Automation as applied to various lighthouses

Maughold Head lighthouse

Electric motors 2002
Electric motors driving final gearshaft via automatic clutch
Final gear drive 2002
Final gear drive
The decision was taken to retain the existing lens and motorise the drive ie.bypass the clockwork drive.To retain the 250 watt Multi-vapour lamp but add a lampchanger
Multi vapour lamps + NAV-AIDS Systems NALC-89 Lampchanger 2002 250 Watt multi-vapour lamps + lampchanger

Before automation when the light was put out in the morning the curtains were drawn to stop the sun shining back through the lens,after automation there was nobody to draw the curtains so the lens now revolves continually.
Photo-electric Cells 2002At dusk the photo-electric cells(Takes two out of three to agree)informs the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) to "Light-up".

240 supplies the battery chargers,the batteries then supply 24 V the invertor(changes 24 240 then powers the Optic system.

If power were to fail the Multi-Vapour Lamp takes about ten minutes to cool down and relight,as the invertors are supplied from the batteries,mains supply failure is immaterial.

The lampchanger is a Nav-Aids System NALC-89
Lamp current is monitored along with a photoelectric monitor,if current is out of set limits or insufficient light is monitored the PLC signals an electric solenoid which activates a trip lever which allows the spring loaded spindle to bring reserve lamp to focal center.
It switches off main lamp contactor and switches on reserve lamp contactor,also shows "system abnormal" and "lampchanger operated" on Optic Control cubicle and sends a signal to Monitoring Center that lampchanger has operated.
If reserve lamp fails the same current and photoelectric monitors tell the PLC to select Emergency Lights and signals Monitoring Center that emergency lights have been selected
Operation of lampchanger always requires a visit by RLK or Technician since a manual reset is required.

Battery specification is to power the light for a minimum of 36 hours or two winter nights of 18 hours duration,after which the emergency light will be selected,the batteries should then power the emegency light for a minimum of 14 days.


Block Diagram 2007

Battery Chargers 2002 Two sets 24 Volt.1000Amp.Hr.Batteries 2002
Battery Chargers
Two sets 24 Volt.1000Amp.Hr.Batteries
The optic control cubiclce gives the attendant/technicians an indication of which power supply and motor is in use,whether the lens is running fast or slow,whether the lampchanger has operated,optic voltage and current etc.
Otherwise a laptop computer with apropriate program is required to interrogate the controller.
Invertors 2002 Optic Control Cubicle 2002.
Invertors 24 V.DC to 240 V.AC
Optic Control Cubicle

Optic Control Cubicle-Internal 2003
An internal view of Optic Control Cubicle.
What it took to replace the Lightkeeper?

Orga FML 302 SA Lantern 2002 Emergency Light Orga 250mm lantern
Type FML 302 SA
Any time the main optic is off, the emergency light is selected,which operates with its own photo-electric cell.
Light source 60 watt bi-filament lamp.

Part of the attendants duties is to check operation of the emergency light and that it is still using the No.1 filament.
Other duties include physical check of security and condition of buildings,cleaning and checking systems are running within set parameters,the first one called out if anything reported amiss.

Technicians visit at least annually to check,modify and update equipment as required.

Point of Ayre Lighthouse

Similar system to Maughold Head
Main differences a 400 watt lamp instead of 250 watt.
Eventually three phase motors instead of single phase.
Gave a more gradual power take up and saved wear on gearbox clutches

Character change
Originally every other of the sixteen bullseye lens and the top and lower catoptric lens had a red shaded panel covering them(Which are focussed on every other of the bullseyes lens which gave red and white lights of the same intensity.)
The lens rotated once every eight minutes,which gave White-Red flash every 30 seconds.

Part of top catoptric lens 2013 Part of lower catoptric lens 2013

Showing part of top catoptric lens ____________ Showing part of lower catoptric lens

Showing black blanking panels 2005
Todays lens showing black blanking panels

On automation the top and lower red shades were replaced by blanking panels
The red shades were removed from the bullseye lens, eight lens were blanked off to give four clear-four blank etc and the rotation set at a revolution every 40 seconds giving the character FL(4)20 sec.
Faster flash was required due to ships moving faster?

Douglas Head Lighthouse

Control Panel 2004 Sealed Beam Lamp Array 2004
Control Panel_______________________ Sealed Beam Lamp Array

The metal panels in front of the lamps are called collimators,whose purpose is to give a sharper more defined flash.

Sealed Beam Lamp Array Internal view 2011
RLK or Technicians view when changing lamps

Beam Circuit 2004 AGA-PRB 21A 2004
Circuit of sealed beam lamps____________________AGA PRB21A--Gearless Drive Unit

Lighting up again controlled by photo electric cells
Two double banked units of 12 lamps mounted facing in opposite directions,turned by an AGA PRB21 Gearless Drive Unit rotating at 3 rpm,gives a flash every 10 seconds.
Only 8 of the lamps (30 Volt 200 Watt) run at 25 Volt 150 Watts to give increased service life are used in normal operation 4 in each bank are 6 Volt 28.5 Watts used as emergency lamps (Loss of mains electric power or complete failure of main lamp banks)
Corresponding lamps (4) in each bank are connected in series,if one lamp fails all four go out,which gives each unit the same intensity,similarly with the 6 volt lamps,two connected in series.Power provided by emergency batteries.

Emergency light is a 250 mm Lantern mounted on the balcony rail.

Operation of the optic system is monitored by NLB's Monitoring center.
Which is informed when the main light goes on and off,lens speed fast or slow,50% and 100% lamp failure and various voltages and currents.
If anything goes wrong the monitoring center is informed or they can contact and interrogate the system

Langness Lighthouse

Bi-form Lanterns 2004 Bi-filament Lamp 2002
ML300 Lanterns mounted bi-form_____________ Twin filament lamp with typical controller

Twin Tideland ML300 lanterns with synchronised operation,integral photo-electric cell,bi-filament lamps,automatic changeover if one fails.

May 2012 Replaced by Pelangi 6 lamp autochanger with 12 volt 50 watt bulbs

Langness Pelangi Auto lamp changer 2012

Both lights are used in normal operation,so also act as back-up for each other,failure of one light giving reduced range.
Operating current is monitored,which lets the monitoring center know when the lamps are on.
Various battery charging voltage and current readings also available to monitoring center.

New style lanterns 2018

Douglas Head

Lantern 2018

Sealite Lanterns Type SL-300-1D5-2
Operational 18/1/2018

All Lanterns flash in normal operation

Maughold Head

Notice to Mariners 2017

Sealite Lanterns Type SL-300-1D5-1
Operational 17/1/2018

All photographs Copyright Fred Fox