How The Next Generation of Bond Meters Are Helping Aviation Technicians?

How The Next Generation of Bond Meters Are Helping Aviation Technicians?

Every avionics technician understands the importance of proper grounding to prevent damages to the instruments, especially if hit by lightning.

Bond meters are a special tool used in aviation to measure low resistance. Their purpose is to measure proper bonding and aircraft grounds. Thus, minimizing damages of expensive and complex systems; increasing aviation safety.

Why not use a multimeter to measure grounds?

It seems ubiquitous to use a multimeter also to measure grounds, but the range of a standard multimeter may not meet many aviation requirements.

A standard multimeter can only measure resistance as low as 0.1Ω that is 100mΩ. 

This is not enough! 

Some aircraft manuals require 2.5 milliohms (2.5mΩ) for correct ground measurement. If using the standard multimeter, the measurement is 40 times higher than required by the manual!!!

What is The Difference Between a Bond Meter and a Multimeter?

The multimeter can measure resistance, capacitance, voltages, and current. When measuring low resistance, a standard multimeter is limited by the level of range and the introduction of additional resistance from the pair of leads. The additional resistance is caused by the 2-wire measurement method as shown below.

2 wire diagram measure resistance

2-wire measurement**

4 wire measurement diagram kelvin

4-wire measurement**

A 4-wire measurement, also called a 4-wire Kelvin testing, provides the proper ground measurement as follows:

Out of the four (4) wires,  two (2) provide the current to the Device Under Test (DUT), and the other two (2)  measure the voltage over the DUT.

This way, the measurement is taken exactly between the desired points. Thus,  eliminating the added resistance from the standard pair of leads used in the multimeter.

What makes the BT-700 and BT-700i unique?

Barfield Bond Meter

The BT-700 and BT-700i (intrinsically safe) offer some great features in comparison with legacy bond meters.

  • Durable, versatile with intuitive user-interface.
  • Battery life of 100 hours in standby, 50 hours in 10 mΩ range*
  • Four and one-half (4½) digit LCD with LED Backlight
  • Easy to clean
  • Automatic and manual HOLD modes
  • Programmable test limits with OK and FAIL annunciator
  • OVER and UNDER annunciators
  • Open lead and DUT (Device Under Test) detection
  • Durable: Meets MIL-PRF-28800F, Class 2 requirements
  • Optional Tilt Stand/Magnet/Hanger
*Factors such as range, backlight, and use of the optional display probe will affect battery life.
** Images sourced from cirris.com.

Display Probes With a Hold Mode?

This unique feature allows an aviation technician to read a measurement at the fingertips, with the option to hold the value and see have an annunciator button set to the right threshold.

Barfield Bond meter leads

Just imagine how fast measurements of grounds throughout the aircraft can be taken. Just set the threshold, and start measuring

If you are interested to learn more about it? Download the manual below

5 Acceptable Methods for Calibrating an Aircraft Magnetic Compass

5 Acceptable Methods for Calibrating an Aircraft Magnetic Compass

Among the required instruments and equipment that all powered aircraft must-have is a Magnetic Direction Indicator.

The Magnetic Direction Indicator (Compass) is required to be installed so that its accuracy is not excessively affected by the aircraft’s vibration or magnetic fields and a placard must be installed on or near the compass which lists the calibration readings in not more than 30° increments for small aircraft or 45° for large aircraft.

FAA Advisory Circular AC No. 43-215, details five acceptable methods for compensating a standby compass or preparing the compass correction card. The 5 acceptable methods are:

  1. Compass Rose

Requires the use of a properly surveyed, constructed, calibrated, and certified for use compass calibration pad (compass rose).

  1. Master Sight Compass

Uses a  calibrated and certified Master Sight Compass that is indexed 180° from normal which allows the user to stand facing the aircraft. No compass rose is required.

  1. Simulated Rotation

Uses an apparatus that is able to neutralize the Earth’s magnetic field around the aircraft and creates a simulated magnetic field which can then be rotated so that the aircraft may remain stationary. No compass rose is required.

  1. Portable Magnetic

Uses an apparatus composed of a highly accurate digital compass and a remote indicator for viewing with the standby compass. No compass rose is required.

  1. Air Swing

Is accomplished with the aircraft in flight using an electrically calibrated and compensated system or an Inertial Navigation System or an Attitude and Heading Reference System or a Global Positioning System.

When must a compass swing be accomplished?

Per the FAA  (AC 43.13-1B CHG 1) page 620, paragraph 12-37. 

