Recently, we wrote some article about dimming protocol. As for dimming system, there are different lighting control systems that work well with LED lighting. The most commonly used systems in professional LED lighting are DALI, 0-10V, and DMX. Phase cut dimming is also used but is less suited for professional LED lighting. (Click here to view more information)

As we can see, those dimming protocol can be divided into two categories: analog protocol and digital protocol. At present, we have moved from an analog world to a digital world for many years. The move from analog lighting to digital lighting is through DALI. This article introduces the comparisons between 0-10V and DALI. However, different regions use different protocol due to the history factor.

The installation of lighting controls in commercial buildings is based on common sense and not on code compliance. At that time, the leader in lighting control in North America was General Electric (GE), and the leader in Europe was Philips. During that time, GE successfully established a TLC system based on its rock-solid RR7 relay. Soon everyone was coming out with a relay panel based system. From small startups like LC&D and PCI to established dimming companies like Lutron. At the same time, in Europe, Phillips and several other European manufacturers formed Activity Group DALI a consortium to develop a standard communication protocol for lighting controls.

DALI is an “Open” protocol. As an open protocol, any manufacturer can create devices that communicate using DALI. For example a DALI driver from one manufacturer will work with control stations, sensors, etc. from any other manufacturer using DALI.

1. The DALI protocol is useful if luminaires need to respond to more than one input device (such as a wall switch and a daylight sensor).

2. DALI requires a lighting control cable, but the cable can be run between many fittings. In fact, one DALI network can accommodate up to 64 DALI ballasts.

3. DALI allows lighting controls to operate as stand-alone systems or be integrated into larger building management systems.

0-10V is easy to understand systems and commissioning does not require specialized knowledge. However, to get different control groups each group needs separate wiring. 0-10V does not support bidirectional communication, so if sensors are required, additional systems may be necessary.

1. Each device needs its own wiring, which makes installation quite tricky if the lighting control system is large and complex

2. A 0–10V system can accommodate around 10 luminaires per controller.

3. The signal goes only one way, from the dimmer to the LED driver or fluorescent ballast. Because there is no signal coming back from the lights, there’s no data on which to measure their performance, as with digital systems