DALI-2 is the updated and improved version of the DALI lighting protocol, which extends and enhances the strengths of DALI as a dedicated, standardized protocol for digital lighting control. In 2019 a number of updates were made to the DALI-2 standard that created some confusion. To understand the latest changes, it is necessary to be familiar with DALI basics.
DALI Simply Explained
First drafted in the late 1990s, DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) was the language developed to allow digital control, configuration, and querying of fluorescent ballasts, replacing the simple, one-way broadcast-like operation of 0/1-10V analog control.
DALI control signals are transmitted over two low-voltage wires that connect to each DALI ballast or relay, each of which has a unique address. Control commands are sent out over the wires to tell individual devices or groups of devices to turn on and off, dim up and down, etc. The devices even have the ability to report back to the controller indicating a lamp failure or how much power they are using.
DALI is an open protocol defined by the International standard IEC 62386 and IEC 60929. Using an open protocol means anyone can develop their own DALI devices, ballasts, relays, sensors, etc. While DALI’s impact has been far-reaching, as digital lighting evolved, the need for a DALI update became apparent.
Enter DALI-2 and the DiiA
In 2017, the original DALI standard was restructured and improved, upgrading it to version 2 of the DALI standard IEC6236. DALI-2 added new features including color control and introduced standardization of control devices including the addition of input devices such as light sensors, push button switches, and occupancy sensors, which are the “brains” of a DALI system. Backward compatibility has been maintained.
In response to industry requests for an independently verified DALI-2 certification program, came a new consortium (Digital Illumination Interface Alliance or DiiA), which is now the key organization for promoting DALI on a global basis. The more detailed and rigorous testing requirements enable DiiA member companies to certify that their products meet the requirements of the DALI-2 standard, including features that ensure interoperability.
DiiA organizes regular Plugfests, which are events to allow member companies to get interoperability of their products with those from other manufacturers. DALI-2 certification is granted only after DiiA verifies that testing is complete and successful. Certified products can be identified by the DALI-2 logo and are all listed in the Product Database on the DiiA website.
Here are the 2019 milestones from the DiiA DALI-2 timeline...
GRE Alpha and DALI
GRE Alpha Electronics, Ltd., a driving force in the design and manufacture of LED power supplies and systems, has hit its own milestones with DALI. In November 2019, GRE became certified as one of the first and only DALI accredited test labs in ASIA offering full-service DALI-1 and DALI-2 testing. And, as part of their effort to deliver the benefits of DALI-certified dimming modules to lighting designers, GRE introduced two DALI-2 certified drivers which will be added to the DiiA database:
With new test specifications in progress, you can expect to see many more certified DALI-2 products in 2020. Count on GRE Alpha to keep you posted on any further changes to the DALI-2 standard. For information about GRE’s DALI testing program or easy-to-install DALI compliant dimming modules, visit www.grealpha.com/contact.
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