Zhaga-based products: certified, compatible and compliant

Posted on Wednesday April 30 2014, by Tim Whitaker, Zhaga Marcom Director

Companies have different ways of advertising that they have used the various Zhaga specifications (Books) when designing their products. This article explores the meaning of some commonly-used terms, and how these relate to Zhaga certification and the Zhaga logo.

An increasing number of Zhaga-based products are being exhibited at lighting tradeshows around the world, demonstrating the growing importance of interchangeable LED light sources. Recently, Zhaga enjoyed a high profile at the Taiwan International Lighting Show and Light+Building (see related article), with many Zhaga-related products on show.

At such tradeshows, companies have different ways of advertising that they have used the various Zhaga specifications (Books) when designing their products. After the Zhaga Books are published, any company – including both members and non-members – is able to use the specifications to design products. But only Zhaga members can have their products certified.

Certification means that a product has been tested by an independent test laboratory, and has been found to be fully compliant with all requirements of the Book in question. Only certified products are allowed to carry the Zhaga logo. The full and up-to-date list of certified Zhaga products is held in our online database.

Compatible and compliant

Some products are described by their manufacturers using phrases such as “Zhaga-compatible” or “based on Zhaga specifications” or even “Zhaga-compliant”. But, often, only part of the specification has been used. For example, these phrases could just mean that an LED module has the same dimensions and the same screw-hole positions as specified by Zhaga.

However, Zhaga goes far beyond specifying just the shape, size and mechanical fit. Zhaga also specifies the photometric, thermal and electrical interfaces between LED light engines (LLEs) and luminaires, in order to ensure interchangeability.

Two LLEs are said to be interchangeable when one LLE can be used in place of the other without changing the design of the luminaire. However, if the two LLEs have the same physical size but different optical or thermal properties, then it could be also necessary to change the luminaire’s reflector or heat sink.

An LLE that only meets the mechanical requirements of a Zhaga Book, but does not meet the thermal or optical requirements, cannot be described as interchangeable.

Zhaga certification is the only way to guarantee that all the different requirements of the Zhaga specification have been met, and that the product is interchangeable as intended by Zhaga.

Different product categories

It’s also worth noting that Zhaga certification is only available for certain product types. Depending on the Book, these product types are LLEs, LED luminaire, LED modules, LED drivers, and holders for LLEs or modules.

Some related products, such as heat sinks, reflectors or chip-on-board (COB) LED arrays, can be designed so that their physical dimensions are compatible with those of Zhaga-based LLEs and luminaires. However, at the present time it is not possible to certify these categories of products or guarantee that they can be used in an interchangeable manner.

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