For those of you who want the best of the best in landing lights, this is a treat for you. If you've never heard of HID's, here's a rundown of what they are. HID stands for High Intensity Discharge. They're a bulb that doesn't use a filament, which is one good reason why they're so durable. Standard aircraft bulbs will usually last 25 hours as a standard, with some of the Halogens lasting more like 100 hours. These HID's are sold as "Lifetime" bulbs. They will generally last thousands of hours. The bulb itself is ignited by a high AC voltage, stepped up with a ballast from a 12V source. There are various types of HIDs too. The D1S and D2S are 2 of them, with the D1S being the preferred bulb for our aviation purpose. The reason is that D1S bulbs have the igniter in the bulb base, whereas D2S has the igniter in the ballast. That means that the D2S bulbs have a high voltage wire (upwards of 20kV possible!) from the ballast to the bulb that can cause lots more noise, while the D1S wiring doesn't get to the high voltage step until it's right at the bulb. You really want D1S bulbs for your HID's in your plane if you want to do all you can to not have to worry about radio interference. Duckworks HID's are definitely the D1S bulb type, as they have the igniter in the base. If you compare prices with places such as Aerovisions, you'll see that you're spending not only much less money than the competitiors, but they're not including a mount. Duckworks has a great mounting system with a large installed base of RV's.
One HUGE benefit in addition to lifetime of the bulb is the power draw. These HIDs draw about 35W during operation, which is about 3A. I've flown in planes with 250W bulbs, drawing over 20A of power. With HIDs, much more of the power goes into light, rather than heat (although they get hot too!). You'll actually have much less heat out of a HID than a 100W Halogen bulb. In addition, HIDs are generally about 3X brighter than Halogens in terms of candlepower. So, you get the best of all worlds.....SUPER bright, while being easy on your alternator and electrical system. Yeah, it might hurt the pocketbook up front though....HIDs are EXPENSIVE. But, you get what you pay for. If you're like me, and you want the brightest possible lighting, and you don't want to mess with changing lots of bulbs, you'll want HIDs.
For more info on HID's, here's a good link: http://faqlight.carpassion.info/headlamp-faq.htm
|Installing the Duckworks HID kit
Note: This is not intended to replace your installation guide! This page was written to allow you to see some photos of the process to give you better comfort with the concept of cutting a hole in your wing...a scary proposition for many. This page will not be updated, so please, follow your installation guide and use this page only as a reference for getting some added tips or perspective.
(Click on any image it increase it's size)
|Lens and Bulb Not Pictured||
This is the Duckworks HID light kit for the RV-10. The kit is the same as their other lighting install kits, so you can put in standard 50W or 100W round lamps if you wish for your initial flying and upgrade to HIDs later. You can also choose the rectangular light option...whatever fits your style or budget! This kit was just designed for the RV-10, and the lens mounting method is brand new.
The install kit is very complete, and comes with everthing you need to install the light in a leading edge. My bulbs aren't pictured here, as they were shipped separately and I began this construction before I received them. See later photos for pictures of the bulbs. You can tell that there was a lot of thought into making this kit work well for the builder. One other very impressive thing is that in my case, the hardware bags contained a couple of extras of some hardware. This is great, because I just happened to mess up a pop-rivet, and was glad there was a spare handy. Companies that do this automatically gain points with me. I should also note that Don and his wife at Duckworks are very friendly and willing to help, should you need any install guidance. The cost of the kit is fantastic for the completeness, and I'm sure that no matter what the bulb used, it should outperform those little MR-16 bulbs that are (were) the standard kit for RV-10's
|As you can see, there are very nice templates included for positioning both the landing light hole, and the mounting holes in the ribs. Using these templates provides the builder with the ability to peform the install with much less worry about how it will turn out.|
|The part that probably stresses out most builders most is the part where they have to cut into the wing. I ordered HID kits for both wings, so I got to do it twice. Let me tell you, after doing this I can definitely say that I think this kit is going to be about the best possible method for you to mount landing lights in your RV-10, and cutting the wing with it's included templates should not cause you ANY concern whatsoever if you work slowly. I drilled a nice large starter hole with a uni-bit, and then I got to use a brand new tool. When I started my RV-10, I bought this pneumatic body saw from Harbor Freight. I didn't know if I'd ever use it, but it was only something like $10 or $19, and I figured I'd keep it for just the right time. It has a stroke rate of something like 10,000 strokes/min. Your hands get numb while running it, it buzzes so fast! It's absolutely PERFECT for this job, and made it a piece of cake. It only took a minute to cut the hole, and then I used my pneumatic die grinder with a mini-scotchbrite wheel to deburr the hole. In less than 10 or 15 minutes, I had a hole in my wing, and it was very well shaped and smooth edged.|
2 photos show the before and after shots of trimming the mounting
bracket and extension bars. DO read your instructions.
