Panel and Final(?) Wiring Prep

May 6, 2021 – I removed the panel to get some last wiring prep done and get the panel ready to install for good.

To get my bearings with the Tosten stick grips, I put the pilot’s grip in place. I decided to go ahead and cut the stick down. In my hangar there’s an RV-7A just in front of me with Infinity grips. I measured them and the stick and the grips are nearly identical to mine. So I used those measurements. Worst case…I’ll need to replace my stick. I don’t think that’ll be a problem, though.

While I was working there in the cockpit, I took a look around, and my stomach sank…

My left armrest is torn nearly through, and the right one is starting to crack. This is frustrating because I KNOW I don’t lean on the armrests. At least they aren’t hard to replace. So they’re on order from Van’s. I’m thinking about putting a stainless doubler on the aft end of each armrest.

After coming back the next day, I decided to go ahead and pull the panel back out. I have to do some last wire routing, and change some pins on the VPX.

I had to trim a hole for a USB connection, and I had to cut the hole for the ELT remote panel.

Time: 9:15

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Connecting Wing Wiring

April 27, 2021 – Now that the wings are on I can connect the wing wiring.

I safetied the tank attach bolts. Not sure why they need to be safetied, since they go into a nutplate that locks, but OK… I drilled the safety wire hole in the steel bracket.

I also installed the fuel lines.

I ran the pitot and AOA tubes into the fuselage and back to the ADAHRS, then connected the heat controller. Put power on the airplane and the heat works. I don’t have a message saying the heta is either on or off yet; I’ll set that up later in Dynon.

I ran and terminated the wires for the roll autopilot servo. The Skyview network portion is connected to the hub in the back.

I plan on connecting the wires for the lighting and the stick grips on a terminal bar under the left seat.

When I tried my lights, I had crossed the wires for the right landing light and the right nav lights. Got that figured out and now the lighting works correctly.

Time: 25:00

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Wing Prep and Reinstall

April 2, 2021 – The wings are installed, hopefully for good!

With the wings off, I prepped the holes for the fairing that wraps around the wing root.

I also added holes for the fuel quantity wiring where it will enter the fuselage. These wires are forward of the wing spar and there was no other entry point except where the fuel feed lines go in. I got very small ID grommets from Spruce for these holes.

I decided it was time, so I gathered my faithful friends and helpers.

After it was all done, we took a breather, and there was the usual hangar talk.

The next day I finished the wing install.

I torqued the mount bolts:

…and I installed the aft spar bolts and the fuel tank attach bolts:

No pictures, but I then routed the wing wires from the wings into the fuselage. That wasn’t a lot of fun because of the limited space between the wing roots and the fuselage skin.

Time: 15:45

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ELT Wiring and some other things

March 21, 2021 – I made the wiring harness for the ELT.

The connector that came with the ELT was a new one for me. The pins are solder cups, so the wires are soldered into the connector. I’d never dealt with this before but it was fairly simple. I ran a shielded 3-wire bundle through the airplane to check for length, then pulled it back out and terminated the ELT end.

I added a nutplate to the ELT mounting bracket, and made a bracket one bulkhead back for a clamp so I could secure the antenna coax.

Then I riveted the antenna doubler and installed the antenna.

On to some other items…

Airport friends came back and we pulled the wings again so I could finish what had to be done before permanently installing the wings next time.

I also installed boots on the battery cables and installed the hold-down bar.

Time: 18:00

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ELT and Fuselage Work

March 5, 2021 – I installed the bracket for the ELT in the tailcone.

The dreaded Van’s ELT/strobe power supply bracket… at least for me, anyway. I didn’t have a good time doing the bracket on the right side for the ADSB, and this one was no different. I learned lessons the first time, so I guess there’s that…

These brackets fit between the stringers just aft of the baggage compartment wall.

I also made the doubler for the ELT antenna. This will go just forward of the vertical stabilizer.

