White lights lead to red lights…

and red lights lead to an exit.  We’ve all heard this countless times and my sis has probably said it more than she cares to admit.  You hear it every time you fly with an airline of any size.  Today was my day to play with those lights. 

One of our Embrear 120’s has been in for a heavy inspection for a while now.  This one’ s set up for carrying passengers and has all the standard airliner safety features including floor strip lights.  Back when it first came into the hangar, I rewired a short portion of the strip lighting because the forward two lights wouldn’t work.  The interior was gutted and the floor was out of the airplane so it was fairly easy to get to all the wires.    The system runs off a pretty low voltage circuit and is wired with really small gauge wire.  Splicing the wires is an exercise in patience and detail work.  The pins coming out of the lamps are about .020 of an inch in diameter.  I found a pair of loose wires at a splice and replaced the offending splice with a newer, soldered joint.  I couldn’t do the usual operational check after I finished the wiring,  we had the system deactivated, and I was certain my fix was a good one when I did it.  

The floor’s back in and we’re down to a few open panels and some ops checks; one of these is for the emergency lighting scattered around the inside and outside of the airplane.  Yes, there are lights over the wings so you can find your way after going out the overwing exits.   I flipped the test switch for all the emergency lighting (it comes on automagically when it’s really needed) and fer cryin’ out Christmas tree lights, the front two floor lights are out.  Still.  So I pull up the floor (again), yard the short section of wiring and light sockets out, and start tracing wires with my handy-dandy, geek-o-matic multimeter. Turns out there were a few more bad splices in this section and, based on the meter checks, my original fix was, in fact, good. 

Back in goes the floor and the carpeting, up through the little hole comes the front two lights.  Along with a broken wire.  At least this time I can get to the break and get a solid splice on it.  One more time with the emergency lights switch and Bob’s yer Uncle.  Install all the little red and white lenses, the covers, and all the screws.  Just for kicks, I try the lights one more time….

 White lights lead to red lights and red lights lead to exits…..


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