Initially when I looked at the mounting bracket and held it up to
the wing, I assumed it had to mount in the 2nd bay from the
tip....being a one piece unit. As it turns out, the bracket is
cut apart and extended with bars to be able to match the length you
need for ANY bay in the wing. While on the subject of bays, the
directions tip you off that it will work in any bay, but they suggest
the outer one for structural reasons. I think that if you're
going to cut these holes in your wing, any sane person will choose the
outer bay if at all possible, for structural, cosmetic, functional, and
maintenance reasons. The outer bay should be pefect, even helping
to prevent the prop from being lit by the landing lights and causing
the strobe effect. As for the overall length of the bracket in my
personal situation, it was 15.5" overall. My bars were cut to
7.3", but that's just something that I picked out of thin air.
They could be a little longer if needed, and I'm sure they could
easily be 1" shorter, but 7.3" seemed just about right for me.
Hopefully my HID ballast will mount well right on the bracket in
some of the unused space.
In the photos, you can see the hatched area that gets cut out, and the end cut off from the bracket. The end with the light hole closest to it does not get cut off. You are basically going to cut off the end, and the leave a small tab that can be bent down on the bracket to help keep it's stiffness. ***Whoa!: After I received my bulbs and ballast, I found that I probably should have waited on the part where you bend the tab down. The ballast will mount very nicely, spanning the gap between the 2 sections, if you don't bend the tab down. You could bend it UP if you wish, or just cut it off. See pics towards the end.
|Thse photos show the installation of the nutplates on the ribs for mounting the bracket to the wing. It's a no brainer type of install...just make sure the nutplates are OUTSIDE of the bay that you're putting the light into. I'd also suggest drilling the center hole to a full #10, since you're going to put a #10 screw in it.|
(Skip this for HIDs)
|Fitting bracket in the wing||The bracket all drilled to go||Opposite side|
|This photo shows how you align the upper lens bracket to the skin for drilling the skin. In a difference to the plans, I moved my lens retainer up on the wing about .3" from the hole, rather than being right even with the hole. This just gives you more lens for which to put a seal around on the top edge. The 2 rivets shop heads are facing UP right now. These are just stops that will hold the lens side-to-side centered in the retainer. You just center the strip over the hole, and drill.||This
photo shows the arrangements of the 2 upper parts as they will later
fit into the wing. The skin holes get dimpled, and the retainer
spacer (Top #2) gets countersunk. That provides for a nice tight
fit for the lens to slip into. Note that this is NOT in place
right now...it would normall be UNDER the skin, with the holes lining
|These photos show the concept of the lower lens retainer. Again, a retainer with 2 rivets as stops gets sandwhiched together. In the 3rd photo, it's clecoed in place to drill the 3 skin holes. Then, you countersink and rivet them together. The 3 holes that are drilled into the skin don't get riveted...there are nutplates on the other side that get riveted on, and those 3 holes get countersunk with a #6 screw countersink....the one I don't have. That way this piece is removable with screws.|
photos show a couple views of the parts all alodined up (not required)
and assembled (required) for installation. The 2 nutplates
that hold the light retainer (next to the round hole) are riveted in
place too. Next to the main bracket, you can see the 2 lens
photos show the front and back side of the bottom lens retainer.
You can see that one side is flush, and the other has the
nutplates on it.
|Mounting into the Wing|
photos, above and below, all show various stages of mounting the lens
retainers and the main bracket. The first picture above shows
the upper lens retainer, and the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th shots show it
riveted in place. The one on the right shows another inside view.
You can see from the front side that the lens has a little gap
that it can slide into.
