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Book 5 Module 7A

CATEGORY B1 B2
ELECTRICAL CABLE MAINTENANCE
EWIS
SOLDERING

Licence By Post

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issue number.

Licence By Post © Copyright B EASA 66 7.7 7.15(a) ISSUE 07 1010


© Licence By Post
No part of this study book may be re-produced or distributed in any form or by any means, or
stored in a data base or retrieval system in whole or in part without prior written permission
from Licence By Post.

Books in the LBP series are regularly up-dated/re-written to keep pace with the changing
technology, changing examination requirements and changing legal requirements.
AUTHORITY

It is IMPORTANT to note that the information in this book is for study/training


purposes only.

When carrying out a procedure/work on aircraft/aircraft equipment you MUST


always refer to the relevant aircraft maintenance manual or equipment
manufacturer’s handbook.

You should also follow the requirements of your national regulatory authority (the
CAA in the UK) and laid down company policy as regards local procedures, recording,
report writing, documentation etc.

For health and safety in the workplace you should follow the regulations/guidelines
as specified by the equipment manufacturer, your company, national safety
authorities and national governments.
CONTENTS

Page

Aircraft electrical cables – maintenance practices 1


Storage 2
Handling 3
Installation 3
Failures 5
Stripping 6
Crimping 7
AMP crimping 7
Powered crimping machines 13
ERMA hydraulic crimping machine 13
Testing of crimped joints 14
Plugs and sockets 15
Connector pin removal/insertion 17
Co-axial cable installation 21
Fibre optic cables and connectors 24
Wiring protection techniques 25
Protective sleeving techniques 27
Shielding 29
Cable changing 31
Electrical wiring interconnection system (EWIS) 33
Soldering 39
HOW TO TACKLE THIS BOOK

This book deals with syllabus item 7.7 (the Electrical Cables and Connectors element)
and item 7.15(a) (Soldering Methods) of the EASA Part 66 syllabus.

Note that as from September 28th 2010 syllabus item 7.7 of EASA Part 66 is re-titled
‘Electrical Wiring Interconnection System (EWIS)’. The contents are essentially the
same as under the old syllabus title but with the addition of EWIS installations, wire
types and damage tolerance.

EWIS maintenance will be in chapter 20 of the AMM.

It should be read in conjunction with the appropriate book in module 6, which gives
description and identification of aircraft electrical cables and types, and the book in
this series dealing with electrical test instruments.

Most of the book is straightforward. It is recommended that you have a close look at
the bonding and cable system on your aircraft, checking on the manufacturer, the
type of cable and identifying the codes. Check the wiring Manual/wiring diagrams
and make sure you understand the maintenance that can be carried out from visual
inspections through to complete cable replacement/testing and bonding checks.

Soldering of cables has mostly given way to crimping and is not often carried out on
aircraft – there are safety concerns such as burns from hot electrical irons and fire
risk from the same source as well as electrical supplies to the iron. It would be of
benefit if you can observe any soldering processes.

The requirements for the installation and maintenance of electrical cables and aircraft
bonding are laid down in British Civil Airworthiness Requirements (BCAR’s) D, K and
G (old system), now in EASA CS25 (large aircraft), EASA CS27 and 29 (helicopters),
EASA CS23 (small aircraft), EASA1 and CAP562 Civil Aircraft Airworthiness
Information and Procedures (CAAIPs) (CS = Certificate Specification).

It is recommended that you check on the latest amendments to the regulations in


CAP562 (CAAIPs) (electrical equipment). This section deals with aircraft electrical
cables and systems and can be read on the net at www.caa.co.uk.
AIRCRAFT ELECTRICAL CABLES – MAINTENANCE PRACTICES

Reliability is of prime consideration for aircraft cables since the performance and
safety of the aircraft and its occupants is dependant on electrically operated systems.
Care, therefore, must be exercised during the manufacturer and maintenance of
cables, looms and circuits and these must be fully tested after
manufacture/replacement/disturbance.

Listed below are a number of qualities that an aircraft cable should possess.

Minimum Weight and Size. Cables should be of minimum mass and size but at the
same time provide maximum insulative properties for the insulation cognisant with
the voltages to be carried and low resistivity coefficients for the conductors.

Resistance to Fluids. Aircraft cables should be able to withstand the effects of water,
engine oils, fuels, hydraulic oils, solvents, etc.

Non-inflammability. Wiring is often in high fire risk areas such as engine nacelles,
APU bays etc. Such wiring should not cause any fire to spread and for this reason the
protective covering should be made of a self-extinguishing material. During flight
some cables could experience a large range of temperatures and must remain flexible
at all times.

Resistance to Abrasion. Aircraft cables must be resistant to abrasion that might be


induced by vibration. Cables should be strong enough to support their own weight
and easily workable (have high ductility and be malleable).

Electrical Requirements. The conductor must have a low volts drop per unit length
(low resistance) and the insulation must have a high resistance (good insulation)
consistent with the voltage rating of the cable.

Current Rating. The normal current rating of a cable can be defined as: ‘The amount
of current it will carry without sustaining a temperature rise sufficient to cause the
value of insulation resistance to deteriorate to an unacceptable level or without
exceeding a specified voltage drop’. Earlier cables either had the current rating
stamped on the outer sheath or had a colour identification related to the current
rating.

However, because a cable’s current carrying capacity is influenced by a number of


factors other than just electrical load current, it is nowadays the practice of cable
manufacturers to use a classification based on the American Wire Gauge (AWG).

Modern aircraft cables have a wire gauge number stamped on the outside. The
aircraft electrical designer will take into account the factors listed below before
choosing a cable for a particular job:

* The electrical loading of the cable.


* The amount of heat generated by neighbouring cables.
* The number of cables in the loom (the more cables the less current each
cable can carry).
* The ambient temperature of the surrounding air.
* Whether the cable is enclosed in a conduit or in free air.
* The thermal conductivity of the cable.

-1-
Note. Cables have a specified maximum continuous operating temperature, which is
caused by the combination of ambient temperature and temperature due to
I2R (power in watts) losses in the cable. In general it is undesirable to
contribute more than 40°C rise by electrical heating.

Plating is employed on copper, copper alloy and aluminium conductors to improve


resistance to corrosion and to assist termination connection techniques. Often it is
the plating which will determine the temperature rating of a given cable. Typical
temperature values for continuous use are:

Tin plated copper 135°C.


Silver plated copper 200°C.
Nickel plated copper 260°C.
Nickel clad copper 260°C.

Nickel clad copper is used in place of nickel plated copper on fire resistant cables to
provide a thicker nickel coating. Plating used on crimped terminal ends must be
compatible with the conductor plating on the cable – information on this is obtained
from the termination manufacturers.

Deterioration. Aircraft cables are designed to provide the best possible combination of
resistance to deterioration caused by extremes of temperature, mechanical damage
and contamination by fluids, and in general, are suitable for installation without
additional mechanical protection.

Working conditions and the environment, however, may necessitate the provision of
extra protection in those places where the cables are exposed to the possibilities of
local damage or conditions that could cause deterioration. These areas can include:
wheel bays, landing gear bays, engine bays, toilet systems etc.

STORAGE

After manufacture and prior to delivery the cable is given a quality control check that
will normally include an insulation test and a continuity check. The ends are sealed
to prevent ingress of moisture. The cable is wound on drums, suitably labelled and
documented (EASA form 1). The drums are protected to prevent damage during
transit and storage. Smaller sizes of cable may be supplied in wrapped coils.

On receipt the cable should be inspected as far as possible for any signs of damage or
moisture ingress. If any is found the whole drum/coil should be returned to the
supplier together with all documentation. If the condition of the packing, as received,
gives rise to doubt regarding the soundness of the cable, it should be returned.

Note. Check the cable part number/batch number and confirm its identification
against its documentation/stores release certificate (EASA form 1).

Cables should be stored in a clean, well-ventilated store. They should not be stored
near chemicals, solvents or oils and, if necessary, protection should be provided
against accidental damage.

-2-
Loose coils, wrapped or not, must not be stored so that a heavy weight is placed on
them. This may cause distortion/damage to the insulation or the conductor core. The
ends of cables should be sealed by the use of waterproof tape or sealing compound.

HANDLING

Cables should be handled carefully at all stages of storage and installation.

When taking lengths of cable from a drum or reel, the cable should not be allowed to
come in contact with rough or dirty surfaces. The drum should be mounted so that it
can rotate freely and the cable pulled off using little or no force and avoiding kinks.

Made-up Cabling

Most looms are made up in a Loom or Cable Bay prior to being fitted to the aircraft.
Separate cables are laid out on a smooth bench, cut to size and end fittings attached
– all in accordance with an approved drawing (in some bays a full size plan of the
loom is laid out on the bench it-self).

Each cable in the loom will have printed on its insulation at regular intervals its
aircraft wiring code – at the same time the printing machine will automatically carry
out an insulation check.

Cable looms and cable runs made-up on the bench should be inspected before
installation in the aircraft to check that:

a) Cables, fittings, crimped joints etc, are of the correct type, have been
obtained from an approved source, have been satisfactorily tested before
making up and are not damaged in any way.
b) Connectors and cable looms conform to the AMM, Wiring Diagram
Manual or Modification Drawing in respect of terminations, length, angle
of outlets and orientation of contact assemblies, identification and
protection of connections.
c) Crimped and soldered joints have been made in accordance with the
AMM, Wiring Diagram Manual or Modification Drawing, are clean and
sound.
d) That cable loom binding and strapping is secure.
e) Continuity, resistance and insulation tests have been carried out.
f) Cables should be identified using the aircraft wiring code (iaw the wiring
diagram).

INSTALLATION

Guidance on the factors requiring special attention during the installation is given in
the following paragraphs – but always check the AMM.

Contamination. To prevent moisture from running along the cables and seeping into
the associated equipment, the cables should be so routed as to run downwards away
from the equipment. Where this is not possible, the cable should incorporate a
descending loop immediately before the equipment connection.

-3-
Where conduits, tubes or ducts are used, they should be installed in such a way that
any moisture accumulating in them will be able to drain away. Cables that are routed
through such fittings should be capable of withstanding any such moisture that may
be encountered.

Interference. Interfering magnetic fields may be set up by electrical equipment,


electrical currents in the cabling, or the aircraft structure and also by magnetic
materials. Cables must be installed so as to reduce electrical interference to a
minimum and avoid interaction between the different electrical services.

