Guide

Design efficient electrical and electronic equipment

Connections and power requirements for efficient electrical and electronic equipment

When designing electrical and electronic equipment you should consider the financial and environmental impact of different options for connections and power requirements.

Connections

For component and printed circuit board (PCB) connections, you should consider:

  • standardising connector types to aid assembly
  • designing modules and sub-assemblies to be independently testable
  • using plug-in boards to aid assembly and disassembly
  • making high-value components surface-mounted or socket-fitted to aid removal from units that fail quality inspections and make it easier for components to be reused at the end of the product's life
  • grouping hazardous materials and components together on the PCB and incorporating perforated 'snap lines'

Power requirements

Designing products with lower energy consumption provides tangible cost savings to customers and can be exploited as a valuable marketing benefit. You can design electronic products to minimise energy consumption and costs during use by:

  • using low voltage logic
  • designing an energy efficient standby mode - or removing the standby mode altogether
  • making the product compatible with other energy efficient devices
  • increasing the thermal tolerance of the design to avoid the use of cooling fans or air conditioning
  • improving the insulation of hot or cold elements
  • looking at recovery of excess heat output

Manufacturers, suppliers and importers of energy-using and energy related products are required to consider the environmental impact of products in the design stages under the European Ecodesign Directive. Once products are covered by implementing measures - usually in the form of regulations - manufacturers and suppliers have to achieve minimum energy efficiency standards, carry out conformity testing and affix a CE mark. For detailed information on these requirements seeĀ energy labelling and ecodesign of energy-related products.

You should consider using batteries with high energy efficiency and low environmental impact. Nickel metal hydride offers more than twice the volumetric energy density - energy stored within a given volume - of cheaper nickel cadmium batteries.

Lithium ion (LiON) batteries offer still higher energy density. LiON batteries are smaller, lighter and contain less heavy metal content.

You must make sure that any batteries you use comply with limits on hazardous substances - seeĀ batteries responsibilities for business.