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Last month the FAA issued a policy memorandum providing additional guidance on the certification of Class 1 and 2 portable Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs). The memorandum cites a potential safety hazard in the use of EFBs with rechargeable lithium batteries, and requires that such systems meet minimum performance standards or that warning placards be added to prevent their connection to aircraft electrical power.
"An aircraft electrical power source may provide power to Class 1 and 2 EFB systems with lithium batteries. Lithium batteries and charging circuitry may be flammable under certain conditions and could cause an unsafe condition during flight operations," states the memorandum.
"In particular, lithium battery systems have the potential to pose a safety hazard when recharging. The aircraft electrical power source is not certified to mitigate unsafe conditions that occur when connected to portable equipment which contains lithium batteries and charging circuitry."
The memorandum requires that EFBs containing lithium batteries are tested to RTCA DO-311, "Minimum Operational Performance Standards for Rechargeable Lithium Battery Systems," which was intended to test permanently installed equipment.
EFBs that do not meet the standards are not eligible for connection to aircraft electrical power sources. FAA says a warning placard should be added as part of the supplemental type certification, defining what type of equipment can be connected to aircraft power. "The placard, must be legible, easy to see and as close as practical to the docking location(s)," the memorandum states.
So what does all this mean? Simply put, when considering power supply systems (PSS) for use with personal electronic devices (PEDs) it is necessary to ensure that your installation considers the operational ramifications and forward looking system scalability needs of your operations early in the design process to ensure that you customers, air/cabin crew and ground maintenance crew needs are being met. This will aid your organization in garnering the greatest return on the capital improvement dollars you invest in your aircraft modifications program. ASIG is experienced in the design and certification of PSS for use with PEDs, as well as other CNS/ATM & IFE upgrades and enhancements.
Until next time stay 5x5, Mission Ready & Wired!
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