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1 | P a g e I MO P E R F O R MA N C E S T A N D A R D S F O R

G Y R O C O MP A S S

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IMO PERFORMANCE STANDARDS FOR MARINE
GYROCOMPASS

(FOR MMD PHASE II EXAMINATIONS)

The purpose of a marine gyrocompass is to determine and provide direction of ships
heading with respect to geographical (true) north.

Gyrocompass fitted on board a ship shall meet the following minimum requirements:

Operational and performance requirements:

1. The compass card should be graduated at intervals of one degree and fraction
thereof. Every tenth graduation shall be marked with numeral, starting from 000
0

to and through 360
0
in clockwise direction.
2. Means of illumination, with dimming control, shall be provided so as to enable
reading of marks and numbers in all conditions of day and night.
3. The master compass and all the repeater compasses that will be used for taking
visual bearings shall be installed with their fore and aft datum lines parallel to the
ships fore and aft datum line to within + 0.5
0
.
4. The lubber line shall be aligned carefully in the fore and aft direction and shall be
in the same vertical plane as the centre of the compass card.
5. Means shall be provided so as to supply heading information to other navigational
equipments such as radar, autopilot, AIS, course recorder etc.
6. Means shall be provided to make corrections to course, speed and latitude error.
7. Automatic alarm activation shall be incorporated to warn operator of any major
fault in compass system.
8. The equipment shall be marked with manufacturers name and model
type/number.
9. Sufficient information shall be made available onboard to enable the competent
and certified staff to operate and maintain the system in efficient manner. The
equipment shall be designed and installed in a manner to allow easy access for the
purpose of maintenance and servicing.
10. Up to latitudes of 60
0
; the compass should settle within six hours, when switched
on according to manufacturers instructions.
11. The above mentioned condition (no.10) shall be met when ship is rolling and
pitching with a simple harmonic motion of six to fifteen seconds, a maximum
angle of 5
0
, and a maximum horizontal acceleration of 0.22 m/s
2
.
12. The settle point error at any heading and in any latitude up to 60
0
shall not exceed
+ 0.75
0
x Secant latitude.
13. The repeatability of settle point error of the master compass shall be
within + 1
0
x Secant latitude under:

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G Y R O C O MP A S S

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Conditions of variations in power supply normally experienced at sea.
Conditions of vibrations, humidity and temperature changes encountered
on ship, where compass is installed.
Conditions of variations in magnetic field surrounding the compass.
14. The maximum difference in readings of master compass and repeater compasses,
under all operational conditions, shall not exceed + 0.5
0
.
15. Other errors, in latitudes of up to 60
0
, shall be kept within limits as follows:
a. The residual steady state error, after correction for effects of speed and
course, at speeds of twenty knots, shall not exceed + 0.25
0
x Secant
latitude.
b. The error due to a rapid alteration of speed of twenty knots, shall not
exceed + 2
0
.
c. The error due to a rapid alteration of a course of 180
0
at speed of twenty
knots, shall not exceed + 3
0
.
d. The transient and steady errors to due to ship rolling, pitching and yawing
with simple harmonic motion of any period between six and fifteen
seconds; with a maximum angle of 20
0
, 10
0
and 5
0
respectively; and
maximum horizontal acceleration not more than 1 m/s
2
, shall not exceed
+ 1
0
x Secant latitude.
Particular attention should be paid to the siting of the master
compass in order to keep this error to the minimum.

Requirements regarding power supply and interference:

1. The equipment shall be protected against likely damage due to excessive currents
and voltages, transients and accidental reversal of voltage polarity.
2. The equipment shall operate continuously and meet the requirements of the
performance standards while encountering variations of power supply normally
experienced on a ship.
3. When provided with options to operate from more than one source of power
supply, arrangements shall be incorporated to allow smooth and satisfactory
transition from one source to another.
4. Steps shall be taken, so far as practicable, to eliminate and suppress
electromagnetic interferences between compass and other equipments.
5. Each unit of the equipment shall be marked with minimum safe distance at which
it should be mounted from standard or steering magnetic compass.
6. Mechanical noises from all units, likely to affect the hearing of sounds warning
about safety, shall be kept to the minimum.


Relevant definitions:

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G Y R O C O MP A S S

UH lH For more details please visit: www.captyashpal.blogspot.com


1. Gyrocompass: It means the complete equipment and includes all the elements of
the complete design.

2. True Heading: It is defined as the horizontal angle between the vertical plane
passing through true meridian and the vertical plane passing through ships fore
and aft datum line. Is measured in clockwise direction from 000
0
to and through
360
0
.

3. Settled: The compass being on a level and stationary base; if any three compass
readings taken at intervals of thirty minutes are within a range of 0.7
0
, then the
compass is considered to be settled.

4. Settle Point Heading: When compass is settled as per definition of Settled, then
the mean value of ten compass readings taken at intervals of twenty minutes is
known as settle point heading.

5. Settle Point Error: The difference between settle point heading and true heading
is known as settle point error. All other errors are taken with reference to settle
point heading. That is, as the difference between observed heading and settle
point heading.