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#37045 04/20/04 08:29 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 257
I've just been told that I am going to run a job that involves the installation / replacement of runway and/or taxiway lights.

Anyone have experience with this type of work? Any advice?

Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 20
Sometime last year EC&M ran an article on runway lighting. I found it very interesting and informative because I have no experience in the field. Maybe someone else will have more luck finding the exact article.

Mark Stetson
Stetson Electric
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 717
Think SERIES circuit, one wire in, one wire out. Open circuit voltage is about 2,200 be VERY careful, learn to LIVE with LOTO. 5 kv cables, usually #6, crimp connectors with special ends.

Grounding is a special thing here. Normal grounding would take the load in a fault, so it DON'T look normal, trust your FAA rules.

Yup, lotsa experience, you'll know more when you see it, but it'll still take a lot of getting used to.

Write if you need.

Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 806
Series circuit? Interesting...

What would the reason for that be? It would seem that wiring all the lamps in series would be the LAST thing you would want to do from a reliability/redundancy POV. The old "if ONE goes out, they ALL go out" thing...

I must be missing something here. Obviously, no experience working on such things. Closest work I have ever done is warning lights on broadcast towers...

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 2,527
Seems to be two 'standard' loop currents—6.6 amp and 20 amp. The components are not interchangeable. 6.6-amp series area-lighting circuits have been around for probably a long time before there were airfields. Very common for (older) streetlighting.

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 599
I don't have any experience installing these but I understand they have voltage compensator's in each fixture. If one lamp goes out these units add the required resistance to keep the circuit operating.

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 717
Runway lighting is fed from a 20 amp constant current (which means variable voltage) transformer - aka "Tub" or "Regulator".

At each light you have a 6.6 amp transformer that insures if 1 light goes out, the rest remain on. From recollection the circuit voltage on the socket is around 300.

The FAA insists on this configuration because each light will always be the same intensity. There is no difference between the bulb you put in an hour ago, and the one that's been in there a year. You have shoulder lights (blue) every 200 feet - both sides, threshold lights, centerline lights, etc.. At Dulles there are 3 runways, including hold block, about 3 miles each, ya see how this gets out of hand?

You troubleshoot bad cable by grounding out the last known one, that "shoots around" on the ground and will pick up on the other side of the break. Neat huh???

You don't put the ground wire in the pipe with the energized conductor, or when a cable breaks, you'll never know it, AND you'll have an energized ground cable. You install a counterpoise ground in the trench with the conduit. It can be real confusing.

The next part is.... except for FAA documents, there is very little written material on this type of circuit and it's kinda "learn as ya go" thing.

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,723
Likes: 1
Broom Pusher and
Search the Electrical Theory and Applications section for past threads on these types of systems.

They ahve been discussed a few times in the past.


Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

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