Assoc. Prof.. PhD, Technical University,

Varna, Bulgaria, e-mail:



Assist. Prof., PhD, Technical University,

Varna, Bulgaria, e-mail:



Assist. Prof., Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy,

Varna, Bulgaria, e-mail:



The LED technology is applicable for the ships' navigation and signalling lights, including sidelights, stern light, anchor light, manoeuvring lights and warning signals, ensuring high-reliability, low-maintenance and reduced electrical-load-power requirements, resulting in low through-life costs. The lights meet the Colregs (International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea), which means they are suitable for night operations.

Our paper analyzes the application of Powerint IP Expert software in the design of ship lighting systems with LEDs.


Keywords: LED, ship lights, Powerint IP Expert software






The application of LED light sources in the ships is significantly limited due the established traditions, especially in the systems for general lighting. The rapid penetration of these sources in the 90th years in the control and signalization systems was followed by long periods of stagnation. When we consider the development of these sources and their growing use in different applications in coastal conditions we can conclude that there is wide scope for their deployment on ships.

Marine lighting consumes a large part of the electricity of the ship and is regulated by the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) [1] and the requirements of the marine classification_societies. According to these requirements, the lighting of the ship is divided into normal, emergency, temporary, signalling and navigation lights, floodlights for search and rescue and others. The normal lighting should provide a sufficient number of lightings for providing good level of illumination for all parts of the ship.

According to Bulgarian Register of Shipping a sufficient number of lighting fixtures shall be provided to achieve a good level of illumination [2]. It is powered by the main sources of electricity and illuminate all areas accessible to passengers and crew.

The main sources of energy are with enough power, allowing installation of all types of lighting. This lighting for the most part is supplied with a voltage of 220 V. As light sources are mainly used fluorescent lamps with an efficiency of 60 Lm/W (lumens per watt), which replace traditional incandescent bulbs in almost newly built ships.

For areas where there are bare rotating parts is required to implement measures to prevent stroboscopic effect such as the combination of fluorescent lamps with incandescent bulbs or LEDs. For some tankers and ships built in the U.S. and Japan the grid in residential areas and the main lighting is with a voltage of 110 V.

The lighting of open decks, holds and other spacious premises the use of floodlights with discharge lamps. The discharge lighting lamps are powered also with 220 V although starting them may need a higher voltage. All transformers and actuators on the requirement of classification societies must remain sealed in the lamp shell. These light sources have a large light efficiency - 100-180 Lm/W, but distort color light.

To illuminate the wet areas like bathrooms, the Bulgarian Register of Shipping [2] has special requirements, such as the most dangerous part of the area requires the safe low voltage up to 12 V (Safety Extralow Voltage - SELV) Figure 1.

The application of LED light sources may be of greater efficiency in emergency lighting, and especially in emergency lighting powered by rechargeable batteries.

The emergency source of electrical power should provide power for emergency lighting for 36 hours on passenger ships and 18 hours on merchant ships (rules 42 and 43 of SOLAS). If this source is a generator powered by internal combustion engines, it should run automatically and takes 45 seconds to load. When his starting is with a longer duration it is necessary to have transitional source - rechargeable battery that provides power for emergency lighting for half an hour.

Rule 42-1 of SOLAS requires additional emergency lighting for Ro-Ro passenger ships such as all passenger public spaces and corridors must be secured with additional electric lighting, which can run at least three hours when all other sources of energy are damaged and in heel. The insured lighting must be such that access to evacuation routes should be clearly visible.



Figure 1: Illustration of the special requirements of the Bulgarian Register of Shipping.


The power sources for additional lighting should include rechargeable batteries located in the lighting shells that should be constantly charged, as far as possible from the emergency switchboard. Additional electric lighting should be such that any failure of a lamp to be immediately detected.

According to the Lloyd's Register of Shipping the electrical power available is to be sufficient to supply all those services that are essential for safety in an emergency, due regard being paid to such services as may have to be operated simultaneously. The emergency source of electrical power may be either a generator or an accumulator battery [3].

The need of high power supply for emergency purposes requires the use of batteries in parallel. Damage to a single battery, thus the connection shows a major fault, that all parallel to it began to be diluted.

