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Zhaga Consortium to Support Standards for Interchangeable LED Modules and Drivers

March 31, 2014

The Zhaga Consortium, an international organization set up to provide global standards that promote interchangeability of LED light engines, has decided to pursue making the individual LED modules and drivers — the parts which make up a light engine — interchangeable as well.

In an announcement last week, the group said it would produce future editions of its interface specifications (which it calls “Books”) to include references to specifications that define the module-driver electrical interface, a facet of light-engine design and construction that Zhaga has previously excluded.

LED light engines (LLEs) may have an integrated driver, or may consist of a driver that is separated from one or more LED modules. The exclusion of the electrical interface meant for LLEs having a separate driver, it may not be possible to interchange LED modules from different suppliers without also using a different driver, or vice versa.

Incorporating the electrical interface in the Zhaga program will help luminaire designers and developers more easily respond to future product advances and cope with the rapid obsolescence that has been a challenge for new product development across the lighting industry.

Along with the recent move by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to introduce a streamlined Type TL recertification process through which luminaire manufacturers can swap out compatible drivers without having to resubmit the luminaire for complete retesting (see EM March 14, 2014), lighting fixture product introductions may be able to advance more quickly.

Since Zhaga’s formation four years ago, the group said in the announcement that technical solutions have emerged that make it possible to define module-driver interfaces for specific application types without limiting innovation in LED module and driver technology.

“The Zhaga Consortium believes that now is the right time to develop specifications for the  module-driver interface and enable independent interchangeability of LED modules and LED drivers,” said Musa Unmehopa, who will replace Menno Treffers as Secretary General of the Zhaga Consortium on April 1, 2014.

Zhaga’s work on this begins with a search for other organizations interested in developing interface specifications. The group is hopeful that these interfaces can “be defined quickly and without unnecessary duplication of efforts in the lighting industry.”