For example, cables carrying dc should be positioned at least 2ft (600mm) away from
the aircraft compass. If supply and return cables run close together the magnetic
effects are insignificant.

Note. Requirements for the avoidance of compass and radio interference are given in
Chapter J4-1 of British Civil Airworthiness Requirements. (Now EASA CS23 –
light aircraft, CS25 – large aircraft, CS27 & 29 – helicopters).

Protection of Cabling. The cables are required to be protected from abrasion,


mechanical strain and excessive heat and against the damaging effects of fuel, oil and
other aircraft fluids, water in both liquid or vapour form and the weather.

Cables should be fitted away from the skin of the aircraft so as to reduce the effect of
the high skin temperatures, likely to be reached in the tropics, from affecting the
cable. The cables should not be run near the hot parts of an engine or other hot
components unless a cooled air-space or heat barrier is provided.

Where cables are routed through metal fittings or bulkheads etc, the edges of the
holes through which they pass must be radiised and smoothed and fitted with an
insulated bush or sleeve. Cables which are drawn through holes or tubes must be an
easy fit requiring only a moderate, steady pull. Care being taken to keep the cables
parallel to one another and to avoid the formation of kinks (which may cause
fracture).

Conduits, ducts and trunking used for carrying cables should have smooth internal
surfaces and have sufficient diameter to allow the cable to be pulled through using
only a moderate steady pull. The designer should also take into consideration cable
cooling (or lack of) when placing cables in ducts.

Cables fitted through pressure bungs (pressure bulkheads) should be fitted into the
correct size holes for the size of cable, to ensure sealing. Use the correct cable
threading tool to avoid damaging the bung.

Support of Cabling. The cabling must be adequately supported throughout its length
and a sufficient number of cable clamps must be provided for each run of cable to
ensure that the unsupported lengths will not vibrate unduly. The minimum bend
radius should not be less than that stated in the appropriate specification (eg SAE
specifies – for cable groups - 10x the largest cable diameter in the group).

For single cables 10x the diameter is given by the same standard.

At terminal blocks, where the cable is suitably supported at each end of the bend, the
minimum radius may be 3x (CAAIPS).

-4-
The same standard for co-axial cables states a minimum bend radius of 6x the
outside diameter (for flexible cables) and 10x for semi rigid cables.

Cables must be fitted and clamped so that no tension will be applied in any
circumstances. Any loops or slackness will not occur in any position where the cables
might be caught and strained by normal movement of persons or controls or moving
equipment in the aircraft, or during flying, maintenance or adjustment.

Where it is necessary for cables to flex in normal use, eg connections to retractable


landing gear etc, the amount and disposition of slack must be controlled so that the
cable is not stressed in the extended position and that the slack will not be fouled,
chafed, kinked or caught by anything during movement in either direction.

Cables should normally be supported independently of, and with maximum


practicable separation from, all fluid and gas pipelines.

To prevent contamination of the cables in the event of leakage, cables should be


routed above rather than below liquid carrying pipelines.

FAILURES

Typical failures might be:

Wet arc tracking. An Airworthiness Notice (AN 12) - now cancelled, highlighted
the problem of fluid contamination where there is insulation damage. The cable in
this case had been hot stamp printed (for identification purposes) but the stamp
had penetrated the insulation. Fluid from a leaking toilet waste system
contaminated the cable which caused electrical arcing to occur. This caused
rupture of the cable and also others nearby.

Cable looms are particularly vulnerable to liquid contamination because they can
provide a drainage path and also once wet can remain so for a long time. Correct
routing, as mentioned earlier, is important.

Dry arc tracking. Occurs when two cables short circuit together, which will cause
intense local heating which may cause damage to other cables in the loom.

Abrasion. This may occur due to cable rubbing on cable or cable rubbing on the
structure of the aircraft or equipment. Careful inspection of cable loom clipping
and tying is necessary to check on this problem.

Conductor ‘knuckling through’. Some earlier cables had this problem of the
conductors ‘knuckling’ (bending) and penetrating the insulation. This was due to
applying excessive pull-through forces, so great care must be taken not to put the
cables under tension.

Red Plague. Cables with silver plated conductors can exhibit the aptly named ‘Red
Plague’ if the plating has been damaged and then exposed to moisture. Silver-
plated conductors are generally unsuitable for use in unpressurised areas.

-5-
Glycol Fires. If de-icing fluid contaminates silver-plated conductors an electrical
fire can result. These conductors must therefore be kept away from areas where
de-icing fluids can be present.

STRIPPING

This is the stripping away of the insulation to leave the conductor exposed. Carried
out in preparation for soldering or crimping or compression joining of the cable to an
end fitting/termination.

The following precautions should be followed when stripping any type of cable:

a) Use approved tools only. Never use a knife for stripping.


b) Ensure blades of cutting tools are sharp and free from nicks.
c) For size 8 or larger cables a knife may be used to make cuts lengthwise
through the outer covering and insulation. The insulation should be
bent back and cut off with side cutters or scissors. The cable must be
examined for any damage to the conductor strands. No strands should
be damaged or missing.
d) Ensure that the blade of the cable stripper is square to the cable and the
outer covering and insulation is clean cut, with no frayed edges.
e) When using hand strippers to remove lengths of insulation longer than
19mm (0.75in) the stripping should be carried out in more than one
operation – taking off a short length of insulation each time.
f) If the lay of the conductor strands is disturbed in the stripping action,
the strands should be re-laid with a light twist.
g) When stripping aluminium cables extra care must be taken as the
individual conductor strands break easily if nicked.
h) Bending of aluminium cables can cause work hardening, resulting in
failure of strands sooner than in cables with copper conductors.
i) Aluminium, when exposed to the atmosphere, forms an oxide film,
which acts as an insulator. If left untreated it can cause corrosion at
connecting joints and it also increases its thickness as heat is generated
by current flow, and thus increases the electrical resistance of the joint.
Treatment when crimping is by using an inhibiting compound to
specification DTD 5503 (50% by weight zinc oxide in white petroleum
jelly).
j) When setting up and adjusting cable strippers/pliers it is advisable to
first try the stripper setting out on a scrap piece of cable of the same
type and gauge as the actual piece to be worked on.

CRIMPING

A crimped connection is one in which a cable conductor is secured by compression to


a termination so that the metals of both are held firmly together in close contact.

A typical crimp termination (figures 1 and 3) has two principal sections, crimping
barrel and tongue, together with, in some types, a pre-insulated copper sleeve that
mates with the crimping barrel at one end and is formed, during the crimping
process, so as to grip the cable insulation as well as the cable conductor to give
increased support.

-6-
The barrel is designed to fit closely around the cable conductor so that after crimping
a large number of points of contact are made. The crimping pressure is applied with a
hand or hydraulically operated crimping tool fitted with a die or dies shaped to give a
particular cross-sectional form to the completed joint. The precise form of the crimp is
determined by such factors as the size and construction of the conductor, the
materials, the dimensions of the termination and the type of crimping system used.

It is, therefore, important that only the correct type of die and crimping tool should be
used, and that the necessary calibration checks have been made to the tool.

There is a vast range of terminations available, many of which are colour coded and
suitable for use only with specific types of aircraft cable and crimping tools. It is
important, therefore, that the appropriate crimping equipment manufacturer’s
instructions regarding the use of cables and terminations are followed.

Figure 1 shows two typical terminations: (a) a ring tongue termination - note the
insulation grip portion (C) and the conductor grip portion (B) and (b) an inline splice.

Fig. 1 TYPICAL CRIMP TERMINATIONS

There are many types of hand crimping tools and the following notes are related to the
AMP crimping tool. In general most of the information given will apply to most tools.
Figure 2 shows the AMP crimping tool which uses AMP terminations.

AMP CRIMPING

The tool used for crimping AMP terminals has several design features to ensure a
consistent quality of completed crimp joint to include:

1) Crimp ratchet.
2) Locator.
3) Insulation adjusting pins.
4) Colour and dot coding.

-7-
Crimp ratchet. This ensures the bottoming of the die jaws before the jaws can be
opened again. The tool cannot be released until the jaws have been completely closed.

It is important with crimp ratchets that the correct size cable; correct size termination
and correct size dies/crimping tool is used. If not, it is possible to jam the tool as the
crimp will not complete and the ratchet will not release.

Locator. The locator holds the terminal in the correct position in the die jaws and
allows the conductor strands to protrude 0.8mm from the terminal barrel when the
wire is fully inserted.

Fig. 2 TYPICAL CRIMPING TOOL – EXAMPLE AMP

Insulation Adjusting Pins. To allow for small variations in wire size and to ensure
optimum mechanical strength of the joint the insulation die head has three degrees of
adjustment:

1) Tight.
2) Medium.
3) Loose.

Colour and Dot Coding. The wire size range is stamped on the face of the tool, the
colour of the handle is related to the wire size range and the terminals are also of the
same colour, eg for a red handled tool you use red coloured terminals. There are
various colours - related to wire size, eg blue, green and yellow.

During the crimping operation a code marking related to the size of the tool is
impressed on the terminal insulation.

-8-
This is a dot as indicated in figure 3. The number of dots is related to the size of the
tool. Therefore on inspection after crimping the operator is able to ascertain that the
correct tool was used.

The AMP terminals are known as Pre-Insulated ‘Diamond Grip’ (PIDG) terminals. We
shall now look at a crimping operation on a ring tongue terminal.

Fig. 3 TYPICAL CRIMP

Preparation – General

Note. It is advisable to set up the crimping process using scrap pieces of wire of the
same type and gauge as that to be used on the ‘real thing’. This means that,
for example, if the tool is used with a terminal size that is too big it is not able
to close properly and the ratchet will not release. This means that the cable will
have to be cut to remove the tool (and crimp) from the aircraft for special
attention to operate the release. The cable may now be too short for further
work to proceed and a new length of cable will have to be used.

