Primex EmPower

Richard Barth Richard.Barth at
Sun Dec 7 22:53:20 CST 2003

There are (at least) two organizations writing rules for the airborne
use of electronics.  The FCC prohibits the use of cell phones because of 
the possibility of interference to the network; at umpteen thousand feet 
you can tie up a number of repeaters and so roach the network for other 
users.  Not sure whether they have other prohibitions.

The FAA has its own rules, which generally prohibit the use of any 
deliberate emitter (radio transmitter) which has not been approved by 
the aircraft operator.  So, if you own the plane, you write the rules 
which are accordingly of primary interest to those flying commercial.
Lacking the approval of the the airline involved, radio transmitters and 
  receivers are generally prohibited in flight, with their use on the 
ground (e.g. only when the doors are open, only when the wheels are on 
the deck, etc.) varying according to which airline you're flying.  So, 
forget ham radio, GPS receivers, and generally most everything.  The 
jury is still out on wireless LANs, since something call "Connexions by 
Boeing" allegedly has been approved to provide wireless connectivity to 
laptops in flight.  I don't have the specifics; maybe somebody else can 
provide those.

Also FYI, RTCA Inc. (formerly the Radio Technical Commission for 
Avionics) has a special committee in the process of writing 
recommendations for new FAA rules on the subject of Personal Electronic 
Devices (PEDs) aboard aircraft.  Stay tuned...



Alex Fraser wrote:
>    The Primex EmPower system is the connection used by the Airline for 
> you to use their aircraft's power on your laptop. I have just bought a 
> car airplane adapter to power my 19V laptop in my 13.6V pickum up truck. 
> I want to convert over to Anderson Powerpole connectors in the truck 
> instead of the kluggy, ugly cigarette lighter connector, but still 
> retain the ability to use the Airline Empower system. The Empower 
> connector has two large and two small pins in it, but I have yet to find 
> the pin outs. Anyone have any experience with these Empower systems?
>    I'm interested in hearing about airborne use of GPS, wireless lan, 
> APRS and other Gizmoes, both in a technical and regulatory sense. That 
> is, if it ain't legal I won't do it, but if it is I want to know how.

More information about the Tacos mailing list