Most builders will install either a position, recognition, landing/taxi lights and or an anti-collision strobe light on their airplane at some point during construction.
Others do not, but should you fly day VFR only, I would recommend to install at least a red tail strobe or wingtip strobe lights as a bare minimum as can be required in some countries. To see and be seen is the credo, especially in circumstances where visibility is reduced, in high traffic situations around airports and in training areas, where instructors are busy talking/ explaining with students.
The red aircraft beacon is usually mounted on the vertical fin (Cessna and Murphy types) and switched on to indicate a 'live' aircraft, i.e. with the engine about to start or already running.
On this page we show you the installation of the Kuntzleman Electronics, Inc - Red LED Aircraft Beacon in the top fairing of the vertical fin of a Murphy Elite aircraft.
The Red LED Beacon from KEstrobes is a completely sealed (to protect it from moisture), self contained unit powered by a 12 volt battery or a 12/14 volt DC source in an aircraft. Connecting this to an AC voltage will destroy the internal electronics, you need direct current. The unit utilizes surface mounted LEDs (light emitting Diodes) and meets all FAA requirements for anti-collision lights in airplane and rotorcraft categories. It flashes with 60 FPM.
Electrical connection to the unit is by two wires, a red and a black one. The black wire is ground (negative, -) and the red wire is positive, + 12/14 volts. If the aircraft frame is to be used as ground make sure that there is no (or a low < 0,5 Ω) resistance between the beacon ground connection and the NEG connection on the battery.
As the unit uses less than 0.6 A average (peak 1.2 A) thinner wires can be used compared to the normal old school rotating beacon which required much more amps. This saves total aircraft weight and also lowers the load on the battery/alternator.
WARNING: If you test the unit when it arrives, make sure NOT to look directly in the light! It is very bright and you will see green/gray dots for awhile afterwards. Don't say we did not warn you!
A stainless steel stud in the center base of the unit with 10-32 thread is provided with a self locking nut. We recommend buying the through hole fuselage mounting kit to install this Red LED beacon in your aircraft.
The mounting kit comes with an Outer Trim Ring, Inner Ring, mounting bracket, four 6-32 self locking nuts, two screws, nuts and lock washers and two mounting studs.
The Inner Ring is used as a template for the large hole (2.25") and the four mounting holes, draw the large hole and cut it out. Position the Inner Ring back over the hole and back drill the four small holes, a #30 will do fine. Assemble the Outer Trim Ring through four mounting holes and install the Inner Ring from the inside with the four self locking nuts. In our case the inner ring needed modification to facilitate installation in the narrow vertical fin fairing. See images below.
RTV sealant can be used as a gasket between the rings and in case of a top mount along the base of the lens. Slide the Red LED Beacon in the hole and install the mounting bracket over the base of the unit and Inner Ring. Tighten the nut, use the last two nuts and washers to tighten the mounting bracket to the Inner Ring. Loctite or any other type of thread locking fluid can be used to make sure the nuts will not come loose due to vibration.
Now connect wires with enough length to the unit, route them through the aircraft and connect to a 2 amp fast blow fuse and the beacon switch on your instrument panel, after this you are ready to go!
The installation process is straight forward, the instructions are clear and easy to follow. When installing in a top fairing like we did, it sometimes is necessary to modify the inner ring to make it fit the fairing. As you can see on the images below.