1) Check the wire is the correct specification and not damaged; has the
correct coding imprinted (can be carried out by a machine automatically
or by hand) and has been insulation and continuity tested.
2) Ensure correct size of wire. Strip so that stripped conductor extends to
0.8mm (1/32”) (AMP) beyond the correct size terminal.
3) Ensure correct tool, check:
a) Calibration date.
b) Ratchet handle operation.
c) Inspection of dies for cracks, dents etc.
d) Use GO, NO-GO gauges to ensure die closure is correct.
4) Ensure correct position of insulation grip adjustment pins (AMP) as
follows:
a) Insert insulation adjustment pins into the number 3 position.
b) Locate terminal in crimping jaws.
c) Insert a test length of un-stripped wire into the insulation grip
portion of the terminal.
d) Close handles slowly and fully until crimp ratchet releases.
e) Open handles, remove terminal and check insulation support as
follows: Bend wire back and forth once, terminal sleeve should
retain grip on wire insulation. Check that end of the conductor
element is level with the end of the barrel and gripped firmly.
f) If wire pulls out set insulation adjustment pins in next tighter
position, (No 2) and re-crimp. Repeat test until desired insulation
grip is obtained. Ensure that both adjustment pins are in the
same position.

-9-
The Crimping Process

1. Insert correct terminal into the jaws of the tool ensuring the termination
barrel butts flush against the locator.
2. Squeeze handles until terminal is held firmly in place, do not deform
terminal. Once ratchet is engaged, the handles cannot be opened.
3. Insert stripped cable into terminal.
4. Hold wire in position and close handles until ratchet is free to release.
5. Inspect crimp and check:
a) Barrel insulation is in firm contact with wire insulation.
b) Correct dot code/colour combination.
c) Crimp is centred in barrel.
d) Conductor is protruding 0.8mm (1/32”) from end of barrel
of crimp.
e) Joint for correct formation, freedom from fracture, rough
edges or excessive flash or damage to insulation.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the use of the crimping tool.

Fig. 4 CRIMP LOCATION – RING TONGUE TERMINAL

Fig. 5 CRIMPED END DETAILS

- 10 -
Note. Only aluminium or bimetal (AlCu) terminations should be used to terminate
aluminium cored cables and the cable should be stripped immediately prior to
making the joint. An inhibiting compound must be applied before crimping
takes place.

Inline Crimping

Sometimes called Inline Splicing and used when a new electrical cable is to be spliced
into an existing cable run. The inline crimp is crimped to the end of the existing cable
and to the end of the new insert cable – this is done at both ends so a new section of
cable is spliced in. Splicing sections of cable into an existing cable run is to be
avoided – it is better to replace the complete length of cable. Where inline crimps are
used this should only be carried out if the AMM chapter 20/Wiring
Diagram/Modification document gives authority.

The following are general guidelines:

a) No splices under clamps or supports.


b) No splices installed inside connector backshells.
c) No splices installed inside a conduit.
d) No splices allowed in areas where the wire bundle flexes, eg
instrument panels (on anti-vibration mountings) and hinged doors.
e) Stagger splices on cables in looms to avoid an increase in wire bundle
diameter.
f) Cables should be replaced if the number of repair splices exceeds three.
g) Splices shall not be installed in critical circuits, ie stabiliser trim, fire
detection and extinguishing and fuel control valves.

Crimping In-Line Splices (figure 6)

1) Select the required in-line splice and a tool of the same colour coding.
2) Adjust the insulation crimping adjustment pins as detailed above and
carry out a pre-trial test splice.
3) Insert in-line splice into crimping jaws until properly located.
4) Squeeze handles until splice is lightly gripped.
5) Insert prepared stripped wire into terminal barrel. When inserted the
conductors should be visible in the inspection window.
6) Hold wire in position and complete the handle squeeze operation.
7) Release ratchet and remove tool.
8) Inspect for correct formation of completed crimp.
9) Place any necessary sleeving onto cable and push out of the way.
10) Insert other end of in-line splice into jaws until properly located.
11) Complete crimping operation by repeating items 4 to 8 above.
12) Pull sleeving into place over crimp and heat shrink.
13) Carry out any appropriate tests, re-loom, complete paperwork and sign.

- 11 -
Fig. 6 IN-LINE CRIMPING

Crimping in High Vibration Areas

Special precautions are needed when crimping cables in high vibration areas such as
wheel wells, engine bays etc. Besides the problems associated with vibration, chaffing,
loosening of connections etc, there is also the attendant problems associated with
debris damage (wheel wells), heat damage (wheel wells [brakes] and engine bays), fuel
and lubricant contamination (engine bays) and moisture ingress (wheel wells). In
general when splicing/crimping in these areas the following applies:

1. Consult chapter 20 of the AMM for any special procedures.


2. Use special moisture proof (low temperature) splices.
3. Protect the splice with special insulation, eg tape wrap the splice 3 times
followed by 2 spiral wrapped tapes in opposite directions, with 50%
overlap over the entire splice.
4. Observing the necessary safety precautions heat shrink a sleeve over the
entire covering and if necessary fit an abrasion protection sleeve.
5. Tie cable/cable loom using the correct spacing (chapter 20). Ties should
normally be made every 6 inches (152mm) and tied using a clove hitch
and square knot. Plastic ties should not be used.
6. Check routing of cable – ensure clearance from hydraulic, fuel and other
system pipelines. Also check clearance from heat sources and any
moving parts (landing gear).
7. Check that there is sufficient slack to allow for structure flexing,
temperature changes and any movement between components.
8. Where clamps are used only Ribbon Cushion type clamps should be
used – but not on coaxially cables.
9. Consideration must be given as to whether a drip loop is required (to
allow any collected moisture to drip thus preventing moisture ingress
into moisture sensitive areas).
10. Check all systems for correct operation, clearance etc – the electrical
system, landing gear retraction mechanism, steering mechanism etc.

Note. The general guidelines for ordinary in-line crimping also apply.

- 12 -
POWERED CRIMPING MACHINES

When crimping large size cables the force required to squeeze the terminal is too high
for manual operation so various machines are available that are power operated. The
following is a description of the hydraulic ERMA type.

ERMA HYDRAULIC CRIMPING MACHINE

This machine (figure 7) is supplied as a kit containing eight sets of dies for cable size
from AWG 6 to AWG 0000. An Allen key is supplied for fitting the dies to the machine.

The crimp formed is a regular hexagon shape and has two code letters impressed on it
by the dies during crimping. These code letters are HG and HH and are the same as
those marked on the cable lugs by the manufacturer.

Preparation of the Machine

Check the calibration date. Check that there are no leakages, damage and that the
control valve closes and releases and the pump works correctly.

Fig. 7 ERMA CRIMPING MACHINE

The machine operating handles should be screwed firmly into position and the code
letters stamped on the dies checked for correct size.

- 13 -
If the dies are to be changed:

a) Select the two matched dies bearing the correct code letters for the size
of cable in use (check machine manufacturer’s instruction manual).
Check that the lugs to be used have the same code letters marked on the
terminal palm. Inspect dies for cracks, corrosion, dents, burrs etc. If
damaged in any way do not use.
b) Remove the upper die adapter by sliding it from the dovetailed head of
the tool. This leaves the slotted head of the tool open to allow the lower
die to be fitted against the ram. Insert the spigot on the upper die into
the hole in the die adapter until it is held in position by the spring-
loaded steel ball.
c) Close the hydraulic valve. Pump the handle to move the ram forwards to
show the hexagon socket screws which hold the lower die. Slacken these
screws using the Allen key provided with the kit. Fit the lower die into
the ram so that the screws fit into the recesses on either side of the die.
Tighten the screws to hold the die, ensuring that they are below the
surface of the ram body. Open the hydraulic valve to retract the ram.
d) Slide the upper die adapter, complete with die, into the dovetailed
grooves until it is located centrally by the spring-loaded steel ball.

Crimping Operation

In general carry out pre-crimp checks on the cable as described earlier with the
hand operated tool.

Check that the two-letter code on the cable lugs and on both dies is correct for the
size of the cable to be terminated.

a) Close the hydraulic valve. Place the terminal lug centrally between the
dies and pump the handle until the lug is lightly gripped.
b) Strip the cable insulation so that when the cable is inserted into the lug
the insulation lies flush against the end of the barrel and the conductor
projects slightly from the other end. Place any insulation sleeving
required over the cable and push out of the way.
c) Insert the conductor into the barrel of the lug and pump the handle
until the dies are fully closed. When fully closed a safety valve will
operate with an audible click and pressure on the pump handle is
reduced.
d) Open the hydraulic valve to allow the ram to retract. The crimped
termination can then be removed from the machine.
e) Inspect crimp for correct formation, dents, cracks, flashes and
codification, pull insulation sleeving down over the joint and shrink fit
as necessary.

TESTING OF CRIMPED JOINTS

Local regulations will determine the inspection periods required for crimping tools.
AMP recommends 3 months or at intervals of 1000 crimps whichever is the smaller.
This test will include checks on ratchet operation, dies for dimensions and damage,
security of handles, dies and adjuster pins.

- 14 -
In order to ascertain that the crimping tool is functioning correctly a test crimp must
be made and this is subjected to a mechanical tensile test and millivolts drop test as
laid down by the manufacturer. If the test specimen fails, then all the crimps carried
out using the tool would have to be inspected and the crimping tool would be
withdrawn from service.

Figure 8 shows the principle of carrying out a millivolts drop test on a crimped
terminal. A normal rated current is passed through the cable and crimp and a
millivolt meter is placed as shown. The manufacturer will give the maximum millivolts
drop that can be allowed, but a general figure is 5mV/10amps flowing. Note that the
amount of exposed conductor is shown exaggerated.

Fig. 8 CRIMPED JOINT MILLIVOLT DROP TEST

PLUGS & SOCKETS

Each wire in most cable looms have the ends crimped to a pin and that pin fitted into
a plug which will normally have many pins fitted. The plug fits into a socket
receptacle. These two connecting devices may be fixed or free, that is, may be in a
component or the socket fitted externally to equipment/bulkhead. Typically the
connection method is by a screw-thread but a bayonet coupling may be used.

To ensure that each wire in the plug is aligned to its correct wire in the socket the
following precautions/design features are incorporated:

* Each wire will have a unique aircraft ident code printed on (or fitted with a
sleeve with the code on - old) and the pin crimped to it will be fitted into a
specified hole in the plug (these are numbered, normally clockwise out from
the centre).
* The wiring manual/AMM/modification leaflet will specify the wiring code
and the plug location number to be used.
* When assembling the plug (together with all the fitted pins) to the socket
there is an alignment lug on the plug shell that aligns with a corresponding
grove in the socket shell to ensure correct orientation.

