Renesas, Virtual Extension showcase DALI demo kit based on Lighting MCU

September 11, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Renesas Electronics and Virtual Extension, an Israel-based provider of wireless mesh network solutions, announced that they will show their new wireless digital addressable lighting interface (DALI) demo kit at the Strategies in Light Europe trade show (Munich, 18-20 September 2012).

The kit is based on Renesas’ RL78/I1A MCU, which combines in a single chip LED control, power supply control, and communication functions required in lighting systems. These features are complemented by Virtual Extension's innovative wireless mesh technology, enabling companies in the lighting industry to include intelligent controls in their products while reducing energy consumption.

DALI is an open standard that has seen significant success in Europe and continues to be adopted by the lighting industry, with over 50% of dimmable ballasts in the region supporting it already. Managing lighting in a commercial building using DALI is less expensive and more efficient than controlling it via a building automation system. It is also wireless-enabled, helping companies to overcome numerous obstacles for implementing DALI communications in their existing lighting infrastructure. As a result, the wireless feature of DALI facilitates an economical upgrade of any commercial building to provide a full-featured, digital lighting control system.

Against this background, Renesas Electronics and its alliance partner Virtual Extension are releasing the wireless DALI demonstration kit based on the RL78/I1A lighting MCU. The solution is built with a wireless gateway and eight wireless nodes, all based on the RL78/I1A MCU which integrates the DALI function on a single chip. The gateway connects to the DALI Master controller to send and receive standard DALI commands. Each of the three LED channels in every wireless node has its own DALI address, which is used by the DALI Master for the remote and wireless control of each LED individually or for broadcasting.

The system demonstrates wireless communications between DALI devices and particularly highlights the key benefits of Virtual Extension's mesh topology. These include quick deployment, a high level of robustness, easy maintenance and low total cost of ownership (TCO). Further advantages associated to the Evaluation Kit include short and deterministic latency, scalability and low power consumption, all resulting from Virtual Extension’s VEmesh synchronized flooding technology. The RL78/I1A controls DALI