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Old 12-17-2015, 01:37 PM
scrollF4's Avatar
scrollF4 scrollF4 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Flower Mound, TX
Posts: 1,632
Default Vinal Wrap's effect on LEDs and Comms (a good news story)

So I've been flying my newly-wrapped RV-7A KELLI GIRL (thanks again Scott Farnsworth and She flies as good as she now looks, but right up front I've encountered a totally new issue involving my LED nav/beacon lights and my VHF comms.

The airplane:

The lights: AeroLED Pulsar nav/strobes in the wings, and the SunTail position/strobe in the tail.

The radio: PS Engineering PAR100EX. (BTW, my comms 2 is the Dynon SkyView VHF, but this problem didn't impact that radio).

The problem: With the strobes and nav/position lights turned on, I got terrible noise on the PAR100EX radio on all frequencies. To be clear, it's not through the intercom function: It's through the radio when that radio is selected. The PAR100EX radio transmitted clearly, but the noise was excessive in receive mode. My friend Blake Graham and I checked both VHF antennae to be sure they were mounted properly (the AircraftWraps folks had to remove them for the vinal wrap job). Yes, they were properly remounted and grounded to the ground plane. We also swapped both antennae to see if the problem migrated from Comm 1 to dice.

Knowing that AircraftWraps also had to remove/reinstall the wingtips to wrap the wings, I checked the AeroLED connections at each end. Per AeroLED's installation instructions, I originally installed these lights using a shielded cable and used the shielding as the black wire ground run from the lights to a single common central ground point (the firewall). The instructions also had me run an indendent ground from each Pulsars' mounting chassis to a local ground point on each wingtip. These all looked properly connected after the wrap, but I still had that blasted racket in my headset.

I finally gave AeroLED a call, described the situation, and was surprised by their response (it's good, trust me). Their tech guy made this observation:
By wrapping the whole airplane in vinyl, I've basically insulated the aircraft, like shrink tube on a wire. By doing this, I've changed the airframe's impedence.

The solution: He recommended I disconnect the local chassis ground on each wingtip. I did that, and it worked perfectly. Who'da thunk it?

So my advice to all future aircraft wrappers: If you have comms issues after the wrap, and have LEDs installed like mine, you might try what I did.

Sid "Scroll" Mayeux, Col, USAF (ret)
52F NW Regional/Aero Valley Airport, Roanoke TX (home of DR's Van Cave)
"KELLI GIRL" N260KM RV-7A tipper
Catch her on YouTube's "Because I Fly!" channel

Exemption waived.
Proud and grateful 2021 -=VAF=- Contributor

PS: I am not an influencer. I have no influence. Just ask my kids.

Last edited by scrollF4 : 12-17-2015 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 12-18-2015, 12:50 PM
GKnut's Avatar
GKnut GKnut is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Posts: 28

Interesting. Since I will be using the same lights and wrapping the Mistress as well, I'll make a note when I'm connecting the lights up. Good info.
Glen Knutson
Virginia Beach, VA
RV-7 Empennage, wings and fuselage complete, engine and avionics to go.
RV-7 Tip-up w/IO-360

The best time to rest is at your funeral!

VAF donor: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
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Old 12-19-2015, 06:37 PM
rivetdriver rivetdriver is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: TX
Posts: 84

good to know.
I`ll be wrapping my wings .

Many F1 Rockets and EVO`s
5 RV7A`s
2 RV8`s
award winning F4 Raider fuselage
dues paid
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