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Addressable Test Emergency Lighting


There are four widely accepted ways to test self-contained emergency light fittings:
•    Manual test
•    Self-test
•    Wireless addressable test
•    DALI wired addressable test
This chart summarises the respective strengths and weaknesses of these four test methods.
Four test methods chart 

This article will focus on wireless addressable test and DALI wired addressable test systems.


Addressable test emergency lighting systems (both wireless and DALI wired types) perform three main functions:

•    They automatically test themselves according to BS 5266 & BS EN 50172. 
•    They record the fact that the tests have been done, and the result of each test (pass, fail etc).
•    They report the test results to a central point or direct to the responsible person.

When compared with manual testing or self-test emergency light fittings, an addressable system has some significant advantages:

•    Low running costs. Testing, recording and reporting are all automated, so monthly running costs are almost completely eliminated.
•    High reliability. Because the system is automated the risk that either testing, recording or reporting are overlooked/forgotten is eliminated. During Christmas and the summer holidays there is a heightened risk that these safety-critical functions could be overlooked if the system is manual.
•    Convenient scheduling. Addressable test systems allow testing to be scheduled to take place at a suitable time. For example, testing in a school can be scheduled to take place when no teaching is in progress, testing in a restaurant or cinema can be scheduled to take place when no customers are present. 


There are two main types of addressable test emergency lighting systems, but they both perform the functions, and have the advantages, outlined above:

•    Wireless addressable test. There are several such systems available which use a wireless mesh network. At NVC we offer our customers a choice between Casambi and Inventronics’ HubSense, two of the leading wireless systems in the market.
•    DALI wired addressable test. These use a DALI wired network, and there are several available. NVC has partnered with MultiControls who has a range of different DALI wired systems available for medium to large-sized projects.

Wireless Addressable Test Systems

These have grown in popularity in recent years. Advances in wireless mesh networking, which is their central technology, mean that on many sites these are as reliable as a DALI wired system but cost less to deploy. 
Casambi and HubSense are two well-regarded wireless addressable test systems. However, they are not ONLY emergency lighting test systems. They can both, if required, be expanded to provide comprehensive lighting control.

Casambi Logo

Casambi uses Bluetooth radio and its own proprietary mesh networking technology. Many different companies produce Casambi compliant products, so there is a rich ecosystem of devices offering broad functionality.
invectronics hubsense logo 
HubSense was developed by Osram but is now owned by Inventronics. It uses Bluetooth radio, a Qualified Bluetooth Mesh (QBM) network and Bluetooth’s Networked Lighting Control (NLC) protocol stack.

hubsense cloud emergency
Taking Casambi and HubSense as two examples, here are the key features and benefits of wireless addressable systems in general:

•    No extra wires. Each emergency fitting is equipped with an emergency module and a Bluetooth radio node. The nodes connect to each other via Bluetooth radio, forming a mesh network. One benefit of this approach is that no additional wires are required (as with a DALI network), so this costs less to install and is especially convenient in retrofit projects.

•    No single point of failure. All data, such as which fitting is due to be tested and when, is distributed through the network, rather than being stored in a central control unit (as with a DALI network). This removes the risk inherent in having a single potential point of failure, and it reduces the cost because no central unit is required.

•    Phone or tablet app for commissioning & reporting. Installers and users interact with the system via an app. The app is free and can be installed on a mobile phone or tablet. The app communicates with the mesh network using Bluetooth and performs three main functions:

1.    Commissioning. It enables the installer to commission the system – determining, for example, which fittings should be tested at what times. Most installers find that app-based commissioning of a mesh networked system is much easier than DALI commissioning.
2.    Reporting. The app receives notifications from the system, advising, for example, when a particular fitting has failed a test.
3.    Recording. The app enables the responsible person to see a complete record of all the tests that have been completed, the test results, and a record of if/when rectification actions have been taken.

•    Remote access. Optionally, a gateway can be added so that remote access is available. This means that the responsible person can continue to check the status of the emergency fittings and check test results etc even when off-site and out of Bluetooth range. 

DALI Wired Addressable Test Systems

These have been available since about 2000, so are well tried and tested.
The key features and benefits of DALI wired addressable test systems are:

•    2 wires are required. Communication between the emergency fittings and the central control unit is via a pair of DALI wires. Especially on large sites, this can be more reliable than relying on wireless communication. On very large sites, such as between multiple buildings on a university campus or a large hospital site, DALI communication can be augmented with TCP/IP, making these systems the preferred option for large estates.
•    Remote access for reporting and recording. Notifications, usually in the form of e-mail or text messages, alerting the responsible person to the latest test results, can be sent from the central control unit to the responsible person. Remote access to check system and test status is the norm.
•    Rich availability of DALI devices. Because DALI has been in existence for about 25 years there is a huge range of DALI emergency modules available on the market. This means that almost any emergency fitting can be deployed in a DALI implementation. With Casambi and HubSense the more limited range of Bluetooth devices available means that some emergency fittings cannot be wirelessly enabled, so the choice of luminaires could be restricted.

At NVC we offer systems from the MultiControls LightBox range as our wired DALI addressable test solutions. 

LightBox is available in 4 packages, depending on the needs of the project:

•    LightBox. Full lighting control and addressable emergency test functionality. Suitable for large-scale projects.

LightBox Emergency Diagram
•    LightBox Express. A simpler version of LightBox without a MultiController, but still offering full DALI control, including addressable test.

LightBox Express Diagram

•    LightBox Emergency. Addressable test emergency lighting is such a good idea, and so popular, that we offer a version of LightBox that provides just addressable emergency test, without any lighting control functionality.  This is suitable for up to 1,280 emergency fittings.

LightBox Multicontrol Diagram
•    LightBox SOLO. This is our entry-level wired DALI addressable test system, able to handle 2 DALI busses – a total of 128 emergency fittings.

LightBox Solo Diagram

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