A compass swing must be performed on the following occasions:

  1. When the accuracy of the compass is suspected.
  2. After any cockpit modification or major replacement involving ferrous metal.
  3. Whenever a compass has been subjected to a shock; for example, after a hard landing or turbulence.
  4.  After the aircraft has passed through a severe electrical storm.
  5.  After a lighting strike.
  6. Whenever a change is made to the electrical system.
  7. Whenever a change of cargo is likely to affect the compass.
  8. When an aircraft operation is changed to a different geographic location with a major change in magnetic deviation. (e.g., from Miami, Florida to Fairbanks, Alaska.)
  9.  After the aircraft has been parked on one heading for over a year.
  10. When flux valves are replaced.

Barfield Sight Compass – SC063

The Barfield SC063 (P/N 101-01200) is a portable, self-contained Master Sight Compass used to check the mounted aircraft compass. Consisting of a modified aircraft compass which has been re-screened to indicate 180 degrees from normal.

The SC063 allows the operator to stand facing the aircraft, making it considerably easier to transmit signals to and from the aircraft cockpit.

The SC063 is unique in that the compensating magnets have been removed and a combination magnifying lens and collimating sight added.

With the compensator removed the compass indicates magnetic direction at all times and is not subject to calibration offsets. The magnifying lens increases the readability of the dial and the collimating lens ensures precise sighting alignment.

Attached to the rear of the compass is an adjustable sight lens. The lens is precisely aligned to ensure that the overall accuracy of the dial does not exceed ±1 degree. The Sight Compass is painted orange and has a caution label attached to it to prevent inadvertent installation in an aircraft.

Min Height: auto
Min Height: auto

How to use the SC063 Sight Compass?

 

PRE-SWING INSTRUCTIONS

  1. When using the Compass, the operator stands directly in front of the aircraft at a minimum distance of 30 feet, preferably 50 feet or more.
  2. The Compass is held as nearly level as possible and sighted through the sighting lens to the exact center of the aircraft.
  3. Sufficient time should be allowed for the Sight Compass to stabilize before taking readings. It is best to take a series of three readings before assuming that the readings are correct.
  4. Normal procedure is to either taxi or tow the aircraft to approximately the desired heading as read on the Compass to be compensated (within 5 degrees).
  5. The operator using the Sight Compass, then standing directly in front of the aircraft and with the Sight properly lined on the centerline of the aircraft, observes the exact heading on which the aircraft is positioned, and notes any error that exists between the Sight Compass and the Aircraft Compass being compensated.
  6. Whatever error exists between the Sight Compass and the Aircraft heading is then corrected by moving the Aircraft the number of degrees difference existing until such time as the Aircraft heading and the reading of the Sight Compass are corrected for the desired heading (within 5 degrees).
Sight compass SC063 Barfield

COMPASS COMPENSATION PROCEDURE

Note:     All these corrections shall be made using a non-magnetic screwdriver. The Compass shall be lightly tapped after each adjustment and be allowed time to settle before taking readings.

  1. Set the compensator for zero effect by matching the dots on the compensator screws with the fixed dots on the case.
  2. Align the Aircraft as nearly as possible (not to exceed 5 degrees error) to magnetic north (0°).
  3. Turn the N-S screw to cause the Aircraft Compass to read the same as the Sight Compass.
  4. Align the Aircraft as nearly as possible (not to exceed 5 degrees error) to magnetic east (90°).
  5. Turn the E-W screw to cause the Aircraft Compass to read the same as the Sight Compass.
  6. Align the aircraft as nearly as possible (not to exceed 5 degrees error) to magnetic south (180°).
  7. Turn the N-S screw to remove one-half of the error between the Aircraft Compass and the Sight Compass.
  8. Align the Aircraft as nearly as possible (not to exceed 5 degrees error) to magnetic west (270°).
  9. Turn the E-W screw to remove one-half of the error between the Aircraft Compass and the Sight Compass.

