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[Retrofit] Instrument Panel Lights ....


Jim Sower

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I've been doing some research lately on Instrument Panel lights. The guy who built my Velocity made very little effort at panel lighting. Altimeter, airspeed and attitude gyro have "post" lignts in two corners and there's a nearly imperceptable light from the overhead switch bank. That's about it (he was a dedicated VFR Day only pilot). At night, my wife holds a flashlight for me or I hold one in my mouth for such things as RPM, etc.

 

I did some asking around and was informed of all manner of really slick, creative ideas. Most of them best lent themselves to initial installation and were pretty expensive. None were partucularly economical or simple or easy retrofit. At John Slade's suggestion I started investigating LEDs and eventually came up with a dynamite solution.

 

I finally found a parts house that deals in the "Pacer" line (a company in LA) of LED running lights for trucks and pickups. Their part number 20-706 is a "bread loaf" shaped 12V LED cluster about 1/2" x 1/2" x 1-1/4" with five LEDs in a row, pigtail wires and a self adhesive bottom. They come six in a package for about $32. I checked them out and one unit will illuminate at least two adjacent instruments from a distance of about 12", so 3 or 4 max will brighten up the whole panel for me. I need to extend my glare shield back some to prevent the instrument lights I have (and the avionics LEDs) from reflecting in the windshield anyway, so I'll make it come back enough to house these LEDs.

 

My plan is to make 3 or 4 1/2" x 1/2" x 1-1/4" angles out of .025 Al and put the light on one face and velcro on the other. I'll be able to easily attach the lights wherever I wany until I have just the configuration I want and then (if I feel the need) mount them permanently. I can also make one shine down on my knee board. The wires that power them (they're wired in parallel and draw maybe 20 ma/unit)will tie into the current panel light circuit and hide quite nicely under the glare shield. Glare shield is upholstered cardboard so when I have it the way I want, I can make a permanent installation.

 

I'm sending one to John Slade, and he can forward it to anyone who expresses interest

 

Simple, Easy, Economical .... Jim S.

...Destiny's Plaything...

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I really like the light bezel rings. They are very thin plexi or some some of polycarbonate that fit between the front faces of the instrument cases and the instrument panel. There's an LED on each bezel and the light is directed onto the face of each instrument.

 

I believe they are made by UMA and can be had for as little as $30 a bezel plus $$ for the power supply during SNF or OSH.

 

I've flown in several planes that have them and I prefer them over post lamps or overhead lights.

 

Wayne Hicks

Wayne Hicks

Cozy IV Plans #678

http://www.ez.org/pages/waynehicks

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I've heard of them too. It is not clear to me how well they lend themselves to retrofit. Also, $30 per instrument for six or more instruments gets to be a piece of cash. I agree that they're preferable, but not affordable and questionable as retrofit stuff.

Jim

...Destiny's Plaything...

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The retrofit part is easy. They fit over the existing case face. If there's room for the case face to fit up to the instrument panel, then there's room for the bezel to fit too. No additional panel mods required. The wires from the LEDs to their power supply are very small. I agree that $30 times however many instruments can amount to a chunk of change compared to your proposed solution.

 

Wayne Hicks

Wayne Hicks

Cozy IV Plans #678

http://www.ez.org/pages/waynehicks

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  • 5 years later...

I have had a lot of luck using these little guys, they are a 3 bulb led, and they go for about 10.00 each, they run on 12V. Used em in my Semi to light up the cab, worked great. I love em. They are cheap and easy to install.

 

Somthing else you can do with them, is take some 10 gau aluminum, and a hole saw, cut out a 1.5" dia piece, then halv it, drill holes the same distance as the mounts on the light, and screw it in over the top of it, and it gives you a great directed light baffle.

 

http://www.maxxima.com/LCL-3-CL-specs.html

We make no mistakes, ONLY INNOVATIONS!

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