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Addressable Self-Test Emergency Lighting

Addressable self-test emergency lighting automatically performs tests on itself in response to commands from a central control system. As the tests are completed the results are communicated back to a central point from where they can be viewed, forwarded to another location and/or interrogated.

Communication between the central control system and the emergency light fittings is carried out using DALI
The aims of an addressable self-test system are:

  • To ensure that the emergency lighting will function correctly in the event of a mains failure and
  • To notify the responsible person of any malfunctions so that corrective actions can be taken

BS5266-1:2016 is the main standard for emergency lighting. It requires a short functional test of each emergency lighting fixture once a month and a full discharge test every year. Especially in larger buildings and across estates these tests can easily be overlooked, so BS5266 recommends the use of automatic test systems if the person responsible is not able to ensure that manual testing will be done.

WHEN SHOULD AN ADDRESSABLE SELF-TEST SYSTEM BE USED?

Addressable self-test systems are most valuable on large sites, or on estates of several buildings spread across multiple sites such as hospitals and universities.

On smaller projects, such as single floors in a block or small buildings, simpler self-test emergency fittings are ideal. However, self-test emergency fittings require that a suitably responsible person visually and/or audially checks each fitting every month. When this is impractical an addressable self-test system should be considered.

WHAT IS THE MAIN DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SELF-TEST AND ADDRESSABLE SELF-TEST?

The main difference is that with self-test emergency light fittings the results of each test can only be determined by going to each fitting to check the status of the indicator LED or buzzer. With addressable self-test fittings, the results of all the tests are passed to a central point.

WHAT ADDRESSABLE SELF-TEST SYSTEMS ARE AVAILABLE?

Addressable self-test emergency light fittings cannot be installed singly – they must be installed as part of a system because a key feature of addressable self-test is that messages have to be communicated from a central point to each fitting and back again.

Almost without exception the communication protocol used is DALI. Some DALI based systems are designed to be implemented as addressable self-test emergency systems only, while others are full functionality lighting control systems (for energy saving, scene setting, circadian lighting etc) in which addressable self-test emergency is only a part.

At NVC we can offer 2 different systems that all include (or can include) addressable self-test emergency functionality, as follows:

WIRED DALI SYSTEMS

Our LightBox system is a sophisticated lighting control and management system. Typically, it consists of a MultiController (essentially a computer - the brains of the system) linked to several DALI hubs. A hub is a DIN rail mounted device controlling one or two DALI networks.

LightBox is available in 3 packages, depending on the needs of the project:

  • LightBox. Full functionality, including addressable self-test emergency. Suitable for large-scale projects.
  • LightBox Express. A simpler version of LightBox without a MultiController, but still offering full DALI control, including addressable self-test emergency.
  • LightBox Emergency. Addressable self-test emergency lighting is such a good idea, and so popular, that we offer a version of LightBox that provides just this functionality n nothing else.

MESH-NETWORKED DALI SYSTEMS

MyMesh uses a wireless mesh network approach to lighting control.  Whereas LightBox (above) uses MultiControllers and DALI hubs to store the system rules and DALI messages running along wires, MyMesh uses distributed intelligence and Rf communication.

The MyMesh network itself stores the system rules (this is known as distributed intelligence), and communication between all the components is by low-power radio. Each light fitting will contain a MyMesh node that receives Rf signals, converts them to DALI and inserts them into the DALI driver or DALI emergency module in each fitting via a short pair of wires.

In this way, industry-standard DALI components (including DALI emergency modules) are used, but the system is not constrained by wires because communication between devices is wireless.

The MyMesh system is available in several forms, depending on the needs of the project. If addressable self-test emergency is one of the requirements then MyMesh can be used but a cloud connection is required to provide the necessary real-time lock and calendar functions.

dali addressable module and mesh node

A DALI enabled emergency module, as would typically be used in an addressable self-test emergency lighting system.

One of these (there are several brands available – we will recommend and fit whatever is most suitable) would be installed inside or alongside each emergency fitting.

This device will receive DALI commands instructing it to initiate a certain test (short, functional tests every month, full 3-hour tests every year) and on completion of each test it will communicate the results, via DALI, back to the central control point.

If it is part of a MyMesh installation the DALI communication will be by wire to the local MyMesh node, and MyMesh will then complete the communication using Rf.