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“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” – Earl Nightingale

 

 

 

 

Avionics and Wiring

Avionics and Wiring

October 22, 2020 – I realized when I looked at my time log how long it’s been since I posted an update, so here goes…

Com Harness

I finished the connectors and put the harness in place. I’m trying my damnedest to not have a rats nest here. Once everything is clamped in place and tied back, it’ll be OK. This is what happens when a sheet metal guy handles wires.

I did the headset and mic jacks. I made some a long time ago, but I didn’t have wires for PTT in there, so I took mine out and used the new ones.

I also installed the antennas.

Tailcone Wiring

Well, I call it the tailcone because once I get in there, I may as well be all the way back there.

I assembled the harness for the autopilot pitch servo. Power, ground and a yellow wire for AP disconnect go up front. The rest go into the Skyview network.

Since I have limited space for wires to go up the tunnel between the seats, I bought a hub to put in the tailcone and I ran a 15-foot Skyview network cable to the front.

I made a bracket where the transponder attaches to the center beam in the fuselage.

Air Temperature Probe

I installed the OAT probe in the fuselage under the left horizontal stab. I ran the wires up through tiny grommets I had and they go straight to the ADHRS.

Panel

For a long time I had the “life-size” Dynon templates taped to the panel on my table and I was playing around with them trying to find the best locations. When I was ready to make a decision, I found out that those templates were about 1/4″ small. That made a big difference in what I was going to do. So I did some rearranging.

In the above pictures I have the two coms with the intercom panel above them. I wasn’t sure I liked that, so I redrew that stack with the intercom underneath. Much better.

I decided to do the cutting myself. Lots of filing…

It appears that except for the intercom panel, all the Dynon panel items have the same cutouts. Nice idea…

After those center items, I did the cutouts for the screens.

Here’s the panel in the airplane:

I still have to do the other small items in the panel, which I just ordered.

I’m just going on, routing wires and terminating them as needed. One wire at a time…

Time: 42:00

Avionics and Wiring (again)

Avionics and Wiring (again)

September 24, 2020 – Well, it’s been an interesting few weeks. After losing both of my parents and a covid-like illness (I was negative!) I’m back. We won’t talk about my flying! That’s another issue. But things are moving forward with this project.

I looked more into locating various items in the airplane. Because of proximity to antennas, I decided to put the ADSB-In box back there, as well as the transponder. Van’s sells brackets that are for an ELT or strobe power supply. I decided to get one each for the left and right, one for the ELT in the future, and one for the ADSB. Because the ADSB antenna is on the right side, that’s where I placed this bracket.

ADSB

Access to install this bracket was a pain. It attached between two stringers behind the baggage compartment. It fits fantastically, but it gets pop-riveted in place in the stringers. Note to self: install the lower rivets first, then the top ones.

Antennas

My darling wife came out to the hangar and helped me install the ADSB and transponder antennas.

I also ran the coax cables for the com antennas.

Com Harness

I think the biggest part of this project is going to be the com harness. This connects the two transceivers, the intercom, and the two radio control heads in the panel. Dynon does not sell a harness for the whole thing, but they do sell one for the intercom, which appears to be the heart of the machine. Because I have two coms instead of the one officially supported by Dynon, I found out I had to add two pins to the intercom harness. Took me two tries because I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing, but I got that done.

After much head-scratching and consultation with experts on the airport, I called Stein and found out they would sell me a drawing of the entire com system provisioned for my setup.

Armed with this information, I laid out my version of a harness board on my work table, with close approximations of distance and relative positions of each component.

I started with the connectors for the transceivers.

I haven’t closed them up because I need to install the power wires from the VPX.

In order to get distance correct, I wanted to locate the harness in the airplane where the connectors would be. I made up a template out of posterboard with the locations of the three panel items. I’m sure there’s am easier way to do this…

I think before I get too much farther along, I’ll consider starting to get the panel ready to cut.

Time: 27:00

Avionics and Wiring

Avionics and Wiring

August 29, 2020 – The wiring continues…

Still figuring out how the wires will be routed from elsewhere in the airplane to behind the panel. Looks like I’ll use the center tunnel forward past the fuel pump to the firewall, then up the right side and back to the sub-panel. I drilled a couple of holes for clamps on the firewall angle on the right, then started running wires that way…

I installed the base plate for the transponder on the beam that runs aft from the baggage compartment bulkhead, then ran the harness wires forward through the tunnel.

I then populated the two main power connectors for the VPX.

I knew that I had to have three power outputs for each com system, that would come off the one power source. So I used solder sleeves to achieve this.

I moved on to the pitch servo for the autopilot. I terminated the wires from the servo into a DB9 connector. I made both sides of that connection. Then I installed the servo onto the bracket.

I then tried my hand at terminating a coax cable. I made the cable for the transponder. YouTube is my friend.

Time: 13:00

Avionics and Wiring

Avionics and Wiring

August 10, 2020 – Just slogging through the avionics.

Engine CHT and EGT

I knocked out the EGT and CHT wiring so I could have some visual progress. Dynon provides spade terminals to match the harness wires which are already terminated. I allowed for service loops with each wire, and I tried to offset each one to reduce the bundle size when it’s all done.

I covered each connection with heat shrink. These are pretty solid.

Then I gathered the wires into bundles, one on each side of the engine.

Other Engine Indications

I connected the Red Cube fuel flow transmitter and the oil temp.

Power to VPX

I connected the wire from the ANL fuse that provides power to the VPX and therefore the rest of the avionics.

