The increasing number and complexity of electrical/electronic systems installed in future transport aircraft will result in higher production and operating costs, unless significant advances are made in installation concepts. Boeing studies show that the fabrication of an electrical interconnection system is a significant cost factor in the manufacture of transport aircraft. Also, as the number and flight criticality of electrical/electronic systems grow, the significance of a reliable, EMI-immune and maintainable interconnect system increases. The current design concepts are neither adequate nor compatible with the installation of Fly-by-Wire/Light and Power-by-Wire Flight critical systems.
Future interconnect systems must reduce the production costs associated with signaling/powering and provide a reliable, EMI-immune and maintainable system. A new interconnect system, described in this paper, combines signal and power distribution into a single cable. The cable meets the environmental/vibration requirements of unpressurized aircraft sections. The cable is constructed with common connectors on each end of a symmetrical interconnect and minimum number of different components allowing its construction to be automated. The cable accommodates electrical/optical requirements for the distribution of power and signal within a common cable that reduces the number of installation breaks. The cable's optical interconnect provides fault isolation and can indicate cable stress abnormalities. The integrated power/signal cable has achieved high reliability in laboratory tests and has enhanced the maintainability and EMI protection of aircraft interconnect systems.