Here is a link to the thread: http://www.teamkitfox.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=2221&page=2
“I have been evaluating whether to use LEDs or traditional position/strobe lights on my RV-10. At first I thought the cost difference between LEDs and traditional nav/pos/strobes was much greater. However, as I looked into it, I realized that the costs are pretty close. Two mistakes I made in my initial evaluation might be made by others. I assumed (incorrectly) that the $95 wingtip landing lights sold by Van’s included the wingtip pos/strobe lights because both are in all the pictures on the Van’s website and catalog – it is a bit deceiving, though I’m sure not intentional. I also neglected to include the cost (and weight) of the strobe power supply. So, this is how the two options priced out for me, using pricing on Van’s website for AeroLEDs products: Traditionals lights/strobes Wingtip nav/pos/strobes: 2 each A650-PG-14 = $338 Power supply for three strobes= $390 Tail Position/strobe (LN A500-14) = $144 Total = $872Aero Leds Suntail = $340 NS90 = $760/pair Total = $1100Difference = $228 This does not include or consider the higher cost and hassle and weight of strobe wiring or the increased reliability of the LEDs or the possibility of RF interference with the longer runs of strobe wires needed with the traditional system. It also assumes the LEDs are as bright or brighter than the traditional lights, which I cannot verify personally but have heard/read anecdotally they are very close. In my view, for a difference of $228 there is no reason not to use the LEDs. My initial error in the evaluation is probably due to me being new at this, but others may be in the same boat. Thought I’d post it for general consumption.”
Thanks for a great product.”
When I totally rewired my -8 last fall/this winter I decided I would make use of the new LED nav/strobe technology. These devices save as much weight as they do power consumption. I ran 18 ga. wire for the nav lights and 18 ga. for the strobes. Probably could have run 20 ga. and been OK. I’m pretty anal about weight – WHY didn’t I run 20??
After the Suntail was installed and I flipped the switches for the nav and strobe, I was amazed by the light output from this LED system. The white nav light output of the Suntail seems to be about the same as the tail light on a Whelen A600 combo unit. The strobe appears much brighter than the Whelen Xenon strobe unit. The Suntail needs no power pack and is very light weight. And just as importantly, the Suntail does not produce any noise that I could detect in the radio/intercom system using a Bose X headset. I am impressed by the products and the folks at AERO LEDS too. I have spent in total close to an hour talking to Nate about their products and the engineering behind them. He’ll spend as much time as you need, answering any question you might have. The products are impressive and the company is as well.
Again, just my opinion.”
Through an odd set of circumstances, I ended up with two of the new all LED rear position/strobe lights intended to replace the ubiquitous Whelen A500 used on the rudder fairing of our RVs – a PosiStrobeXP from Aveo Engineering and a Suntail from AeroLEDs. Since I have both of these units, I thought I would do a little direct comparison of them for your enjoyment. You can get information on both of these lights from their websites: www.aveoaviationlights.com and www.aeroleds.com
A few disclaimers: I don’t claim that my testing methods are particularly valid. I don’t have a certified and calibrated lab so my results are probably worth what you paid for them. For background on my test setup, methodologies, and my obsession with this topic, see THIS thread. The only thing I can say is that I am testing both units the same way with the same test setup. Also, I have no affiliation with either of these two companies – I’m just an RV-7 builder who wants to use LED lights on his plane.
Basically, all I am trying to do with the tests is to get a warm fuzzy that these lights are probably compliant with the FARs and are quiet enough electrically to use on our planes. I do not expect to measure the light output to the nearest 0.25 candela! To give me that warm fuzzy, I am looking for something north of 20 candela on axis for the position light component and at least 500-600 peak candela on axis for the anti-collision. If you go look at the FAR for the anti-collision lights, it requires a minimum of 400 effective candela for the worst case coverage angles. But if you go dig through the math of how the effective intensity is calculated, it’s obvious that your peak intensity must be significantly higher. 500-600 seems to be a reasonable minimum.
So what were my results? Here are the light intensity measurements all taken on axis at a distance of 12″:
Position Light Only: 29fc ~= 29cd
Strobe Only: N/A
Strobe + Position Light: 265fc peak ~= 265cd peak
Position Light Only: 30fc ~= 30cd
Strobe Only: 596fc peak ~= 596cd peak
Strobe + Position Light: 625fc peak ~= 625cd peak
Note: The PosiStrobeXP runs the position light anytime the strobe is on so I was unable to get a “strobe only” measurement for it.
The electrical noise test is a little more subjective. I used my Icom A24 handheld radio for these tests rather than digging out my Icom A210 and antenna like I did the last time around.
The PosiStrobeXP does generate some noise that is picked up on the A24. It appeared quiet at a distance of about 3.5 feet but you could “hear” the strobe as you got the antenna closer until it essentially blanked out the reception with the antenna next to the light or the wires feeding it.
The Suntail was absolutely dead quiet everywhere as far as I could tell. I could even lay the A24 antenna on the light or the wires feeding it and there was no noise at all.”
While at the AeroLED booth I also looked at their new AERO-PULSAR Nav/Strobe/Pos wing tip lights that they were still developing and they said that they should be out by the end of this year. They had a show special — If you paid $200 down they would knock off $150 from the list price, and if you didn’t like them when you got them you would get your money back. Because these are also LED’s they will draw a lot less Amps compaired to the Aeroflash lights I am now using. With the new lights I will not need my tail light, but they said they are working on an LED tail/strobe light that will fit my mount. I will be installing a new tail light when they are available (The more strobes the better).”