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Thread: LED Nav and Strobe light options

  1. #1

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    LED Nav and Strobe light options

    Has anyone converted from stock nav lights to LED? I am considering AeroLEDs as I have had a great experience with the taxi and landing lights.
    I believe my certified PA-12 has the original stock wing tips and lights. Suggestions, thoughts or experiences would be greatly appreciated.
    I would love to upgrade with minimal work and no wiring changes.

    See pictures for current light setup reference.
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  2. #2

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    If they are PMA's parts, and fit,.. just put them in with your A&P's logbook entry.
    I don't believe anyone will say another word from there on...

  3. #3

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    If you do change to a new model light save that old stuff someone will want it for a original restoration one day.
    DENNY

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    Quote Originally Posted by 46 Cub View Post
    If they are PMA's parts, and fit,.. just put them in with your A&P's logbook entry.
    I don't believe anyone will say another word from there on...
    I agree. Does anyone know the legality of converting from a tail mounted white position light to wingtip lights that incorporate the white rear facing position light?

  5. #5
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbone View Post
    I believe my certified PA-12 has the original stock wing tips and lights.
    Those are not original PA-12 wing tips.

    Quote Originally Posted by tbone View Post
    I agree. Does anyone know the legality of converting from a tail mounted white position light to wingtip lights that incorporate the white rear facing position light?
    https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/.../AC_20-30B.pdf
    N1PA
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  6. #6
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Does anyone have a link to LED nav light bulbs that are a direct replacement for the standard bulbs?
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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    Aircraft Spruce.

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    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbone View Post
    I agree. Does anyone know the legality of converting from a tail mounted white position light to wingtip lights that incorporate the white rear facing position light?
    The nav lights with rear facing white light navs are designed for canard type aircraft without a 'tail'. When you install them on a typical aircraft, the rudder and wing position will cover them in certain maneuvers.

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    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wireweinie View Post
    Aircraft Spruce. Web
    Yeah, I figured out that much.
    I was hoping for a more-specific link, maybe like this one:

    https://www.aircraftspruce.com/menus....html?pageno=2

    Has anyone had any experience with any of these?
    Several appear to be switchable from steady to flashing--switch on for steady, on-off-on for flashing.
    I don't know that I see much advantage to that, or even want it.
    Rather have just plain old "on".
    When nav lights are required, after dark, I think they need to be on steady.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  10. #10

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    If you are experimental you can just buy them at an auto parts store.

    I have never understood why such things are dangerous on certificated aircraft, yet acceptable on an experimental - a failure could affect non-experimental operations.

    And I agree - I want flashers on a separate switch. My nav lights are steady, and I never taxi with strobes on.

  11. #11
    txpacer's Avatar
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    I've got the 7.5 watt LED replacement bulb on the tail and it is pretty bright. It is only supposed to flash if you cycle the power within three seconds. Flash in the day, steady at night.
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    If you are experimental you can just buy them at an auto parts store.

    I have never understood why such things are dangerous on certificated aircraft, yet acceptable on an experimental - a failure could affect non-experimental operations.

    And I agree - I want flashers on a separate switch. My nav lights are steady, and I never taxi with strobes on.
    But for an Experimental homebuilts to fly in other than day VFR, the operating limitations say they need equipment specified in 91.205. 91.205(c)(2) says to fly night you need “approved” position lights! For all the homebuilts I issue certificates for, if the don’t have approved lights or can’t show evidence that the lights meet AC20-30B, the won’t get anything more than day VFR.


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    Quote Originally Posted by dgapilot View Post
    But for an Experimental homebuilts to fly in other than day VFR, the operating limitations say they need equipment specified in 91.205. 91.205(c)(2) says to fly night you need “approved” position lights! For all the homebuilts I issue certificates for, if the don’t have approved lights or can’t show evidence that the lights meet AC20-30B, the won’t get anything more than day VFR.
    Yes it says: (2) Approved position lights.
    It does not say approved by who or under what standards. Can't you as a DAR "approve" the lights as long as they comply with AC20-30B?
    N1PA

  14. #14
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    I too never taxiied with strobes on in any airplane be it fighter or airliner!

    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post

    And I agree - I want flashers on a separate switch. My nav lights are steady, and I never taxi with strobes on.
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"

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    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    The reg says it must be mounted as far aft as possible!

    Quote Originally Posted by tbone View Post
    I agree. Does anyone know the legality of converting from a tail mounted white position light to wingtip lights that incorporate the white rear facing position light?
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Foy View Post
    I too never taxiied with strobes on in any airplane be it fighter or airliner!

    Taxing with strobes on used to be a reason to leave someone a stinky message in their flight kit. Unfortunately tablets have destroyed that communication channel.