Another disadvantage of the supply from batteries is the reduce of the supplied voltage as SOLAS and the registry organizations provide this reduction to be up to12%. LED sources are supplied with low voltage and are much less dependent on its variation. This in emergency lighting is their main advantage over fluorescent lamps.

At present there are emergency lights with fluorescent lamps which have rectifier, battery and inverter (transverter) in case of dropout voltage, but the use of LED would increase their effectiveness. The incandescent lamps are about 6 times less efficient than LED, which requires the use of larger batteries. They are strongly influenced by voltage change and reduce it by 12% will lead to a 40% reduction in radiation flux. LED sources are used for illumination of escape routes, the so called Low Location Lighting (LLL).

Under regulations II-2/28 and II-2/41-2 of the 1974 SOLAS Convention, the means of escape, including stairways and exits, must be marked by a low location lighting system at all points along the escape route. Additionally, Regulation II-2/20.2 requires all ships to be provided with fire control plans and these should be permanently stowed in a prominently marked weather tight enclosure and use symbols in accordance with Regulation A.654.

In recent years a very effective photoluminescence materials were developed allowing to fully meet the requirements of the classification societies, which constitute the main competitor of the LED [4]. Another use for LED may be the spotlights for search and rescue mounted on the bridge, on the lifeboat deck and on the lifeboats Figure 2.

According to the recent reports of U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) under the HEDLight (High Efficiency Distributed Lighting) program, U.S. Navy ships could save 87 percent of the electricity used on existing lighting systems by converting to LED and HID lighting systems [5]. The savings would add up over the long-term. When an aircraft carrier goes out on deployment, on average, every single one of its 18,000-some light bulbs will need to be replaced.

According to DARPA, HEDLight remote source lighting relies on centralized light generation, optically transporting the light where its needed. The system allows the lighting system electrical circuitry and wiring to be concentrated, protected, and removed to the interior of the warship. The highly efficient metal halide high intensity discharge (HID) and light emitting diode (LED) lights are coupled to large core plastic optical fiber.





Figure 2: ReitTech LED floodlight on ship.




2. Held experiments


The paper analyzes the application of software IP Expert [6] in the design of marine lighting systems with LEDs. The products of the same manufacturer (Powerint) are oriented to power sources and our aim was to examine their application in the shipping problems.

The experimental studies were carried out by the reconstruction of the lighting system of the ship, consisting in replacing incandescent lamps with LED matrix.

Several circuit solutions have been implemented through each of the technologies offered by Powerint - DPA, LinkSwitch, PeakSwitch, TinySwitch and TOPSwitch [6], using the generated by IP Expert topography of the scheme:





Figure 3: AC-DC converter, realized with TOP254YN.



Figure 4: AC-DC converter with two outputs, realized with LNK364PN.



Figure 5: DC-DC converter, realized with DPA424PN.


The results of experimental studies can be summarized as follows:



Figure 6: Efficiency ratio h and output current Io [A] at different input voltages Ui [V] AC:

1Ui=85V; 2Ui=220V; 3Ui=250V.




Figure 7: Correlation between output power Po [W] and the input voltage Ui [V] AC, at different input power: Pi[W]: 1Pi[W]=4W; 2Pi[W]=3W; 3Pi[W]=2W.




Figure 8: Temperature as a function of input voltage: 1 - TOP243P; 2 - transformer,

3 - output capacitor, 4 - ambient temperature.




Figure 9: Pattern of the output current depending on input voltage: 1-matrix with 110 LEDs;

2 - matrix of 130 LEDs.







From the research can be deduced the following important conclusions:







[1] International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), as amended Part D, Chapter II-2, Reg. 13,, 1974

[2] Bulgarian Register of Shipping - Rules for Classification and Construction, I - Ship Technology, Part 1 - Seagoing Ships, Chapter 3 - Electrical Installations, 2001

[3] Lloyd's Register of Shipping - Rules and Regulations for the Classification of Ships, Part 6 - Control, Electrical, Refrigeration and Fire, Chapter 2: Electrical Engineering, 2004

[4] Bjorn Geeves, Enlightenment about photoluminescence, Industrial Fire Journal, published 01 April, 2006