RV 26/46 Beacon Questions

jackson224

Registered Member
#1
I realize Unity has stated that they cannot find a suitable replacement for the motors in the RV series beacons. However, I'm sure some of us who are trying to maintain old lights would like to try to find a source if we can. Would it be possible to get the specs (RPM, amp ratings, etc.) on the old motor(s) to help people look for replacements?

Is there other historical information out there that might be useful to people? As in, when were the RV 26/46 series of lights introduced? Why were the lights offered in both 5 and 6 inch bulb configurations? When did Unity change from the flat-sided motors to the round housing motors? When did Unity start to galvanize the metal parts (light housings, motor housings, etc.)? Were there rubber grommets originally included in the base of the lights? What kind of paint was used to create the spitfire domes, and how were the clear areas masked (not the easiest thing in the world to put tape on the inside of a cylinder). What kind of lubrication was used on the shaft that holds the light housings, and what kind of lubricant was used on/between the worm gear and the main gear?

Any details would be great.

Thanks!
 

kerry4951

Senior Member
#2
To help you out with your motor question, one of our members on here that goes by Skulldigger repairs motors in most all of these old lights and does a great job at it. Very reasonable too. Unity Mfg is a member on this forum so you could probably ask your questions to them for the best responses.
 

UnityUSA

Site Regular
#3
Our resident beacon "expert" has been working on a response, but went on vacation this week. Wanted to let you know we are working on response but since it is not an active product it takes time to find information.
 
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jackson224

Registered Member
#4
Awesome -- thank you very much -- I'll be excited to get the response. The RV26/46 beacons are simple devices but are still works of engineering art IMO like old desk fans (and like Unity A-pillar spot lights!) that deserve to be appreciated and preserved.
 

UnityUSA

Site Regular
#5
Just wanted to update, we did not forget about responding, just still work in progress. Sorry for the delay.
 

UnityUSA

Site Regular
#6
Sorry for the delay, took some time to locate the info since anything we still have was archived. Answers are below:

  • Specs (RPM, amp ratings, etc.) on the old motor(s) – we pulled the drawing and it does not have the motor information it has the requirement for the 2 lamp unit to rotate 45 – 55 RPM to generate 90 – 110 flashes per minute and half that for the 4 lamp unit.
  • When were the RV 26/46 series of lights introduced? – 1967
  • Why were the lights offered in both 5 and 6 inch bulb configurations? – We started with 4416 lamps (5”) rated at 35,000 cp and with the 6” could increase the output to 60,000 cp. Obviously improved safety. Michigan State Police use 6” aircraft landing bulbs rate at 200,000 cp.
  • When did Unity change from the flat-sided motors to the round housing motors? – Cost and availability. Originals were made by Motor Specialties in Racine, WI (I think). Switch to a guy in Illinois that made lots of versions 6V, !2v, 24V.
  • When did Unity start to galvanize the metal parts (light housings, motor housings, etc.)? – Don’t have a specific date but they were originally CAD plated and that became prohibited, we went to chrome plating (in-house). It didn’t look shinny as we did not polish the metal.
  • Were there rubber grommets originally included in the base of the lights? – Yes
  • What kind of paint was used to create the spitfire domes, and how were the clear areas masked – Paint is Spraylat ????? / The company that painted them had masking equipment which made it easy for them. Roughly a spindle centered with two rotating pieces.
  • What kind of lubrication was used on the shaft that holds the light housings, and what kind of lubricant was used on/between the worm gear and the main gear? – We did not use lubricant on the shaft fairly early as we went to iolite bearings (self-lubricating). The worm gear and main gear used petroleum jelly (industrial type).
 

UnityUSA

Site Regular
#8
Was also just given this:

One additional note on spitfire - Clear Top Coat (U.V. Inhibitor ROHM & HAAS # LS123
 
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jackson224

Registered Member
#10
How were the metal bulb holders formed on the RV 26/46 beacons? And what type of metal was used? Looks very similar to exhaust pipe...
 
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jackson224

Registered Member
#12
Would a Unity 7682 lamp fit in the RV-26 lamp housings? If so, how would the brightness and beam spread compare with the 4537 (100 watt sealed beam aircraft landing lamp).
 

UnityUSA

Site Regular
#13
I would say no to the U-7682 lamp. We never made RV-26 with them so I tried putting one into a RV-26 and was unable to get the spring clip around, whereas had no problem with the U-4537-2 lamp. Someone else might be able to do it but I couldn't get it in. Even if the spring fit, there was a gap around the lamp and the wiring setup for 7682 isn't compatible and would need to be changed to work with the beacon.

Both 7682 and 4537-2 are 100 watt lamps. 7682 is rated at 245,000 candlepower with a spread of 7.5 x 5. 4537-2 is rated at 200,000 candle power due to spreading the beam out more at a 11 x 6 beam spread.

U-4537-2 lamps are still available through our website: http://www.unityusa.com/U-4537-2-PAR-46-Aircraft-Lamp-Kit_p_2169.html
 
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