Zhaga references NEMA dimming spec for LED drivers, notes safety requirements

Oct. 9, 2013
The Zhaga Consortium has formally added requirements that LED light engines with integrated control gear support the NEMA SSL 7A-2013 dimming specification and also noted that socketable modules must meet new UL safety standards.

The Zhaga Consortium has announced that it will now require dimmable LED light engines that include driver electronics — what Zhaga terms integrated control gear — to perform in compliance with the NEMA SSL 7A-2013 standard for phase-cut dimming. In addition, the consortium has noted that manufacturers of socketable or field-replaceable light engines need to comply with the recent UL 8753/ULC-S8753 safety standard covering field-replaceable light engines.

In the case of dimming support, the Zhaga Consortium has added a reference to the NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) dimming standard in Books 2 and 8, which define socketable downlight modules with integrated drivers. The reference will also be included in future Books where applicable for solid-state lighting (SSL) modules with integrated control gear.

SSL 7A-2013 addresses how drivers perform when one or more light engines are connected to a phase-cut dimmer, sometimes referred to as a leading-edge dimmer. The "Phase-cut dimming for solid-state lighting: Basic compatibility" standard was published in April 2013 and was developed in cooperation with Zhaga and others.

"Standardized compatibility between LED light engines and controls is essential," said Ethan Biery, design and development leader with Lutron Electronics, a member of Zhaga. "However, the development of such a standard is outside Zhaga's scope. Therefore, Zhaga was very pleased to work with NEMA on the development of SSL 7A, and congratulates NEMA on the successful publication of this standard."

Safety standards

Moving to safety issues, UL (Underwriters Laboratories) recognized the need for a standard that covers the emerging class of field-replaceable LED modules. UL and UL of Canada have jointly published the harmonized UL 8753/ULC-S8753 safety standards covering field-replaceable light engines such as those covered in Zhaga Books 2, 6, and 8.

Zhaga won't formally reference the safety standards in its Books. But the organization has published a note on its website that makes it clear that the UL standards apply to products covered by some books and that manufacturers need to have such products tested to the safety standards.

UL has also published the UL 8754/ULC-S8754 standard that covers the holders, bases, and connectors for LED light engines and arrays. Manufacturers of those products should also seek compliance with the safety standards.