The lower pictures show the bracket inside the wing. you can just make out the 2 holes on the far end that you use to adjust the aim of the beam by tipping the bracket.
|Cutting the Lens|
cut the lens, there are numerous steps, and here I didn't go
exactly to plans...it just seemed too easy. You can see on the
right the "Tape Method" of pulling the lens tight to do the fitting and
tracing the lens cutout. This does seem to work just fine, but
since I have my wingtips off, I decided I'd push mine from the inside
out. Before you start, take masking tape (I prefer the blue as it
releases much easier later) and cover the lens. Draw a centerline
down it. Then when it's really tight in the hole, trace the hole
onto the tape. LABEL the top "TOP"....I accidently didn't do this
and the first time I went to cut the lens, I cut the bottom. No
big deal as there was plenty of material left, to cut it later, but
still.....do it right the first time.
After I had the hole traced, I used a thin ruler and measured back to the stops of where the lens hits the retainer. I then took this measurement and drew a line above the hole on the lens that was that much higher above the hole. In theory then, by cutting on this line, it should fit perfect on the top. You may want to leave 1/64" or so excess so you can sand it smooth later.
|To know how wide the lens COULD be cut to, you can use the bottom retainer and draw lines that are just inside the 2 rivet shop heads. You'll notice in my 2nd photo that I actually left the lens wider in the center, and tapered the lens back in to fit between the rivets on the top (and later on the bottom) After cutting, it slipped right up and fit into the retainer (see photo #3).|
|Match marking the bottom holes to lens|
|Then, I pushed hard on the lens to make sure it was tight, and drew with a marker where the 3 holes were on the bottom of the lens. From there, I used the bottom retainer as a guide, and drew a line on the lens that would put the lens right up to the stop on the retainer. Again, here you probably want to leave 1/16" excess or so....without the tape the lens will loosen, and you'll be finishing the edges of the lens later with a file or abrasive paper. After I had the length right, I did a test fit and got the width right. Then in photo 4 you can see me holding it in place in the wing.|
a good internal view of the lens mounted into the wing.
Everything seems to fit just fine. The corner doesn't have
tape on it, so it isn't blue. I did have a kickback while
trimming with my bandsaw the did cause me to have to knock a little
more off one of the corners. It will probably work fine, but I'm
just going to order a new lens anyway just to make it perfect.
They're cheap enough. The only issue is that on the top,
one of the edges isn't real close to the stop rivet, so in theory, it
could slide over that way on top. With the wind pushing it, and
with it intstalled, I'm sure it would never be a problem, but I may as
well get it perfect from the get-go.
Advice on trimming....a bandsaw works fantastically, but, do keep the lens flat on the table of the bandsaw. Due to the curve, I allowed mine to be about 1/2" off the table when I started the cut, which is why the blade grabbed and the quick kickback put a crack in that corner of the lens....so I had to trim around the cracked area to prevent it from spreading.
|Here's another photo of the lens fit into the wing. You can se that they did a great job with this kit, fitting the lens real nicely to the curve of the leading edge. As I said, this kit is complete, and well thought out. While people can try to engineer anything they want, from putting the lights into the wingtips, to putting them into the wheel pants, this kit is fantastic and makes a very good mount that I think will be functionally better than any of the other options available.|
|Mounting the Ballast (HIDs only)|
the ballasts was a breeze. The only real issue was that in those
earlier steps, I bent the tab downwards on the bracket, and that just
happened to get in the way of the ballast if I wanted to mount it like
this. This mounting seems to be really ideal for what I wanted,
so I just cut off the tab and left it. Added some nutplates
that were countersunk with flush rivets, and now the ballasts screw down nicely. The bulb is just sitting in place in these pictures, but you can see the igniter on the D1S bulb. The ballasts come with both wiring harnesses. One side just goes to 12V, the other has special plugs on each end so you can just plug it into the bulb
and you're done.
|Here's a front photo with the lens retainer put in place. In the end, I've alodined the lens retainter, and plan to paint the entire assembly the same color as the leading edge of the wing. I will post pictures later....much later, when I'm all done painting the wings, but from this point, you should be able to get the picture as to what these lights will look like. I'm going to leave the lenses out and everything apart until I get that far.|