Another project I decided to do was to install a conduit under the left seat and baggage compartment floor for the pitot and AOA tubing from the left wing. It was a drag to have to drill up these panels, but it will be worth it. Once again, I wish I had known back then how things were going to go late in the game.

Time: 6:45

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Wing Tasks

February 23, 2021 – With the wings on, I started doing various tasks that need to be done while the wings can still come off.

Fuel Tank Attach

After quick verification that the wings were in the correct position from the previous drilling 5 years ago, I drilled the fuel tank attach brackets. This was a simple matter of using a drill bushing to center the hole in the fuselage bracket slot.

When the wings come back off, I’ll install the nutplates for the attach bolts.

Fuel Lines

The next step is the fuel line connections. These are the vent lines and the main fuel feeds from the tanks. The right tank is routed differently because I have a flop tube installed there. The main fuel connection from the left side is a straight shot into the fuselage.

Wing/Fuselage Fairings

There are fairings all the way around the wing root that enclose the gaps you see in the above pictures.

There is a short section underneath where the fuselage skin is attached to the wing skin on each side. I used a hole-finder to start these holes, then enlarged the holes up to the correct size for the screws.

The next part is the large wrap-around panel that wraps around the leading edges of the wings.

These panels have pre-punched holes that match open holes in the wings. Holes do need to be match-drilled to the skins of the fuel tanks.

Time: 6:00

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Wings On, Take 2…

February 10, 2021 – Back in April of 2016, we set the wings and drilled the aft spar.

Today, we installed them temporarily so I could do some more work. Thanks to Ken, Marvin and Larry for coming out on this COLD day (for Dallas).

I have to drill the fuel tank bracket, drill for the nutplates and screws where the fuselage skin attaches to the wings, and I’ll get my fuel lines set up. After that, the wings will come off; I’ll do the nutplates, then the wings should go back on for good…

Time: 3:00

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Fixed #2 Com

February 10, 2021 – I fixed my #2 com control head!

I replaced a solder sleeve under the panel where I had power running from the VPX to 3 wires, 2 of which went to the #2 com radio, and one went to the control head in the panel.

Since the hangar was empty, I rolled it outside so I could get a GPS fix. It worked great!

I turned the airplane roughly north and the HSI followed suit. The map even showed some traffic!

Sounds simple, but I’m amazed I wired this and it works!

Time: 4:00

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No Smoke!!!

February 3, 2021 – Well, I fired up (poor choice of words) the panel using my power supply. No pops, sizzles, smoke or fire.

It also was pretty underwhelming, because only the left screen turned on. I tried the dimmer for a lit rocker switch, and it worked. The glareshield fans also worked. So I call it a win. I know there are several things to do to get everything up and running.

I needed to get into the VPX and get it set up. The interface external to the VPX is ethernet. Well, my laptop has no ethernet port, so I used an alternate method suggested by Vertical Power. I used a wireless router.

Once that was complete, I looked over at the panel and saw this:

The right screen came up!

I downloaded the latest software from Dynon (as of January 27) and installed it on both screens.

I then went in to system setup and set up the serial ports and scanned for devices on the Skyview Network.

The issue I then had was that the screens weren’t talking to each other. You can “daisy-chain” the devices on the network, which I had. But it seemed evident that maybe I needed to directly connect the screens to each other. So I ordered a 3-foot Skyview Network cable. When I got it, I rearranged the cables between devices. It worked!

I decided to prepare the wings for installation, so I could get ALL the wiring connected and do all the panel setup maybe at one time.

Pitot Tube and Heater

I started on the pitot tube. I was given a brand-new Dynon heated tube. I had seen online where people mounted the heat controller to the wing access panel.

I took the tube out and realized I didn’t have any of the AN hardware I needed to connect the tube to the pitot and AOA lines. I visited a local avionics shop and got most of what I needed from there. In the meantime, I drilled the holes to attach the tube into the mast. I already had holes in the mast from a long time ago, so I transferred these hole locations to the new tube. Drilled with a #36 bit and tapped for a #6 screw.

