Almost 40 percent of passengers said lighting was a driving factor when deciding to upgrade. It’s understandable to see why.
Travellers can now enjoy planetarium-like displays on cabin ceilings and sidewalls. Solar maps, the Northern Lights, sunrise and sunset are rendered beautifully by LED wash lights and projection systems.
Stargazing at 40,000 feet
Most new aircraft are delivered with mood lights already installed as manufacturers adopt a factory-fit attitude. The gaps left by older fleets are filled by retrofit programs, rolled out by airlines at their own cost but with big savings promised. In effect, any operator can now benefit from the weight saving and incredible reliability improvements the upgrade has over fluorescent tube systems.
From an advertising perspective, there are almost limitless opportunities. Any logo, image or video can be projected onto the cabin interior. Cruising to peaceful skyscape background before descending into scenes from the destination country during landing. The safety demonstration video could itself become a projection, accompanied by sidewall lights flashing distinctly around each exit door.
It’s true to say that LEDs, central to this new technology, do offer much longer MTBF (mean time between failure) intervals and therefore much bigger operational savings. Airlines will see a quick return on their investment but should also make contingencies for life beyond warranties. The testing and maintenance setup requires significant investment in uniquely coded software loaded into bespoke hardware rigs and trained personnel to carry out surface-mount replacements.
We see a large volume of LED lighting units at our UK repair facility so, for the tech savvy amongst you, here are the most common faults our engineers find.
Top 5 Failures:
- daughter board open circuit – containing fuses and anti-surge filters
- dry solder joints
- MOSFET blowing due to 2.
- end caps missing
- loose wires within the harness assembly
To match the increase of units received we have now expanded the Interior Lighting division. Each repair station includes the hardware and coded software to analyse light performance across each ‘mood setting’. The board-level soldering work is, along with gyroscopic instruments, some of the most intricate that the engineers at Oakenhurst undertake.