Wiring Installation and Routing (Part Three)

in Aircraft Electrical System

Wire and Cable Clamp Inspection

Inspect wire and cable clamps for proper tightness. Where cables pass through structure or bulkheads, inspect for proper clamping and grommets. Inspect for sufficient slack between the last clamp and the electronic equipment to prevent strain at the cable terminals and to minimize adverse effects on shock-mounted equipment. Wires and cables are supported by suitable clamps, grommets, or other devices at intervals of not more than 24 inches, except when contained in troughs, ducts, or conduits. The supporting devices should be of a suitable size and type, with the wires and cables held securely in place without damage to the insulation.

Use metal stand-offs to maintain clearance between wires and structure. Tape or tubing is not acceptable as an alternative to stand-offs for maintaining clearance. Install phenolic blocks, plastic liners, or rubber grommets in holes, bulkheads, floors, or structural members where it is impossible to install offangle clamps to maintain wiring separation. In such cases, additional protection in the form of plastic or insulating tape may be used.

Properly secure clamp retaining bolts so the movement of wires and cables is restricted to the span between the points of support and not on soldered or mechanical connections at terminal posts or connectors.

Movable Controls Wiring Precautions

Clamping of wires routed near movable flight controls must be attached with steel hardware and must be spaced so that failure of a single attachment point cannot result in interference with controls. The minimum separation between wiring and movable controls must be at least 1⁄2 inch when the bundle is displaced by light hand pressure in the direction of the controls.


Conduit is manufactured in metallic and nonmetallic materials and in both rigid and flexible forms. Primarily, its purpose is for mechanical protection of cables or wires. Conduit size should be selected for a specific wire bundle application to allow for ease in maintenance, and possible future circuit expansion, by specifying the conduit inner diameter (ID) about 25 percent larger than the maximum diameter of the wire bundle. [Figure 9-140]

Figure 9-140. Flexible conduit.

Figure 9-140. Flexible conduit.

Conduit problems can be avoided by following these guidelines:

  • Do not locate conduit where passengers or maintenance personnel might use it as a handhold or footstep.
  • Provide drain holes at the lowest point in a conduit run. Drilling burrs should be carefully removed.
  • Support conduit to prevent chafing against structure and to avoid stressing its end fittings.

Rigid Conduit

Damaged conduit sections should be repaired to preclude injury to the wires or wire bundle that may consume as much as 80 percent of the tube area. Minimum acceptable tube bend radii for rigid conduit are shown in Figure 9-141. Kinked or wrinkled bends in rigid conduits are not recommended and should be replaced. Tubing bends that have been flattened into an ellipse and have a minor diameter of less than 75 percent of the nominal tubing diameter should be replaced, because the tube area has been reduced by at least 10 percent. Tubing that has been formed and cut to final length should be deburred to prevent wire insulation damage. When installing replacement tube sections with fittings at both ends, care should be taken to eliminate mechanical strain.

Figure 9-141. Minimum bend radii for rigid conduit.

Figure 9-141. Minimum bend radii for rigid conduit.

Flexible Conduit

Flexible aluminum conduit conforming to specification MIL-C-6136 is available in two types: Type I, bare flexible conduit, and Type II, rubber-covered flexible conduit. Flexible brass conduit conforming to specification MIL-C-7931 is available and normally used instead of flexible aluminum where necessary to minimize radio interference. Also available is a plastic flexible tubing. (Reference MIL-T- 8191A.) Flexible conduit may be used where it is impractical to use rigid conduit, such as areas that have motion between conduit ends or where complex bends are necessary.

The use of transparent adhesive tape is recommended when cutting flexible tubing with a hacksaw to minimize fraying of the braid. The tape should be centered over the cutting reference mark with the saw cutting through the tape. After cutting the flexible conduit, the transparent tape should be removed, the frayed braid ends trimmed, burrs removed from inside the conduit, and coupling nut and ferrule installed. Minimum acceptable bending radii for flexible conduit are shown in Figure 9-142.

Figure 9-142. Minimum bending radii for flexible aluminum or brass conduit.

Figure 9-142. Minimum bending radii for flexible aluminum or brass conduit.

Wire Shielding

In conventional wiring systems, circuits are shielded individually, in pairs, triples, or quads depending on each circuit’s shielding requirement called out for in the engineering documentation. A wire is normally shielded when it is anticipated that the circuit can be affected by another circuit in the wire harness. When the wires come close together, they can couple enough interference to cause a detrimental upset to attached circuitry. This effect is often called crosstalk. Wires must come close enough for their fields to interact, and they must be in an operating mode that produces the crosstalk effect. However, the potential for crosstalk is real, and the only way to prevent crosstalk is to shield the wire. [Figure 9-143]

Figure 9-143. Crosstalk.

Figure 9-143. Crosstalk.

Bonding and Grounding

One of the more important factors in the design and maintenance of aircraft electrical systems is proper bonding and grounding. Inadequate bonding or grounding can lead to unreliable operation of systems, EMI, electrostatic discharge damage to sensitive electronics, personnel shock hazard, or damage from lightning strike.