What you need to know about the new standard for USB socket-outlets

October 2nd 2018

The landscape for USB sockets-outlets is far different than you think. Michael Simms, Wiring Accessories Product Manager for Crabtree, talks about the latest standard for USB socket-outlets which might be unknown to some of the market.

There’s a new standard when it comes to USB Sockets. Why is that?

There has been a socket standard in situ for socket-outlets for a long time, but the product standard didn’t include for such innovations as integrated USB charging outlets. So when manufacturers developed USB outlets and combined these into socket-outlets the standards had to be updated.

Its normal for invention to come before normalisation and standardisation, this is the process that we have been through to arrive at the new standard.

To achieve this, BSI and the relevant working groups like Beama revised the technical standards to produce an update to the product standard i.e. BS1362-2:2016 +A1, which becomes mandatory in September 2019 when the moratorium period ends.

What’s been included in the new standard?

This new standard includes considerations for 13A socket outlets with integrated USB outlets, for example in development testing a socket with an incorporated USB Socket, you need to test the socket with the USB on-load.

This testing includes a temperature rise requirement. Usually in testing, even with a 13 amp socket, it is loaded to 20amps and the operating temperature needs to stay within certain parameters and not overheat.

Now with USB socket-outlets to BS1362-2:2016 +A1, the USB element as well as the socket-outlet needs to stay within the same set temperature parameter even though the additional loads from charging are included. 

The USB element also needs to have its own integral overcurrent protection. It can’t rely on an RCD or MCB devices to protect its circuitry. This is because it is classed as electronics and it needs a certain level of protection in its own right.

There is now more onus on the testing of USB socket outlets to make sure manufacturers comply with the new standards.

Crabtree Instinct USB products fully comply with this new standard, and we’re continuing to develop solutions which are on top of the game, helping our customers to stay on top of theirs.

Is this new standard widely known to customers in the industry then?

I don’t believe so. I haven’t really noticed many people talking about this new product standard, that’s why it’s important that we have this conversation and make our customers more aware that they should be discussing this with manufacturers and specifying the new standard, otherwise they could inadvertently use non-compliant items.

Why is it important that installers use products that meet this new standard?

Safety is the most important reason, having a product which meets the latest standard and keeps customer safety at heart.

At the moment Crabtree is one of the first adopters of a USB socket-outlet that meets the new standard with our Instinct range.

It’s also important to consider protection of devices by the USB outlet. Crabtree Instinct USB sockets automatically provide protection for devices by matching the charging current to the device that is plugged in.

The charger instantly recognises the device and optimises the charge parameters throughout the full charging cycle.  This ensures both compatibility and optimised charging times for each device that is plugged in.

Secondly, being ready for the future. By installing a USB socket-outlet that meets this new standard now, installers can be one step ahead of the game and promote themselves as forward thinking for their customers.

What can you tell us about the Instinct range?

The Crabtree Instinct range really sets some new standards when it comes to wiring accessories.

As well as USB socket-outlets, to the new standard, our Instinct range also includes full contact cable clamps, the first wiring accessory to utilise this technology.

Inline and upward facing terminals which are captive and supplied open to allow for a quicker and safer installation, a two part operation multi-pin safety shutter system which further reduces the risk of inadvertent access to live parts.

There’s even more from our Instinct range so I would recommend installers take a look for themselves to see how Instinct wiring accessories can enhance electrical installations and user experiences.

Finally, where do you see the future for USB technology? Where is it going?

Providing they meet the new safety standards, there’s a lot of talk of moving to USB-C at the moment.

One of the potential benefits of USB-C technology is the improvement in the output, not only with current but the voltage as well.

Currently, the most you will get out of a Type A device is 5v. With Type C, you could go up to 20v.

With Type C, you might only get 3 amps from such an output, by having an upturn in the voltage output, you could also power bigger items such as laptops or even TV’s in the future.

At the moment there aren’t many devices with Type C connection that require such power, so what we’re currently seeing is a mixture of a Type C output with a Type A input. Therefore, not using the full potential it can achieve.

At Electrium we’re always looking at ways to enhance the solutions for our customers & tier end users and this technology will be one of the many evolutions we’re looking at.

Instinct is a wiring accessories range from Crabtree, one of Electrium’s market leading brands. Discover more about instinct here.

 

NB. All Crabtree USB socket-outlets fully comply with the current standard (BS1362-2) with additional testing which has been carried out.

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