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Help with laws, modifications vs accessories, Regarding Interior lighting.



 
 
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  #1  
Old March 12th 07, 10:52 PM posted to rec.aviation.owning
EridanMan
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 208
Default Help with laws, modifications vs accessories, Regarding Interior lighting.

Hey Guys,

I was at Walgreens today, and I saw some cheap interior lights for
cars (LEDs) which plug into a cigarette lighter and light up your
dash... The lights were the wrong color, but otherwise I was
intrigued.

It got me thinking about doing a similar thing to upgrade the pathetic
night-lighting of my panel.

My question is-

My Cherokee has the old panel, complete with the cosmetic plastic
overlay that goes on top. I could get a couple Dozen LED's and a
12-14vdc dimmer switch to control them for relatively cheap online.
It strikes me that it would be a relatively easy deal to then take the
plastic panel off, shave back the instrument holes a bit, and then
secure LED's behind the plastic so that they would illuminate the
gauges... I could do all of this and then just hook up the input power
to a standard cigarette lighter plug... Bingo - cheap, modern,
dimmable panel lighting.

Is this legal?

The general rule of thumb that I've heard is that if it screws down,
its not an accessory, and yes, the plastic cover does screw onto the
main panel... I could always change that to secure it with Velcro if
need-be (although I would prefer not too).

It seems like such a trivial mod, would I really need to go through a
337 hassle with it?

Thanks for all input
-Scott

Ads
  #2  
Old March 13th 07, 01:42 AM posted to rec.aviation.owning
Don Tuite
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 319
Default Help with laws, modifications vs accessories, Regarding Interior lighting.

On 12 Mar 2007 15:52:38 -0700, "EridanMan"
wrote:

Hey Guys,

I was at Walgreens today, and I saw some cheap interior lights for
cars (LEDs) which plug into a cigarette lighter and light up your
dash... The lights were the wrong color, but otherwise I was
intrigued.

It got me thinking about doing a similar thing to upgrade the pathetic
night-lighting of my panel.

My question is-

My Cherokee has the old panel, complete with the cosmetic plastic
overlay that goes on top. I could get a couple Dozen LED's and a
12-14vdc dimmer switch to control them for relatively cheap online.
It strikes me that it would be a relatively easy deal to then take the
plastic panel off, shave back the instrument holes a bit, and then
secure LED's behind the plastic so that they would illuminate the
gauges... I could do all of this and then just hook up the input power
to a standard cigarette lighter plug... Bingo - cheap, modern,
dimmable panel lighting.

Is this legal?

The general rule of thumb that I've heard is that if it screws down,
its not an accessory, and yes, the plastic cover does screw onto the
main panel... I could always change that to secure it with Velcro if
need-be (although I would prefer not too).

It seems like such a trivial mod, would I really need to go through a
337 hassle with it?

No comment about the legality or wisdom of your plan, but if you
decide to go ahead with it, go to www.linear.com or www.maximic.com
and pick out a suitable LED driver with dimming (and read the data
sheets). You can order the parts for DigiKey.

Don

  #3  
Old March 13th 07, 04:17 PM posted to rec.aviation.owning
Michael[_1_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 185
Default Help with laws, modifications vs accessories, Regarding Interior lighting.

On Mar 12, 5:52 pm, "EridanMan" wrote:
My Cherokee has the old panel, complete with the cosmetic plastic
overlay that goes on top. I could get a couple Dozen LED's and a
12-14vdc dimmer switch to control them for relatively cheap online.
It strikes me that it would be a relatively easy deal to then take the
plastic panel off, shave back the instrument holes a bit, and then
secure LED's behind the plastic so that they would illuminate the
gauges... I could do all of this and then just hook up the input power
to a standard cigarette lighter plug... Bingo - cheap, modern,
dimmable panel lighting.

Is this legal?


You just said it's cheap and modern - obviously it's not legal.

The general rule of thumb that I've heard is that if it screws down,
its not an accessory, and yes, the plastic cover does screw onto the
main panel... I could always change that to secure it with Velcro if
need-be (although I would prefer not too).


No you can't. That would be an alteration.

It seems like such a trivial mod, would I really need to go through a
337 hassle with it?


If you want to be legal, it's even worse that that. You would need a
field approval. And you can't get one. They're not issuing them
anymore.

Ten years ago, when I started working on my A&P, this would have been
easy. There was a field approval granted to a Pacer for basically the
same thing you want to do, except wired in rather than plugged in, and
you could have gotten a 337 approved based on the prior field approval
in a similar aircraft. Those days are gone.

