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Good drop in position light / strobe set?


FlyingMonkey
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My red tail beacon went belly up, and I think It’s time to replace it as my anti-collision light with a set of good, bright strobes.  What are the current best options that will replace the wingtip position lights, and not require addition wiring or drilling holes in a CTSW?  I’d like something that just drops in with wiring will mate right up with what’s in place.

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9 hours ago, Tom Baker said:

I think you may be asking for a Unicorn. The nav and strobe need to be on a separate circuit, and that is just not possible without at least one extra wire. Two if you want them synchronized.

Hmm...I was sure that there was an Aveo set talked about a long time back that was drop in, you just attached the existing wires and bolted them up.  But maybe I'm wrong.  I'm not too keen on pulling the wings again, I already did that once this year.

Well, I need to get this done quickly for the trip to Page, so maybe I just need to replace the beacon.  Does anybody have a link to that part or an equivalent that will drop in (my plane is ELSA)?

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It just has to be a strobe, aircraft spruce sells a bunch of different options, just pick the one that matches your socket profile.

This is the US distributor for the lights used on FDs https://position-lights.com/en/products/preisliste

Please be aware that if your light mounts on a control surface like the rudder, you must replace with the same product, or you may have to remove and rebalance the surface or risk flutter.

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1 hour ago, Anticept said:

It just has to be a strobe, aircraft spruce sells a bunch of different options, just pick the one that matches your socket profile.

This is the US distributor for the lights used on FDs https://position-lights.com/en/products/preisliste

Please be aware that if your light mounts on a control surface like the rudder, you must replace with the same product, or you have to remove and rebalance the surface or risk flutter.

Thanks Corey.  Do you know which part number from that Website is the FD part for a CTSW?

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Well jeez, none of these options sound appealing.  I guess I should just bite the bullet and buy a good set of strobes and do whatever has to be done to wire them up.  I guess all I really need is to know what the mounting hole spacing is to get strobes that will fit without modifying anything. 

On a CTSW IIRC there are tubes running through each wing carrying the wires...I should be able to attach the new wires to the old ones and pull them through the tube the length of the wings, is that correct?  I assume if I run a sync wire that has to go between the strobes, through the spar carry through box...is that right, or do they each have a sync wire running to a common point?  Something like this looks pretty good if it would fit and work:

https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/elpages/aveoultradaylite.php?clickkey=5779  

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21 minutes ago, Anticept said:

No but I know its on there

Thanks.  If I can find the correct part and it's not too pricey that might be the easy way to go, though less satisfying than having a nice set of strobes.

EDIT:  It looks like the correct part might be the ACL4, but they have changed it and it no longer looks the same as mine (which actually just looks like a red version of their TL-NG rear position light.  Here's the new ACL4:

https://position-lights.com/en/lichter/acl4
 

Also a question regarding balancing...it appears to me the beacon is directly above the pivot point for the rudder.  Given that if the weight of the beacon was not exactly the same, is a re-balance still required?

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I also determined that the srobe is at the rudder CG.

If you ever anticipate putting in a magnetometer in a wing such as Garmin or others, you may want to replace the nav light wires with twisted shielded wire. CT installed non twisted wire which may cause interference issues with the magnetometer.  It's very easy to do with at a wing pull and aircraft quality wire and can be as many wires in the shield as you want. I have dual Garmin G3X units and during the interference tests they may not pass with the original wiring according to Garmin. Shielded wiring will help eliminate audio interference also.

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1 hour ago, Anticept said:

If the model has changed, and if i recall you are E-LSA, morden, then I would take madhatter's comment that it's on CG and just replace it with a similar model.

Thanks, that's where I'm leaning.  Madhatter certainly has the engineering knowledge to make me believe him. 

So the new ACL4 looks pretty good, but is out of stock at Spruce.  I reached out to JMH (the manufacturer or distributor, not sure which) to ask if the new one will drop right in the same socket and with the same wiring.  If so I'll probably go that route.  I'd still like to have real strobes, but it looks like the ACL4 is quite a bit brighter than the factory unit, and is about $300-600 less than strobes. 

I'll let ya'll know what JMH reports back.

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I'm used to dealing with people who like to twist my words. Being aircraft maintenance, I very much like to avoid committing too much to suggestions or ideas without encouraging people to think things through unless I know them and their aircraft. I've seen WEIRD deviations from expectations. I still keep mis-assuming people are flying CTLS for example, and Tom catches me on that occasionally.

Anyways MH, is if you have already determined it's on the CG, then that's good enough for me to encourage someone to just listen. More than anything, it's not because you're an engineer or mechanic with years of experience, but rather that I have seen you think things through and provide accurate information time and time again, which is by far my most important measure of a person's ability.

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1 hour ago, Madhatter said:

You don't have to be an engineer to figure it out. Besides if you get flutter you know I'm wrong😆. I'm just an aircraft mechanic with some extra papers for staying awake in class.

Ha!  Well, I know you've done as much as anybody in terms of engineering and modification of the CTs, so that counts for something!

Besides, you seconded what I said about the beacon position regarding the rudder balance, and there no way we could BOTH be wrong!  :D

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15 minutes ago, Anticept said:

I'm used to dealing with people who like to twist my words. Being aircraft maintenance, I very much like to avoid committing too much to suggestions or ideas without encouraging people to think things through unless I know them and their aircraft. I've seen WEIRD deviations from expectations. I still keep mis-assuming people are flying CTLS for example, and Tom catches me on that occasionally.

Anyways MH, is if you have already determined it's on the CG, then that's good enough for me to encourage someone to just listen. More than anything, it's not because you're an engineer or mechanic with years of experience, but rather that I have seen you think things through and provide accurate information time and time again, which is by far my most important measure of a person's ability.