Note the detail in figure 9 including colour and alpha/numeric coding for each wire.
The connector is of the square type.

Pins for insertion into plugs and sockets are attached to cables by soldering (rare) or
(usually) crimping. Once the pin is crimped into position on the cable, it is then
inserted into its respective hole in the plug/socket.

- 15 -
Fig. 9 EXAMPLE – TAKEN FROM AN AIRCRAFT WIRING MANUAL

Fig. 10 TYPICAL PLUG & SOCKET

Fig. 11 PIN/HOLE LOCATION IDENTIFICATION

- 16 -
Unwired contacts are usually fitted with a sealing plug and if appropriate any unused
holes in the moulding should be fitted with an approved filler plug. If the contact is
not installed then a sealing rod is installed in its place.

Figure 10 shows the ‘front’ view of a typical mating pair plug and socket. Note the
terms used and the shell locator lug and grove. Figure 11 shows the ‘rear’ view of a
plug/socket indicating the pins/holes identification system.

There are many types of plugs and sockets in use and figures 12 and 13 show two
examples of LRU socket connectors. Square and rectangular plugs and sockets will
have some form of orientation lug/corner to prevent incorrect assembly. The ARINC
600 family of connectors have a high pin density (many pins per square inch) with
index pins to ensure correct orientation.

Fig. 12 SQUARE TYPE PLUG/SOCKET CONNECTORS

Fig. 13 ARINC RACK MOUNTED CONNECTORS

CONNECTOR PIN REMOVAL/INSERTION

There are two basic types of contact retention used in plug and socket connectors on
aircraft, one with the contacts being released for removal from the rear of the contact
insert and the other from the front. Each system requires the use of different types of
insertion/extraction tools. It is essential that the correct procedures and tools are
used for a particular type of plug or socket.

Remember, always ensure power is off and the circuits, C/Bs, fuses etc tagged before
removal/fitment of plugs, sockets and contact pins.

- 17 -
Rear Release Connectors

The insertion/removal tool is usually plastic and may be of the type shown in figure
14. This tool is expendable and is failsafe in that mishandling will result in damage to
the tool rather then to the connector or termination. The insertion end is coloured
(according to wire/connector size), eg Canon size 20 contact Red/White, size 16
contact Blue/White, size 12 contact Yellow/White. The white end being the removal
end.

Fig. 14 INSERTION/REMOVAL TOOL

Figure 15 shows a connector with a rear release. Note the construction of the pin and
the retention clip. The removal tool is inserted from the rear of the plug (the left hand
side in figure 17) to spring the retention clips out and release the pin rearwards (to
the left in the drawing).

Fig. 15 PIN RETENTION – REAR RELEASE

Contact/Pin Removal

1. Hold plug/socket connector with the rear end facing you.


2. The extraction tool (white end) is positioned over the cable connected to
the contact pin to be removed.
3. Slowly slide the tool along the wire into the connector until a positive
resistance is felt. The retention clip will now unlock.
4. With the cable held against the extraction tool the contact should be
removed by pulling the cable and tool together from the connector. Do
not twist or tilt the removal tool as damage can occur to the pin.

Contact/Pin Insertion

1. Remove the backshell or other accessory from the rear of the


plug/socket connector and move up the cable loom out of the way.

- 18 -
2. Ensure that the correct hole in the connector has been selected to insert
the pin – check the hole numbering system on the front face of the
plug/socket and the cable ident code and the wiring diagram.
3. Snap the coloured end of the appropriate insertion/removal tool onto the
wire. When inserting the wire into the tool use the thumb and not the
thumb nail as this could damage the insulation. Position the tool
forward onto the contact shoulder, except in the case of size 22 contacts,
in which case the tool should be positioned on the back of the crimp
bucket.
4. Holding the connector with the rear insert facing you, slowly push the
contact straight into the connector. A positive stop will be felt when the
retention clip locks in the contact.

Fig. 16 USE OF INSERTION/REMOVAL TOOL

Fig. 17 INSERTION/REMOVAL TOOL ALIGNMENT

- 19 -
5. The cable should then be released from the tool and the tool removed by
pulling it back out of the plug mould.
6. If the contacts are to be inserted into holes near the edge of the insert,
the open side of the tool should always face the edge of the insert, this
avoids excessive strain on the insert.
7. The proper size contacts and sealing plug should be fitted into any
vacant contact hole.

Front Release Connectors

Figure 18 shows a front release connector and its retention clip, note the construction
of the pin and retention clip.

Fig. 18 PIN RETENTION – FRONT RELEASE

Contact/Pin Removal

1. The extraction tool should be positioned over the contact to be removed


from the front of the connector.
2. The central plunger of the tool should be held back.
3. Push the tool into the connector to release the retention clip from the
front shoulder.
4. Pushing forward the tool will eject the contact rearwards out of the
connector.

Contact insertion is similar to the insertion of rear release connectors.

Testing of Connectors

Test probes used should be of such a size that the contacts are not damaged or
bent and small enough to allow for contact on one pin only.

On socket contacts test probes should be of the same size as (or less than) the
mating plug contact.

Any bent pins must be replaced. Trying to straighten them is likely to cause a
fracture and possible failure at a later date.

- 20 -
CO-AXIAL CABLE INSTALLATION

Co-axial cable is used for the transmission of low power data signals which might
get corrupted from external electromagnetic activities. They consist of an inner
copper conductor; a dielectric insulator; an outer copper braid (to shield the inner
conductor from any interference) and an outer plastic protective covering. Any
work carried out on the cable must be in accordance with the AMM as it is
important that any connections made do not interfere with signal transmission
causing signal attenuation. End fittings are attached to allow the cable to be fitted
to various items of equipment.

The sequence adopted for attaching an end fitting is as follows (figure 19):

a) The outer protective cable covering is cut back to expose the braided
outer conductor, ensure cut is square and at right angles to the cable
and the braid is not nicked or cut.
b) If the cable is fixed at the other end, thread the coupling ring and
adapter onto the cable.
c) The braid is ‘fanned’ or ‘teased’ out as shown in figure 19 and folded
back to fit closely over the adapter.
d) The dielectric insulation is cut back to expose the inner copper
conductor. Ensure cut is square and conductor is not nicked or cut.
Ensure cutting tool does not crush or deform cable.
e) Screw the sub-assembly to the adapter, this clamps the outer conductor
firmly between the two components.
f) Conductors must be visible in the inspection hole of the contact before
soldering.
g) Screw the coupling ring on to the sub-assembly by hand.

When routing co-axial cables ensure they are clamped firmly along their entire length.
Special cushioned clamps of the correct size may be used as it essential that the cable
is not crushed or deformed in anyway.

As these cables are used as transmission lines for aircraft antenna (low signal power)
they should not be routed or tied to other cable bundles, the minimum bend radius
should be observed (six times the outside diameter – for flexible cables). The length of
the cable is also important.

When disconnecting connectors, protect using metal caps which mate with the
connector-coupling device. If the correct size cap is not available use snug fitting
plastic caps or secure a polythene bag over the connector.

- 21 -
Fig. 19 FITTING AN END CONNECTOR TO A CO-AXIAL CABLE

Testing

The cables should be checked for continuity and absence of short circuits and
insulation resistance on completed connector assemblies. Minimum value for
insulation resistance is typically 100MΩ.

To determine whether there is an open or short circuit on a transmission line Voltage


Standing Wave Radio (VSWR) checks are carried out. This compares the standing
voltage maximum to the standing voltage minimum.

Vmax is the sum of the incident (VI and reflected VR voltages and Vmin is the
difference between VI and VR thus VSWR = VI + VR/VI – VR and in theory should be 1,
in practice the lowest VSWR is sought.

- 22 -
If there is zero attenuation along a line the VSWR will be infinite when the line is
terminated in an open or short circuit. Measurement of VSWR will indicate the
existence of reflected waves on the line, which, in turn will indicate the degree of
mismatch between the transmitter and the load.

Another test set used to test co-axial cables is the Time Domain Reflectometer (TDR).
This uses pulses to test the cable and gives a visual display of cable failures. The test
pulses are transmitted along the cable by the test set which receives back the
reflections and shows them on a CRT.

The test set has calibrated controls and can examine up to 100ft (30.5m) of cable and
down to 1ft (0.3m) in length.

Low loss cables can be examined up to 2000ft (609m) long at 100 or 200ft for each
scale division.

A three number display shows the distance-to-cable failure when the


equipment is set to display horizontally the failures reflected on the CRT
reference line.

The vertical (Y-axis) deflection of the CRT beam is in proportion to the reflected signal
plus the incident step.

To test, remove the receiver transmitter from the aircraft rack then, using a locally
made test cable, connect the TDR equipment to the antenna cable.

Figure 20 shows an example display of faults that might be found. Figure 21 shows
the test of a 350ft (107m) cable and the displays shown on the CRT. It shows a frayed
cable at A, impedance rise from B to C, continuity drop at C and an open circuit at D.

Fig. 20 CABLE PROBLEM SIGNATURES

- 23 -
Fig. 21 CABLE PROBLEMS

FIBRE OPTIC CABLES & CONNECTORS

Used in the transmission of data using light as the transmission medium.

Care must be taken when working with fibre optic cables as the optic core is easily
damaged. Take the same precautions with these cables as with the cables mentioned
previously plus those listed below. Fibre optic strands can be damaged by:

a) Excessive pulling - as when trying to pull it through a bulkhead.


b) Pinching or crimping - such as stepping on the cable.
c) Bending too sharply.
d) Twisting.

Before examining the connector face or glass contacts ensure system is switched off
and circuit breaker is tagged. The light from the fibre optic network, although low
power, can be intense enough to cause damage to the eyes. Use only approved
material to clean the connectors and use protective caps when the connectors are
disconnected. Only tighten connectors by hand.

- 24 -
The same visual checks are carried out on these cables as with any other type of
cable, but the testing equipment is different.

Testing for Continuity

A simple check is to use a commercially available torch at one end and see if the light
can be seen at the other. For a more comprehensive check a test meter is used
injecting a calibrated low power signal at one end and picking it up at the other using
an optical receiver.

An Optical Time Domain Reflectometer (OTDR) is used for a more comprehensive test
and it functions in a similar way to a TDR except that light is used.

WIRING PROTECTION TECHNIQUES

This part of the book gives general guidelines with regards to wiring protection
techniques and it is essential that you follow the procedures laid down in the AMM
chapter 20 (Standard Practices – Airframe) and the Wiring Practices Manual for your
aircraft.