So now you're not going to get modern, cheap, and legal. But that's
really not the issue. You can't comply with all the regulations
anyway - the question is what can you get away with.

Realistically, you have four options.

Option 1 - semi-legal. We could decide that this is a minor
alteration involving the installation of an owner-produced part. As
the regs are actually written, it's even true. Jim Weir has made a
business of this. If you can find an A&P who will sign off on this,
you're fine - unless your IA is a pain in the ass who says it's not
legal, and maybe even calls the FSDO for "clarification" - and believe
me, when an IA calls the FSDO for clarification, unless he really,
really pushes hard for the answer to be "it's legal" it always comes
back otherwise.

As an A&P, I wouldn't sign it unless I knew the IA who was going to do
the annual for the forseeable future and was verbally assured by him
that he was cool with it.

Option 2 - marginally legal. Do it, don't tell anyone, remove it
before annual, reinstall it after (should take 20 minutes). Chances
of being busted - essentially nil. If you are busted, claim
ignorance. After all, the stuff YOU added is not permanently
installed - just tape and/or velcro - and you only removed and
reinstalled the cosmetic panel cover (which you are allowed to do) to
get to where you needed to put the lights. Worst you get is a slap on
the wrist.

Option 3 - live with what you have.

Option 4 - pay through the nose for a certified system.

Sorry to burst your bubble.

Michael

  #4  
Old March 13th 07, 04:33 PM posted to rec.aviation.owning
Steve Foley
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 563
Default Help with laws, modifications vs accessories, Regarding Interior lighting.

"Michael" wrote in message
ups.com...


If you want to be legal, it's even worse that that. You would need a
field approval. And you can't get one. They're not issuing them
anymore.


Is this a blanket statement, or are some FSDOs issuing them and some not?


  #5  
Old March 13th 07, 06:07 PM posted to rec.aviation.owning
Tri-Pacer
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 120
Default Help with laws, modifications vs accessories, Regarding Interior lighting.


If you want to be legal, it's even worse that that. You would need a
field approval. And you can't get one. They're not issuing them
anymore.


Is this a blanket statement, or are some FSDOs issuing them and some not?


If you have a working relationship with your PMI, reasonable field approvals
aren't hard to get.

If you can come up with another approved 337 as acceptable data then the
approval is real easy.

Cheers:

Paul Anton
N1431A
(A&P IA)


  #6  
Old March 13th 07, 06:09 PM posted to rec.aviation.owning
EridanMan
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 208
Default Help with laws, modifications vs accessories, Regarding Interior lighting.

You just said it's cheap and modern - obviously it's not legal.

Why was I afraid you'd say that.

If you want to be legal, it's even worse that that. You would need a
field approval. And you can't get one. They're not issuing them
anymore.


Where did you hear this?

I've heard its still a pain in the ass, but not that they've stopped.

Option 1 - semi-legal. We could decide that this is a minor
alteration involving the installation of an owner-produced part. As
the regs are actually written, it's even true. Jim Weir has made a
business of this. If you can find an A&P who will sign off on this,
you're fine - unless your IA is a pain in the ass who says it's not
legal, and maybe even calls the FSDO for "clarification" - and believe
me, when an IA calls the FSDO for clarification, unless he really,
really pushes hard for the answer to be "it's legal" it always comes
back otherwise.


I'll talk to my mech about this.

Option 2 - marginally legal. Do it, don't tell anyone, remove it
before annual, reinstall it after (should take 20 minutes). Chances
of being busted - essentially nil. If you are busted, claim
ignorance. After all, the stuff YOU added is not permanently
installed - just tape and/or velcro - and you only removed and
reinstalled the cosmetic panel cover (which you are allowed to do) to
get to where you needed to put the lights. Worst you get is a slap on
the wrist.


Strikes me as being more trouble than its worth.

Option 3 - live with what you have.


For the time being I have no choice... in all reality though, a 15
dollar selectable red/white LED head-lamp does everything I need.

Option 4 - pay through the nose for a certified system.


A fool and his money...

Sorry to burst your bubble.


NP, thanks for the in-depth answer

-Scott

  #7  
Old March 13th 07, 11:05 PM posted to rec.aviation.owning
Michael[_1_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 185
Default Help with laws, modifications vs accessories, Regarding Interior lighting.

