Compliance News You Can Use — January 2015

Will my product be compliant or non-compliant? That is the question.

Even if you fully understand the procedure, there are plenty of areas in the safety approval process where the lighting manufacturer can get hung up. The best way to deal with these is to incorporate them into the design phase, before you’ve spent time and money in building prototypes, or worse — tooling up your production line. Careful attention paid to some key areas in the beginning can save countless dollars down the line.

The key to easily passing is to avoid non-compliances. While there are a wide range of products and a number of standards that affect lighting manufacturers, here one of the most common areas on which to focus:

Overall Construction01-16-bulbs

The first and easiest place to start in understanding whether your product will comply is to look at its overall construction. Because we are dealing with lighting products and the carrying of electrical current over metal conducting material, or “live” current-carrying parts, you should always ensure that you’ve used a corrosion resistant metal or alloy such as silver, copper, copper alloy, plated iron or steel, or stainless steel. This may seem obvious to the product designer, but there are many products submitted each year to the major NRTLs that fail compliance on this basis alone.

Other seemingly obvious, but sometimes overlooked, construction requirements are:

  • Ensuring that any un-insulated live parts are well secured to completely eliminate the possibility that they will turn or shift. Friction alone between surfaces is NOT an acceptable means to prevent turning or shifting.
  • Any and all connections should have a mechanical connection to secure them underneath a solder. Solder alone can never be relied upon for a secure connection.

Conductors should be of an appropriate size for the application, and should pass through openings with no sharp edges with sufficient clearance to prevent fraying or damage. If they are accessible to the user of the product, they must be tested to withstand a certain amount of “strain” (for more on strain relief, see below). Finally you can never cross low voltage and high voltage conductors unless the low voltage wiring is rated for the higher voltage. For example, a wire carrying 12 volts may be in contact with a wire carrying 120 volts so long as it is rated for 120 volts itself.

Calendar of Events

The LED Show
Feb. 24-26, 2015
Las Vegas, NV

Lightfair International
May 4-8, 2015
New York, NY

ISPCE 2015
IEEE Symposium on Product Compliance Engineering
May 18-20, 2015
Chicago, IL