What is DALI, DALI Type 6, and DALI Type 8
Digital Addressable Lighting Interface (DALI) is a trademark for network-based products that control lighting. The underlying technology was established by a consortium of lighting equipment manufacturers as a successor for 1-10 V/0–10 V lighting control systems, and as an open standard alternative to several proprietary protocols. The DALI, DALI-2, and D4i trademarks are owned by the lighting industry alliance, DiiA (Digital Illumination Interface Alliance)
DALI is a two-way communication system used to standardize digital commands that are recognized by all components in the lighting system. DALI is an “open protocol”, meaning it is a common platform that can be adopted by all lighting equipment manufacturers. In DALI, each device is assigned an individually controllable DALI address, and it allows for devices to be grouped and controlled together.
In a DALI system, a two-wire, the unpolarized bus is used for power and two-way data communication.
DALI power is 16V, when there is no active communication, but the voltage level can differ depending on the data transmission.
Two-way communication allows for DALI devices to send three types of commands:
- Control — such as turn off lights, recall a scene, start a fade to a defined light output level, and more.
- Configure — such as change a parameter (such as light level or fade time) in a stored scene.
- Query — such as ask what the current light output level is or ask if there is a lamp failure.
DALI Protocol is constantly evolving. In 2014, DALI was restructured, and DALI-2 was released with many ease of use improvements, new commands, and compatibility with control devices. With these dynamic changes to the protocol, lighting systems have become more controllable and customizable.
There are two primary types of control devices in a DALI network, Application Controllers and Input Devices. Application Controllers act as the “brain” of the system and send commands to the control system devices. Input Devices provide real-time information to the system. Examples of input devices are sensors, push-buttons, etc.
What is the difference between DALI Type 6 and DALI Type 8?
Single-Channel DALI Type 6 commands use a single address to control a single channel. For example, color temperature is controlled on one channel, and brightness is controlled on another.
Multi-Channel DALI Type 6 commands use X number of addresses to control X number of channels.
DALI Type 8 commands use one address to control two channels. For example, both color temperature and brightness can be controlled by a single channel.
When using DALI Type 6, broadcast control is only possible if separately energized lines are installed for each desired color. DALI Type 8’s single address multipath channels can control two or more outputs. Data is transmitted serially to the luminaire from the DALI master device.
Benefits of DALI Type 8 over DALI Type 6
There are many benefits to using DALI Type 8 over DALI Type 6, and the applications are broad and diverse. DALI Type 8 allows for savings on the complexity of the system. One DALI Type 8 driver can perform all the same functions as two single-channel DALI Type 6 drivers. Also, one DALI Type 8 driver can perform all the same functions as one dual-channel DALI Type 6 driver, while only using one DALI address.
DALI Type 8 can help to reduce: the number of drivers used in an application, the amount of wiring needed for installation, and the number of DALI addresses used.