Installing AeroLEDs Pulsar NSP strobe/position LEDs

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Chris B
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Installing AeroLEDs Pulsar NSP strobe/position LEDs

Postby Chris B » Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:18 pm

Whether changing from the stock Whelen Xenon strobes is a good idea - or worth the cost - is a personal decision. The benefits outweigh the costs for me, but each of us has our own scale. So while I am very pleased with the results, I definitely appreciate that this might not be the right choice for you!

My primary motivation was the increased visibility, particularly in daylight. The reduced power consumption also means that I leave the position lights (and belly strobe) essentially permanently turned on whenever the master is engaged. This provides added safety for ground ops prior to engine start.
It also makes it extremely unlikely that I will leave the plane with the master still on! :oops:

Any modification of this magnitude must be supervised by your A&P. But if you are handy with a crimper and a few other basic tools, most of this work could be done owner-assist. IMO, a competent A&P should be able to install these in one day.

A full set of annotated pics is posted at the following link:
https://plus.google.com/photos/104608122039071688071/albums/5844637256340400577?authkey=CMbJsbPojpnXQw

The only "exotic" tool is the correct AMP crimper (with the appropriate pins and connector). This is needed to change the gender on the AMP Molex-style connectors used for the now-removed Whelen ballast. Hopefully your A&P already has this tool, because it is probably ridiculously expensive...

Everything else is straightforward:
* Drill (to remove one rivet in each wing tip, and fabricate a very simple L-bracket)
* Very thin (~0.5mm?) punch (to drive hardened pin from one rivet in each wing tip)
* Soldering iron, solder, etc. (to splice wiring)
* Heat shrink tubing & heat gun (to protect splices)
* Allen-head driver (to remove wing tip)
* Hex-head wrenches (to remove/replace bracket)
* Optional zip-ties (to securely "safety" the various electrical connections)

Here is a comparison of the old Whelen assembly with the new AeroLEDs strobe/position assembly:
Comparison of AeroLEDs with Whelen.JPG
Comparison of AeroLEDs with Whelen.JPG (51.6 KiB) Viewed 6940 times


There are only two changes required to adapt the AeroLEDs strobe/position lights. One is replacing this lightning protection bracket which clamps around the Xenon strobe housing on the old Whelen lights.
Whelen bracket.JPG
Whelen bracket.JPG (43.76 KiB) Viewed 6940 times


This is the second change required to adapt the AeroLEDs strobe/position lights. One end of this pair needs to change gender so that they can connect to each other, bypassing the now-removed ballast.

Note that these are AMP versions of "Molex-style" connectors, and are NOT compatible with the Molex equivalents!
Whelen connectors - same gender.JPG
Whelen connectors - same gender.JPG (81.71 KiB) Viewed 6940 times


Not all the screws were the same length, so I improvised. :D

In retrospect, I think the length only matters near the trailing edge.
Wing tip exposed.JPG
Wing tip exposed.JPG (38.19 KiB) Viewed 6940 times


Removing the ballast in each wing tip saves 3.4 lbs on a very long arm.
Whelen ballast.JPG
Whelen ballast.JPG (80.32 KiB) Viewed 6940 times


The top small L-bracket replaces the clamp around the now-removed Xenon bulb for lightning protection.
This is a very simple angled piece with a single hole on each side.
Simple fabricated bracket.JPG
Simple fabricated bracket.JPG (40.12 KiB) Viewed 6940 times


(continued in next post)
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Re: Installing AeroLEDs Pulsar NSP strobe/position LEDs

Postby Chris B » Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:24 pm

(continued from previous post)

The AeroLEDs strobe/position uses a very clever proprietary mounting bracket. A single Allen-head set screw from the rear securely locks the lamp in place. However, the bracket has tight tolerances, and must be absolutely flat with no raised screw heads.
AeroLEDs mounting bracket.JPG
AeroLEDs mounting bracket.JPG (52.62 KiB) Viewed 6937 times


After final assembly, but prior to touching-up paint to cover exposed rivet.
Note the rear set screw on the AeroLEDs strobe/position (near the rivet). This retains the entire assembly very securely.

