Supposedly, some new federal regulation is imposing "energy efficiency" standards on small power adapters.

How is this going to affect electronics? Are the old types of adapters going away? If so, what is the difference between the old adapters and new adapters internally? I assume the new adapters will be more expensive. How much more expensive?

  • \$\begingroup\$ The supply design of most "bricks" is switching mode power, this is inherently a very efficient form of voltage conversion, this regulation deals with quiescent/idle current. It will require modifications to the simplest power supply bricks, and may increase the average cost of a replacement adapter (as cheap knockoffs that are less efficient at idle would be prohibited). \$\endgroup\$
    – crasic
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 19:50

1 Answer 1


The effect will vary based on prospective.

  • Power Supply Manufacturers: Major - All products will have to be updated and qualified to meet the new standards, new part numbers created, etc.

  • Distributors: Moderate - All old stock must be sold off and replaced, part numbers for old supplies obsoleted, and replaced with new, primarily paperwork.

  • OEMs: Minimal - Use existing stock, update purchased part number.
  • End users: None - Won't even notice, except maybe the $0.01 difference in utility bills...

The old adapters won't go away. People will still use them until they fail. There won't be significant difference in circuitry or cost from old to new.

At the end of the day, these directives are pretty dumb. Who cares about minimizing fractions of a Watt of no load power when people are using electricity to heat and cool their homes, as well as refrigerate food and charge electric cars?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually heating a home and cooling a refrgator are meaningful and important functions. Whereas operating a charger that is charging nothing is not. Zero function with positive consumption is infinite waste. There have been research done in this area, and the consumption of "idle" electronics summed at a national level are far from insignificant. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szidor
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 20:54
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Szidor It may not be insignificant, but that doesn't change the fact that we're talking about minimizing some small percentage of energy usage. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Young
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 22:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, it doesn't solve all the energy problems, but we're decreasing energy usage by measurable amount with ZERO decrease in function. That's everything but "dumb". It's actually quite clever, IMHO. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szidor
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 22:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ This does not answer any of my questions \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 23:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Szidor I'm not interested in having a debate. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Young
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 23:43

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