This part of the book deals with the physical protection of the cables and not the
protection of the circuit, which is associated with fuses, C/Bs etc. It is associated with
EWIS (see later text).

When using sleeving, tubing, tape or tying materials it is necessary to consider the
following: (a) The temperature of the area the material is going to be used in and (b)
Whether the material is being used in an area where it is necessary for it to be
resistance to fluids chemicals etc.

Cable Looming and Loom Support

Cable looms are of three principle types:

a) Open loom.
b) Ducted loom.
c) Conduit.

The composition of the cable loom is dictated by such factors as:

a) Overall diameter.
b) Temperature.
c) Type of current (ac or dc).
d) Interference due to inductive or magnetic effects.
e) Types of cables – essential circuit cables must be protected in the event
of short circuits developing in adjoining cables.

Open Loom. Cables are bundled and bound together with cord or with nylon
strapping.

- 25 -
Ducted Loom. The bundles of cable are supported in ducts routed through the
aircraft structure. The ducts may be made of aluminium alloy or fibreglass
reinforced plastic.

Conduit. Used where cables have to pass through areas which may cause
contamination to the cabling due to oil, hydraulic fluids etc. They may be made of
plastic
or metal and maybe flexible.

Each loom in the duct is bound with a coloured cord/strap or ident strap to identify
the system to which it relates. Figure 22 shows an older method of single cord lacing
and the procedure used.

Fig. 22 SINGLE CORD LACING

In high vibration areas special attention must be paid to the support of looms. This
again will be laid down in the wiring practices manual but typically on engines tie
spacing is every 2” (51mm) and in other high vibration areas 6 to 8” (152mm to
203mm). Plastic ties may be used optionally to lacing tape in pressurised areas only.

Cable Clamps

Cable bundles are secured to the structure by clamps, close enough together to
ensure the bundles will not sag or vibrate between supports. The basic clamp is the
cushioned clamp as shown in figure 23. It is made up of a metal ‘P’ clip fitted around
and within a rubber ‘0’ ring. It is secured to the structure by a nut and bolt (or
similar).

If a bundle is slightly undersize then layers of tape may be used to increase the
bundle diameter. If necessary filler rods may be used to build up undersized bundles
for a proper fit in the clamp. In high vibration areas ribbed cushion clamps are used,
but not for co-axial cables. These have three holes in the clamp with a resilient
bushing giving a choice of sizes. Where cable clamps are fitted with resilient bushings,
care must be taken to ensure the bushings used are of such a size that the cables are
firmly held in place but do not crush or deform the cable insulation when the clamp is
tightened.

- 26 -
Fig. 23 CUSHIONED ‘P’ CLAMP

PROTECTIVE SLEEVING TECHNIQUES

These techniques may be used to provide secondary protection of cables with


continuous sleeving, or in some cases wrapping with tape. When sleeving up to a
connector, secure the sleeving under the connector clamp.

Heat Shrinkable Sleeving

This involves applying a high temperature to a length of sleeving which shrinks onto
the cable assembly. Points to note are:

1) Heat guns are not considered to be explosion proof.


2) Heater elements in the gun get very hot and may operate in excess of
vapour flashpoint (450°F/232°C).
3) Safety regulations apply which may include non-use of heat guns:
a) In fuel tanks.
b) Within 100ft (30m) of aircraft when refuelling/de-fuelling of fuel
vents, fuel spills and flammable liquid.

A heat gun may be rated at a specific temperature or a selection of temperatures may


be available. When using these guns the following procedure provides a general
guideline:

a) Allow 10% extra length of sleeving over the area to be covered.


b) Protect any wiring insulation or adjacent cables from heat.
c) Pre-heat gun for 15 seconds. Manufacturers usually give minimum
shrink temperature, but higher temperatures can be used – consult data
on heat shrink tubing for maximum temperature to be used.
d) Hold gun 3” (76mm) from the sleeving and direct hot air at the centre of
the area.
e) Apply heat to sleeving until it shrinks into place, usually 5 to 10 seconds
is adequate, do not exceed 20 seconds.

- 27 -
Fig. 24 INSULATION METHOD 1 – TAPE WRAP

The following provides details of two methods of insulating a splice assembly:

Method 1

1) Strip splice for at least 1½” (38mm) of outer insulation. Carry out splice.
2) Build up voids between splice and insulation to prevent abrupt changes
using Type B film. Three layers of film are required, each with 50%
overlap and extending 1¼” (32mm) + ¼” (6mm) over the outer
insulation.
3) Spiral wrap splice with Polymide Tape over the Type B film. Wrap each
layer spirally with 50% overlap. Reverse direction of spiral with each
layer. Extend tape ¼” to ⅜” (6 to 9mm) beyond Type B film.

Fig. 25 INSULATION METHOD 2 – TAPE & SLEEVE WRAP

- 28 -
Method 2 – Tape and Sleeve Method (figure 25)

1) Select two heat shrinkable sleeves large enough to fit over taped wire
areas that will fit tightly over cables when shrunk into place. Cut sleeves
long enough to extend 1” (25mm) + ¼” (6mm) beyond taped areas.
2) Select third heat shrinkable sleeve that is large enough to fit over taped
splice. Cut sleeves to length that will extend to within ¼” (6mm) + ⅛”
(3mm) of ends of the two sleeves.
3) Slide sleeves over the cable out of the way.
4) Complete the cable splice.
5) Clean and insulate and tape wrap as per method 1, steps 1, 2 and 3.
6) Slide small sleeves over tape until they are butted against ends of splice,
heat shrink into place.
7) Centre large sleeve over assembly. Heat shrink into place.

SHIELDING

To prevent interference from external fields originating from electrical equipment such
as dc generators, motors, time switches, ignition systems etc affecting other systems,
particularly interference on radio equipment, some form of shielding must be used.

For generators, motors and time switches, capacitors can be connected across the
output. These are in parallel with the output and usually form part of a unit called a
suppressor. For prevention of interference to other circuits, cables are enclosed in
metal braided sheaths typically made of tinned copper or silver-plated copper, the
braid being connected to the earth of the aircraft.

Interference can be due to capacitive and inductive pick-up and crosstalk between
adjacent cables. The term ‘pick-up’ means the interfering source is ac power.
‘Crosstalk’ is interference from an adjacent cable.

When two cables are close together, mutual inductance and mutual capacitance
exists. To overcome this problem, shielding can be used. Using ‘twisted pair’ cables, ie
a pair of wires twisted together reduces interference as the pick-up and crosstalk on
adjacent loops cancel each another out.

Radio system cables may be twisted and shielded and in some cases double screened.

As mentioned before the screening around a cable must be earthed, but only at one
end. If both ends are earthed an ‘earth loop’ is formed and interfering fields may
cause a potential difference between the ends of the screen, causing a current flow
producing another interfering field.

On newer aircraft, because of a change in regulatory requirements on protection of


aircraft systems from the effects of High Intensity Radiated Fields (HIRF) and lightning
strikes, both critical and essential systems are required to be protected to levels
greater than on previous aircraft. Protection methods include:

a) Using the metal airframe as a screen against radiated interference


including internal structure such as aluminated honeycomb walls, floor
and ceiling panels around the flight deck/electrical equipment bays.

- 29 -
b) Using the gold film heater elements of windscreens.
c) LRU’s (Line Replacement Units) containing built-in filters and filter pins,
which act to discriminate against certain frequencies and only allow the
relevant frequencies to pass.
d) Extensive use of single/double screened cables.

Figures 26 to 29 show details of cable and plug shielding as used on the B777.

Fig. 26 B777 FLIGHT DECK SCREENING

Note the screening of the flight deck, the electronic bay and the electronic racks. Not
also the attention to detail on screening methods such as the use of twisted pairs;
twisted triplets; tinned copper braiding on individual wires; double layer braiding on
bundles. Notice the bonding details of the connectors.

Fig. 27 TYPICAL BUNDLE CONSTRUCTION – B777

- 30 -
Fig. 28 BUNDLE CONNECTOR – BACKSHELL & SHIELD
TERMINATION – PRESSURE HULL – B777

Fig. 29 BUNDLE CONNECTOR – BACKSHELL & SHIELD


TERMINATION – WINGS & EMPENNAGE – B777

CABLE CHANGING

The following is a general guide on the procedure to change a cable.

1. If the cable being changed is due to some un-serviceability then the


reason for the cause of the damage has to be ascertained and rectified.
For example: Fluid contamination – find source of fluid and rectify leak,
cable chaffing – check on proximity of moving parts, or if vibration
induced, check cable support and/or investigate possible out-of-balance
components like propellers, engines etc.

- 31 -
2. Locate cable, using the AMM, Wiring Manual etc and check its
specification. Check that type and size of cable is available from stores
or its alternative.
3. Remove power from aircraft, trip C/Bs and tag – checking the AMM for
the correct procedure, equipment, test etc.
4. Unscrew the connectors at both ends of the cable, inspect for damage
and contamination of the male and female parts of both connectors.
Check the general condition of the LRUs to which the cables are
connected.
5. Untie, un-cleat, slacken/remove P clips/clamps along the cable/bundle
route.
6. The ends of the cable are removed from their respective plugs either by:
* Pin connector removal, using the pin connector removal tools
after first unscrewing the backshell – for most electrical cables.
* Removing the end fittings of the co-axial cable/fibre optic cable.

Note. For some cable lengths a new cable may be pulled through by first
crimping in-line crimp) the new cable onto the old cable, so as the old
cable is pulled out it is replaced by the new. This may not work for long
lengths as the pulling stress in the cable is too high. This is particularly
important for fibre optic cables as they are easily damaged by pulling.

7. Check the specification of the existing cable against that in the wiring
diagram. If it is different find out the reasons why.
8. Check the cable specification on the new cable drum. Calculate the
length of the replacement cable and cut the amount required plus an
allowance for errors.

Note. The new cable may be made-up in a cable loom shop and laid out on full
size layouts on benches. This may require the whole cable loom to be
removed from the aircraft to allow the single wire replacement.

