Why DALI-2 lighting control is the system of choice.
Having designed and commissioned lighting control systems in New Zealand for at least 15 years (with some of us working in the industry for even longer) at Intelligent Environments we are well aware of the limitations of proprietary systems that ‘handcuff’ the customer to a particular manufacturer and their “in-country” installers for the life of the control system.
We have also seen New Zealand used as a testing ground for manufacturers introducing new products to market. Some good, some bad, but commonly after the initial release, a gradual withdrawal of support is seen. This results in a significant number of “orphan” systems that eventually require maintenance or replacement of failing products, but with no local support to provide that service.
These are the reasons that as a company we have embraced the open protocols of DALI-2 lighting control and DALI+ (wireless). We have the choice of hardware from multiple manufacturers across the world, and this allows us to maintain the philosophy we have always held, i.e. that the right solution should be chosen relevant to the required application. Our only criteria for selection is that the product is certified DALI-2 compliant.
To display the DALI-2 logo the product must be tested for compliance with standardised test equipment and certified by the DiiA. All certified/verified DALI-2 products are listed on the searchable DiiA database.
DALI stands for “Digital Addressable Lighting Interface” and is basically a “language” through which multiple devices such as ballasts, transformers, and other lighting equipment can communicate, and therefore be controlled.
Australian/New Zealand Lighting Control Standard
The original DALI protocol was drafted over 20 years ago and has undergone several revisions over that time. These revisions have resulted in the release of a second version of the DALI standard IEC 62386, known as DALI-2, which has been adopted as the new lighting control standard for Australia and New Zealand.
The new standard includes the additional categories:
- Lighting Drivers – AS/NZS 62386-101
- Circadian Rhythm – AS/NZS 62386-209
- Switches – AS/NZS 62386-301/302
- Sensors – AS/NZS 62386-303/304
- Wireless – AS/NZS 62386-104
- Emergency – AS/NZS 62386-202
As above it should be noted that in addition to lighting control, the standard covers emergency lighting and circadian rhythm lighting.
The DALI emergency standard allows for emergency devices to run two key emergency tests as well as feeding back many other pieces of important information.
DALI emergency can be a standalone monitored emergency system or used in conjunction with standard DALI devices, therefore, reducing wiring. Moreover, the amalgamation of two independent control systems (emergency and normal) into a single control system decreases installation and maintenance costs, and the ability to monitor emergency lighting and normal lighting in one step can lead to a safer lighting solution.
Although DALI is a totally open protocol, we were nevertheless excited to adopt zencontrol as the supplier of the software for our DALI-2 lighting control systems. An Australian company, zencontrol provides exceptional real-time product support and continual innovation of their controls platform.
Although we are not tied to their hardware, in many cases we also opt to select zencontrol products due to both superior performance standards, and additional features that we have not found in other DALI-2 products. This has allowed us to genuinely supply more features, for lower cost.
Additionally, zencontrol are committed to backwards compatibility. Security patches can ensure every system remains secure. Where budget is tight, and a basic system is installed initially, the potential is to expand the system when monies allow, and when needs change. It is not necessary to tear out what is in place, and start from scratch. The initial “basic” system becomes the foundation on which a “smarter” system can be created.
With the importance today of sustainability, we see this ability to extend the life of a building’s controls platform as essential. We welcome this ethical approach from a manufacturer in an industry where we have seen so many instances of installed technology being declared “obsolete” simply to provide an opportunity for a new system or product line to be sold!
Zencontrol also has control over its supply chain, owning its manufacturing facility. In consequence, even during the challenges of recent years, we have had no difficulty obtaining the hardware necessary to deliver our New Zealand projects, on time and on budget.
Wired and Wireless DALI
We also favour the DALI Alliance approach with both wired and wireless (DALI+) hardware endorsed and validated by a certification scheme that guarantees interoperability. Zencontrol has introduced a range of wireless DALI+ hardware which operates on the same platform as wired DALI-2 and will allow seamless integration of both wired and wireless control.
The zencontrol range of wireless hardware supports IEC 62386-104 and delivers DALI standard support over a Thread® wireless mesh network in a standardised, open, and interoperable solution.
Refurbishment of existing buildings, rather than the demolition of the old, and replacement with new, is another important element for any city that wishes to reduce its carbon footprint. DALI+ (wireless) will make extending existing systems, or the creation of a retrofit controls solution a much simpler exercise.
Electricians also appreciate the easier cabling requirements for a DALI-2 lighting control system. DALI cables can be run alongside typical mains TPS with no need to segregate the control wires. With a high signal-to-noise ratio and wide ranges for the digital signal, it is virtually impossible for the DALI data signal to be affected by interference.
Further advantages of DALI wiring/installation:
- The DALI line can be run up to 300m using 1.5mm twin active cable.
- The DALI specification allows for maximum 2V drop in the communication signal.
- The DALI line does not require termination of the line and supports all wiring typologies except rings and closed loops. (Star, trees, branches and chains are all acceptable.)
- The DALI line is a 4 or 5 wire system (requiring active, neutral and two control wires). An earth wire is required in single insulated devices.
- A DALI line can be connected to a maximum of 64 DALI-type devices.
- DALI connections are NOT polarity sensitive.
Why Intelligent Environments
Intelligent Environments Ltd are experts in building technology generally and DALI in particular.
We help create smarter buildings for today . . . and tomorrow. The systems we propose allow for continuous upgrades in functionality and security.
Developing a relationship with our company will deliver far more than you either pay for or expect.
If you have further questions about DALI, or any other building technology, give us a call and we’ll be happy to chat.