Thermal Sources

The most common source of thermal electricity found in the aviation industry comes from thermocouples. Thermocouples are widely used as temperature sensors. They are cheap and interchangeable, have standard connectors, and can measure a wide range of temperatures. Thermocouples are pairs of dissimilar metal wires joined at least at one end, which generate a voltage between the two wires that is proportional to the temperature at the junction. This is called the Seebeck effect, in honor of Thomas Seebeck who first noticed the phenomena in 1821. It was also noticed that different metal combinations have a different voltage difference.

Thermocouples are usually pressed into service as ways to measure cylinder head temperatures and interturbine temperature.

Light Sources

A solar cell or a photovoltaic cell is a device that converts light energy into electricity. Fundamentally, the device contains certain chemical elements that when exposed to light energy, they release electrons.

Photons in sunlight are taken in by the solar panel or cell, where they are then absorbed by semiconducting materials, such as silicon. Electrons in the cell are broken loose from their atoms, allowing them to flow through the material to produce electricity. The complementary positive charges that are also created are called holes (absence of electron) and flow in the direction opposite of the electrons in a silicon solar panel.

Solar cells have many applications and have historically been used in earth orbiting satellites or space probes, handheld calculators, and wrist watches.

Schematic Representation of Electrical Components

The schematic is the most common place where the technician will find electronic symbols. The schematic is a diagram that depicts the interconnection and logic of an electronic or electrical circuit. Many symbols are employed for use in the schematic drawings, blueprints, and illustrations. This section briefly outlines some of the more common symbols and explains how to interpret them.


The schematic depiction of a conductor is simple enough. This is generally shown as a solid line. However, the line types may vary depending on who drew the schematics and what exactly the line represents. While the solid line is used to depict the wire or conductor, schematics used for aircraft modifications can also use other line types such as a dashed to represent “existing" wires prior to modification and solid lines for “new" wires.

There are two methods employed to show wire crossovers and wire connections. Figure 10-44 shows the two methods of drawing wires that cross, version A and version B. Figure 10-45 shows the two methods for drawing wire that connect version A and version B. If version A in Figure 10-44 is used to depict crossovers, then version A for wire connections in Figure 10-45 will be used. The same can then be said about the use of version B methods. The technician will encounter both in common use.

Figure 10-46 shows a few examples of the more common wire types that the technician will encounter in schematics. They are the single wire, single shielded, shielded twisted pair or double and the shielded triple. This is not an exhaustive list of wire types but a fair

representation of how they are depicted. Figure 10-46 also shows the wires having a wire number. These are shown for the sake of illustration and will vary from one installation agency to another. For further understanding of a wire numbering system, consult the appropriate wiring guide published by the agency that drew the prints. Regardless of the specifics of the wire numbering system, organizations that exercise professional wiring practices will have the installed wire marked in some manner. This will be an aid to the technician who has to troubleshoot or modify the system at a later date.

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