9. Check the new cable for damage and contamination. Check that the
manufacturer’s codes are imprinted at intervals along its length.
10. From the wiring manual ascertain the aircraft wiring code to be stamped
on the new cable (there are some machines that will do this
automatically). The code is to be placed at intervals along the entire
length of the cable. When doing this manually it is important that the
insulation is not damaged in any way.
11. Carry out a continuity and insulation test for electrical cables. A
continuity test for co-axial cables and light transmission tests for fibre
optic cables.
12. Lay up the cable in the aircraft, either by ‘pulling through’ using the
existing cable or by manually fitting the cable in. Remember to ensure
that its route is that as laid down in the AMM/Wiring Manual.
13. Make sure the cable is free of kinks; not stretched; does not run close to
moving objects such as retractable landing gear; does not run close to
any heat source and lays correctly in its ties, conduits etc. If it is in a
bundle remember to check that it is permissible for the cable to be
bundled and that there are the correct number of cables in the bundle.
14. Once in position fit the end connections such as pin connectors, end
fittings etc. Fit pin connectors into the plugs using the insertion tool.
15. Carry out a continuity check (light source check for fibre optics).

- 32 -
16. Assemble the plugs. (Remember if any of the pins are bent they must be
replaced – do not try to straighten them – they will almost certainly
fracture). Ensure lenses on fibre optic cable connectors are clean.
17. Fit plugs to LRUs.
18. Reinstate electrical power and carry out tests on the system as laid
down in the AMM. These might include duplicate inspections.
19. Go back over the length of the cable and tie-up/re-clamp the cable
making sure not to over tighten and damage the cable.
20. Carry out any paperwork required which would include such things as
recording details in the aircraft logbook/record card; recording details
from the stores release certificate/EASA form 1 for new cable details;
specifying tests carried out; clearing the aircraft for flight/signing the
CRS etc.

ELECTRICAL WIRING INTERCONNECTION SYSTEM (EWIS)

Recent amendments to Certificate Specification CS25 (large aircraft) includes the


addition of sub part H dealing specifically with EWIS. EWIS contains special
maintenance considerations for aircraft electrical wiring systems and has been
instigated to overcome shortcomings in present wiring systems and maintenance
procedures the failure of which has resulted in aircraft accidents (some fatal). The
requirements have been harmonised between EASA and the FAA.

It applies to any wiring/connector/system in the aircraft used to transmit electrical


energy or data signals and includes:

* Wires and cables and their insulation.


* Splices, conduits, shielding, braiding.
* Termination points on devices such as relays, switches, contactors,
terminal blocks, circuit breakers and other circuit protection devices.
* Connectors including feed-through connectors.
* Power supply wires, instrument wiring, fire detection wiring etc.
* Bus bars.
* Clamps, ties, wiring support, pressure seals and labels/identification
systems.

It includes all the above that might be fitted to equipment racks, shelving, distribution
panels, junction boxes, circuit board back-planes etc.

EWIS does not apply to:

* Electrical or electronic equipment already qualified to


environmental and testing standards acceptable to the CAA.
* Portable electrical devices not part of the aircraft type design, eg laptops
and personal entertainment systems.
* Fibre optics.

- 33 -
Each EWIS component installed must meet the following:

* Be appropriate to its intended function and installed according to its


limitations specified for the EWIS component without adversely affecting
the aircraft or its systems.
* Cables must:
- Be fitted such that there is no strain on any wiring, support etc.
- Take into account any deformation of the structure during flight
and its possible effect on the cable run.
- Be of the correct type and size appropriate to the task.
- Be routed away from moving parts and such that the possibility of
fluid contamination is minimised.
- Have minimum bend radiuses, for example:
^ For electrical cables 10 times the diameter of the
cable (the largest cable if considering a bundle of
cables) (standard SAE EN 3197).
^ For coaxial cables 6 times the diameter for flexible
cables. For semi rigid cable 10 times (SAE AS
550881).
- Be identified by label sleeving or tags against drawings/manuals,
eg WPM (Wiring Practices Manual). The use of hot stamping is
discouraged (this has sometimes lead to insulation failure as the
hot stamping process burns the code into the insulation and
sometimes burns through to the conductor).
* Electrical drawings should comprehensively describe wire routings for
the whole aircraft to include: any incompatibilities between
wires/bundles; minimum distances between routes; absolute ban on
combining bundles. Identification of routes/bundles must be adequate
and may include: labels, tags, placards, coloured ties and bar-codes.
Wires and cables should be identified at intervals of not more than 18”
(46cm). Wire manufacturers’ idents should not be at the same spacing
as the aircraft manufacturers’ idents to avoid the possibility of one ident
obscuring all the other idents along the run.
* EWIS components must be separated from other components (or have a
barrier) so that any failure will not create a hazard.
* Each EWIS component must be labelled and its function identified.
* Any interference produced will not affect personnel/aircraft systems.
* The failure of one independent power source will not affect another.
* Independent power sources must not share a common ground.
* All EWIS components must have adequate separation (except where they
have to be close due to electrical connections etc) from:
- Fuel systems.
- Oxygen systems.
- Water/waste systems. Any leaks onto EWIS components must not
create a hazard.
- Fly-by-wire systems – using a 2” (51mm) gap for example.
* Any hydraulic leaks/anti-icing fluid leaks etc onto EWIS components
should not create a hazard.

- 34 -
Requirements

These apply to electrical systems and to Supplemental Type Certification installation


(modifications) on a Type Certified aircraft with a maximum passenger capacity of 30
or more, or a maximum payload of 7500lbs (3402kg) or more.

Part 21 requires that an EZAP (Enhanced Zonal Analysis Procedure) be carried out by
a Type Certificate holder on existing aircraft. This is wire focussed and entails a
procedure to identify each aircraft zone. These are based, generally, on ATA100 (now
called ATA iSpec 2200) zones and are physically based (eg; cabin floor, main spar area
etc). Each zone identification must include details of:

1. Any EWIS in the zone.


2. Any zone that contain EWIS and combustible materials.
3. Proximity of EWIS to hydraulic systems and mechanical and electrical
control systems. (Author’s note. Special Condition CS25 H-01 does not
list oxygen, fuel and water/waste here but does include these systems in
EWIS Component Installation Requirements in the same document.)

Action

Equipment must be designed as to minimise possible contamination, damage and


wire degradation. Procedures must be instigated to provide regular detailed
inspections and cleaning (to be incorporated into the maintenance programme) of the
EWIS:

1. For any contamination (particularly combustible material) and


deterioration of systems and equipment.
2. To keep all EWIS equipment clean and free from debris and any
combustible material. In the past wire bundles have been prone to
become very dirty and contaminated with swarf, liquids and debris.
3. It has been found that wiring is more susceptible to damage and
degradation where it is exposed to pedestrian (maintenance personnel)
traffic and special attention must be paid to these areas including cargo
bays.

Inspections

The manufacturer is required to provide an inspection schedule and maintenance


programme to included detailed inspections of all EWIS equipment in the form of an
ICA to meet the requirements of EWIS. The inspections are to be detailed and may be
in the form of a:

* DET (Detailed inspection). An intensive examination of a specific item, or


assembly to include, as necessary: comprehensive cleaning of the
wiring/ equipment; the use of artificial lighting; magnification aids;
mirrors etc. It may require tactile examination and the use of extensive
de-paneling/elaborate access procedures etc for access purposes.
* GVI (General visual inspection). An examination of a specific item or
assembly to check for obvious damage, failure or any irregularity. Not
too unlike a DET but the procedure is not so detailed.

- 35 -
* ZI (Zonal Inspection). A term that includes visual checks and GVIs
applied to a zone or area. Unlike a GVI it is not directed to one specific
component or assembly but to a zone and all the equipment in the zone.

Inspected items to include:

* Wiring, wiring bundles, lacing tape, sheathing, insulation.


* Wiring support, grommets, lacing, clamps, brackets.
* Connectors.
* Switches, circuit breakers, contactors, relays.
* Ground points.
* Bonding leads, bonding connections.

Besides inspecting for overheating, signs of burning and corrosion, items in the
system should be inspected for:

* Contaminated (moisture or debris) wire/wire bundles/switches/


contactors/splices etc. Moisture will accelerate corrosion.
* Damaged or poor insulation.
* Wire/structure contact/chafing.
* Broken strands/open circuits/kinked wiring/damaged splices/damaged
wires.
* Damaged supports/poor attachments/damaged conduits/blocked drain
holes (in conduits)/poorly fitted or missing grommets.
* Wire bundles sagging/poor support.
* Poor repairs.
* Plugs, sockets corroded/poorly fitted/insecure wiring/damage.
* Switches, contactors, circuit breakers, relays etc inspected for
contamination/corrosion/poor fitting/damage/insecure wiring/signs of
overheating.
* Bonding leads security, corrosion and damage.
* Correct separation from other systems/fluid pipelines/moving parts.
* Signs of vibration damage. Likely to occur in high vibration areas.

Failure Classification

To meet CS25 sub part H requirements failures of EWIS equipment must be classified
according to the effect its failure will have on the aircraft and crew (table 1).

EWIS will be included in Part M and Part 145.

You should note that EWIS formalises wiring design and maintenance procedures
that already existed but were not necessarily followed as closely as they should have
been. It also ‘beefs-up’ some of the existing requirements. New aircraft will have
designs and maintenance schedules (ICAs) to EWIS standards and existing aircraft
will comply by carrying out an EZAP.

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CLASSIFICATION DESCRIPTION

NO SAFETY Has no effect on safety, operational capability or crew workload.


EFFECT

Failure that would not significantly reduce aircraft safety.


MINOR Might increase flight-crew workload slightly.
Some slight discomfort to passengers/crew.

Failure that would reduce aircraft/flight-crew capability.


Significant reduction in safety.
MAJOR Significant increase in flight-crew workload.
Discomfort to flight-crew/distress or injury to passengers.

Significant reduction in safety.


HAZARDOUS Heavy workload for flight crew so they may not be able to perform tasks correctly.
Fatal or serious injury to others.

CATASTROPHIC Conditions that would result in multiple fatalities usually with the lose of the
aircraft.

TABLE 1 EWIS FAULT CLASSIFICATION

Some terms and abbreviations used in the EWIS document include:

Arc tracking. A condition where a carbon path is formed across an insulating surface.
This provides a conducting path and allows current to flow causing a short circuit.
May also be called Carbon Arc Tracking, Wet Arc Tracking or Dry Arc Tracking.

AMC. Acceptable Means of Compliance. A method or procedure that can be used to


fulfil a requirement of part of a Certificate Specification (CS).

