DESIGN

Design

The Lopolight products are unique based innovative use of LED’s (Light Emitting Diodes) and very effective and sophisticated power electronics that delivers low power consumption and extremely long lifetime even in the harshest conditions. In addition all lights are completely sealed to allow submersion. Actually Lopolight has found their way onto several submarines – where the lights are found to work flawlessly after being tested to 350 meters depth.

The design is 100% focused on the challenge of getting the best navigation lights, so there are no considerations to the classic way of constructing a navigation that was established when the primary light source was kerosene, we have started with a clean sheet of paper.

Mechanical construction principles

The components we use are the classic 3 mm LEDs, the most proven and most efficient type. These LEDs are made to Lopolight specifications with regards to intensity and colour, each LED is graded and tested at the factory, one of the important differences from a standard LED is that the Lopolight LED is encapsulated in a silicon-epoxy package, this ensures a much longer lifetime. Each LED is then inserted in to a specially made acrylic lens that ensures the light is guided in the right direction; acrylic (PMMA) is the only 100% UV-stable transparent plastic in existence.

The lens sits inside seawater resistant anodised aluminium housing. The housings are CNC machined to exact dimensions. Inside this housing we hide the electronics – more on this later.

The whole unit is then potted out with epoxy, leaving absolutely no air inside the light. This has enabled several submarines to be satisfied with standard Lopolight lights. Actually a Lopolight can stand being submerged to 350 meters!

The above construction process also ensures that a Lopolight is absolutely vibration proof, there are no moving parts and the LEDs are in themselves fully vibration proofed. Lopolight has been tested to withstand acceleration forces up to 50G.

During the production process the lights are thoroughly tested in 6 different stages.

Stage 1:
Testing of individual LEDs after these have been subjected to minus 20°C and plus 60°C in several cycles.
Stage 2:
Testing of individual lens
Stage 3:
Testing of complete electronic assembly
Stage 4:
12 hour test for the complete light before potting
Stage 5:
12 hour test for the complete light after potting
Stage 6:
Final test; where the light is tested against preset norms at 12, 24 and 32 Volts and if within 5% of norm a serial number is issued.

So at any given time of day there are several hundred lights testing at the factory – quite a nice lightshow.

The Lopolight electronics

Power supply Inside every Lopolight there resides an advanced electronic circuitry that ensures a long lifetime of the light.

The electronics performs many tasks, it ensures:

  • that the light works in the Voltage range of 10 to 32 Volts
  • that spikes are absorbed and the LEDs are protected against “dirty” current
  • the light is protected against reverse polarity (ie. faulty installation)
  • the light is monitored by a microprocessor that counts and remembers the hours is has been used.
  • when the light is getting close to its 50.000 hours rated lifetime it will communicate this by a blackout period of 2 seconds shortly after being turned on, this will trigger an the Navigation Light Controller to show an alarm on the bridge.
  • when the light is over its 50.000 hour lifetime this black-out period will be 5 seconds, clearly signalling that it has expired.
  • during the very long life of the navigation light the LED will become less bright due to degradation of the epoxy surrounding the individual LED, even the high quality silicon expoxy we use will degrade. To compensate for this we adjust the current over time, in the beginning the current each LED sees is very low and during the 50.000 hours we increase the current 25% to ensure that a Lopolight has the same high brightness over the full 50000 hours.

There are several things to be taken into consideration when evaluating the financial aspects of changing to LED navigation lights: - Design of the vessel - Running the vessel

Benefits of changing to Lopolight

There are several things to be taken into consideration when evaluating the financial aspects of changing to LED navigation lights:

Design of the vessel:

With the frequent need for servicing incandescent navigation lights requires access ways and ladders; these have to be designed, built and used. This has resulted is some large and sometimes unsightly structures for especially the sidelights and the all-round lights on the mast. Lopolight can incur significant savings in the design and build phase by negating the need for access to the sidelights, so access doors and hinged contraptions for swinging the lights in for service can be avoided. In some cases even the black sidescreens can be avoided (class and flag dependant). Similarly the N.U.C. and anchor lights can now be placed on smaller mast structures and the need for ladders are also negated. Lopolight actually in addition to classical 360 degree lights also offers 180 degree lights to be placed directly on the mast (1 light on each side – giving a full 360 degree visibility) again reducing the need for arm and platforms for all-round lights. The savings realised in the design/build phase will often be larger than the higher price tag of the Lopolight Navigation lights. The emergency power supply on the vessel has to be dimensioned to run the very basic communications and the navigation lights. Using Lopolight the size of the emergency power supply in many cases can be reduced from a complicated genset solution to a small battery solution. Finally the wires run to the navigation lights can be significantly reduced in size, all the Lopolight navigation lights consume less than 1A (in 24VDC mode) and in conjunction with our navigation light controller that limits the current to 0,95A we can use instrumentation size wiring for the nav lights – typically we would recommend 0,5 mm

2wires replacing the normal 1,5mm2 wires.

Running of the vessel:

The attempt of establishing a Total Cost of Ownership is difficult and can only be assessed individually and of course includes possible savings made in the design/build phase. Having said that if we take a 5 year perspective and assume that the vessel is at sea 200 nights per year and that the vessel is above 50 meters in length and runs her navigation lights 24 hours, then we could get the following savings: a. Energy: A reduction from 6kWh to 1kWh: (6-1x24x200x5) that is 120.000 kWh saved. And as the price of energy is both higher and less clean onboard than on grid this is significant. b. Maintenance: An incandescent light bulb works 500-1000 hours and the vessel has 5 bulbs lit whilst running: (((24x200x5)/1000)x5) that is the hassle and cost of 120 to 240 bulb changes avoided.

Lopolight Monitoring Relay

NLC For all superyachts and commercial vessels it is required to have a system for monitoring the navigation lights.

Until recently there has been no system tailored to the specific advantages of LED navigation lights.

The Lopolight Monitoring Relay (LMR) is able to monitor Lopolight Navigation lights very accurately and will detect whether the light is operational, has a partial fault or a complete fault – whatever the reason

The LMR will learn the profile of the navigation light is shall monitor and will follow it through its life, also showing when the light is getting too old. The LMR offers both a manual panel connection which has priority and a communication channel for control from an integrated bridge system via RS485. (For special Navy applications the LMR also has an optional RS232 communication towards the navigation light).