How Can DALI Lighting Benefit You?
DALI: The four-letter acronym is short for Digital Addressable Lighting Interface. It was created in the 1990s to meet the new challenges of lighting control, flexibility and greater scalability of control. Faster to install than traditional analogue lighting.
DALI is cost-effective not only in terms of wiring and system components but in energy costs for buildings and homes. What is DALI lighting and how is it different from the lighting you currently have?
In this blog post we discuss DALI in further detail and talk about why it is worth looking into when considering lighting solutions.
What is DALI lighting?
To put it simply, a DALI lighting control system is a two-way communication system that combines lighting with digital technology. It interprets the commands for LED drivers and ballasts and allows individual LED drivers and ballasts to communicate to the user, while allowing the user to communicate back via DALI controllers.
A DALI network comprises three types of devices: control gear, such as ballasts, LED drivers and dimmers normally providing the lamp with power; control devices such as application controllers (the ‘brains’ of the system) or input devices (push buttons, sliders and sensors) and bus power supplies (either provided separately or integrated with existing devices).
DALI facilitates and controls communication for multiple devices. So long as the devices speak the same language, they can exchange information in the same way a person can communicate efficiently with another who speaks the same language.
At LA Lounge we manufacture and supply DALI compatible lighting products. Our products are carefully matched to the DALI lighting system to ensure the correct LED drive current and to optimise lighting function. Our DALI products can be connected via the Dali bus control cable to simplify LED lighting installations, and efficient control and dimming performance.
How does DALI work?
Most of the hardware in a DALI network is similar to your typical 1-10V/0-10V lighting system. However, LED drivers and ballasts can be linked to a central computer so that each device can be controlled independently. Your existing mains cable can often be re-used for a DALI system, providing the cable length and thickness are within wiring regulations.
Ballasts and LED drivers are connected using Class 1 (inside the conduit) or Class 2 (outside the conduit) wiring. These produce a loop of up to 64 LED drivers and ballasts. Each fixture is given an address, and the loop is connected to a DALI control device.
All DALI fittings are provided with a switched active supply, so there is no need for any extra wiring or circuit breakers. All chips connect to a two-wire bus that transports both power and standardised control signals to every device on the network on low-voltage wiring. As each fixture has its own address it can be controlled via software from any PC or device with a web browser.
DALI devices and standards
Each device in the DALI framework stores all relevant information, including diagnostics in its memory. This reduces the control system’s technical requirements and amount of data that is transmitted across the system. Let’s take a look at the DALI standards:
- DALI lighting control standard is defined under the European Standard IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) 62386, including the control of electronic ballasts, LEDs, transformers, emergency lights and exit signs.
- DALI was created to replace traditional 1-10V analogue systems as well as proprietary digital systems like DSI (Digital Serial Interface).
- There can be 64 DALI devices at a maximum on a single DALI network. It has a data baud rate of 1200 baud.
Digital versus Analogue
With one small controller managing up to 64 ballasts, DALI commands are sent in digital format instead of analogue, between 0 and typically 16V DC. This means that command transmission is reliable and unambiguous. Analogue lighting controls operate between 0 and 10V DC.
There are so many advantages of digital lighting over analogue. Because of the two-way communication, a DALI system is able to accept error feedback as well as lamp and ballast operating information. It facilitates exact dimming levels for all ballasts regardless of the light’s manufacturer.
Put simply, DALI is a convenient tool for lighting designers to achieve far greater dynamic lighting than they can with analogue lighting.
Benefits of DALI
We have already discovered that DALI lighting is cost effective in terms of wiring and minimising capital costs, but what other benefits does it have? Well, apart from offering the smoothest dimming curve available in LED lighting with no flickering, DALI protocol is non-proprietary.
This means that all products with the rights to display the DALI logo comply with the same international standard and are therefore compatible with DALI. So, you are not locked into purchasing products from just one supplier or manufacturer.
Another big advantage to the end user is DALI’s flexibility. Offering light by light control, DALI allows homeowners to make changes to lighting configurations easily. For example, if you have four lights that operate simultaneously but prefer to split the configuration into two groups of two lights.
DALI you can make this change via programming. The traditional analogue system would require expensive changes to wiring. Also, with DALI, the programming can often be done remotely.
Overall, DALI is stable, flexible and future-proofed because of its innovative design. It requires just one cable comprising a two-way signal that runs through the control panels, sensors and luminaires.
As DALI and lighting design continue to evolve to integrate wellness benefits of human-centric white lighting, for example, your DALI control system can be adapted without any alterations to the wiring.
LA Lounge has the technical expertise and products that comply with DALI. Whether you are seeking downlights, linear luminaires or LED panels, LA Lounge has the product for you. Contact us today for assistance with a DALI lighting solution. Our technical team will offer advice to ensure you achieve optimum results with your lighting project.