CAUTION: IF THE N-S SCREW IS INADVERTENTLY TURNED, THE NORTH HEADING MUST BE RECHECKED AND COMPENSATED

COMPASS SWINGING PROCEDURE

  1. Prepare a worksheet similar to the one shown in Table 1 with Column 1 filled in and the Column Titles entered for the other columns. The worksheet will be populated with the data recorded and calculated by accomplishing the steps that follow.
  2. Starting on any convenient 30 degree heading, align the Aircraft so that the Sight Compass reads within 5 degrees of the desired heading.
  3. Record the Aircraft Compass reading in column 2 and the Sight Compass reading in column 3 adjacent to the appropriate heading in column 1.
  4. Repeat steps B and C for each subsequent 30 degree heading.
  5. Record the difference between the readings of the Aircraft and Sight Compass readings in column four (4).
  6. Add or subtract the Compass errors in column 4, to or from, respectively, the desired headings in column 1. Enter the results in column 5.
  7. There should not be more than plus or minus 10° difference between any of the Aircraft Compass readings and the Sight Compass readings. If the Aircraft Compass cannot be adjusted to meet the requirements, install another one.
  8. Enter the values from column 5 in the “STEER” portion of the Aircraft Compass correction card.
table of completed compass correction worksheet

Do you need the instruction manual? Click here

Time Domain Vs  Frequency Domain Reflectometers in Aviation Operations

Time Domain Vs Frequency Domain Reflectometers in Aviation Operations

Distance To Fault (DTF) measurements of coaxial cables and testing of antennas are typically performed by independent analyzers. Historically, aviation technicians have used Time Domain Reflectometers (TDR) to perform DTF measurements. A TDR sends a pulse of Direct Current (DC) of half sine wave into the coax cable copper pair and digitizes the return response of the reflected pulse in time domain. The difference in velocity of propagation (Vp) estimates the potential location of the problem. TDRs are limited as no information regarding the performance problems at actual operating radio frequency (RF) is determined.

 

What does an FDR do?

DC pulse vs Frequency Sweep reflectometer

Image Source: https://www.anritsu.com/en-us/test-measurement/solutions/en-us/distance-to-fault

Frequency Domain Reflectometers performs a sweep of frequencies of the transmission line input, and then using Inverse Fast Fourier Transform (IFFT) on the reflected signals, convert them back to time domain. The analyzer not only performs the calculations of the DTF from the Vp received, but in addition receives all the reflected signals from the faults in the frequency spectrum that provides characteristics of the type of fault found. Therefore, users could create a characterization of the type of damage, i.e.: corrosion or bad shielding etc. It is also important when doing FDR test to consider the characteristics of the cable to compensate for any losses during the transmission. 

An FDR could create characterizations of the type of fault found, not capable when using a TDR.

TDRs are not capable of troubleshooting antennas. Typically, operators will have to bring a more sophisticated equipment, such as a spectrum analyzer, if available, or swap antennas, as best way to discard possible problems with navigation systems. This process is time consuming, and costly to the operators, in particular if the no fault is found (NFF) with the antenna.

 

What technology is available approved for aviation?

FlightHawk_Barfield

The FDR analyzer such as FlightHawk P/N 7003A001-4, is capable of performing both tasks in one analyzer: DTF and antenna frequency sweep. The FlightHawk sweeps in a frequency range of 1MHz to 6GHz, capable of connecting to any navigation system such as VHF, DME, TCAS etc. It contains a friendly user interface for the testing of coaxial cables and antennas with measurements in feet or meters for DTF and dB or Voltage Standing Wave Ratios (VSWR) for frequency sweeps. It is capable of integrating a power sensor to measure power output from the source.   

The FDR analyzer such as FlightHawk P/N 7003A001-4, is capable of performing both tasks in one analyzer.

Finally, it uses an android base operating system that provides flexibility to store images of any measurement, downloadable via USB drive, Bluetooth or WIFI. This is particularly useful when line maintenance technicians require additional support from avionics techs or engineers remotely located.

Barfield contribution to this equipment to make it suitable for aviation, was identifying and including the library of commonly used coaxial cable part numbers with their characteristics. The versatility of the equipment and the ease of use, are part of the reasons that have been included in the Boeing Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM). 

TDR could provide DTF measurements, but FDRs such as the FlightHawk is a more comprehensive, fast troubleshooting tool for line maintenance, helping avoid no fault founds.  

Other articles:

  1. How the Boeing Frequency Domain Reflectometer Works?
  2. How Airlines Are Testing Aircraft to Bring Them Back to Service?
  3. How to use a Frequency Domain Reflectometer in Aviation?

Barfield Inc., in partnership with Bird continue supportting operators to help diagnose avionics problems.

If you still have more questions or want to learn more about this technology, please fill out the form below.

Frequently Asked Questions About Barfield GSTE Products

Frequently Asked Questions About Barfield GSTE Products

Having all your questions about Barfield products answered for a better experience, is one of our main objectives. Our customer support and engineering teams have compiled an extensive list of Frequently Asked Questions to save you time.  

Where can I find the Barfield App on my mobile device to use with my DPS1000 and/or 1811NG? 

