Whether influenced by legislation, industry good practice or demands from the insurance sector, more and more building owner / occupiers are taking steps to ensure that their emergency lighting installations are routinely tested and detailed records maintained. The associated labour costs have resulted in the owners of many larger buildings or building complexes investing in automated centralised test systems.
This type of system has also become increasingly popular since the changes in fire safety assessment regulations now place the legal responsibility for recording these testing procedures solely with the Senior Directors of businesses occupying the building. The benefits of utilising central test systems for emergency lighting applications are wide ranging and the slightly increased initial installation cost can be justified by a very short pay back period due to reduced labour times.
What is DALI Emergency?
DALI Emergency is an extension of the DALI protocol, allowing for monitoring of the status of emergency fittings from either a computer or touch screen. DALI emergency offers a fully addressable emergency system expandable to many thousands of luminaires and runs on the same network as our DALI control system, further simplifying and reducing the cost of installation.
As DALI is a two way communication protocol then the luminaires can feed back information to the control system about the status of the lamps, batteries etc.
The emergency section of the DALI protocol has now been passed into the IEC standard meaning that there is a industry standard of how this information is relayed to the control system.
What DALI Emergency offers
- Fully addressable emergency system with automatic self test to BS and ICEL standards
- Central control from either a computer or touch screen
- Based on the international industry standard DALI protocol
- No special cabling required
- Full integration between emergency and control system
- Expandable to many thousands of luminaires
- Manual tests and automatically scheduled test, automatic tests can be staggered minimising disruption to building users and still protecting every area in the case of a real emergency
- Faults indicated locally at the luminaire via LED and full reports on the computer
- Computer can indicate which fitting in building has reported back as being faulty
- Type of fault reported back to central computer, reducing maintenance time and costs
- Functional and full duration tests
- Report logging software
Apollo luminaires that are fitted with DALI emergency can be linked to any DALI control system that supports DALI emergency. The only difference in the fitting is that there will be terminals for the DALI cable. In luminaires that are equipped with DALI dimming ballasts would only have one pair of terminals for connection to the DALI network as the network handles both the emergency and the dimming control signals.
The emergency units will act as self test units until they are connected to a network. Once connected to a network they will rely on the information provided by the control system regarding the testing scheduling and timings.
All the emergency luminaires can be given a name to aid locating them in the building. Different testing times can be given to emergency fittings that are adjacent to each other to ensure that an area is not left without emergency lighting provision in the case of a real emergency. All fittings could be set to run their tests at midnight on new years eve.
As the emergency fittings run their self test, they store information about the test, this can then be downloaded to a computer running the dedicated software with the emergency upgrade.
The control system can interrogate the emergency luminaires at any time to log any faults that may have occurred, this can then be exported or use in a spread sheet or other programmes.
The commissioning of the DALI emergency units follows the same aspects as the commissioning of the DALI dimming systems, apart from you can make a virtual link between a DALI dimming ballast and the inverter in a fitting that is equipped with a DALI dimming ballast.
As mentioned, various timing can be set up so that testing happens in either a staggered pattern or making sure that multiple emergency units in the same area are tested at difference times so that the area is not left with out any emergency lighting cover at any time.