Saturday, February 2, 2013

Crimping Wiring Connectors, Progress Sort Of

With the weather outside being dreadful, (cold and lightly snowing the entire day), decided to move forward and crimp electrical connectors on all the lighting units. Was eager to try the recently procured Tool Aid 18937 dies made for smaller sized open barrel connector pins such as the .063” Molex pins AeroLEDs supplies with their LED lights. The 18937 dies did a great job on the “connector to wire crimp” and an acceptable but not perfect crimp on the strain relief crimp on the wire’s insulation ... so those crimps were tweaked slightly using another hand crimping tool I had.
                                   Staying warm inside while crimping connectors onto the landing light wires.
  Close up of the wire crimp created by the 18937 dies. I used a separate hand tool to tweak the strain relief crimp.
                                                                      A finished landing light connector.

Of note: Van’s plans has the builder place the wing’s wires into the male Molex connector for the landing light in no particular order then instructs the builder match wire for wire when placing the landing light’s wires into the light’s female Molex connector. This method will work just fine. That said, should the builder download the wiring schematic and expect the pin assignments to match, good luck! Therefore, I decided to assign the same wire/pin designations as denoted in Van’s downloadable wiring schematic. This will make future troubleshooting far easier should that ever be necessary. For those interested, the pin assignments for the landing light’s Molex connectors are as follows. (Since I’m installing two lights, the right landing light will be wired as a master and the left light as slave … a single light instillation will not use the master or slave wires).

Molex Connector     Light wire description and color
Pin 1                        Ground – Black
Pin 2                        Master Output – Green (wire to other light’s slave to sync wig wag)
Pin 3                        Slave Input – Blue  (N/C on master light, slave light receives wire
                                                                from master output here for wig wag operation)
Pin 4                        Wig Wag Power – Yellow  (will pulse a single light instillation)
Pin 5                        Landing Light Power - Red  (Light steady on)

Upon opening the box for the recently purchased landing light for the left wing, there was first a moment of shock and then aggravation … it was not the same light as the one originally shipped in the lighting kit purchased last summer! This newer landing light has four additional LED lights and more extensive heat sinking on the back when compared to the original light.
Front view … landing light on the left is the original light the one on the right is the new landing light just purchased.
                                            Back view … original light is on the left and one can clearly see all the
                                            additional heat sinking on the back of the new light on the right.

A quick visit to the AeroLEDs WEB site reveled at one point they sold an AeroSun 1600 (my original light) and a model called AeroSun Xtreme.  Both models have the same specifications as far as light output and current draw goes. However, the Xtreme light has four more LED’s plus additional heat sinking and was designed for enclosed spaces where there would be less airflow available to cool the light. The AeroLEDs WEB site now only shows the newer 12 LED light as the current product. They have apparently also changed the name of the light to just AeroSun and have apparently dropped the 1600 and Xtreme designations.  My newer landing light box just says AeroSun. I’m assuming they decided to drop the older design for the more heat forgiving newer Xtreme design.

Guess I’ll order another landing light from Van’s and see what shows up … then return the odd light. That way both wings will have the same style of landing light installed. I know, picky picky … but having two different styles of landing lights installed would forever bug me.

Fortunately, both navigation/strobe lights looked the same (except one has a red LED light and one had a green LED light inside). These lights are also shipped with the same style Molex connectors that were used for the landing lights so the same crimping tool was used to crimp connectors onto all the wires.
                                                       Finished connectors on both the navigation/strobe lights.

Much the same as the landing lights, Van’s plans has the builder randomly connect the wing’s wires to the male Molex connector for the nav/strobe lighting. The builder then matches those connections when wiring up the female Molex connector with the wires from the navigation/strobe lights. Here again, the odds of matching the main wiring schematic is slim at best … here again I opted to follow the pin assignments on the schematic for future clarity.

Molex Connector      Light wire description and color
Pin 1                          Ground – Black wire
Pin 2                          Strobe Power – Yellow wire
Pin 3                          Strobe Sync – Green wire
Pin 4                          Navigation Light Power – Red wire