 seconds on a vertical specimen; drips of particles allowed as long as they are not inflamed.
5VBBurning stops within 60 seconds on a vertical specimen; no drips allowed; plaque specimens may develop a hole.
5VABurning stops within 60 seconds on a vertical specimen; no drips allowed; plaque specimens may not develop a hole.

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