Flexible group lighting

Why decentralised digital light control in the workplace is the future

Individual control with up to 16 scenes, simple reconfiguration using software and now support for cross-manufacturer interoperability: Anyone looking to offer their customers something more than just ON/OFF will inevitably embrace the DALI-2 industry standard. It offers unrivalled flexibility for offices, educational institutions and medical facilities – and now, you no longer need a laptop for configuration.

Benefits of the DALI-2 digital standard at a glance

  • Internationally established open industry standard
  • Cross-manufacturer interoperability
  • Individual addressing and control:
    - up to 64 operating devices, 64 control and input devices
    - up to 16 groups
    - up to 16 scenes
  • Software reconfiguration with no hardware modification
  • Bidirectional communication with status feedback
  • Robust bus communication with collision detection
  • Can be used as a sub-system (e.g. with KNX)
  • Optimal dimming of LED lighting
  • Installation with less work and lower material costs:
    - Only one single cable for all devices (including control cable and power supply)
    - Existing wiring can often still be used
    - Cables can be arranged in line, star or tree topologies
    - Polarity-free wiring
    - Groups are established via software without any wiring requirements

Simple configuration with the ESY-App: the decentralised multi-room DALI-2 solutions from ESYLUX

Smart and powerful

No two trends are alike. There are fast-moving fashion trends, slightly longer consumer trends or sociocultural trends lasting 10 to 15 years. And then there are megatrends. These have a long-term impact and run for several decades or more. Megatrends include the current trend towards a more flexible world of work. This now substantially influences the planning and use of the right building technology.

Signs of this increasing flexibility include state-of-the-art working time models or switching between working from home and the conventional office. The conventional office itself now needs to cope with frequent changes in room usage depending on time and situation. Changes in room usage demand changes in lighting, especially when light groups have to be divided up differently. But rewiring everything every time is simply not an option.

Modify the software, not the hardware

The DALI industry standard provides a solution to this problem that goes well beyond the possibilities of analogue technologies. Grouping and the subsequent reconfiguration are done simply by using software. The end user benefits from flexible light management with up to 16 scenes. If presence detectors are built into the system, they provide far better quality of life and energy efficiency than would be possible using a simple switching mechanism. This may be achieved with presence- and daylight-dependent constant lighting control or pleasant automatic basic lighting in corridors, for example.

There are two reasons why many have not yet deployed DALI. Firstly, many vendors' solutions are proprietary and incompatible with solutions from other vendors. Secondly, while using software to configure the lights sounds wonderfully simple in theory, many lighting specialists are not used to dragging a laptop around the construction site.

Additional benefits for you and your customers with decentralised DALI-2 solutions from ESYLUX:

  • Cross-room control of up to 16 groups using APC presence detectors with extensive functional advantages
  • Optimum lighting conditions with maximum energy efficiency thanks to intelligent light control
  • Low system costs with simple integration of cost-effective BMS detectors
  • No switch cabinet components/planning adjustments
  • Simple manual override with conventional 230 V buttons
  • Additional channel for presence-dependent switching of HVAC or supplementary lighting, for example
  • Simple commissioning and configuration by smartphone (no tablet, no PC, no special software)
  • Up to 90 % faster documentation by automatically saving all project settings via app

APC presence detectors providing decentralised control

However, the situation has changed radically. The further development of DALI-2 now guarantees cross-manufacturer interoperability with suitably certified devices. And installers or planners no longer need a laptop for the configuration: They can simply use their smartphone or tablet – providing it is a DALI-2 system with ESYLUX APC and BMS presence detectors. APC? BMS? The explanation couldn't be simpler.

APC stands for application controller, i.e. the control unit for DALI-2. An ESYLUX APC presence detector features this kind of control unit as well as an integrated DALI-2 bus power supply. These components turn it into an intelligent interface for a system, supporting independent, decentralised, cross-room control of up to 16 groups without any control cabinet components whatsoever. The detector also has presence and light sensors, making planning and installation much simpler by bundling all components in a single housing.

ESYLUX APC presence detectors unite the key device categories of IEC 62386 in a single device and directly control the operating devices. BMS presence detectors combine all key input devices in accordance with the DALI-2 standard, thus also simplifying planning and installation.

Supplementary BMS presence detectors as input devices

An APC presence detector, however, measures presence and brightness only in its own room zone. It requires support to provide individual control in all other zones. This comes in the shape of BMS presence detectors as input devices (BMS = Building Management System). Their sole task is to send information on presence and brightness in their area to the APC presence detector. The planning example below shows what such a combination of controlling APC and supplementary BMS presence detectors in a section of a building might look like.

Commissioning this kind of system is designed to be just as simple as this basic concept. Unlike rival solutions, this system is ready for use immediately with the factory settings once wired up: The APC presence detector initially treats all operating devices as a common group and controls them in uniform broadcast mode. The ESYLUX developers also came up with a very practical idea for the subsequent process of forming individual groups.

An APC presence detector controls up to 16 groups (in planning example 13) on a cross-room and decentralised basis. Since it only detects presence and measures brightness in its own room zone, it is supported by BMS presence detectors as input devices in all other zones.

Simple flashing for simple grouping

Once the single addresses have been assigned randomly to the devices, you are then faced with the very tricky question of how to tell which device on the ceiling belongs to which device icon in the app. To provide a solution, the developers utilised the integrated LEDs built into the operating devices and the presence detectors. Each addressed device on the ceiling simply flashes briefly when the device icon is pressed in the app. This makes grouping the devices fast and easy.

The ability to switch groups flexibly is one particularly striking example of the functions that subsequently allow users to customise the system. It underlines the advantages of digital control and shows how the APC presence detectors allow changes of room usage. This may be needed in a conference room with several zones that require different levels of lighting in certain situations. Or in a classroom where the lighting near the blackboard is switched off during a presentation, but the lights in the rest of the room stay on.

Scenario 1: A closed partition divides a room into two halves. The lights in both room halves are assigned to group 1 or group 2. The presence detectors provide independent, individual light control in both groups.

Scenario 2: All lights and presence detectors in the room are also assigned to group 3 that is still inactive in scenario 1.
Opening the partition activates group 3 via the presence detector's push button input while deactivating the previous groups 1 and 2. This results in uniform, harmonious light control throughout the room.

Modern room concepts often rely on flexible usage. One example: movable partitions that can be opened and closed depending on the work situation.

Flexible group switching

You may think that such problems could simply be solved with scenes. But standard scenes have a downside with DALI: They override the automation and terminate the light control! In most cases, this is not what you want. After all, it is simply a matter of changing the brightness in one zone. You could also do that by modifying the brightness setpoint. And when the APC presence detector switches off the light in one room zone, it should of course still control the lights in the other zones.

That is where the notion of flexible group switching comes into its own. All lights and presence detectors in a room or area are simultaneously simply allocated to several groups using the ESY-App. Depending on the situation, one of up to three switches – connected to one of the push button inputs on the APC presence detector – activates a different group scenario. The trigger may be pushing a light switch or opening and closing a partition.

Alternative groups for the same devices

Scenario 1 and 2 show this configuration. A movable partition divides a large office space into two halves and is open or closed depending on the work situation. BMS presence detectors are placed in both halves and send the results of their presence detection and brightness measurement to the system's controlling APC presence detector. With a closed partition, the APC presence detector provides individual light control in both areas on this basis. With an open partition, it simply calculates an average of both light measurements – thus ensuring uniformly harmonious light control throughout the room