Annunciator Systems and Lights: the Basics


An annunciator lamp is a part of an annunciator. An annunciator is a device that relays a message to the user. In the case of an annunciator panel, the term refers to a group or set of warning lights that serves as an indicator of whether a system or building is working or not.

Annunciator: definition

Annunciator panels, especially in aircraft, building or industrial applications, are typically designed with an array of lights that let you see and track the progress of a device. These panels also indicate an emergency. Depending on the system, an annunciator must be reset once it is activated. Other systems require corrective action before the annunciator lamp can go off.

Annunciator in Aviation

In aviation circles, an annunciator is a part of the airplane’s safety system. Inside the cockpit, you’ll find a panel full of lights that indicate the condition of the aircraft’s subsystems. It’s well within the pilot’s line of sight and lets the pilot know, as soon as a specific light goes on, if there’s engine trouble or not. In aircrafts, it’s common for these systems to have a test switch. This helps them find out if the lamp is already burned out or not, ensuring they get to replace these before the unit takes flight.

Color codes in annunciators

Wondering what pilots see when they see those lights go on? Here’s a clue:

  • White or blue. These annunciator lights indicate that a current system or device is in use. You’ll see this when seat belt signs are turned on.
  • Green. These lights let the pilot know that a system is safe and ready for use, typically referring to landing gears.
  • Orange or yellow. This is a warning light. While it doesn’t mean an emergency, it does refer to a situation that requires attention, normal in cases of fuel imbalance.
  • Red. This means a system requires attention right away.

These are just a few things to know about annunciators and annunciator lights. Know more before you buy to invest in a good one.

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