Right wingtip complete

October 23, 2013 – With the right wing on the table, I wanted to arrange the wiring so that the wingtip would be removable and the wiring would be reasonably secured.

I cut the 4-strand cable for the strobe to length and terminated the wires for the wingtip. I clamped the wires to the rib I installed in the tip. Here’s a before and after:

102313002 102313003

Here’s close-ups of the wiring inside the tip, and of the terminal connection on the wing itself.

102313005 102313004

I temporarily installed the wingtip to the wing, mainly just for storage. The phillips head 4-40 screws I have will not work later on. I’ve already stripped a few of them, so I’ll be getting torx fasteners later on.

Of course I had to try my lights with everything installed.

102313001

I’m calling the right wingtip complete.

A friend from work came over and helped me put the right wing back in the stand and the left wing on the table.

Time: 2:30

Read more

Continuing wing tip lighting assembly

October 10, 2013 – It feels like forever since I’ve done anything on the airplane. Money issues and just life in general have gotten in the way, but things may be looking up.

I continued with the right wingtip lens. They’re trimmed about as well as I can get them, and then I transferred the holes for the attach screws. LJ helped clean up the cut edges and the screw countersinks.

Wingtip lens attach screw location 101013003

I also had to repair the foam rib I installed in the right wingtip. Part of it had pulled away from the tip.

101013004Before I installed the lenses, I needed to finalize the installation of the lights. I had made some spacers for the mirrored plexi, but I didn’t like them because they were hand cut and not very straight. A good friend of mine at work helped me out by cutting spacers on his lathe at home. They came out beautifully; all the same size and nice and smooth.

I assembled the lights and installed the lens.

101013005 101013006

The next thing I’m working on is securing the wiring in the wingtip so that when the wingtip is installed, the wiring will be safe.

I put the right wing on the table so it will be in an as-installed position. I realize that some people will say that this is over-engineered, but coming from a maintenance background, I want it…well…maintainable.

101013007

Time: 5:00

Read more

Wingtip lighting almost done

March 5, 2013 – I’ve come a long way since my last update.

Since I did the green LEDs last time, I got the red ones done:

030513009

Here’s a guide to how I wired the LEDs:

Image2

I installed the strobes on the wingtip cutout backing plates I made. As I wrote before, I didn’t want to attach the strobes to the wingtip fiberglass.

030513007 030513006

These are the outside and inside views of the strobes. The strobes are Whelen Vertex Hide-a-way Super LED strobes that I got from Strobes N’ More. If they turn out to be not what I need, the cutouts are the standard 1″ hole, so I can drop in a regular strobe if required.

030513005The next thing I needed to do was to make spacers for the screws for the mirrored plexiglass since it sits on top of the LEDs. I needed 1/4″ OD and ID to fit a #6 screw. I found longer spacers and cut them to fit. Unfortunately, the height I need is only 1/8″, so these were kind of a pain to make. They aren’t pristine parts, so I’ll be replacing them with better spacers at some point. For now, they do the job.

Here you see the spacer between the rivets for a nutplate:

030513002

…and placed over a screw for the plexiglass:

030513008

Here are side views of the plexiglass installed with the spacers:

030513004 030513003

I hooked up both wingtips to power, and…

030513010

…everything works!

Not the best quality, but you get the idea…

P1050046

I started installing the wiring on the outboard wing ribs. I made brackets for the LED drivers. I used thermal epoxy to attach the driver pucks to the brackets, then screwed the brackets to the ribs. I plan on using the terminal bars to connect the lighting to the wiring, so I installed terminals on the driver puck wires.

Time: 6:40

Read more

Continued wingtip lighting

February 11, 2013 – I continued work on the wingtip lighting by drilling screw holes for the plexi for the strobes, then drilled the strobe holes.

I drilled the holes in the plexi to 1″ to fit the strobe itself.

021113001

I took the corresponding holes in the fiberglass underneath to 1 1/2″ to fit the body of the strobe. This will allow the strobe to sit higher in the opening. I will attach the strobe to the plexi and the aluminum underneath, instead of also going through the fiberglass.

I then cut out the face of the wingtip cutout where the nav lights will be. This will allow for a bit of cooling. Some people have installed heatsinks onside the wingtip. I’m going to wait to see how hot the LED assembly will get before I go through that work. It will save a little bit of weight.

Below is the sequence for these cutouts:

021113002 021113003

021113004 021113005

I drilled the nutplate holes, countersunk them, and installed the required nutplates.

021113006 021113007 021113008

Then I started in on the soldering. I have to do some research, but I had a heck of a time soldering to the contact points on the LEDs, plus I know now some have to be redone because the wires run where the plexi will sit down on top of the LED assemblies.

Here’s my initial wire arrangement:

021113010

Hooked up the driver and power…and…WooHoo! It worked.

021113009

This puppy is BRIGHT!!! Some of the trial and error work is done, no smoke leaked out, so I can clean up the wiring a little bit, learn from my mistakes, and move on.

Time: 5:30

Read more

Started wingtip lighting

February 4, 2013 – I’ve been looking forward to this; I started work on the scratch-built LED nav lights.

I have seen this lighting on several other builders’ websites, and I really liked the clean updated look. It will also be cheaper than standard lighting, and I’m not too concerned that they won’t be bright enough.

020413003

I had previously made templates of the cutout in the wingtips to form the backing plate, so  I cut out .020″ aluminum to fit. After it was shaped, I drilled for the attach screws in each corner. The clecos in the center were to hold the metal in place so I could shape the edges.

I used the bandsaw at work to cut the plexiglass. I am going with mirrored plexiglass for now.

I made a template for the LED holes, and transferred the holes to the plexi with a #40 drill. I measured the LED lens housing at .270″, so I had some room to make up. I slowly stepped up the holes through a range of drill sizes. As the holes got bigger, I used core drills where I could. These make cleaner holes and can go through plexi with no damage. 

