What is DALI Lighting Control?
As DALI lighting control is specified in more and more commercial projects in New Zealand, and as it becomes a lighting system of choice in numerous high end homes, we thought this topic may deserve more explanation.
DALI is an Acronym
It stands for “Digital Addressable Lighting Interface”.
The key advantage that DALI has over earlier lighting systems is the ability for each DALI device to be individually addressed.
The most other commonly used systems are analogue (1-10V) and DSI, but with both these systems ballasts and drivers cannot be addressed individually thus limiting their control to a single group. An advantage of DALI is that it requires a simpler and less expensive wiring set up than either of the other systems.
Creating a DALI Lighting Control System
DALI systems are set up around DALI lines (also know as DALI networks, DALI universe, or DALI subnet).
DALI allows for a maximum of 64 devices on a single DALI line. Devices include LED drivers and LED emergency drivers, fluorescent HF ballasts, DALI power supplies, DALI sensors, and DALI Relay Devices.
If a project requires more than 64 devices, multiple separate DALI lines can be provided as long as no line has more than 64 DALI devices allocated. These separate DALI lines can then be linked to create a DALI control system and to integrate with other control systems.
Advantages of a DALI System
- Reduced installation costs
- Simplified system cabling
- Devices can be controlled individually or grouped as required
- The system can be reprogrammed to reflect future needs without changes to wiring
However a DALI lighting control system still requires 2-core cabling to be connected to light fittings, but does not require a separate bus cable. The DALI system will still require commissioning to be fully functional.
DALI Compliant or DALI Compatible?
With popularity of DALI on the rise, a growing number of manufacturers are offering ‘DALI products’. This is causing a few headaches in the industry as many of these devices are DALI compatible, but are not DALI compliant!
In these situations the manufacturer may have used parts of the DALI standard and embedded those parts into their product, but has not had the product tested against the DALI standard using official testing methodologies and may not be a DALI member company.
Unfortunately, depending on how the manufacturer has implemented DALI, the compatibility of the product does not always extend to full DALI operation and may not work correctly with other DALI products.
Only DALI Compliant devices are allowed to use the DALI logo and we would always recommend that DALI Compliant devices be used to ensure security and hassle-free maintenance.