We considered caulking/sealing the edges, but decided that was both unnecessary and less attractive. There is a giant drain in the trailing edge of the wing tip, so any moisture will readily escape. AFAIK, the only reason the Whelen lights are caulked is because the lamps are not sealed, unlike the new LEDs.
Prior to touch-up.JPG
Prior to touch-up.JPG (37.51 KiB) Viewed 6937 times


IMO, the fit is excellent.
Great fit.JPG
Great fit.JPG (46.58 KiB) Viewed 6937 times


Here is the schematic:
Adding AeroLEDs Pulsar NSP strobes to DA40 XLS.pdf
(251.29 KiB) Downloaded 312 times


Here is a short video of the final results. These are Class 2 devices, which means that they are safe as long as you do not overcome your natural tendency to look away. IOW, they are *extremely* bright, and stay lit significantly longer than the Xeon strobes.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3-FmrlGNFxc[/youtube]

Feel free to ping me if you have follow-up questions.

Chris
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Re: Installing AeroLEDs Pulsar NSP strobe/position LEDs

Postby Chris B » Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:49 am

BTW, the correct AMP A442 connector & pins are found here: Link
11-03212 - AMP connector kit.jpg
11-03212 - AMP connector kit.jpg (62.2 KiB) Viewed 6900 times

You will need two, one on each side.

Chris
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Re: Installing AeroLEDs Pulsar NSP strobe/position LEDs

Postby rwtucker » Sat Feb 23, 2013 11:55 pm

Chris. Thanks for this. Very cool. What did it cost? Also, do you still get the position light verification that is so convenient on the Whelens.
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Re: Installing AeroLEDs Pulsar NSP strobe/position LEDs

Postby Gasser » Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:06 pm

These look fantastic. Shame there is some body work involved to hide that exposed rivet. I like the fact these are sealed. The whelens looks great as well but not sealed?

I'm going to need a set in the next year or so to finish my refurb to 415AM. Previous owner hit one of the strobes with hanger door and caused a slight dent or bend in the housing. Still works for now.

Since I'm crammed into a 42' hanger at the moment I'm going to wait until I build and move into my new one with the 60' door...got to plan for the future :mrgreen:
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Re: Installing AeroLEDs Pulsar NSP strobe/position LEDs

Postby Chris B » Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:42 pm

rwtucker wrote:Thanks for this. Very cool. What did it cost?
Hi Robert -

You are quite welcome!

The cost is about $1k for the TSO version, plus installation (which depends on your local rate and/or how much of this you do yourself). My labor estimate is less than a day by a competent A&P with the right tools, etc.

rwtucker wrote:Also, do you still get the position light verification that is so convenient on the Whelens.
The cockpit verification is the bright glow on the ramp! :D

Seriously, except in broad daylight you can clearly see the reflection even on asphalt.
But in any case, with a 50,000 hour rated life, the LEDs will probably last longer than the airframe!

Chris
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Re: Installing AeroLEDs Pulsar NSP strobe/position LEDs

Postby rwtucker » Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:56 pm

Thanks Chris. It is a very nice conversion and it looks to be quite a bit more solid than the glass tips swaged into the thin aluminum cap on the Whelens. I never liked that design.

Next we need an LED replacement for the HID landing. They are rated at 2,000+ plus but they begin losing intensity much sooner than that.
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Re: Installing AeroLEDs Pulsar NSP strobe/position LEDs

Postby Chris B » Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:06 pm

rwtucker wrote:Next we need an LED replacement for the HID landing. They are rated at 2,000+ plus but they begin losing intensity much sooner than that.
I'd probably prefer LEDs (lighter, less power, bulletproof, etc.), but per this thread (link), new bulbs are surprisingly cheap (~$85 ea). So even if you put in new bulbs every 500 hrs, it is probably not cost-effective to replace the HIDs.

Now if I had incandescent landing/taxi lights...

Chris
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Re: Installing AeroLEDs Pulsar NSP strobe/position LEDs

Postby Gasser » Sun Apr 14, 2013 1:12 pm

Chris, any finished pics of your lights with the rivet covered up? What did you use to fill the hole? Did you have to re paint the whole tip?

I was wondering if a simple button plug would suffice?

Are you still happy with them? This is my next and probably last upgrade unless the supercharger comes through.

Jeff
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Re: Installing AeroLEDs Pulsar NSP strobe/position LEDs

Postby Chris B » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:35 pm

Gasser wrote:Chris, any finished pics of your lights with the rivet covered up? What did you use to fill the hole? Did you have to re paint the whole tip?

I was wondering if a simple button plug would suffice?

Are you still happy with them? This is my next and probably last upgrade unless the supercharger comes through.

Jeff
No additional pics. I just used some touch-up paint on the very small flat rivet surface. I considered filling/sanding/etc, but decided that was not worth the hassle.

I am very happy with these strobes and would definitely do this again.

Chris

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