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New DALI to DMX converter

Paddy Baker 26 July 2010

Artistic Licence Rail-DALI, the all-in-one DMX/DALI converter, is being superseded by two new products: Rail-DALI-DMX and Rail-DMX-DALI. The development of the new products complements the growing trend towards enhanced integration and control in the architectural and entertainment markets.

Noting that Rail-DALI has performed well and occupied "an evident hole in the market", Artistic Licence MD Simon Hobday said that at the time of its design, "the merging of DMX and DALI control was still in its infancy. Now, with the architectural and entertainment markets seeing more cross-over, system designers want better integration and more sophisticated control. We therefore felt it was time to revisit Rail-DALI and have produced two new products that provide our customers with a better solution and form the next generation of DALI/DMX conversion."

The new Artistic Licence Rail-DALI-DMX (pictured) offers two modes of operation within one unit: it can either provide a multiple number of simulated ballasts that control DMX channels directly, or it can be used as a trigger interface. In either mode, Rail-DALI-DMX will simulate a user-configurable number of ballasts so it can be treated as a pure DALI device and enable a DALI controller to transmit signals. This configurability means Rail-DALI-DMX can be added easily to existing DALI installations. Following industry feedback, a dimming curve translation has also been included so, for the first time, DALI ballasts can be used alongside DMX fixtures. This option is selectable via a DIP switch.

Among these features, the ballast simulation mode enables DALI control of DMX fixtures, with the device simulating the required number of ballasts, each of which will have all the features of an actual DALI ballast. Each ballast can be assigned to groups, store/recall scenes and respond to step up/down commands. The simulated output value of the ballast is then transmitted to its corresponding DMX channel.

Meanwhile, in trigger mode, the product serves as an interface between DALI and DMX systems. In this mode, Rail-DALI-DMX bridges the gap between the simple on/off function of a commercial lighting controller and the more sophisticated control of decorative lighting effects offered by DMX control. A Rail-DALI-DMX needs to be configured before use. A DALI commission tool, such as DALI-Scope, is used to set a short address, assign ballasts to groups and set scenes.

Artistic Licence is expected to release details of the other new product, Rail-DMX-DALI, in the next few weeks.

Reflecting on the launches, Hobday told IE: "Our objective in creating the Rail-DALI products is to allow end-users more integration between DMX and DALI, and thus reap the benefits of technologies from both the entertainment and architectural industries. The new Rail-DALI-DMX converter brings a whole new level of integration by simulating virtual DALI ballasts to allow direct control of DMX fixtures from a DALI controller. This has never been possible before."

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