DALI is a lighting technology that can be modified and is reasonably priced. Most commonly found in large commercial premises (e.g. night and day lighting can be programmed separately), this type of centralised lighting system is used mainly in businesses and large institutions. In private applications, it is also increasingly used in more prestigious homes. In the home, for example, for dimming an LED strip or if led panels and indirect light for a specific stored space.
What is DALI dimming?
DALI dimming uses a digital protocol to communicate between the lighting controller and the lights themselves. This allows precise control of the brightness and colour of individual lights or groups of lights, as well as storing and restoring pre-programmed lighting situations. DALI dimming systems typically consist of a DALI controller that sends commands and DALI-compatible lights that can receive and respond to these commands. DALI works best when it is designed and built from the ground up. This is because two control wires are needed to run between the devices.
What are the components of DALI?
DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) dimming is a lighting control system. The system consists of several key components, including:
DALI master: These devices act as the hub of the system and are responsible for sending commands to the lights. They are usually connected to an interface, such as a wall-mounted touchscreen panel or a smartphone app, which allows users to adjust lighting levels.
DALI transformers or controllers: These devices are responsible for controlling the power to the lights and are usually installed in the luminaires themselves. They receive commands from the DALI controller and adjust the light output, light colour or light colour temperature accordingly.e.g. DALI dimmer.
DALI sensors: These devices are used to measure the ambient lighting level in a room and can be used to automatically adjust lighting levels for optimal visibility and energy efficiency. They can be integrated into a DALI controller or installed as stand-alone devices.
DALI power supply: A DALI power supply is a device that supplies power to a DALI system. It is a separate component that connects to the DALI controller and the lights.
DALI communication cables: These paired cables connect the different components of the DALI system to each other.
What is a DALI bus?
In a DALI system, ALL devices and the bus power supply are connected to a two-wire bus and share information. This 2-wire system is the nervous system of the lighting system. It sends and receives all signals from the controller to the luminaires and back. So from the controller or software of the device, you always know the status of the device. The DALI bus needs to be powered so that the bus can send data between devices. It uses about 16V. These devices are called DALI power supplies or in many cases the DALI master also acts as a power supply for the signal cables.
How are DALI lighting systems wired?
DALI sends digital signals over the bus using only two wires. The cables can be either positively or negatively polarised. Most control devices work with both. DALI systems can be wired with standard five-wire cabling, so no special protection is needed.
As no wiring groups are required in a DALI system, all wires can be connected in parallel with the bus. This is a significant change from traditional lighting systems, as the commands sent from the controller contain all the information needed to switch on, dim and change the colour of the lights. DALI software can be set to work with the selected system and with the selected interface. The system has the advantage of flexibility. The user interface can be used to build different lighting scenarios and programs without changing the physical wiring.
DALI2 (2020) is the latest version of the DALI protocol, building on and improving the original DALI protocol.
One of the main differences between DALI and DALI2 is the number of devices that can be connected to one system. The original DALI protocol allows up to 64 devices to be connected, while DALI2 allows up to 512 devices to be connected. This means that DALI2 can control a larger number of lights and other devices in a single system.
Another difference is in the functionality. DALI2 offers additional features such as lighting scenes, CCT lighting and RGB lighting. DALI2 also provides better support for sensors and other devices, allowing for more advanced control and automation.
In terms of security, DALI2 also offers enhanced security features such as secure firmware updates, secure key exchange and communication encryption. This makes DALI2 more resistant to hacking and other security threats.
Overall, DALI2 is an improvement over the original DALI protocol, offering more advanced features, greater scalability and improved security. It is also backwards compatible with DALI, so devices using the original DALI protocol can still be used in a DALI2 system.