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Zhaga specifications reference NEMA standard for LED dimming

15 October 2013 10:00 BST


(US) - NEMA’s LED dimming standard SSL 7A-2013 has been referenced by two Zhaga interface specifications for LED light engines.

Control and dimming is an essential feature of many LED-based SSL systems. However, there has been a shortage of standards to ensure compatibility between dimmable LED light engines (LLEs) and phase-cut dimming controls.

To help address this lack of standards, the US-based National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) published in April 2013 a new standard, NEMA SSL 7A-2013, entitled ‘Phase-Cut Dimming for Solid-State Lighting: Basic Compatibility‘.

“NEMA is committed to international collaboration and standardisation,” said Evan Gaddis, president and CEO of NEMA. “The ability to reduce manufacturer burden and have consistent requirements across the globe is essential.”

SSL 7A provides compatibility requirements when a forward phase-cut (sometimes called a ‘leading edge’) dimmer is combined with one or more dimmable LLEs. The goal in creating SSL 7A was that dimmers and LLEs tested against the criteria set forth in SSL 7A will be compatible with one another, without the need for specific testing of every LLE and dimmer pairing.

SSL 7A was developed in close cooperation with the Zhaga Consortium, an international organization that is developing specifications to enable interchangeable LED light sources. The SSL 7A standard is already referenced in several Zhaga specifications (known as ‘Books’).

“Standardised compatibility between LLEs 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.”

The SSL 7A standard has already been referenced by the most recent versions of Zhaga Books 2 and 8, which define socketable downlight LLEs with integrated control gear. In part, this is because SSL 7A is the only available specification covering a two-wire, mains-powered, phase-control dimming interface.

In order for an LLE that supports dimming functionality to be compliant with Zhaga Book 2 or Book 8, such dimming functionality has to comply, at a minimum, with the provisions of NEMA SSL 7A.

Future Zhaga Books which have integrated electronic control gear, and which are used in applications where phase-cut dimming is applicable, are also expected to refer to SSL 7A.

The Zhaga Consortium develops interface specifications that enable the interchange of LED light engines manufactured by different companies. Zhaga is a global cooperation, with members that include luminaire makers, lamp manufacturers, LED module makers, and companies that supply components and materials to the lighting industry.

Zhaga's approach is to specify the interfaces between LED light engines and LED luminaires. Each Book defines the interfaces - mechanical, thermal, photometric, electrical and control - for different categories of LED light engine. Using Zhaga specifications, a luminaire maker can use LED light engines from different suppliers without having to change the design of the luminaire.

www.zhagastandard.org

 

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