Low Voltage Directive – LVD
The Low Voltage Directive is the oldest of the New Approach Directives and deals with the safety of electrical apparatus. It applies to all apparatus running on (or generating) an electrical supply in the range 50 – 1000 volts a.c. or between 75 and 1500 volts d.c..
There are a small number of exclusions from this Directive, which are generally products covered by more specific directives.
The Directive has both administrative and protective requirements. Administrative requirements include CE marking the product, completing a Declaration of Conformity and compiling a Technical File.
Protection requirements are generally satisfied by assessing the products compliance to various standards. Compliance to the Low Voltage Directive can be self-certified without the need for a notified body.
The Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU is one a series of measures introduced under Article 100a of the Treaty of Rome. Article 100a directives all have the primary objective of creating a single European market in goods and services with the objective of providing producers and consumers with the benefits of economies of scale that this offers.
The effect of the Directive has been to introduce identical requirements for the design and certification safety of electrical products in every country within the European Economic Area (EEA).
The Directive applies to all apparatus operating on any AC supply between 50 and 1000 volts or DC supply between 75 and 1500 volts. Recent guidance from the European Commission has made it clear that the voltage limits referred to are the supply voltage or any voltage generated which appears at an output terminal, and not voltages generated within and confined internally to the equipment.
Equipment listed in Annex II are excluded from the scope of the Directive:
- Electrical equipment for use in an explosive atmosphere
- Electrical equipment for radiology and medical purposes
- Electrical parts for goods and passenger lifts
- Electricity meters
- Plugs and socket outlets for domestic use
- Electric fence controllers
- Radio-electrical interference
- Specialised electrical equipment, for use on ships, aircraft or railways, which complies with the safety provisions drawn up by international bodies in which the Member States participate.
- Custom built evaluation kits destined for professionals to be used solely at research and development facilities for such purposes.
In the main, these are items which are covered under other more specific directives or which are subject to international legislation outside of the jurisdiction of the EU.
Equipment manufactured for the manufacturer’s own use is not excluded from the Directive, but does not need to carry the CE logo. (NB: this is not a universal principle under the CE marking directives – in fact most directives do require equipment made (or imported) for the maker’s (or importer’s) own use to be CE marked.)