I appreciate the cautious approach, Corey!  Unexpected results of changes are definitely something that bites a lot of pilots.

If I replace the beacon, I'll definitely do a couple of test flights slowly creeping up speed through the entire range and making sure to do some high speed turns, etc to make sure nothing unexpected happens.  Since the new version of the beacon is taller than the original, I'm especially curious if that will affect, for example, how much pedal is needed to recover from a slip...

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The CTLS beacons are really tall. It's unlikely that anything will happen on an SW if its already on the CG. And honestly, that's probably true of nearly all aircraft, makes it easier for repairs and future retrofits, but that probably is a tricky word!

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So, me not being an electrician, somebody who is please check my work.   :D   It seems to me from this wiring diagram of the Aveo 3-in-1 strobe set that I posted earlier, that I do need to run the strobe (yellow) wire, either to the same switch as the position lights, or to the (now defunct) beacon switch.

OR...

Could I splice the yellow wire to the red wire just inside the wingtip, as long as I don't care that the position lights and strobes would run off the same switch & breaker (and of course would not be synced)?  That would be something I'd correct later, the next time I I needed to pull the wings.  I'm looking for fast, easy, and safe right now so I can get this done and start thinking about all the other prep work I have to do to fly 3/4 of the way across the country.

Does anybody know off the top of their head the amperage of the position lights breaker?  I couldn't find it in the MM.  The combination of the position lights plus strobes are slightly over 4A, and there is also the white position light at the tail that has to be added to that.  I'm guessing it's not more than a 5A breaker, that might be too tight on power budget for that.


image.png.6d27e668fd84261542d0e2e6791a79d1.png

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2 minutes ago, Tom Baker said:

The light mount is actually forward of the hinge line by 3-4 inches it looks like. being forward of the hinge I wouldn't worry about flutter like I would it it was aft of the hinge line. I'll bet there is not a big difference in weight anyway.

True, the weight difference is probably a rounding error.

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4 hours ago, Anticept said:

I'm used to dealing with people who like to twist my words. Being aircraft maintenance, I very much like to avoid committing too much to suggestions or ideas without encouraging people to think things through unless I know them and their aircraft. I've seen WEIRD deviations from expectations. I still keep mis-assuming people are flying CTLS for example, and Tom catches me on that occasionally.

Anyways MH, is if you have already determined it's on the CG, then that's good enough for me to encourage someone to just listen. More than anything, it's not because you're an engineer or mechanic with years of experience, but rather that I have seen you think things through and provide accurate information time and time again, which is by far my most important measure of a person's ability.

Thanks for the kind words. Whenever you make significant changes to an aircraft you must research everything you can and find experts in that particular subject. Sometimes it takes a lot of time and phone calls. As an example when I worked with vg's I consulted with one of the top vg companies in the country including their test pilot multiple times, they were a huge help. When I was in school many years ago I was not expected to know everything about aircraft,  but how to get the information I needed.

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5 hours ago, FlyingMonkey said:

So, me not being an electrician, somebody who is please check my work.   :D   It seems to me from this wiring diagram of the Aveo 3-in-1 strobe set that I posted earlier, that I do need to run the strobe (yellow) wire, either to the same switch as the position lights, or to the (now defunct) beacon switch.

OR...

Could I splice the yellow wire to the red wire just inside the wingtip, as long as I don't care that the position lights and strobes would run off the same switch & breaker (and of course would not be synced)?  That would be something I'd correct later, the next time I I needed to pull the wings.  I'm looking for fast, easy, and safe right now so I can get this done and start thinking about all the other prep work I have to do to fly 3/4 of the way across the country.

Does anybody know off the top of their head the amperage of the position lights breaker?  I couldn't find it in the MM.  The combination of the position lights plus strobes are slightly over 4A, and there is also the white position light at the tail that has to be added to that.  I'm guessing it's not more than a 5A breaker, that might be too tight on power budget for that.


image.png.6d27e668fd84261542d0e2e6791a79d1.png

You can splice them together but as you know, you won't be able to separate the strobing from the position lights. The fact is, you are technically supposed to be able to turn off the strobes if it might be a detriment to you or others (flashing lights on the hold short line of a runway at night is very irritating) but i don't realistically see that being an issue.

Check the gauge of wire that you are splicing too. I am pretty sure it's 18 gauge which is plenty for this application, but if it's smaller than 20 you very well might have to pull new anyways, that's getting close to limits and this wire is in bundles.

Not sure what the rating is of the breakers.

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6 hours ago, Anticept said:

You can splice them together but as you know, you won't be able to separate the strobing from the position lights. The fact is, you are technically supposed to be able to turn off the strobes if it might be a detriment to you or others (flashing lights on the hold short line of a runway at night is very irritating) but i don't realistically see that being an issue.

Check the gauge of wire that you are splicing too. I am pretty sure it's 18 gauge which is plenty for this application, but if it's smaller than 20 you very well might have to pull new anyways, that's getting close to limits and this wire is in bundles.

Not sure what the rating is of the breakers.

Thanks.  I just heard from JMH that the ACL4 is a drop in replacement for my beacon.  I might just do that for now and then get the strobes done right when I'm not under the gun for travel.

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4 hours ago, FlyingMonkey said:

 I just heard from JMH that the ACL4 is a drop in replacement for my beacon.  I might just do that for now and then get the strobes done right when I'm not under the gun for travel.

Bingo! There ya' go, Andy. Good job.

One of my favorite motto's, "keep it simple."

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A lot of the newer designs have better thermal ddissipation with more reliable components.

The old wingtip lights burned out a lot because they couldn't shed the heat efficiently due to the epoxy casing. The newer ones have an aluminum backplate that sticks out into the airstream, significantly improving cooling and longevity. And they're cheaper.

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