Converting to LED

LED has become the lighting solution of choice for newbuild vessels. Because of LED’s benefits and the increasing scarcity of incandescent and halogen lamps, vessels that are already in operation consider converting their conventional lighting installation to LED.

Converting a conventional lighting installation to LED can be challenging. Improper engineering or the use of inadequate products may cause unexpected problems.

RH Marine is experienced in converting existing lighting installations to LED and is able to advise and assist in the conversion process.

Efficient & Flexible

LED lighting life expectancy is much longer and uses less power than conventional lighting. This also reduces the required power of the existing electrical installation. LED lamps are available in many shapes, sizes and (multi) lighting colours, allowing completely new light experiences onboard. LEDs brightness and colour differ from conventional lighting. Changes in the lighting plan need to be taken in consideration.

Fixtures don't get hot since LED doesn't produce heat or infrared light. The power saving properties and absence of mercury makes LED an environmental friendly alternative to conventional lighting.

Introducing electronics

Although LED is an excellent alternative to conventional lighting, converting to LED can be challenging. Points to take into consideration when converting your installation to LED are:

• The initial investment of LED is higher than a conventional installation
• Improper cooling dramatically decrease LEDs lifetime
• High inrush peak currents may cause breakers to trip
• Conventional drivers are not suitable for LEDs and cause incorrect (dimming) behaviour of the lamps
• The electronics in LEDs and their drivers produce harmonics and are sensitive to external disturbances, causing erratic behaviour


LEDs and their drivers are sensitive equipment which needs to be protected from external harmonics. Vessels with conventional lighting installations have been outfitted with non-screened cables. These cables need to be replaced by screened cables to ensure proper functioning of the installation.

While conventional lighting systems can have many lamps on one string, LED strings are only suitable for a few. Therefore cable circuits need to be re-engineered or replaced.

Converting the conventional lighting installation will often impact the existing installation on board, where ceilings will have to be lifted or fixtures/bodyworks can be replaced. RH Marine is well aware of the complications that this brings and has decades of experience with the standards in the yacht building industry to ensure minimal work on ceilings and fixtures.

Conversion process

The four biggest issues with LED are dimming, heat, EMC and inrush current. Therefore, the right steps in the process need to be taken to ensure the correct functioning of the installation.

During pre-engineering, the correct working of the combination of LEDs, fittings, drivers and dimmers needs to be verified since conventional fixtures are generally not suitable for the LED installation.

The configuration of equipment needs to be tested on disturbances and performance before it is installed onboard.

Learn by example

  • Problem: Hums, buzzes, flickering, sustained glowing when off, not working at all or a short range of dimming.
    Cause: The existing dimmers or the programmable lighting system like LUTRON/KNX were not suited for LEDS, or even the LEDs themselves, which were provided by third parties and appeared to be not dimmable at all.


  • Problem: The LEDs fails after a short time.
    Cause: The LED overheats.


  • Problem: EMC problems occur, with other equipment e.g. internet/Wi-Fi disturbance, LED lights flicker because of (for example) electronically controlled blinds.
    Cause: Cables are not properly terminated, or screened.


  • Problem: Changed experience of brightness in the room or area.
    Cause: The brightness of halogen and LED is simply not the same.


  • Problem: Switching the LED on causing the circuit breaker to trip.
    Cause: The inrush current of the LED driver and/or LED (lasting for a few milliseconds only) was very high. Our research showed that the inrush current can be from 9 times up to 120 times the rated current, depending the manufacturer of the LED driver and/or LED.

Make your vessel future proof

Converting the conventional lighting installation will often impact the existing installation on board, where ceilings will have to be lifted or fixtures/bodyworks can be replaced. RH Marine is experienced with the standards in the yacht building industry and ensures minimal work on ceilings and fixtures.

RH Marine prevents LED related problems by evaluating the electrical installation and redesigning where necessary, proper pre-engineering and pre-testing of selected components before changes on board are implemented.

RH Marine is your partner of choice in LED conversion considering all aspects mentioned, with full satisfaction afterwards.

Contact us

For more information about converting to LED lighting:

Ronald Docters van Leeuwen

Ronald Docters van Leeuwen

Sales Manager Global Refits & Service

+316 270 882 45

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