The luminosity discharger, head lamp, radiation valve or dome light, was a device, typically appearing in twos, atop the dome of a Dalek's casing. They would light up whenever a Dalek spoke, much like the mouth slits of certain subspecies of Cyberman. (PROSE: Prisoner of the Daleks, Engines of War, Birth of a Legend) They were identified by the Time Lords as energy compensators. (PROSE: Dalek Combat Training Manual) Another source identified them as translation units, capable of translating Dalek speech into any language. (PROSE: Dalek: The Astounding Untold History of the Greatest Enemies of the Universe) They could also flash involuntarily in cases of shock, such as when the Tenth Doctor revealed his identity to a Command Dalek. (PROSE: Prisoner of the Daleks)
"Ironside" Daleks deployed by the British Army against the Luftwaffe had covers placed over their luminosity dischargers. These covers were removed by the time they deserted and were subsequently destroyed by the New Dalek Paradigm. (TV: Victory of the Daleks)
As a distinguishing feature
Although the vast majority of Dalek casings possessed two luminosity dischargers, disposed symmetrically on either side of their eyestalks, (TV: The Daleks, et al.) there were exceptions to this rule.
The platoon of colourful asymmetrical Daleks whom the Second Doctor encountered while traveling with John and Gillian were distinguished by having only one, oversized luminosity discharger on their left side. The Doctor did not remark upon this peculiarity. (COMIC: Attack of the Daleks)
An increased number of speaking lights sometimes marked a heightened rank within the Dalek hierarchy: the unique, bulbous-headed Golden Emperor casing of the Dalek Prime had "about a dozen lights about the expanded dome instead of the average Dalek’s two". (COMIC: Genesis of Evil, PROSE: War of the Daleks) During the Last Great Time War, one type of Skaro Degradation also had a golden head dome with four radiation valves. (PROSE: Engines of War)
The red Supreme Dalek model that would lead the bronze Daleks through the Time War and beyond was likewise distinguished by having three luminosity dischargers. (AUDIO: Out of Time, TV: The Stolen Earth/Journey's End, The Magician's Apprentice / The Witch's Familiar)
While his casing was partly modelled on the Golden Emperor, the Emperor of the Restoration had only three luminosity dischargers atop his dome, positioned much like the red Supreme Daleks. (PROSE: The Guide to the Dark Times)
Most early Dalek types such as the War Machine Daleks and the Silver Daleks had small, bulb-shaped luminosity dischargers, (TV: The Daleks, The Power of the Daleks et al.) although even then this rule had exceptions: one Dalek Supreme of the Supreme Council was distinguished by its larger luminosity dischargers, (TV: Planet of the Daleks) and the singular dischargers of the asymmetrical Daleks encountered by the Second Doctor were similarly oversized. (COMIC: Attack of the Daleks)
The Grey Daleks' luminosity dischargers were also of limited size, but were slightly more elevated than the flat bulbs of the Silver and War Machine Daleks; (TV: Day of the Daleks et.al.) Some of these could vary in size and colour too. (TV: Destiny of the Daleks et al.) The very first Daleks created by Davros also had dischargers of this type. (TV: Genesis of the Daleks)
The white Imperial Daleks had yet another version, which appeared as small rings around small, golden and flat pieces of metal on the dome. Such luminosity dischargers were also seen atop the spherical dome of Davros' Dalek Emperor casing. (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks)
Daleks of the Last Great Time War and beyond, including the New Dalek Paradigm, had large luminosity dischargers of a size which had previously only been sported by the Supreme Council. (TV: Dalek, Victory of the Daleks)
The robotic Proto-Daleks, which were constructed by the British and Germans as part of the Dalek Project during the First World War, had distinct luminosity dischargers; the British Proto-Daleks' luminosity dischargers were shaped like smaller glass hemispheres, while the German Proto-Daleks' were narrow, orange, cylindrical and larger than any true Dalek. (COMIC: The Dalek Project)
As well as size, the Dalek Supreme of the Supreme Council was distinguished by the purple colour of its luminosity dischargers. It had the unusual feature of a discharger in the eyestalk lens. (TV: Planet of the Daleks)
The Special Weapons Dalek notably had neither luminosity dischargers nor an eyepiece. (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks) Instead the glass just below the dome, which also functioned as its vision, would light up when it spoke. (TV: The Witch's Familiar)
As a target
Behind the scenes
The Daleks seen in the theatrical film Dr. Who and the Daleks (held to be an invalid source by this Wiki) were the first to have larger luminosity dischargers. Regardless of rank, from the Black Dalek to the Red Dalek and the Blue Daleks, all luminosity dischargers were coloured red.
In Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D., the size of the luminosity dischargers remained the same, but with different colours; the Gold Dalek had matching gold luminosity dischargers, both the Black Dalek and the Red Dalek had luminosity dischargers coloured red, while the Silver Daleks had blue luminosity dischargers.
The red King Dalek seen on an action card the board game War of the Daleks is distinguished by a pair of large luminosity dischargers, one coloured blue and the other red. However, the box artwork depicts the King Dalek with small, uniform luminosity dischargers.