  17. #17

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    CFIs are teaching that - yesterday I mistakenly lined up with a Cherokee on the warm-up pad. Asking politely has never worked, so I don't bother. I just move. Good thing I no longer fly at night - I would go blind and get flicker vertigo all at the same time.

    I am sure " approved" means TSO, but auto lights are approved by a heavy duty regulatory body - SAE, or JAS, or something. None of my bulbs say anything about approval, and since 1946 there has been no entry regarding lights.

  18. #18
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    I always subscribed to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell!"
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    Yes it says: (2) Approved position lights.
    It does not say approved by who or under what standards. Can't you as a DAR "approve" the lights as long as they comply with AC20-30B?
    As a DAR, I represent the FAA. The Mantra goes “the applicant shall show, and the FAA shall find”. It is on the applicant to show that the lights meet color, angle of view and brightness as specified in the AC. If the have documented evidence that test were done and those tests show it meets the requirements, they get op limits allowing night. I think it is far easier just to go buy TSO or PMA bulbs and light assemblies, and mount them appropriately.


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  20. #20

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    I'm a Kuntzelman fan myself........his ad is in the back of Sport Aviation
    If you get lost while flying, don't try hail a cop. Pick up the first railroad you find and hug it until you get somewhere.
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  21. #21

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    I've installed Kuntzelman twice, cheap and easy. Once I headed to Grafton, knowing Jim would orbiting with Kuntzelmans. I picked up his orangey-yellow wings long before the strobes. You get what you pay for.
    What's a go-around?

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbone View Post
    Has anyone converted from stock nav lights to LED? I am considering AeroLEDs as I have had a great experience with the taxi and landing lights.
    I believe my certified PA-12 has the original stock wing tips and lights. Suggestions, thoughts or experiences would be greatly appreciated.
    I would love to upgrade with minimal work and no wiring changes.

    See pictures for current light setup reference.
    I believe lighting requirements are different depending on when the airplane was TC’d. https://www.whelen.com/pb/Aviation/S...%20Systems.pdf

    Nav lights are pretty boring. If you want to get seen you should up the ante and add strobes. That’s where the LED advantage really makes sense. My Cub uses Whelen Orion tip lights. They work just fine, but old school Whelen Cometflash strobes are still the king for light output and effectiveness for my eyes. Beacons are where I found the biggest variation among LED lights.

    My kit came with wingtip combo nav-strobes. I added an Aveo tail strobe/white position light on the vertical edge of the rudder and a Whelen beacon on top of the rudder. And two VisionX lights on a MaxPulse flasher facing forward. I want other pilots to see me and I appreciate it when other airplanes make it easy for me to see them.

    Whatever you choose today will be outdated next year.
    Last edited by stewartb; 11-01-2018 at 06:46 AM.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    ….If you want to get seen you should up the ante and add strobes. That’s where the LED advantage really makes sense. My Cub uses Whelen Orion tip lights. They work just fine, but old school Whelen Cometflash strobes are still the king for light output and effectiveness for my eyes......
    I have seen strobes on an airplane after I had the airplane in sight,
    but I have never spotted an airplane in daytime by their strobes.
    I have however spotted oncoming aircraft a long ways off by the wig-wag landing lights.
    I have a strobe on top of the fuselage of my 180 which I run in daytime, just for good luck I guess.
    I leave the strobe switch on all the time- makes for a pretty good reminder if I walk off and leave the master on.
    I added an LED landing light and a flasher for daytime recognition, works well per comments from others.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  24. #24
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    If you are experimental you can just buy them at an auto parts store......
    Is there a NAPA Airmotive equivalent to one of these flat-sided wingtip nav light bulbs?

    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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  25. #25
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Search Aircraft Spruce for LED nav light. Three or four possibilities.

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  26. #26

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    Nope. That’s why they are so expensive. The special incandescents above. I don’t think any of the LED bulbs are directional.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    I believe lighting requirements are different depending on when the airplane was TC’d. https://www.whelen.com/pb/Aviation/S...%20Systems.pdf

    Nav lights are pretty boring. If you want to get seen you should up the ante and add strobes. That’s where the LED advantage really makes sense. My Cub uses Whelen Orion tip lights. They work just fine, but old school Whelen Cometflash strobes are still the king for light output and effectiveness for my eyes. Beacons are where I found the biggest variation among LED lights.

    My kit came with wingtip combo nav-strobes. I added an Aveo tail strobe/white position light on the vertical edge of the rudder and a Whelen beacon on top of the rudder. And two VisionX lights on a MaxPulse flasher facing forward. I want other pilots to see me and I appreciate it when other airplanes make it easy for me to see them.

    Whatever you choose today will be outdated next year.
    Your setup sounds great! Can you share a picture or two?

