Airport Taxiway Lights In The House


Old 08-03-14, 07:55 PM
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Airport Taxiway Lights In The House


I'm not a residential electrician, but I have 3 years experience in aircraft maintenance school (lots of electrical work). I acquired three Siemens 48A0007 airport taxiway lights (which line the edges of taxiways that aircraft taxi on), and I am wanting to convert them for residential power. My question is below:

- The bulbs are 6.6A/45W (type T10/P) (see attached photo).
- The light fixture has a L-823 plug/cord set. The L-823 is an FAA specification, which is a 2-pronged plug (the FAA documentation says, "Electrical Connection. The electrical rating of each connector must not be less than 5000 Volts (V) for type I connectors, or 600 V for type II connectors. The voltage drop across the contacts of a connected plug and receptacle must not exceed 7.5 millivolts (mV) for the Type I connectors and must not exceed 6.0 mV for the Type II connectors." My fixture's plugs are Type II (see attached photo).

If I cut off the L-823 plug, can I splice-in a residential plug? If so, are there any considerations (wire gauge, plug type, ground wire, etc.)? I'd like to just replace the L-823 plug with a residential plug and plug it into the wall. Is this feasible, or are there voltage/amperage considerations that I'm not aware of? Thank you for any help!

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Old 08-03-14, 08:21 PM
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Electrical Supply
Suitable for use in 6.6A airfield lighting circuits normally supplied from 1 x 45W isolating transformer. Power consumption varies between 30W and 45W depending upon type of lamp used.
it has a odd power supply.

i would take it apart...put a normal lamp holder in it with a 3 wire pigtail.
Old 08-03-14, 08:26 PM
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The runway and taxiway lights I have been fairly familiar with are all high voltage systems. I doubt you can make these work without a transformer. What is the voltage rating of the lights you have?
Old 08-03-14, 08:28 PM
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The T10/P bulb is nominally 6.8 volts at roughly 6.6A.
Old 08-03-14, 11:34 PM
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Assuming everything is 600V rated, you could probably cut the plug off and install a normal 5-15 plug only IF you can find a 120V rated bulb. It looks like it's a P28s bease like what's used in some stage lighting. If so, this bulb here should work.
Old 08-04-14, 05:58 AM
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I would gut the fixtures and install a socket for a more commonly available bulb to get away from the expense of aircraft/airport priced components. You have the option to run it on 120VAC or 12VDC.
Old 08-04-14, 10:05 AM
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Thank you everyone for your kind responses. The T10/P bulbs are $5.50 at Genesis Lamp (6.6A/45W - T10/ P - Taxiway Edge Identification Bulb - Airport Lighting), so the price isn't bad at all. But, I'm more concerned with the need for transformers, as CasualJoe mentioned.

If I did splice-in a 5-15 plug:
1) How would one splice the existing two wires to the three-wire leads of the 5-15 plug?
2) After wiring the 5-15 plug, is there any possibility of damaging the house wiring (or even a fire) if I then simply plugged it into the house socket (without a transformer)? At the end of the day, I'm not familiar with the differences between 600V requirements and residential 120VAC and 28VDC.

That said, I'll stop by an electrical supply and see what I can do about gutting/replacing the bulb socket/wiring/plug. Maybe that is the most-feasible. Thank you!
Old 08-04-14, 12:18 PM
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The lamp you posted might not be a 120 volt lamp. It is likely 347-600 volt based on that fact connecter is 600 volt rated, and what others have posted here.

Electrical components are required to be rated for the voltage they will be used for. Normal parts are either 120, 250, or 600 volt rated for standard voltages. (There are others) Since yours are 600 volt rated it can be assumed that the voltage normally used on those lamps is greater then 250 volts.
Old 08-04-14, 08:37 PM
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The connector rating is not (necessarily) representative of the voltage needed to power the lights, romex is rated at 600V... It's more of an indication of the insulation/isolation of the individual conductors.

The lamp is rated at 6.6A and 45W which implies (meaning no ballast or power supply circuitry embedded in the base) a voltage of V=P/I = 45watts / 6.6Amps = 6.82 volts

You will need a 20:1 transformer to use AC power or a DC power supply rated at 6.5v or less nominally (6v lawnmower battery).

6.6A is a large load so make sure if you pick out a DC power supply it can provide 6.6A at 6.5 volts or your lights will be dim.

I would start with an ATX (standard desktop computer) power supply and run the light off of 5VDC and see if it's bright enough, if so you should be able to power a few lights off of one power supply.
Old 08-05-14, 12:36 PM
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These lights were wired into series circuits (like giant Christmas lights). The specifications you gave suggest that supply voltage could be as high as 5000 volts . The exact supply voltage (using a transformer) depended on the number of lights desired. Or the supply voltage could be 4160 or 2400 volts directly off of a primary distribution line, or 550 to 600 volts off of a street railway line and the number of lights chosen to match that.

The advantage of a series string was fewer amperes and therefore lighter and less expensive wiring down the length of the runway compared with 120 volts. Here the entire circuit would draw 6.6 amps.

As an example consider a mile long runway. The wiring would be almost 11000 feet round trip. Eight gauge copper has a resistance of about 0.63 ohms per 1000 feet or about 7 ohms total. Times 6.6 amperes equals 46 volts lost in the entire loop's wiring regardless of the supply voltage or lamp voltage.

If there were 100 lights along the runway then they need 680 volts in a single series string. Add a few more volts to compensate for the voltage drop to make about 720 volts for the entire circuit (Type I connectors).

You could retrofit the fixture with a socket and power plug for a 120 volt household fixture but you will still have the 45 watt limit per fixture for an incandescent bulb. The 600 volt rated wiring will work fine with 120 volts. Oh, by the way you will occasionally run into household components such as receptacles rated for 600 volts although 250 volt and 125 volt ratings are more common.

Last edited by AllanJ; 08-05-14 at 01:23 PM.

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