Connect your mobile device to the Internet via local Wi-Fi network or phone provider data plan, visit the Apple App or Google Play, search and download the “Barfield ADTS” app.  

Here are the links: 

Apple App Store 

Google Play 

How do I connect my DPS1000 and 1811NG to a mobile device? 

Find the detailed process in this article published on our blog: How to connect the DPS1000 and 1811NG to a Tablet 

What is the password to connect Barfield ADTS app to the DPS1000 and 1811NG ? 

Refer to the link: How to connect the DPS1000 and 1811NG to a Tablet 

Does my mobile device Wi-Fi need to be connected to a local network to connect and work with my DPS1000 and/or 1811NG? 

No, the test set is equipped with Wi-Fi Direct which works pier-to-pier, it connects and communicates directly between the mobile device through the Barfield ADTS App to the DPS1000 or 1811NG.  

How can I get my latest software update on my DPS1000 and 1811NG? 

Through your mobile device: Having the Barfield ADTS App up to date on the mobile device will ensure that your test equipment runs with the latest software (HUIM and PCM) installed.  The App detects the equipment’s current firmware and triggers a message with the need to run the software update.  The customer can choose to run the update or do it later, but the App won’t run the Test Equipment until the sotfware is updated. 

Visiting Barfield’s website: Barfield GSTE website

How can I register my Barfield product? 

You can register any of your Barfield products including the products distributed by Barfield by clicking on the following link: Warranty Registration 

What is the warranty on my Barfield product?  

All warranties are 1 year 

Exception:  The  DPS1000 and 1811NG  have a 2 year warranty.  

What is the calibration interval of my Barfield product? 

All DPS1000 and 1811NG have a 1-year calibration cycle. 

Analog instruments may require calibration every 6 months. Refer to the specific Instruction Manual for more information.  

Where can I find the latest manuals and information letters? 

The information on the latest manuals and information letters can be found on the GSTE page here 

What is the difference between calibration vs bench check? 

An inspection/verification from a third-party, non-Barfield authorized repair station, is not considered recertification of the Test Equipment. It determines, at best, if the Test Equipment’s performance meets Barfield’s published specifications.  It is important to clarify that Recertification does NOT result in any adjustments to the measurement system. 

The process of Calibration requires the Unit Under Test (UUT) be compared to Certified Traceable Standards.  Adjustments are made to the UUT during calibration in order to align the UUT to the exact values of the Standards so that the errors at all required test points are zeroed out. 

A true Calibration results in the equipment operating at its optimum accuracy and performance levels, which ensures the instrument will maintain its performance specification for another year until the next annual calibration recertification is due.    

In summary, the recertification (calibration) is normally required to be performed every year; “inspection-verification” is NOT recertification. 

Where can I send my Barfield equipment for calibration and repair? 

Barfield Test Equipment can be sent to Barfield Headquarters. Please, contact our customer support at gste.service@barfieldinc.com   

For Barfield authorize repair station contact gsesales@barfieldinc.com 

If you have any more questions about Barfield products fill out the form below 

 

How to Troubleshoot No Fault Founds in Complex Wire Harnesses?

How to Troubleshoot No Fault Founds in Complex Wire Harnesses?

Intermittence fault is a known problem in aircraft due to a large number of electrical wire and complex systems that make an aircraft. Newer aircraft have more computer-based system which has even more wiring than legacy aircraft.

 

Why aircraft intermittences are so difficult to detect?

Small-Engine_CFM56-5B_CDG (5)

Finding a problem in a bundle of wire-harness is a complex challenge. Sporadic intermittences that appear in mid-air are detected and reported by pilots. Once the aircraft is back on the ground these intermittences are difficult, if not impossible for technicians to replicate. Aircraft vibration can not easily be replicated, and many times the intermittences happen in fractions of milliseconds.

Therefore,  problems observed in mid-air can not easily be replicated on the ground. Technicians rely on ohmmeters to run conductivity testing, selecting line by line, looking for the problem. The tool of choice, a multimeter, is set up to find transients with millisecond accuracy. There are two challenges with this approach:

 

  1. Harnesses are interconnected systems of multiple wires, and a multimeter is only capable of testing one wire at a time.
  2. It is possible that the transients occur in less than a millisecond, undetectable by the multimeter.

Problems observed in mid-air can not easily be replicated on the ground.

Hence, the multimeter works to detect open circuits, which is considered hard or semy hard intermittences. But not accurate enough to detect random sporadic intermittences at low-level noise or micro-breaks.

