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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

Panel continues

July 15, 2020 – Work continues on the panel and avionics.

I started the connection for power to the VPX. This wire will run from the ANL fuse to the power lug on the VPX.

I located and installed the EMS module for engine management. I decided to drill a hole in the sub-panel for a length of conduit so all the EMS wiring can run straight from the firewall back and come in right next to the EMS module.

Here’s the wires coming through the firewall.

I decided to label all the wires in this bundle, so I can just grab the wires I need for a particular component and finish the wiring. I found the pinout and wire list for the engine sensor connector and rang out each wire. This confirms that the pinout is correct, and leaves out the guesswork.

I relocated the manifold pressure sensor from inside the cockpit to the outside, so I don’t have air hoses running through the firewall, only wiring. Then I found the appropriate wires for the sensor, and terminated and installed them.

Time: 9:20

Read more

Started Panel Work!

July 10, 2020 – I finally got the first package from Stein for my panel. I ordered all Dynon parts and got a discount from Stein. To save money right now, I got everything except what physically goes in the panel.

I jumped right in and started to install the VPX-Sport.

They recommend putting it between the firewall and the bulkhead, which I also refer to as the subpanel. I made new attach angles to mount the VPX to two of the ribs. Here’s a shot looking straight up:

After I put paper templates on the subpanel, I realized I would have room for the VPX there as well, and it would be a lot more user-friendly and accessible.

It actually fits perfectly just to the right of center. The VPX comes with two attach angles. I oriented the lower one to where the attach screws (to the subpanel) are behind the VPX.

A friend from my EAA chapter was visiting, so I took advantage of his help and we installed the pitch autopilot servo bracket.

I realized I forgot to order my transponder, so that will be on its way from Stein. I’m actually heading up north next week on my Great Oshkosh Memorial Road Trip, so we’re going to visit Stein and look around. I’m also going to see if I can glean some wisdom about installing all this stuff. This is not my strong point, but I have a renewed energy to finally maybe finish this project!

Read more

Vinyl?

June 25, 2020 – I experimented with vinyl.

I’ve been intrigued by the use of vinyl instead of paint on the airplane. I decided to give it a try.

I ordered a 3×5 piece of 3M 2080 Gloss White. I decided to try it on the right elevator.

The first thing I wanted to do is to paint the leading edge row of rivets. This turned out to be a waste of time because you can’t EVEN see these rivets when the elevator is installed.

I cut a piece of vinyl large enough to cover the top of the elevator. It’s all pretty straight-forward, after watching a few dozen You-Tube videos.

Here’s the final product, for now.

Lessons learned:

  • Two people.
  • Cut a much bigger piece of vinyl so you can grab it an maneuver and pull it into position.

There are a couple of hard wrinkles, that will make it necessary to redo this. I kind of wish I’d started with the bottom of the elevator. I did the top because of how I’d wrap the trailing edge.

The other part I have to figure out is how to do tight curves like the tips.

Time: 1:40

Read more

Rudder Lower Fairing

June 25, 2020 – I worked on the lower rudder fairing some more.

The leading edge of this thing has been giving me fits.

Even when I built up the leading edge, by the time I sanded it smooth, the material in front of the rudder horns was paper thin.

So I bent the tabs of the rudder in just a bit to make some room, then I mixed some more resin with flox and caked it inside the fairing at that point. With the fairing in place, it just fills the gap. When it was set up, I removed it all and sanded to smooth it. It fits much better now.

Time to move on. I hate fiberglass.

Time: 4:20

Read more

Drilled Elevator Horns

June 25, 2020 – Well, the third time’s the charm. I drilled the elevator horns and they are actually aligned!

I was able to get a rod end for the elevator pushrod with a 1/4″ bore, so I went with doing 1/4″ holes in the elevator horns. My friend on the airport welded one of the holes closed (again).

Since I wasn’t having as much success with my drill bushings, I found a wire brush that had a hole drilled through the handle. The handle was exactly 1″ wide, which is the space between the horns, and the handle fit in between very snugly. So I pressed a .248″ bushing into the handle and cut the head off.

I nested a smaller drill bushing in that to get the hole started, then I ran a .248″ reamer through there.

Finally!

Time: 2:00

Read more

Installed Engine Sensors

June 25, 2020 – I also installed the fuel and oil pressure sensors.

Dynon released a service bulletin for their Kavlico sensors. I called them since my sensors were still brand-new and in the packages. Since I’ve had them for more than a year, they really couldn’t help me. They also said, however, that the Service Bulletin was released with an abundance of caution, and that I could install mine and just keep an eye on them. That seemed reasonable to me.

Time: :20

Read more

Installed Plug Wires

June 25, 2020 – I ran the plug wires on the engine.

I don’t have the plugs in yet, so I’ll probably have to adjust the wires a bit to clean this all up. For the lower wires I used clamps on the lower screws of the valve covers. I used a couple of automotive wire looms to keep wires straight behind the engine.

The upper wires need to be secured. On the right side the wires will run straight to the plugs from the baffle fairlead. On the left side I added clamps to the existing clamps for the fuel lines where they are secured to the pushrod tubes. I made spacers to separate the clamps.

Time: 2:00

Read more

Finished Cowl Foil

June 25, 2020- I finished installing the foil in the lower cowl.

I got a roll of foil from Van’s, but for some reason I didn’t order quite enough. OK, it was enough to cover the fiberfrax I got from Spruce. I wished I’d gotten a little bit more of that as well. But it’s in the important area. I ordered a different foil from Summit Racing to finish the rest of the cowl.

So I laid down the fiberfrax, and put the foil over it. The hard part of this was getting the fiberfrax to lay down tightly around curves while I installed the self-adhesive foil. There are a few air gaps, but that should be OK.

The foil I got from Summit was different from the Van’s material, but it should be fine. Here’s the whole cowl covered:

I edge sealed the foil with resin.

Time: 1:30

Read more

Made New Starter Cable

May 29, 2020 – I didn’t like how my starter cable was routed, so I made a new one.

Here’s how I originally had it. Kind of hard to see but you are looking for the thick white cable with the red heat-shrink end on it.

The cable ran under the starter, with a lot of potential for rubbing.

I ran the new cable straight back behind the starter, then across to the right side. The cable I made could have been maybe and inch or so shorter, but I can live with the gentle bend it has now.

The pictures show the routing from the starter back around to the start contactor. None of the clamps are tight. They will be tightened later on.

I made a stainless steel bracket for the clamp in the third picture. This is front and center on the sump.

Time: 3:20

Read more