Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2017-2018 - 69
Aging or brittle wiring, signs of insulation deterioration,
about any problems or shortcomings found.
cracked or deteriorated connectors, all warrant looking at
An inspection of the aircraft ahead of booking an
updating the wiring with modern conductors.
ADS-B installation appointment can arm the shop with
An aircraft still running its electrical system on the
the information needed to give the operator an honest
output of an old generator, and in need of a wiring
upgrade, seems a ripe candidate to update the system to
Much will depend on how the operator wants to
fulfill the mandate. For example, if the solution sought
an alternator. Chances are the operator or pilot will enjoy
involves nothing more than adding an antenna to go
the at-engine-idle output of the alternator - particularly,
with the plug-and-play replacement of a transponder or
the higher output compared to the old generator.
Moving on, the engine starter may also be a vestige
other self-contained solution, the operator may be little
interested in having a technician dive into the spaghetti
of decades long past. Newer geared starters spin the
monster behind the stack.
engines more rapidly, often draw less current, and
Conversely, if the operator decides to use the ADS-B
The lowly voltage regulator offers a modest
mandate as an opportunity to upgrade other panel
components, what better time than during that project
opportunity to save both weight and improve
to update the wiring behind the panel.
functionality. Solid-state regulators often offer an output
for an instrument-panel warning light that illuminates
Adding components such as an all-in-one comm/
nav/WAAS GPS/MFD, a primary flight display and an
should the alternator trip for any reason, while
ADS-B solution isn't an uncommon project these days.
providing both overvoltage and undervoltage protection.
The upgrade to an IFR-approved WAAS navigator can
Compared to the old mechanical regulators - often
feed an ADS-B Out solution and provide new utility for
weighing upward of 22 ounces - the most-common
direct routings and GPS approaches such as lateral
solid-state regulators save more than 20 ounces.
We can't forget fuses - replaceable with circuit
precision with vertical guidance and other area-nav
breakers or break/switches - relays and connector
blocks. Many old airplanes still employ original
The upgrade to flight instruments, the primary radio
and the ADS-B solution alone warrants checking
equipment, so checking the integrity of these
the wiring for compatibility with the new equipment
components should be a priority on any rewiring or
- equipment using electrical power in place of
Then there's the battery. Today the sealed lead-acid
air-powered instruments - and may allow for the
elimination of some wiring while removing old gyros
recombinant gas batteries can save some weight while
and air-data instruments. That often takes several
effectively eliminating maintenance needs.
But the up-and-comer for light general aviation
pounds out of the airplane, increasing useful load.
aircraft is the lithium-ion battery. Batteries like those
It's also important to determine that the generating
source can meet the electrical loads brought by a full-
available from True Blue Power, a division of Mid-
blown move to a glass cockpit from an all-analog panel.
Continent Instruments, are approved for a number of
Part 23 and Part 25 aircraft.
Other options: Starters, generators,
The TB17, the smallest currently available, is
regulators and batteries
FAA TSO certified to C179a, STC'd for a number of
If the operator opts for the option to rewire the entire
airframes - and standard on some new-manufactured
aircraft, the shop has an opportunity to delve into the
aircraft - produces more power than comparable
rest of the electrical system for upgrades known to
lead-acid batteries, and weighs barely half what
improve performance and increase reliability. Yes, these
also save weight, a bonus benefit.
Continued on following page...
- 69 -