Why choose DALI?

Future proof solution, same cost

From the listed protocols, the only three valid methods for dimming control in commercial buildings are 1-10V, DSI and DALI. The first two are channel control protocols which control all the connected devices in the same way. The last, DALI can be used in the same way as 1-10V and DSI systems (without commissioning of the ballasts) or when commissioned as individually controllable devices with feedback.

If you are deciding between these three protocols, choosing DALI is the safest bet. Also for the most savvy consumer, using DALI instead of DSI or 1-10V can be implemented for almost the exact cost of the other two systems (DALI ballasts are in some markets equal to the DSI and 1-10V counterparts).

Control Method Options

The choices of control methods for lighting devices are quite limited. Protocols such as KNX or BACnet still require one of the below protocols to control your lighting products. The methods can be classified into the following:

  • Non dimmable ballast (refereed to fixed output devices)
  • Phase cut dimming (this cannot be used reliability for fluorescent lighting or HID lighting)
  • 1-10V analogue system (International lighting control standard)
  • DSI digital system (used only by Tridonic)
  • DALI (latest control standard)

More so, true DALI systems provide a future proof solution should the requirements for energy consumption change (ie, due to the reconfigurability of DALI). Those two points aside, below is a simple breakdown of the benefits of DALI to everyone involved, from the designer to the installer and users.

Overview of DALI benefits

In addition to being a cost-effective, future proof solution, using DALI has the following benefits:

Simple

  • DALI devices can work straight out of the box for the simplest systems.

Flexible

  • DALI devices can be reconfigured without having to touch the wiring.

Scalable

  • DALI can function on small and large systems, with subnets in a large building.

Robust

  • DALI works best with other DALI devices but can also be translated.

Recognised standard

  • DALI is a recognised, widely used standard and is therefore compatible with a large range of ballasts.

For lighting designers and consultants


  • Distributed intelligence for flexible and reliable control
  • Control of individual lights, groups and lines
  • Easy configuration & reconfiguration for changing circumstances
  • Simple interface with building management systems
  • Logarithmic dimming behaviour matching the human eye
  • Increased energy savings
  • Integration of standard and emergency lighting
  • Supported standard; defined under an international standard allowing different manufacturers to produce compatible devices

For installers and electrical contractors


  • Simple 5-core wiring, no special control cable, no polarity, no termination and no segregation
  • Removes the special wiring needed for 24 hour power
  • Removes the special wiring needed for emergency generator use
  • Removes the special wiring required for monitored emergency lighting
  • Easy base-building commissioning
  • Easy commissioning for tenancies
  • Integration of standard and emergency lighting
  • No need to switch the mains voltage (handled internally by the ballasts)

For building occupants & tenants


  • Customised lighting preferences
  • More comfortable lighting
  • Individual control
  • Easy modification
  • Reduced risks caused from inadequate lighting
  • Increased stock sales due to well maintained lighting

For facilities managers & maintenance contractors


  • Status reporting of lamps and ballasts
  • Simple modification - no need to rewire for changing tenancies
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Increased energy savings due to dimming and control capabilities
  • Energy consumption and maintenance reporting
  • System integration can reduce Occupational Heath and Safety risks
Next: DALI Features & Information