Circular Lighting Report

How to tell the mileage of a driver

an NFC-enabled LED driver

A fast and simple way to check the ‘mileage’ of a LED driver could lead to greater reuse of the devices, it is believed.

An increasing number of apps allows lighting professionals to use a mobile phone to see the competed operating hours of compatible electronic control gear.

The apps use the phone’s Near Field Communication (NFC) chip or its Bluetooth functionality to talk to the driver in the same way that phone users can make payments in retail outlets.

They can often read – and set – other data about the device, including its output current.

Many of the apps, including Tridonic’s 4 Service, are created to the Zhaga Book 25 standard. The specification defines a Bluetooth communication protocol which NFC reader manufacturers can implement for the communication between the field-maintenance application on a smart device and the NFC reader.

This allows the field-maintenance app to read and write parameters on NFC-enabled LED drivers without the need for a cable-based connection. Field maintenance with Book 25 can also be used for other components requiring programming, such as sensors or connectivity nodes.

The availability of NFC-enabled drivers means that their ‘mileage’ is increasingly visible and consequently it’s easy to identify high-value pre-used units with low operating hours, making them more likely to be reused.

‘The 253 [DALI specification] data bank enables us to understand the health of the driver and optimise it based on the operational characteristics,’ says Richard Strode, managing director of Tridonic UK. ‘We can calculate the likely life expectancy based on burning hours and then accurately predict and obviate the impact of failure. I’m sure in time we’ll look at the practicality of recovery.

‘And to be fair, there are a number of the larger OEMs in the UK themselves who are doing ‘take back’ and recycling, where possible, all elements of luminaires.

‘We know that many drivers are disposed of on a schedule or time-based scenario and this information could allow them to be used elsewhere in a building or even donated to something like [the used luminaire exchange platform] Circular Place, enabling many drivers perhaps to have a second life.’

He said that with the right partner and process for the recovery and redeployment of the luminaires, the company’s original warranty of the drivers could still stand.

• Don’t miss Circular Lighting Live 2023, Recolight’s flagship conference and exhibition taking place on Thursday 21 September 2023 at the Royal College of Physicians in London. Free to specifiers, Circular Lighting Live 2023 will feature leading experts, specifiers and policy makers who will share their insights into forthcoming standards and legislation, emerging technologies and new business models. For 2023, the organisers have moved to a bigger venue with more expansive exhibition floor and included a dedicated track for lighting designers. More info:

Ray Molony

Recolight Report is an independent guide to the latest developments in sustainable and circular lighting. Learn about the people, products, projects and processes that are shaping our industry’s low carbon future. Plus: explainers on the latest innovations, opinion from thought leaders and video interviews with leading disruptors. Edited by lighting expert, editor and industry figure Ray Molony.