On Mar 13, 11:33 am, "Steve Foley" wrote:
Is this a blanket statement, or are some FSDOs issuing them and some not?


Every FSDO is a kingtom unto itself. I hear there are still a few,
here and there, where the old guys are hanging on, and doing things as
they have always done them, essentially ignoring the directives from
above. Haven't actually seen it.

I know that in the Houston FSDO, unless there is specific guidance for
the field approval (such as for the installation of a GPS), it won't
happen. Owner-produced modifications? Only if you can prove they are
identical to a certified part.

Michael

  #8  
Old March 14th 07, 12:35 AM posted to rec.aviation.owning
Stan Prevost
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 118
Default Help with laws, modifications vs accessories, Regarding Interior lighting.

Why not just wear an LED headlamp? Red, white, whatever color you prefer.
The light always shines where you point your nose.

Stan


"EridanMan" wrote in message
ups.com...
Hey Guys,

I was at Walgreens today, and I saw some cheap interior lights for
cars (LEDs) which plug into a cigarette lighter and light up your
dash... The lights were the wrong color, but otherwise I was
intrigued.

It got me thinking about doing a similar thing to upgrade the pathetic
night-lighting of my panel.

My question is-

My Cherokee has the old panel, complete with the cosmetic plastic
overlay that goes on top. I could get a couple Dozen LED's and a
12-14vdc dimmer switch to control them for relatively cheap online.
It strikes me that it would be a relatively easy deal to then take the
plastic panel off, shave back the instrument holes a bit, and then
secure LED's behind the plastic so that they would illuminate the
gauges... I could do all of this and then just hook up the input power
to a standard cigarette lighter plug... Bingo - cheap, modern,
dimmable panel lighting.

Is this legal?

The general rule of thumb that I've heard is that if it screws down,
its not an accessory, and yes, the plastic cover does screw onto the
main panel... I could always change that to secure it with Velcro if
need-be (although I would prefer not too).

It seems like such a trivial mod, would I really need to go through a
337 hassle with it?

Thanks for all input
-Scott



  #9  
Old March 14th 07, 04:44 PM posted to rec.aviation.owning
JB
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 69
Default Help with laws, modifications vs accessories, Regarding Interior lighting.

On Mar 13, 8:35 pm, "Stan Prevost" wrote:
Why not just wear an LED headlamp? Red, white, whatever color you prefer.
The light always shines where you point your nose.

Stan


After wearing one for several flights, I found it to be very
uncomfortable. No matter how loose I made the strap (just short of
falling down), the pressure on my forehead gave me a headache after an
hour or so. I've now got one of those 3-LED lights you clip on the
front of a ball cap. Same lighting, no square indent on my
forehead! The only thing I miss is that the headlamp had an up/down
swivel...abit better for looking down at a map.

--Jeff

  #10  
Old March 14th 07, 05:17 PM posted to rec.aviation.owning
John[_9_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 103
Default Help with laws, modifications vs accessories, Regarding Interior lighting.

On Mar 13, 6:05 pm, "Michael"
wrote:
On Mar 13, 11:33 am, "Steve Foley" wrote:

Is this a blanket statement, or are some FSDOs issuing them and some not?


Every FSDO is a kingtom unto itself. I hear there are still a few,
here and there, where the old guys are hanging on, and doing things as
they have always done them, essentially ignoring the directives from
above. Haven't actually seen it.

I know that in the Houston FSDO, unless there is specific guidance for
the field approval (such as for the installation of a GPS), it won't
happen. Owner-produced modifications? Only if you can prove they are
identical to a certified part.

Michael



It is going to get worse. I just got a copy of the SAE journal where
PAMA (Professional Aviation Maintenance Association) has a page and it
seems there is a new notice of proposed rulemaking that would outlaw
the fabrication of replacement parts entirely. If approved then if it
doesn't come from an OEM or a PMA you cannot make it. The rule was
published after the comment period ended. I hope that PAMA, EAA, AOPA
etc. jump all over this one.

I don't think anyone at the FAA realizes what they are doing. They
are not going to make aviation safer by going this route. People will
just go underground. They will make the replacement part and then get
creative in installing it to look like it was thier all the time.
Then they won't make any record of it. Once they start doing that
with simple brackets and doublers they will move on to other parts.
Eventually you will see an entire underground aviation economy where
mechanics will give up thier licenses and continue to work without
regard to the FAA at all. It's already happening in lots of small out
of the way airports but it will spread.

John Dupre'

 




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