The chime sounding during engine start on an MD-80 happens when the engine reaches idle speed and electrical power changes automatically from the relevant APU BUS to the AC BUS.This is represents a huge transfer of electrical power,and the cabin lights tend to flicker as it happens,indeed,on some of our planes (SAS),even the EFIS screens might go blank for a brief moment!
McD standard is for the wing and nose landing lights to be manually controlled by the pilots according to their Company's Operating Procedures.These may vary from company to company.We in SAS extend the wing lights (but do not turn them on) when we are given the "thumb up" (Clear Signal) by the mechanic or person in charge for the ground equipment and push-back procedure.The nose Taxi Light,adjacent to the Nose Landing Light,is lit at this time,so are the Ground Flood Lights located on either side of the fuselage,forward of the wing.
All three Landing Lights are lit just before Take-off roll is started and turned off and retracted when the gears have been retracted.The GND. FLD. LTS remain on until passing FL100 (10,000 feet approx.) and are turned on again when passing this altitude during approach.Landing Lights are usually extended when slats and flaps are extended,and switched on when passing 1000 feet descending on the approach or when landing clearance has been received.
I haven't heard of any modification on the MD-80 series where the landing lights operate automatically at any phase of flight,except during an engine failure during take-off,when the lights turn off and retract when the gear handle is raised to the UP position.
"Luck and superstition wins all the time"!