The DALI protocol is a staple for static architectural lighting and is often now used hand-in-hand in projects with more flexible DMX for dynamic lighting. Pharos has always supported DALI via the RIO D to work alongside the standard controllers and with native support on the EXT recognising the TPC’s ideal package of DMX, DALI and a touchscreen suitable for small installations.
In Designer, DALI functionality will only display when a RIO D is added to a controller, an EXT is configured for DALI, a DALI ballast is added to the layout or DALI is expressly enabled in Project Features. This approach is common to quite a few different areas of Designer and is intended to only show you features that you need for your project.
Once DALI has been enabled, a new DALI tab will be added to the tab list on the left of the screen. The DALI tab operates in two modes: Interfaces for configuring and Scenes for programming the ballasts. The Interfaces mode is where you can configure your DALI ballasts, and will be the focus of this Tips and Tricks.
Before we go into more detail regarding this page, we will discuss DALI Interfaces and their importance within our software.
You will need to configure one interface per RIO D or TPC+EXT, which is effectively a DALI ‘universe’, to use DMX parlance. Each interface can then support up to 64 DALI ballasts. Therefore, if you have 8 RIO Ds, you will need 8 interfaces. In the example we cover later, we will only use one interface, but the principles are the same as the interface count increases.
To assign an interface to a RIO D, navigate to the Network view, add a RIO D to your Controller if one is not already present, select it then assign the Interface via the dropdown box in the Properties Panel.
Once this has been done, it is advisable to upload to your controller so that the connection between the RIO D and the controller, and therefore Designer 2, is stabilised.
With the connection made, the toolbar in the DALI tab is populated with options. We will cover these options later in this Tips and Tricks.
Please note, if you have not configured this correctly, such as not assigning the interface to a RIO D, or uploaded to your controller, the toolbar will populate with information explaining the issue, such as…
In our example, we have an 8 ballast setup which we will be using as an example. In our layout, it will be laid out as such:
When we view the Fixture Browser in the DALI tab, all DALI ballasts will be seen in the All Fixtures folder. If you have various types of different ballasts, then they can be found within, in folders demarking their type.
To patch your ballasts, you simply drag on either a ballast or the group from the fixture browser to the patch table, as such:
Once they have been patched, these ballasts will move into the appropriate Interface folder, such as Interface 1 in the example. The ballasts will then be marked in Blue when deselected, indicating they are patched.
Once the RIO D has been connected to the ballasts and the controller, the toolbar will show a variety of options available. The first step in any project here would be to Find Addressed Ballasts. This will return all ballast that currently have an address. If your ballasts are brand new, they may not register here, so in that case, you would select Address Ballasts which will assign all unaddressed ballasts with an address. Finally, Readdress All Ballasts will remove all the addresses of existing ballasts and assign a new address to all ballasts found by the connected RIO D.
It may also be worth noting here that ballasts can also be readdressed by dragging the lamp icon in the Found column. This will change the address on the ballast; they will respect their new address with any other system too.
To check which ballast corresponds to the ballast found at an address, the lamp icon can be selected, then Highlight can be selected to set its intensity to full.
As you can see in the above example, we have an instance where two ballasts are detected at the same address. To fix this, the clashing ballasts should be selected, and Resolve Clash clicked. This will then automatically re-assign a new address to one of the ballasts.
Similarly, existing DALI Groups can be discovered by clicking Discover Groups. New groups can also be added by clicking New Group in the toolbar.
Once added, DALI Group can be assigned by selecting the fixture number in the Group Column, as seen below.
In this example, DALI Ballast 8 is in groups 0-4, so will accept any command send to a DALI Group, while sending a command to Group 4 will affect Ballast 5,6,7 and 8 only.
These groups will be added to the Interface within the Fixture Browser and selecting the Group will highlight all attached ballasts in red (selected).
Once configuration has been completed, you must click Upload Configuration. This is a different step than uploading the project to a controller and can be a very slow process, so we would recommend trying to set everything up first. To ensure the correct functionality, this step must be completed, otherwise pre-existing information on the ballasts will be used instead, as ballasts store information themselves.
For more information on setting up lighting data on your DALI ballasts, please see Making a Scene with DALI.
Watch our dedicated DALI Project Walkthrough webinar here.