Combustible. Refers to a solid, liquid or gas that will remain burning after the removal
of the ignition source.

Contamination. The presence of a foreign body that will cause degradation of the
wiring or the presence of foreign material that will sustain combustion. In the passed
contamination has been found to include dust, dirt, metal shavings, tea, coffee,
napkins and toilet waste.

DET. Detailed inspection. A close inspection including, as necessary, comprehensive


cleaning of the wiring/equipment and visual inspections using artificial lighting;
magnification aids; mirrors etc.

DVI. Detailed Visual Inspection. By definition a DVI excludes any tactile examination
and therefore is usually used as part of a DET and the acronym DET used as opposed
to DVI.

ESWPM. Electrical Standard Wiring Practises Manual. See also WPM (Wiring Practices
Manual and SWPM (Standard Wiring Practices Manual).

- 37 -
EZAP. Enhanced Zonal Analysis Procedure.

FAA. Federal Aviation Administration.

FAR. Federal Aviation Regulation.

Functional failure. Failure of an item to perform its function within specific limits.

GVI. General Visual Inspection. An inspection made with normal available lighting.
Refer stand-alone GVI, DET and zonal inspection.

ICA. Instructions for Continued Airworthiness. Since the 1980s design approval
holders are required to provide ICAs for the aircraft they produce. The ICA provides:

* A description of the aircraft, its components and systems.


* Servicing information.
* Maintenance instructions.
* Servicing instructions.
* Frequency of servicing.

L/HIRF. Lightening/High Intensity Radiated Field protection. The protection of the


aircraft electrical systems and structure from induced voltages or currents by means
of shielded wires, raceways, bonding jumpers, connectors, composite fairings using
conductive mesh, static dischargers, airframe metal structure, thin film conducting
windscreens, RF (radio frequency) gaskets etc.

Maintenance. Defined by Commission Regulation 2042/2003 Article 2(h) as ‘the


inspection, overhaul, repair, preservation and the replacement of parts, but excludes
preventative maintenance’. For the purpose of EWIS it includes preventative
maintenance.

MSI. Maintenance Specific Item. Items identified my the manufacturer the failure of
which could lead to one or more of the following:

* Affect safety in the air of on the ground.


* Is un-detectable during operations.
* Could have significant operational impact.
* Could have significant economic impact.

Needling. Refers to a procedure carried out by some engineers. The cable outer sheath
(insulation) is pierced by a needle through to the conductor so voltage readings can be
obtained and the cable checked for continuity. Needling maybe the cause of some
cable faults.

NPA. Notice of Proposed Amendment.

Stand-alone GVI. A GVI which is not part of a zonal inspection. Even if the time
interval for the two inspections coincide then it must still be treated as a stand-alone
item on the work-card.

SSI. Structural Significant Item. Any item or assembly that contributes significantly
to carrying flight, ground, pressure or control loads and whose failure could affect the
structural integrity and safety of the aircraft.

- 38 -
Swarf. Metal particles generated by drilling, milling and machining operations in
general. Always a hazard in aircraft and in particular when it gets into wire bundles.

ZIP. Zonal Inspection Programme. A programme of zonal inspections to cover all zones
over a period of time.

Zonal inspection. An inspection of a designated zone on an aircraft which will include


DETs, GVIs and visual inspections to check structure, systems and power plant
installations for security and condition.

SOLDERING

Sometimes called soft soldering to distinguish it from hard soldering (usually called
brazing). It is the process of joining two metals together using a low melting point
alloy (the alloy having a lower melting point than the metals being joined which are,
themselves, not melted).

The joint is not as strong as a brazed joint (using brass) or a welded joint (which
actually melts both metals together and is the strongest joining method). Soldering is
the weakest method of joining metals but it strong enough for electrical work and has
good electrical properties. When carrying out a soldering process which is to be
repeated many times it is advisable to solder a sample and test it to destruction to
verify the strength of the soldering process used – normally done by pulling the joint
apart in a test machine.

Normally used to join two parts made from the same metal and not used on some
aluminium alloys, magnesium alloys, zinc based alloys and for attaching metal tags to
high tensile steel tubes (may cause intercrystalline corrosion). Special aluminium
solders and fluxes are available for the soldering of aluminium in certain radio and
instrument assemblies but aluminium soldering is generally not allowed on aircraft.

The equipment used includes a soldering iron; solder and a flux. The iron is used to
heat and melt the solder and heat the parts to be joined, the flux ensures a
chemically clean joint and the solder provides the ‘adhesion’ between the metals. The
strength of the joint depends on the solder layer not being too thick or too thin and
the parts to be joined being mechanically cleaned (no dirt etc) and chemically cleaned
– the correct flux.

The solder can be melted by:

* Hand-held electric soldering irons.


* Resistance heating. Passing a low voltage current through the work to be
soldered using an electrode. At the electrode connection the resistance
causes a local rise in temperature sufficient to melt the solder.
* Induction heating. Using an induction coil placed near the part to be
soldered. The high frequency ac supply in the coil will cause an induced
current into the parts to be soldered and heating in the work-pieces.
* Ultrasonic heating. The ultrasonic vibrations produced cause heating of
work pieces and solder which melts the solder.

- 39 -
* Bath heating. The pre-fluxed parts to be soldered are dipped in a bath of
molten solder and after a period are withdrawn. The parts are kept
aligned with each other while cooling and solder solidification occurs.
Dross – a form of ‘scum’ – which forms on the top of the bath is swept to
one side by various means.

The Soldering Iron

Usually electrically heated (240Vac but may be powered using a transformer) and
comprises a connecting cable, insulated handle, heating element and a removable bit
(some have an indication lamp to show when the iron is on and also a light shining
forward to give illumination to the work in hand).

Fig. 30 TYPICAL SOLDERING IRON

Some are thermostatically controlled; others will require temperature control by


switching off when they get too hot, and switching back on again when it cools.

Irons should be kept to a temperature of 60°C above the melting temperature of the
solder, but not too hot so as to cause rapid oxidation. They are classified by their
wattage. The bit is made of copper for good heat conduction and can be changed by
removing the bit retention pin. The bit should be kept clean and care should be
exercised when the iron is on as the bit can get very hot and cause burns. For
soldering large items a blowtorch can be used.

Correct selection of a soldering iron appropriate to the mass of the joint to be soldered
is governed by two main considerations:

1. Wattage rating of the iron.


2. Size (ie diameter) of the bit (access).

Before connecting a soldering iron to a power supply:

1. Visually inspect the iron, cable and plug for damage and security.
2. Check that supply/iron voltage and wattage are correct for the
job in hand and there is a serviceability tag fitted.
3. Check that the power supply matches that stated on the iron.
4. Check that there are no sources of combustion present.

- 40 -
Solders

Supplied in stick and wire form to BS441 (resin cored), BS219 (soft solder), DTD (has
non-corrosive flux) and DEF34/1. Wire solder is usually flux cored and stick solder is
not. The flux may be active or non-active (passive). Several types of solder are
available.

ALLOY%
GRADE TIN ANTIMONY SILVER LEAD MELTING USES
RANGE °C

A 65 0.6 max none r 183 to 185 Items liable to damage by


K 60 0.5 max none r 183 to 188 heat.
B* 50 3 none r 185 to 204 General copper, tin
F 50 0.5 max none r 183 to 212 & machine work.
M* 45 2.6 none r 185 to 215
R 45 0.4 max none r 183 to 224
C* 40 2.2 none r 185 to 227 Blowpipe soldering.
G 40 0.4 max none r 183 to 234
H 35 0.3 max none r 183 to 224 Dipping baths.
L* 32 1.7 none r 185 to 243 Plumbing work.
D* 30 1.7 none r 185 to 248
J 30 0.3 max none r 183 to 255
V 20 0.2 max none r 183 to 276 Electric lamps.
N 18 1 none r 185 to 275

TABLE 2 GENERAL PURPOSE SOLDERS

General purpose solders are listed and other types may be specified for some
applications. Some solders are supplied which contain a small amount of copper for
use on electrical circuits.

ALLOY%
GRADE TIN ANTIMONY SILVER LEAD MELTING
RANGE °C

95A 95 5 none 0.7 max 236 to 243


5S 5 0.1 max 1.5 r 296 to 301
1S 1.3 0.1 max 1.5 r 309 to 310

TABLE 3 HIGH TEMPERATURE SOLDERS

ALLOY%
TIN LEAD MELTING USES
RANGE °C

65 max r 183 to 185 Items not likely to damage by heat


60 max r 183 to 188 & require free running solder.
50 max r 183 to 212 Higher temperatures & less penetration
permitted. General hand soldering.
40 max r 183 to 234 Items more likely to heat damage. Tin &
copper work.
20 max r 183 to 276 Electric light contacts.

TABLE 4 WIRE SOLDERS

- 41 -
Notes (tables 2 to 4) 1. r = remainder.
2. Those solders marked with an asterisk (*) are known as
antimonial solders. They have a high antimony content
which increases the strength but must not be used on zinc
or galvanised work.
3. The two temperatures quoted in the melting range
indicate the completely solid and completely liquid states.

High temperature solders are used in applications that are subject to heat such as
engine radiators, oil coolers etc.

Wire cored solders are supplied together with one or more continuous cores of
activated or non-activated flux running throughout their length. As the flux is applied
simultaneously with the solder they are generally considered to be a better method of
soldering than using stick solder.

It is important to remember that the correct solder specification must always be used
as per the AMM/SRM/drawing/modification leaflet.

Fluxes

The use of a flux is essential to ensure that the surfaces of the metals to be joined are
chemically clean. It also helps to prevent the formation of oxides and other impurities
and helps the molten solder to flow. Fluxes conform to DTD 599 and are supplied in
either resin, liquid or paste form. Applied to the mechanically cleaned surface prior to
soldering if not using cored solder. If using cored solder (normally resin cored)
application occurs at the same time as the solder is applied.

Active or Activated Flux. These are more effective than non-active fluxes but can only
be used where thorough cleaning of the joint can be carried out afterwards, as
corrosion will occur otherwise. These are wood or gum based with additives to
improve the joint strength.

Non-active or Passive Flux. Not so effective. Also wood or gum based and used where
complete removal of the flux after joint completion is not possible, eg on electrical
cables. Sometimes called safety flux.

