The Benefits of DALI Lighting Control Systems
A lighting control system is simply a network of connections that gives you full command over all the lighting systems in a house or a building. Defining lighting control systems is not complete without saying that they are intelligent – most lighting control systems today are designed that way.
Being intelligent means that the lighting control system manages even the rhythm and the amount of light according to your needs and preferences. For example, when you, or a visitor pulls into your drive, and the lighting control system detects movement, the light fixtures at the entrance to your home, or driveway can come on. Or if you have a certain time of the day when you like to read or study in your library, you can schedule the control system to turn the lights on at that specific time.
With that said, there are a number of lighting control systems out there. Basically, they are grouped into two broad types:
- Analog lighting control systems; and
- Digital lighting control systems
In this article, we are going to tackle the DALI lighting control system which is under the digital type.
What is DALI?
DALI stands for Digital Addressable Lighting Interface. In simple terms, it is a lighting control system that provides a single link or connection where light sources can be managed. These light sources all conform to DALI systems because they are designed based on the IEC 60929 and IEC 62386 international standards.
These lighting devices or sources could be sensors, ballasts and touchscreens.
For lighting within a space to be considered good and appropriate, it has to be adjustable and flexible. This is because throughout the day our lighting needs varies depending on what we are doing.
Features of A Basic DALI System
A DALI system should include these following basic requirements to be considered fully functional:
- A DALI power supply
- DALI standardized ballasts
- Low voltage wires
- DALI control units
DALI Power Supply
Every DALI installation has its own power supply, which is needed to power DALI devices. DALI networks run on low voltage that are connected to a 240V power supply.
DALI Standardized Ballasts
Ballasts control the current of electricity that passes through the lighting systems. They also supply the right amount of voltage to start a lamp or fluorescent light. In LED devices, ballasts are referred to as drivers. DALI ballasts are standardized such that all DALI ballasts, irrespective of the maker, will work with any DALI control unit.
DALI Control Unit
In a DALI network, only one control unit is needed. The control is responsible for communication and for saving and recalling the settings.
Low Voltage Wires
Conventionally, DALI networks are wired lighting control systems. Low voltage wires connect the power supply, the ballasts (or drivers), the lighting fixtures and the control units. The wiring can be done in different arrangements or connections – series, star or combined. Whichever arrangement you use, it does not affect the efficiency of the system.
DALI systems are very flexible and highly functional. Besides the basic DALI requirements stated above, you can add further versatility by adding a number of other DALI controlled equipment.
- Photocells (Sensors that detect light)
- Sensors (Occupancy sensors)
Even signals from other building systems like:
- Fire alarm systems; and
- HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning)
Benefits of A DALI System
DALI systems have more function than typical switch and dimming systems. These include:
DALI systems can be automated and provide efficient energy savings. Lighting tasks can be scheduled when they are needed.
For instance, lighting in a building can be set to come on at the start of a working day and programmed to go off slowly during closing hours. This will efficiently reduce energy consumption. In fact, according to research carried out by Pacific Northwest National Library, “shutting off a portion of a building’s lighting during peak demand loads, can save up to 5-15% of energy.”
Easy Configuration and Modification
In DALI systems, modifications are very easy and changes can be made in a cost-effective manner. The way the fixtures, devices and ballasts are controlled is independent of the wiring.
DALI lighting control systems allow individual and grouped control of lighting in a building. Each lighting can be dimmed to any desired level, or can be increased when movement is detected.
In essence, you can take up to 64 devices wire them all together, and yet control them in different groups or subgroups. In analog lighting control systems, you would have to wire these devices separately. You can also group a number of devices into a single unit and control them to perform an action together.
Low Maintenance Costs
Lighting systems have to be regularly maintained. In terms of cost and time, maintenance is a primary concern for consumers and building owners. DALI lighting control systems, when used with computers and software, can transmit critical information about faults and failures. When done correctly, the exact origin of the fault can be detected.
Because this lighting control system communicates in a bi-directional manner, information and functionality about the whole DALI system can be directly obtained. Any issue can be resolved very quickly. In huge projects like high-rise buildings, huge complexes or university campuses, this can be exceptionally beneficial.
Dimming is essential to accommodate various tasks or events held in places like conference rooms, offices, auditoriums, bedrooms, classrooms, bars and clubs. DALI lighting control systems make dimming easy.
Incorporating into Building Systems
DALI controllers used with other building systems like HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning) and fire alarms offers flexibility. For example, it is also possible to enable scheduled automatic testing of your emergency lighting and reporting on the batteries and lamps on the DALI network.
With DALI systems, they can be addressed individually and these building systems can utilize all the advantages of a basic DALI network.
DALI Lighting control systems are versatile and highly beneficial. If you’re looking for a lighting control system that helps save energy and costs, and does not compromise in terms of utilization and efficiency, then a DALI system is what you need.
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