020413002 020413004

020413005 020413006

The last picture above shows the core drill I used for the final hole size, which was .278″.

I gently deburred the holes, and used a 5/16″ countersink to countersink the holes to act as reflectors for the LEDs. This went a lot easier than I thought it would.

020413007 020413008

I also needed to drill screw holes in the plexi to mount them to the backing plates. I piloted them with a #40, then took them up to a #27 to accommodate the screws.

020413009

I had to order screws and nutplates from Spruce. I am using 6-32 stainless screws to mount all of this.

Now it was time to install the LEDs.

020413011I am using the Cree Rhea LEDs from LED Supply. I have 6 red and 6 green. I used Arctic Silver thermal adhesive to mount the LEDs to the backing plate. I marked the location of the LEDs on the plate, cleaned it well, then mixed the adhesive. I applied the adhesive quickly (this stuff has a short working time) to each LED and placed them in position. When all 6 were roughly in place, I set the plexi over them to position them correctly, then let it set up.

020413010 

You can see the LEDs in place in the above picture.

020413001

Next, it’s time to wire the LEDs.

Time: 4:25

Read more

Worked on left wingtip wiring

January 24, 2012 – I think I’ve figured out how I want to configure the wiring for the wingtips. I want to have a disconnect so I can remove the wingtips if needed. I looked at plastic disconnects, like in the car, but I couldn’t find any that could be mounted to the rib, so I went with a terminal strip. Then I had to route the wires from the conduit to the strip so there wouldn’t be any stress on the wires.

I think I like how this turned out.

I also have had to learn wire tying. I’ve attempted it in the past, and I felt like I was relearning to tie my shoes. In fact, I was in a wiring class a few years ago at work, and the last thing we did before the class ended was wire tying. I was the last one to successfully do it. Nothing like an ego-booster…

I really should learn it with a piece of rope first…but I’ll be getting lots of practice anyway.

Tomorrow’s Wednesday, so that means it’s riveting day, and we should finish the bottom skins on the left wing…

Time: 1:00

Read more

Started work on wingtip lighting

January 11, 2012 – I had some time to tinker, so I took down a wingtip from its storage, and I made the template for the LED lighting for the position lights. I’m using the system done by David LaSala. Just barely got started with this, because due to the lack of funds for the fuselage, I want to do this work after the wings are closed.

Here’s the template I traced from the outline of the cutout for the tip.

Time: :20

Read more

Added wing wiring clamp brackets

December 31, 2011 – In addition to the clamp in the aileron bellcrank bay of the left wing, I also wanted to add a clamp on each end of the conduits in both wings to keep the edge of the conduit from wearing on the wiring. I made these brackets the same way I did the one in the aileron bellcrank bay. The standoff is 1″ from the bracket to the clamp.

I’m ready to start installing the bottom skins. I’ll start this after the first of the year when I can round up some help.

Time: 2:20

Read more

Wing wiring pulled

December 21, 2011 – I got all the wiring pulled through both wings that I know right now I’ll have in there. I had to wait on bulk 4-conductor cable for the strobes, and  I got that yesterday. I’m also leaving a string in there for future pull-throughs.

On another note, I also got a bench 14-amp 12V power supply a few days ago. Tested it on the strobes: worked great. Tested the landing lights (Duckworks rectangular 55W halogen): no joy. I eventually took a bulb out and tested it directly. No good. The bulb worked off my car battery, so I’m pretty sure it must be the power supply. I’ll post updates as this develops.

Time: :40

Read more

Installed wing conduit

November 27, 2011 – I started pulling the conduit through the wing ribs. I’m using the Van’s conduit which is basically the corrugated black plastic you can buy to contain computer and stereo wires, but this stuff  isn’t split. This stuff is a pain in the butt to pull through. The holes in the ribs are 3/4″, and the corrugation large diameter is .810″, so it’s a tight fit pulling this through, and it’s noisy. I sure like how it looks, though, and it’s very light.

I have read about how people have cut holes in it to accommodate wires exiting and entering at different points in the run. I decided that I really didn’t like that idea, since I’d have to worry about chafing, so I interrupted the conduit in the left wing bay with the aileron bellcrank. The stall warning wire enters at that point. I also will probably install an autopilot servo there in the future. Here’s the ends of the conduit in that bay:

And here’s a general picture of the conduit installed in the wing:

Here’s the end of the conduit at the outboard rib:

Once the conduit was installed, I pulled the wiring through. All I have at the moment is the landing light wiring and the stall warning at the mid-point of the left wing. I used the cotton ball trick that I’ve read about. WOW! That works great!

I tied a cotton ball to a string and placed it at the inboard end of the conduit.

I used a blowgun to blow the cotton through the conduit.

I tied the string to the wire and pulled it through.

Time: 1:15

Read more

Landing light wiring

June 12, 2011 – I installed the ground and power wiring for he landing lights. I decided that I wanted to use near-Boeing spec ground studs, and for the sake of maintenance I want to use local grounds whenever possible. I used snakeskin to protect the bundle coming out at the outboard side of the outboard rib, and clamped it in place. The ground stud there will be the ground for the landing light and the nav lights when they are installed in the tips.

Time: :55

Read more

Preparing landing light wiring

June 4, 2011 – I also replaced the ground wires for the landing lights. The wires that came with them are too short for where I want to place my grounds.

I started by cleaning the area for the ground with a bonding brush, then alodining the surface. This point on each outboard rib will be the ground for the wingtip lighting.

Here is the existing wiring for the landing lights:

Here is the new ground wire that will exit through the outboard rib and attach at the ground studs that will be installed:

Time: :45

Read more