  28. #28

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    Whelen Orion wingtip position/strobes, Aveo position/strobe on the rudder, Whelen all red beacon on the rudder top, and VisionX lights (2) facing forward with a MaxPulse flasher control in the panel.

    All are very effective. I went with floods for the forward lights to improve the visibility area in front of me. These are recognition lights, not landing lights. Spots would limit recognition to planes in line with the spot beam.


    IMG_0110.JPG

    IMG_0111.JPG

    IMG_0112.JPG

    IMG_0113.JPG


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  29. #29
    gdafoe's Avatar
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    Which VisionX lights are those? Model or maybe a link?

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    LED Nav and Strobe light options

    This one was the best compromise for small size and big output. I looked at the Mini Pod but it was way down on lumens.

    https://www.visionxusa.com/shop/2-15...ce-solo-prime/

    IMG_4897.JPG

    IMG_4898.JPG

  31. #31
    cruiser's Avatar
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    The Vision X Optimus fits the cabane V like they were made for it
    Attached Images Attached Images
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    Is there a NAPA Airmotive equivalent to one of these flat-sided wingtip nav light bulbs?

    Unfortunatley no. Disregarding the reflector, the base is a goofy BAY15S, where the "Y" stands for the offset posts on the sides. I couldn't find one anywhere.

    I ended up getting a reasonably cheap set of bulbs (~$50 for the 3) that were aviation specific, but now I'm dealing with radio noise. I've debated on running shielded wire in the wings, but it's a flying plane and I honestly don't want to deal with that right now (unless it's a super easy task - is it?)

    Does anyone have any recommendations for position LEDs that don't make radio noise?

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by CamTom12 View Post
    but now I'm dealing with radio noise. I've debated on running shielded wire in the wings, but it's a flying plane and I honestly don't want to deal with that right now (unless it's a super easy task - is it?)

    Does anyone have any recommendations for position LEDs that don't make radio noise?
    Your nav lights are making noise?

    LED's don't make noise. I've only seen a couple of cases of that and it was in internal problem with the light assembly.

    If you want to wire your wings for LED's use three conductor shielded wire. Use a fiberglass rod to pull the wire through the wing. Use a solder sleeve and jumper wire on the shield braid. One conductor for nav light power, one conductor for strobe power, one conductor for the synchronize function, and the shield as the ground conductor. 20 gauge seems to pencil out for most nav/strobe combo's.

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  34. #34
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wireweinie View Post
    ... and the shield as the ground conductor.
    Web
    technically... if you use the shield as a conductor like you say, it's no longer able to be a passive? shield...

    shields should only be connected to ground at one end...

  35. #35
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    LED Nav and Strobe light options

    Sorry, I didn’t say that well - my LED nav lights are causing EMI. Picked up by my radio as noise.

    Is it tough to rewire a covered wing? No removable wingtips and the fuel tanks are fabric covered, no removable covers.
    Last edited by CamTom12; 02-20-2019 at 08:49 AM.

  36. #36
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CamTom12 View Post
    No removable wingtips and the fuel tanks are fabric covered, no removable covers.
    How do you inspect the interior of the wings every year?
    N1PA

  37. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    Yes it says: (2) Approved position lights.
    It does not say approved by who or under what standards. Can't you as a DAR "approve" the lights as long as they comply with AC20-30B?
    If they can show that it meets the color, range of visibility and brightness in the AC, then yes. I can’t do the testing, that is up to the applicant. For all certification work, “The applicant must show, and the FAA must find, compliance to the regulations”


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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    How do you inspect the interior of the wings every year?
    There’s more than enough cut inspection holes for the Piper 100hr (what we use for my condition inspection), especially near the controls and turnbuckles.

    Just not a lot of them that are already cut near where the existing wiring is run. The rings are in the fabric, though I’d hate to cut them for a one-time, not flight-critical project.

  39. #39
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike mcs repair View Post
    technically... if you use the shield as a conductor like you say, it's no longer able to be a passive? shield...

    shields should only be connected to ground at one end...
    Correct, it's no longer a shield but the technique works. Still only a single path to ground for the light so it does not produce a squeal in the audio.

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  40. #40
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CamTom12 View Post
    Sorry, I didn’t say that well - my LED nav lights are causing EMI. Picked up by my radio as noise.

    Is it tough to rewire a covered wing? No removable wingtips and the fuel tanks are fabric covered, no removable covers.
    Describe the noise? It goes on/off only with the LED's?

    It's a pain to pull a new wire into a covered wing, but that's what the fishing pole is for. Rout the wire along the back side of the main spar. Another advantage of using the shielded wire, as above, is that if the wire wears against the structure, it only touches the shield ground NOT a power wire (at least at first!).

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