Intro into interfacing with Dynalite systems

Many buildings around the world use Philips Dynalite systems to control their lighting and other building operations. In this post we’ll look at connecting to a Dynalite network.

Dynalite wall panel

The Dynalite network uses RS-485 to communicate with each device. Each device is linked to the next in a daisy-chain style.

Small Dynalite network

Since the network is standard RS-485, we can use any RS-485 adapter for our computer. I chose the FTDI USB to RS485 converter and built it into a small project box with a USB-B connector and an RJ-45.

RS-485 Box
Inside the RS-485 Box

To connect to the Dynalite network we need to wire our RS-485 connector into the bus. Many of the Dynalite dimmers contain RJ-12 programming ports and there is usually a dedicated RJ-12 programming port on the network; else you can wire directly into the terminals. You only need to connect the Data+, Data- and Ground (if available). To simplify this, I made an RJ-12 to RJ-45 connector correctly wired for my RS-485 adapter.

Dynalite Connections

Now that we’re wired in we can start to view the communications on the network. The settings for the serial connection are:

  • 9600 Baud
  • 8 bit data
  • 1 start bit
  • 1 stop bit
  • no parity

You’ll also need to view the output as HEX.

Once you’re connected, start pressing buttons on wall panels and you should see output on screen. To understand the values you get you’ll need to reference the DyNet Opcodes (PDF mirror). You can then use the information you receive from the network to understand how it is setup, and can start building your own packets.

More posts on Dynalite

NOTE: For educational purposes only. I take no responsibility if you damage your equipment.