As a professional lighting control expert, you might encounter the need to integrate DALI and DMX use both light control systems for your architectural lighting system applications. Situations like this can arise when a fixture you desire for your project might only be featured in only one of lighting system command protocols. Now, what are the best options available, and their disadvantages? We will discuss them below:
Two Independent Control Systems
Advantages: You can set up the two systems, one for DALI and the other for DMX, this will ensure that the two lighting systems work as you need.
Disadvantages: By following this approach, there will be a need to program the lighting systems and operate them independently, for example, you can’t change settings or turn everything off or on at a single push of a button like before.
Interesting Read: DMX and DALI —The Basics To Know
Advantages: Protocol converters have, over the years, been the first approach for many professionals, and it is attributed to the fact that you just need to have a single lighting control system after you set it up.
Disadvantages: The drawback encountered by this approach is that DMX and DALI are varying protocols that can’t attain similar functions or required results. There are numerous selections of commercial DALI to DMX protocol converters available, and they operate with different approaches.
Below we give you a brief list of considerations for selecting protocol converters for your next project:
DALI to DMX Converter—Things to Consider
Can it recall dynamic effects?
What approach does it apply to handle DALI fade durations on the DMX side?
Does the converter need three virtual DALI ballasts if RGB DMX fixtures are used?
What approach does the converter ‘DALI ballasts’ mapped to DMX?
Can all 512 addresses present on DMX bus be used, or must usage only start at one?
DMX to DALI Converter—Things to Consider
Refresh Rate: Since DALI protocol is slower than DMX, the timing to send standalone messages to 64 luminaires. During translation of a DMX value from DALI, it can reach a speed that is half of the DMX protocol.
Can the converter broadcast only, or does can it command individual fixtures?
Can you adjust intensities or only recall scenes?
Repeating Messages: Some converters used to integrate DALI and DMX together will continuously transfer DALI data present on the bus, and it doesn’t matter if the same lighting system’s values remain similar. If there are items like button stations on the DALI bus, it might not work because it is overwhelmed with DALI commands.
Advantages: Another approach to integrate DMX and DALI protocol system is via simple linking. Most controllers can be triggered through contact closures. For example, it will make it possible to relay some needed output to command protocol A, and still use these required outputs as data inputs to command protocol B.
Disadvantages: This approach to integrate DALI and DMX consumes lots of hardware resources and installation efforts with incomplete results. This method isn’t recommended even though many lighting professionals make use of this approach, it is a substandard approach.
Lighting System Controller Integration
The integration of the DMX and DALI lighting control systems might seem complicated, but in reality, it isn’t complicated. If you have a controller that is activated another protocol, that protocol can be used to interact with the controller systems, without sacrificing the benefits of either control systems.
A good example will be if there is a DALI, and a group will require replacement by DMX luminaires to display some dynamic scenes. If DALI can trigger your controller for DMX, then the DALI signals can be used to set intensities and recall scenes on the DMX fixtures.
The same is also correct for the DALI command protocol. If the DMX controller can trigger it, it is possible to use a certain DMX channel for recalling a DALI and other related uses. You need a control system that is very intelligent to know when to send DALI signals in situations of necessary disruptions in DMX values.