Avionics News April 2015 - 63

tures, the entire structure should be
at the common ground potential.
This is accomplished by bonding, in
which electrical straps are provided
between the aircraft structure and
electrically separate components

such as control surfaces. With
everything bonded in a metal airplane, you might think you could
simply ground components to the
Continued on following page

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sis or case is usually grounded, and
any circuit boards or other components inside the case all connect to
the chassis as a common ground.
In modern equipment, the case is
almost always physically connected
to the safety ground of a 3-wire
power cord. This avoids embarrassing (and potentially deadly) mistakes where reversed wiring could
make the case electrically hot, and
give an unwary user a nasty shock
- something that's happened to me.
Using the chassis as ground also
simplifies the design of equipment
by eliminating the need to run
separate wires to complete each circuit. In many cases, PC boards are
constructed with a complete layer
of copper that can be used to connect any component to the chassis
ground.
But what do we mean by electrical ground for an airplane? In
flight, there's no connection with
the ground, and even on the tarmac,
airplanes are typically insulated by
tires - that's why grounding the
airplane with a wire is mandatory
before fueling, to dissipate any static charge. Instead of a true ground,
what we have is a common potential, which is set by "grounding"
to a common location - typically,
a bus bar or (in piston singles) the
firewall. Note that per the FAA
Aviation Maintenance Technician
Airframe Handbook (volume 2,
chapter 9) separate grounds should
be provided for AC and DC returns,
to avoid noise coupling. Aircraft
with distributed electrical systems
are more complex, with separate
power returns for each alternator
or generator; but in any case, all
connect to a common structural element or bus.
In aircraft with aluminum struc-

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281 325-8300

laversab.com/aviation

avionics news

*

april

2015

63


http://www.laversab.com/aviation

Avionics News April 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News April 2015

Avionics News April 2015 - Intro
Avionics News April 2015 - Cover1
Avionics News April 2015 - Cover2
Avionics News April 2015 - 1
Avionics News April 2015 - 2
Avionics News April 2015 - 3
Avionics News April 2015 - 4
Avionics News April 2015 - 5
Avionics News April 2015 - 6
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Avionics News April 2015 - Cover3
Avionics News April 2015 - Cover4
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