Digital addressable lighting interface, or DALI, is a global standard that enables ballasts, controllers, switches and sensors to communicate with other DALI-compliant devices. DALI was initiated in the late 90’s, but has since undergone drastic changes that expand its scope and improve its effectiveness.
Failing to recognize and comply with DALI 2 can impact your brand in a big way: you could lose your official DALI seal of approval. While your product could still function properly, lacking this seal can hurt your brand’s reputation and dissuade sellers. This makes knowing the difference between DALI and DALI 2 essential to your brand.
The primary focus of DALI has always been to ease the installation and use of ballasts and relay switches that enable dimmable, customizable lighting. The first iteration of DALI helped accomplish this by pushing for the standardization of system components and control gear. Some of the control gear functionality covered includes:
The second version of DALI, or DALI 2, improves upon the first iteration by now including the standardization of control devices. Some of these include:
An additional change brought on by DALI 2 is the increased scaling of DALI applications, such as the standards of automated building. Thus far this has resulted in better interoperability between DALI compliant devices, and increased the number of backwards compatible devices. This brings with it several major benefits.
Beyond the clear benefit of better interoperability, the invention of the DALI standard has resulted in numerous benefits to the LED and lighting world.
DALI standards have led to DALI dimmers, such as the SLD-DIM DALI and GLD DIM modules from GRE Alpha. These modules enable both new and old LED fixtures to become dimmable, without the added fuss of complicated wiring and circuitry this functionality would have required in the past.
Before DALI, ballasts were capable of one-way transmitting of information only. With DALI compliant ballasts, information can be sent to and from the ballast to the fixture. This enables the collection of error logs, custom programming of ballasts, and allows dimming based on brightness perception. Combined with the ballasts’ ability to limit the energy consumption only to what is needed, this means more precise and efficient lighting.
The rise of DALI has led to more LED manufacturers creating DALI-compliant accessories. This makes finding the perfect lighting solution easier for designers, as the DALI seal of approval ensures the part will work properly with their existing DALI-compliant devices. For example, architectural LED power supplies allow lighting to perform in collaboration with the structural design. This is made possible because DALI ensures DALI-compliant devices will work together.
Note: DALI compatible devices are not the same as DALI compliant. DALI compatible devices were built with the DALI standards in mind, but were not put through the same testing as DALI compliant devices. DALI compatible may work with DALI compliant devices, but their compatibility is not guaranteed. Look for the DALI seal to be on the safe side.
DALI-compliant devices may come at a higher cost than non-DALI-compliant devices. However, DALI devices often require less wiring than non-DALI-compliant devices, making them both cost efficient and easier to install. When looking at the price of DALI devices, keep this in mind.
The rise of DALI-compliant products, especially ballasts, has led to a bigger focus on products that perform better. With ballasts becoming more efficient and ensuring only the necessary power is drawn to power a fixture, LED power supply manufacturers have shifted their focus to making more efficient power supplies. There is no need to sacrifice quality for efficiency. Devices that are up to 97 percent efficient and reduce the end users exposure to flicker.
Despite the development of newer wireless control technologies such as Zigbee and Bluetooth LE the DALI protocol’s overhauled makes it relevant for years to come. In fact, the standard has been restructured and now shows improvements in speed reliability. Combined with modern LEDs, the standard has led to more efficient and adaptable lighting, yet a lack of understanding has led to many companies not moving forward with DALI-compliant devices. Become acquainted with the benefits of DALI, and then contact GRE Alpha for more information on our easy-to-install DALI-compliant dimming modules.
For info on changes and updates to the DALI technology check out our latest article here.
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