Perhaps you’re in the same situation that I’m in. Every time I do an avionics upgrade I watch my ammeter needle creep up a notch. At what point do my alternator and voltage regulator just give up the ghost and fail? Back in 1977 when my airplane was built there wasn’t a computer or display screen anywhere to be found in my plane. In fact, the smallest computer you could get took an entire room to house. And now? I counted 13 computers in my plane.
So how are we going to get some of that power usage down without turning off my expensive avionics? We’re going to do it the same way we do it at home. We’re going to replace incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs. These new bulbs use a fraction of the power that the old bulbs did, run cooler, and will last forever. In fact, they should last the life of the plane.
First, you’re going to have to buy your replacement bulbs. Aircraft Spruce and other sources have them. Whelen Aerospace Technologies is a good resource if you want to go directly to the manufacturer. Aircraft Spruce has a light bulb section, and you can pick these out very easily. I’ll put the part numbers that I used below. My airplane is 12VDC and so I’m picking 12V bulbs. If your plane is 24V, you’ll need different bulbs. Choose wisely!
The bulbs we’re going to replace are as follows:
Wing tip position lights:
11-07512 12V Green LED bulb, $34.75 each
11-09299 Clear lens, $15.65 each
Landing gear panel lights:
11-09629 white LED bulb, $6.95 each
Pick for your airplane, $633 to $761
These are all as easy as pie to replace and so I’m going to keep the article short and put the directions with each picture. When it’s done, I’m sure you’ll see your ammeter move downward. And you’ll never have to buy another light bulb, either. Good luck!