Electrical Engineers Time to Update your DALI Lighting Control Specificiation

30 July 2016

Picture this. You have spent the last few weeks or months drawing, designing and fine-tuning your DALI lighting control specification.

You include it in your electrical tender documentation and let it to the market. The tender is let, construction begins and then the barrage of phone calls start.

  • “The lighting control system you specified is not working properly”
  • “The lighting doesn’t dim all the way down and is flickering”
  • “The system you have specified cannot work as your specification is incorrect or inaccurate”

You can solve these DALI lighting control specification problems once and for all at specification time with these 3 actions.

  1. Ensure you specification calls for a DALI COMPLIANT system
  2. Update your specification to ensure it is accurate and asks only for what is actually capable from DALI
  3. Request DALI Compliance documentation as proof.

When issuing your DALI Lighting Control Specification your goal is to ensure both your client’s needs are met with the performance of the system as well as the statutory and legal requirements are adhered to.

Importantly your design needs to be executed in the marketplace and reflect your professionalism and credibility as an electrical engineer or lighting designer.

Your specification also acts as a written risk mitigation document for your client and for your company.

With the DALI lighting control specification you have a unique opportunity to draw a permanent and unshakable risk mitigation ‘line in the sand.’

How? By specifying DALI Compliance.
Note this is not the same a DALI compatible. Read this article for clarity.

When you specify a DALI Compliant system you ensure that all DALI devices used on the project – whether that be a ballast, driver,DALI line or DALI Universe controller, sensor or other input device – will adhere to a minimum performance expectation and will work seamlessly with each other.

If any of these devices are not DALI Compliant you expose yourself and your client to risk.

3 Simple Sentences for your DALI Lighting Control Specification

These 3 simple sentences will provide you a level of risk mitigation for your DALI lighting control specification.

  1. “This lighting control system shall be DALI Compliant, providing full compliance to the International Standard for Lighting Control – IEC62386, DALI, through use of DALI Compliant systems and products.”
  2. “The contractor shall provide, upon request, relevant DALI Compliance Certification documentation for all DALI drivers, ballasts, DALI Line controllers to be supplied and installed.”
  3. “DALI devices which are or can be described as DALI compatible rather than DALI Compliant shall not be accepted. DALI compliance is essential to meet specification compliance.”

Download your DALI Lighting Control Specification Update here.

Ballast Run time is NOT Part of the DALI specification

Beyond compliance, your DALI lighting control specification needs to reflect your knowledge of the DALI specification for credibility.

To that end, statements such as these below should be eliminated from your specification as they are not part of the DALI specification.

If included, the veracity of your specification can be called into question as they are not based on the DALI specification. Detailed below is a common specification requirement which is not based on DALI capabilities, yet is being requested.

Controllers shall also be capable of interrogating DALI luminaires to provide the following diagnostic information:

  • Lamp failure; (OK)
  • Ballast failure; (OK)
  • X – Ballast run time tracking for each ballast and the switched output; (FAIL)
  • Device Online/Offline status. (OK)

What the DALI Specification Actually Allows for:

  • Lamp Run Time IS NOT part of the spec for DALI fluorescent ballasts (type 0).
  • Lamp Run Time IS NOT part of the spec for DALI LED Drivers (type 6).
  • Lamp Run Time IS part of the spec for DALI Emergency control gear, although even here it’s value is questionable. It accumulates time only up to 256 hours of lamp Emergency time and 1024 hours of total lamp operation time.

Therefore it is NOT possible for ANY vendor to EVER meet this specification requirement as it is written above. It needs to be deleted from your lighting control specification.

Do this now to maintain your professional integrity.

Step1: In your DALI lighting control specification do a find (CTRL+F) or (CMD+F) for MAC. Copy and paste this sentence in your search box:

Controllers shall also be capable of interrogating DALI luminaires to provide the following diagnostic information

Step 2: Delete it and the reference to ballast run time tracking!

What Next?

A few simple steps can ensure you and your client have a degree of risk mitigation in your DALI lighting control specification which also provides the market a clear and factual document to comply with.

  1. Mitigate your risk by updating your specification to include DALI Compliance as the basic requirement.
  2. Remove references to ballast run time tracking. It’s not part of the DALI specification.
  3. Download the copy and paste amendment here. (This is manufacturer agnostic)
  4. Update your internal specification
  5. Notify your associates by sharing this article or the link to the amendment.