ADAHRS Mount

I’m using the Van’s Adahrs mount. This mounts the Adahrs just forward of the next bulkhead aft of the baggage compartment wall. I made sure it was level to the canopy rails before I drilled it.

I put the 3 fittings in the Adahrs and thought it would be easier to install the unit in the bracket before it went up in the tailcone.

Ummmm, no.

The bracket is pop-riveted into place, and I couldn’t get my riveter to some of the fasteners. So I laid there and removed the Adahrs so I could get to the rivets, then reinstalled it. I’m actually pretty sure I’m going to have to remove it again so I can get the Skyview network connector attached.

GPS Antenna

I made a bracket for the GPS antenna that attaches to the engine mount aft of the baffle. I didn’t want the antenna on the glareshield, and with the Adahrs in the back, there was no really ideal place to mount the GPS externally. If I figure something different, this bracket is not a huge commitment.

Com Radio Trays

I decided to mount the Com radios front and center on the sub-panel bulkhead.

Time: 23:15

A Little Vitamin D…

A Little Vitamin D…

July 15, 2020 – I took advantage of the hangar being relatively empty and got the airplane some sun…

Some Firewall Forward Work

Some Firewall Forward Work

July 15, 2020 – I did a few housekeeping items up front.

Per a comment from an EAA friend, I separated the plug wires where they clamp. I may refine this later.

I also added a heat shield for one of the cabin heat ducts.

Time: 2:00

Another Step to the Dream…

In August 2019 I took another step on this journey. I finally started my PPL. Flying a Sundowner and a Sport out of Aerocountry (T31). UPDATE: I soloed on March 20, 2020!

Life Gets in the Way…

I lost my best riveter. My bride Lenora had been struggling with dementia since 2011.  On October 8, 2017, she passed away. She helped rivet most of my fuel tanks. One day, I just needed to shoot two rows to finish one tank. She quickly learned how to use the gun. After we finished those 12 or so rivets, I said that we were done, and she replied “You sure? There’s nothing else we can do?” So I gathered the parts for the other tank and we shot most of it over the next couple of days. I’ll just say she was “cautiously supportive” of the project, but she came out and helped when I needed an extra hand, and towards the end she just sat out in the garage with me.

 

UPDATE— Life continues… I met an amazing woman named Julie and married her on March 30, 2019. She is excited about this project; in fact her dad restored an airplane in his garage, and there’s a lot of aviation history in her family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We made Google Earth!

April 29, 2016 was the day we drilled the wings in the driveway, and we were spied upon!

The Birth of an Airplane

November 26, 2009 – I’ve dreamed for a long time about building an airplane, and the RV family of airplanes has been at the top of my list. I got an opportunity to buy a tail kit from a friend at work. The deal was too good to pass up. Along with the kit I got some tooling: a c-frame dimpler, hand dimplers, clecos, that kind of thing.

I brought the tail kit home from work on Thanksgiving morning, 2009.

Some of the work was done on the tail kit. I found that pretty much all of the drilling and dimpling was done, so for the tail, it was a case of dry-assembling the sections, making sure everything was right, and then painting and riveting.

 

 

What’s an RV?

An RV-7 is a two-seat, all metal homebuilt aircraft. The kit is manufactured by Van’s Aircraft in Aurora, OR.

The airplane is available with either conventional (tailwheel) or tricycle (nosewheel) landing gear. That is a decision I will have to make later.

Depending on the engine that is installed, the RV-7 will economically cruise at 165+ mph, or will approach a top speed of roughly 200 mph, with a range of between 750-1000 miles.

You’re building this thing?

Sure. With a little training and familiarity with the required building techniques, anybody can build this airplane.

I’ll be building in the garage at home. Most of the airplane can be completed there, until the wings are ready to be attached. At that point, the airplane will need to be transported to an airport, since the wingspan is about 25 feet.

The airplane is a kit that is available in portions. You can buy the kit a portion at a time, or you can buy the whole thing all at once. Most people start with the tail kit, since the tail is easier, and the building process gets a little more complex as you move on through the wings and the fuselage. You also learn the basics for the RV kits when doing the tail.

N Number

Dec. 30, 2009 – Well, I found an N number that could work for me. I reserved it today, so we’ll see what happens. I’ll keep you posted.

Jan. 8, 2010 – N174PM! I looked again on the FAA site for reserving N numbers, and it’s there and reserved! I have the N Number N174PM!


What’s an N Number?

An N number is basically the registration number for the airplane that’s on file with the FAA. It’s pretty much like the license plate on your car. You can take what the FAA assigns you, or you can try to get a specific number. The N number is painted on the airplane in a prominent location and large enough so that it can be easily read.

N174PM

My N number is one I searched for. If you looked at it closely, you might figure it out.

1 (one) 7 (RV-7) 4 (for) PM (Pete Miller)

Get it?

My first RV ride!

March 11, 2010 – Well, I finally got a ride in an RV. RV-7A N156DE is owned by Stewart Cole out of Eagle’s Nest (2TS6) in Midlothian. We flew to Stephenville (KSEP) for lunch. I believe my first words after takeoff were “Holy Crap”, or something like that. This RV is the same model that I’m building, and it’s a beautiful airplane.

We had a little headwind going west, so we were indicating 147Kts on the GPS. At 5500′ coming home, we were showing 180Kts! That’s 207 mph!

Here’s a couple of pictures of the airplane without the fat guy in front with the stupid RV grin on his face…