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Nemo, NEMA & UL Ratings
Yes, there was a Captain Nemo as seen on the submarine Nautilus in the Disney movie, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
But he has nothing to do with NEMA and LED fixtures . And that’s a shame, as Capt. Nemo would make a far more interesting Journal.
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) is a US Manufacturers Organization which actively promotes standardized product specifications for electrical apparatus. While NEMA does not actually test products, it establishes the performance criteria for enclosures intended for specific environments.
NEMA standards describe each type of enclosure in general and functional terms, and specify what an enclosure must do, but not how to manufacture it. NEMA does not test or certify lighting, but one sees the NEMA rating frequently on LED fixtures. However, individual members of NEMA are permitted to self-certify their own products.
And - lighting fixtures are often listed with NEMA and UL ratings. But what is the difference?

If you purchased an LED lighting fixture that was advertised as being UL rated, and is not NEMA rated, should you be concerned?

The key difference between the ratings is that NEMA does not require third-party testing and leaves compliance completely up to the manufacturer. UL ratings are provided by an independent 3 rd party Test Lab that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTL) Program.
" Note: The UL/NEMA enclosure type numbers meet or exceed the test requirements for the associated IEC Classification; for this reason the chart attached cannot be directly used to convert from IEC Classifications to UL/NEMA enclosure type numbers. The tests and evaluations for other characteristics are not identical between the standards, so the IEC Enclosure Classification Designations cannot be exactly equated with UL/NEMA Enclosure Type Numbers."
Bill Nagengast, President and Lighting Engineer, Solas Ray Lighting, holds over 20 patents in the lighting industry.
TJ-21 4.13.18