I made a bracket to support the plastic pitot and AOA lines and keep them away from the aileron bellcrank.

I’m on hold for the parts I’m still missing, so I moved on to the autopilot roll servo in the right wing.

Autopilot Roll Servo

Here’s the right wing aileron bellcrank without the servo:

The servo bracket replaces the small mounting angle there in the center of the picture. You have to take the bellcrank partly apart, because it has to be drilled. This is where the servo control rod attaches.

I installed the new bracket, and then bolted the servo in place.

The control rod is supposed to be 5 inches long.

Here’s everything installed.

Now it’s time for wiring. I installed the DB9 connectors on the servo and the harness, then ran the harness through to the wing root. I had to do this twice because I had to avoid contact with the aileron bellcrank travel.

For right now, I secured the connection using the threaded bolt holes in the servo itself. This will place the connection on the aft side of the servo when it is on the airplane. The harness runs between the arms of the bellcrank and out through the wing ribs.

Time: 11:45

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Panel Progress

January 24, 2021 – I’m getting dangerously close to having an airplane here…

I made a harness for the lights in my AML34 rocker switches. I decided to make one unified harness with one power and ground from the dimmer.

Here’s the bulbs in the switches:

Turned out that I needed to tweak the contacts in the switches a little bit to tighten the connections for the bulbs.

Here’s the harness I made with the dimmer.

…and the end result:

Here’s another photo of the mass of wires behind the panel, but I know that there is progress here.

I tried to run the ground wires for these front panel switches back to my firewall ground, but things are kind of tight and I really didn’t want to add to the spaghetti that was already there, so I made a local ground on the bulkhead forward of the panel. Not the most attractive, but it definitely works. These switches all provide grounds for the VPX, so there is no load on them.

After this I decided there was not much keeping me from getting ready to put everything in place and prepare to put power on, so I started installing panel items from the bottom up, keeping the big 10″ holes for access.

And here we are today… I have to tweak a few things and change a couple of connections for the Skyview network before I put power on. I also didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to even try putting power to it on that day. 🙂

Time: 22:00

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More Avionics…

January 11, 2021 – I have a lot of time built up in my time log, but not a lot of pictures to show for it…

I’m connecting wires one at a time, and they are slowly disappearing, so I’m making progress. A couple of high (or maybe low) points…

Skyview Network

I ran a 15′ Skyview network cable from the hub behind the baggage compartment up to the front. yay…very comfortable… I also made the harness for the pitch autopilot servo.

Alternate Air Cable

I ran the alternate air cable through the firewall straight through to where it will be on the panel. I decided to make a bracket that mounts to the bottom edge of the panel. This way I can remove the panel without removing the cable. The bracket is not shown in these photos.

Fuel Pump Shroud

I am in the middle of figuring out my interior, and I wasn’t sure about putting carpet over it vs. paint. So I took a break from wiring and played with the vinyl wrap I’m going to use on my panel. Wow! I think this will work! It has its issues, but on the floor nobody will see the flaws. If it doesn’t stand up to the abuse I’ll do something else in a year or three.

Panel Cutting and Nutplates

I cut the panel for switches.

I also drilled and installed the nutplates for the Dynon stuff.

Wiring

I populated the J1 and J2 connectors for the VPX. These are primarily for switches and things like pitch trim position…

I connected the serial connections for the HDX screens. This proved to be a learning experience. The wire pairs are different colors but have matching stripes. What escaped my attention was that I had to connect TX from the screens to RX for the component. I hooked up TX to TX and RX to RX. When I saw the notes about how to connect them correctly, I panicked and took them apart. What I didn’t realize was that it appeared that Dynon color coded the wires to make it dummy-proof. So I had it right the first time. GPS was easy…

I’ve put the panel back in place to start wiring for the switches…

In other news, I have placed a deposit with Classic Aero for my seats. I haven’t picked colors yet, but I had to get on the calendar. My due date is August 11.

Time: 51:00

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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