 

New Technology

IFD - 256 Voyager - Barfield Inc - Universal Synaptics-min - Intermittence Analyzer

New technology has emerged. It takes into consideration all electrical lines by testing each line simultaneously with a nanosecond accuracy in a closed-loop environment. This technology uses a hardware version of a neural network, in which signals are sent to each node combining all feedback back to the analyzer. Then, the system could be checked as a whole, and not each line separately, creating the necessary environment to detect any fault.

New technology has emerged. It takes into consideration all electrical lines by testing each line simultaneously with a nanosecond accuracy in a closed-loop environment.

The United States Department of Defense is one of the early adopters of this technology that tests LRU, by extending the mission capability of their fleet and reducing operating costs.

GE-90 Wire Harness Case Study

We have identified by Boeing 777 operators that the  GE-90 115B engine typically shows intermittency problems in the wire harness. Our engineer group along with the team at Universal Synaptics developed an interface, to connect the bundle of wires into the IFD (portable).

 

GE 90 complex cables IFD Universal Synaptics

The complexity of this task can only be solved by sending simultaneous pulses at a nanosecond speed through all cables simultaneously. The IFD (portable) connects in series with the wire harness and detects any possible anomaly.  

This report shows the results of the test. GE 90 complex cables IFD Universal Synaptics

Lockheed Martin with F-16

Lockheed Martin currently uses the versions of the IFD on their different platforms. Check video below:

Several case studies have come to light recently and a selected group can be downloaded here:

Selected Aircraft Case Studies:

  1. F-16 Nose Landing Gear Harness.
  2. Boeing 777 GE90 Engine Harness
  3. Total Air Temperature Probes .
  4. Pratt & Whitney V2500 Engine Harness
  5. AH-64 Apache EWIS Testing 
  6. Elevator and Aileron Computer (ELAC)

Barfield Inc., in partnership with Universal Synaptics, is bringing this technology to operators of commercial and business aircraft.

If you still have more questions or want to learn more about this technology, please fill out the form below.

How to use a Frequency Domain Reflectometer in Aviation?

How to use a Frequency Domain Reflectometer in Aviation?

Barfield Inc., in partnership with Bird, collaborated in the development of the FlightHawk ( formerly known as SiteHawk-AV)This is a Frequency Domain Reflectometer (FDR), commonly used in the telecommunication industry, modified to be used in aviation operations. It can usually be found under Part Number: 7003A001-5 in many manuals.

Training on how to use the FlightHawk:

The FlightHawk is a Frequency Domain Reflectometer that connects from the end of the coaxial cable, testing if damages exist by identifying the Distance to Fault (DTF) and capable of performing a frequency sweep to the antenna.

The following videos provide instructions that allow the testing of any type of antenna and coaxial cables with this Frequency Domain Reflectometer, in any navigation systems of any aircraft. 

  1. Introduction to FlightHawk ( formerly known SiteHawk-AV).
  2. Antenna and Cable Health Checks: Boeing Use case.
  3. How to Calibrate the FlightHawk.
  4. VSWR and return loss sweep with the FlightHawk.
  5. Distance to Fault Test Using FlightHawk.
  6. Sending files from the FlightHawk to an Android phone.
  7. Save files from FlightHawk to a USB Drive.

1. Introduction to the FlightHawk

This video is an introduction of the FlightHawk. It explains what it consists of and what features are included.

2. Antenna and cable health checks: Boeing use case 

This video is a presentation from Boeing, showing details of the use of the FlightHawk in an aircraft.

3. How to calibrate the FlightHawk

This video shows the process of how to calibrate the Frequency Domain Reflectometer.

4. VSWR and return loss sweep with the FlightHawk

This video shows how to do a Voltages Standing Wave Ratio (VSWR) and return loss frequency sweep.

5. Distance to fault test using the FlightHawk

This video shows the Distance To Fault (DTF) test procedure.

6. Sending files from the FlightHawk to an Android phone

This video shows how to send files from the Frequency Domain Reflectometer to an Android phone. It is a great tool for saving images and results from tests performed.

7. Save files from FlightHawk to a USB drive

This video is about how to save files from the FlightHawk to a USB drive. It is also, a great tool for saving images and results from tests performed.

We hope with these videos, to give you an overall understanding of the FlightHawk Frequency Domain Reflectometer (FDR). The videos showed how to perform Distance to Fault (DTF) and VSWR testing. For Boeing operators, there is an additional option, a Boeing App, that can be installed on your device.

If you still have more questions or want to send us a quote, please fill out the form below.