With today’s high energy costs, it pays to only switch runway lights on when they are needed. For unmanned night time operations, this requires a device to activate the lights on pilot command. In certain cases, eg PAPI approach lights and helipads, a system of selectable high, medium and dim light levels is required.
PJ Aviation has been manufacturing runway lighting controllers for over 10 years, as an alternative to expensive imported and unsophisticated units. Our Runway Lighting Controller comprises a digitally tuned airband receiver and RLC-05 micro-controller inside a heavy duty plastic weatherproof enclosure.
The controller is designed to recognize a sequence of carrier wave pulses initiated by an incoming aircraft and to send a command to the airfield lighting control panel, to switch the runway lights on, control brightness, etc. The number of pulses and the lighting ON time is preset according to the specification FAA L 854. Alternative sequences can be programmed on request.
An all weather, UV stabilized plastic IP54 enclosure for pole or wall mounting is provided, with dimensions 220mm high x 170mm wide x 85mm deep.
The system uses a RHP-530 airband programmable synthesized receiver with keypad and LCD to enable user frequency selection. The RHP-530 has ICASA approval. A squelch control allows the user to ensure only the strongest signals are utilized when channels are shared by other nearby users. A loud speaker and volume control allows the user to monitor the operation when initially setting up the system. An external antenna is not normally required, but a BNC bulkhead connection to facilitate this may be requested.
A micro-controller monitors the receiver logic output and checks the number of carrier wave pulses, pulse length and length of the pulse sequence. There are 3 accepted sequences, one with 3 pulses, another 5 pulses and finally 7 pulses. These all have to be received within 5 seconds. The successful completion of any sequence will activate a solid state relay connected to the client’s lighting distribution panel. The three different outputs may correspond for example to Dim, Medium and Bright on a helipad. If any of these pulse sequences are repeated after 8 seconds, a new output function could be selected. The output will automatically switch off after 15 or 30 minutes. A manual pushbutton on the circuit board allows testing and reset. LEDs on the circuit board indicate the status at any time.
A 110 or 220vac 0,1w power supply is housed within the enclosure. As an option, the system could be operated from a nominal 12vdc supply. The connections to the power supply and for the solid state switches are through a user supplied compression gland in the bottom of the enclosure.