As technology evolves, the demands placed on various devices – laptops, tablets, smartphones, power banks, etc. – are increasing. Similarly, the demands and expectations placed on the data cables that transmit information and power and charge these devices are also rising. Users are requiring faster charging and higher wattage and, to achieve this, may unintentionally overlook the potential risks of overheating and fire due to the use of cheap and non-compliant cables.

These cables may be made with substandard materials that have poor thermal and flame resistant properties or do not meet generally accepted safety standards. Bad cables can bypass safety systems in the power source leading to device damage, overcharging of the batteries, fire, and/or explosion. Further, these substandard cables could pose a risk of fire if exposed to high currents from non-compliant power sources such as unregulated wall chargers or 12V car adapters.

UL established the ICT power cable certification program to address the potential safety risks associated with these cables through the control of connector/cable materials and undergoing a group of safety tests, based on the newly published Outline of Investigation UL 9990, Information and Communication Technology Power Cable Assemblies. Additionally, manufacturers are subject to factory surveillance and market surveys to help assure ongoing compliance of the cables to the requirements.

If you have any additional questions, or would like to hear about the certification process for UL 9990, please contact Rob LaRocca, Business Development Manager for UL Wire and Cable at Robert.s.larocca@ul.com