The flux container should have details of the flux including manufacturer, flux
specification and whether it is active or passive, but if these details have been
obliterated a test can be carried to check on its active/non-active status. The test
entails putting the flux to be tested on a nickel plate and soldering the plate. If the
plate becomes wetted (the solder runs and sticks to it) then the flux is active.

Special fluxes are provided for certain metals, eg:

* Zinc chloride dissolved in hydrochloric acid for stainless steel (SS).


* Phosphoric acid based for SS.
* Phosphate based for SS.
* Resin fluxes for monel metal and nickel.
* Killed spirits of salts or lactic acid for inconel and nimonic alloys.

- 42 -
* Safety flux complying with DTD 599 for all electrical cables, galvanised
wire rope, control cables, and any item that cannot be properly washed
after soldering.
* Flux complying with DEF 34/1 for soldering oxygen equipment.
Thorough washing is needed after using this flux.

Surface Cleaning

The surface should be mechanically cleaned prior to fluxing/soldering. The best


surface is one that is slightly rough so the use of a file or sand paper is suitable -but
not for stainless steel.

As soon as the part is cleaned it should be de-greased using trichloroethane or


trichloroethylene.

Stainless steel should then be pickled electrically in a bath containing sulphuric acid
and dichromate and washed in clean water.

Fluxing/soldering should commence as soon as possible after cleaning/degreasing.

Method of Soldering - General

1. Mechanically clean the parts to the joined (wire brush, filing etc), ideally
leaving the surfaces slightly roughened.
2. Degrease the surfaces using trichloroethylene. (This is being replaced by
substitute degreasing agents because of its toxicity). Stainless steel
should be further cleaned using a pickling process followed by washing.
3. For soldering aluminium alloy special flux cored solder is available.
4. Use the correct solder and flux.
5. Allow the iron to heat up and ‘tin’ using the solder. (Tinning means
melting some solder on the end of the bit, which allows for better heat
conduction between the bit and the parts to be soldered). If a non-
electrical soldering iron is used – called a Common Iron – it must be
heated in a blue colour blowlamp flame. Other colour flames will deposit
soot on the bit.
6. ‘Tin’ both parts to be joined separately, applying the hot iron to one side
of the part and the solder to the other side. The heat will conduct
through the part and the solder will melt over the area. When this
happens remove the iron and the solder. Allow the solder on the part to
cool and solidify. If the parts to be joined have a large mass it might be
necessary to preheat them in an oven (be careful not to overheat). When
applying the heat it is important to apply only enough heat to melt the
solder sufficiently to make it run. Heating too much will cause it to
sputter and also produce oxidation.
7. Bring both parts together and apply the soldering iron to re-melt the
solder on both parts.
8. As the solder melts, remove the iron and allow parts to cool without
disturbing. Any disturbance at this stage will crack the joint and it will
be have to re-done.

- 43 -
9. When cool and the solder has solidified wipe the joint clean/wash if
active flux used and test for mechanical strength. Depending on the flux
used some joints will require washing in special solutions such as weak
hydrochloric acid. If necessary construct a second joint and test to
destruction.

Notes. 1. If the joint pulls apart it is said to be a ‘dry joint’. Probably


caused by the part/parts not being cleaned properly or tinned
correctly. The process will have to be repeated.
2. The above process may be known as ‘sweating’.

Soldering (Sweating) a Wire to a Terminal End

Most cable connections are made using crimped pins, sockets and terminal ends,
very few are soldered. In some cases is a requirement that the connections are
crimped – in particular this applies to essential circuits such as emergency
lighting, fire circuits etc, and to circuits that are subject to high ambient
temperatures.

Preparation of the Wire

1. Strip the insulation from the end of the wire to the required length and
inspect (there must not be any cut or broken copper strands).
2. Twist the strands slightly to re-impose a lay to the wire.
3. Lightly abrade the bare wire and clean with a solvent – making sure the
solvent is compatible with the insulation.
4. If the other end of the wire terminates at a heat sensitive component
such as a transistor and there is a possibility that the heat being applied
during the soldering process could conduct along the wire then a Heat
Sink must be attached to the wire between the soldering end and the
heat sensitive component to absorb some of the heat. Heat sinks
normally take the form of a pair of special pliers gripped to the wire,
without causing damage. They can also help prevent wicking.
5. Apply the already tinned and hot copper bit beneath the wire and the
flux cored solder to the top.
6. When the solder flows over the wire, remove the solder and the bit and
allow the tinned wire to cool.

Note. Do not allow solder to flow underneath the insulation (called ‘wicking’)– this
will cause a ‘stiff joint’. Also make sure there is no excessive insulation shrinkage
caused by overheating the wire. If heat from the iron is likely to affect other
wires/components close-by then use a locally produced heat shield.

- 44 -
Fig. 31 TINNING THE WIRE

Preparation of the Terminal

1. Clean the terminal and immediate area with approved cleaning material.
Support the end in a suitable heat resistant support. Do not support in
a metal support, as this will conduct too much heat away from the
terminal.
2. Apply the soldering iron bit to one side of the terminal and the resin
cored solder to the other. Allow the heat from the soldering iron to pass
through the terminal end to melt the solder.
3. Tin the terminal with sufficient solder to form a good bond, appropriate
to the gauge of wire to be connected.
4. When fully tinned remove iron and solder and allow to cool.

Fig. 32 TINNING THE TERMINAL END

Making the Joint

1. Hold wire and terminal end together in a steady support and apply the
hot bit to one so as to allow the heat to flow into both.
2. When the solder on both parts melt, keep joint steady and remove bit
(apply additional solder if required). Important – joint must be held still
whilst it cools.
3. With the solidifying of the solder a good joint should be formed.

- 45 -
4. Check joint for security, alignment of wire and terminal end. Make sure
that there is a good electrical contact area between wire and end. (The
joint can be checked for strength by trying to pull it apart using the
hands – if it fails it must be re-soldered – including re-tinning. A ‘dry’
joint is a sign of poor solder adhesion to one or other of the two items
being soldered – rectified by proper cleaning of both parts and correct
fluxing).
5. Clean joint using an approved solvent.
6. Carry out any electrical tests specified.

Note. The strength of the connection of the wire to the terminal end should not rely on
the soldered joint only. The wire should have a mechanical means of
connection in addition to the soldering process. This can include the wire being
bent round 90° into a hole (there for the purpose) or bent 180° around the end
fitting or any other approved method.

Multi-pin Connectors

The term ‘connector’ is used to cover a wide range of devices which provide semi-
permanent connection to avionic components and electrical equipment.

A complete plug and socket connector assembly is comprised of two mating parts:

1. The part directly attached to any structure or component is termed the


receptacle or socket.
2. The part attached to the free length of wire or loom is termed the plug.

To join one wiring loom to another a plug and socket is often used where each half is
attached to its own loom. A connector must have positive location for plug to socket
and be capable of quick connection and disconnection for ease of maintenance.

The various wires going into a plug/socket are connected to individual


pins/individual sockets. The connection to these pins/sockets is usually made by
crimping each wire to its respective pin, but in some cases soldering is used –
particularly with older systems.

Soldering Plug and Socket Pins

Not an easy process and requires an iron with a small bit and a steady hand. The
various wires are identified, stripped (by the appropriate amount) and tinned. Each
pin in the plug/socket usually comes with the wire receptacle end pre-soldered so it is
only necessary to tin the wires.

Because of access problems soldering starts at the middle pin (number 1) with each
pin thereafter being soldered in turn clockwise out from the centre. The pins may not
be removable from the plug/socket. If they are, solder them out of the plug/socket
and fit each one once cooled.

- 46 -
Soldering Process

1. Strip, clean, identify and tin each wire.


2. If pin receptacle requires extra solder apply the iron to the contact and
allow the solder to run inside.
3. Whilst keeping the solder molten in the pin receptacle insert the
prepared wire end.
4. When firmly in, maintain relative positions, remove iron and allow solder
to cool.
5. Inspect the completed joint:

a) The conductor should be ‘wetted’ to the contact to the full depth


of the receptacle hole.
b) The insulation should be almost flush with the top of the pin
contact and unburnt.

Fig. 33 TINNING THE PIN

Fig. 34 SOLDERING WIRE TO PIN

Note. If, during the soldering process a previously soldered pin/wire has been
touched by the hot iron, it may have become un-soldered and will require
re-doing. This will often require all the wires to be un-soldered back to this one for
access. Then they will all have to be re-soldered.

If there has been any shrinkage of the insulation (because of the heat) then the wires
will have to be cut and re-stripped and re-soldered. If there is insufficient slack in the
wire to allow this then replacement is the only answer. (It can be very frustrating).

- 47 -
Soldering Nipples

These vary in design and are fitted to lightly loaded control systems such as Teleflex
controls for the operation of parking brakes etc. They are fitted to the end of the
control cable to allow the cable to be fitted to a component. With most aircraft,
however, attachment of end fitting to cable is by swaging.

Fig. 35 SOLDERING A TRUNION TYPE NIPPLE TO A CONTROL CABLE

The procedure for soldering is:

1. Clean the hole and the countersink in the nipple. Clean the cable.
2. Pass the cable through the nipple as at (i) in figure 35 and splay out the
strands. Make sure they are clean.
3. After cleaning, pull the cable back so the strands are flush with the
nipple surface.
4. Hold nipple and cable securely in a clamp (vice) with the cable ends
leaving the nipple at right angles.
5. Heat nipple and cable with the soldering iron and apply safety flux and
solder to the countersunk end. Fill the countersink with solder and
ensure it melts into the cable sufficient to show at the other end. Clean
off any solder that runs down the cable.
6. When the solder is completely set snip off any proud cable strands and
file flush with nipple [(ii) in figure 35].
7. Inspect the joint, remove all traces of flux, apply a rust preventative and
proof test (if required).

Soldering Aluminium Alloy

The process is similar to that already described but a special cored wire solder is used
and a temperature of 280°C to 370°C is used. This is required because of the high
rate of heat conductivity of aluminium and its alloys.

The flux produces pungent fumes and extraction equipment should be used or the
process used in well-ventilated areas.

- 48 -
Jigging

For some larger parts the two items to be soldered are positioned next to each other
using a jig. Joint clearances are specified in the drawing and can range from 0.08mm
to 0.25mm (.003” to .010”) with gaps for aluminium being a little smaller.

””””””””””

- 49 -