Category: Sub-Panel

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. ūüôā

Time: 22:00

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.


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

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

Firewall Forward Items

April 4, 2020 – I dealt with the manifold pressure installation.

To begin with, I moved the MAP sensor from the aft side of the subpanel bulkhead to the front. This gives a direct shot for the pressure tube from the firewall straight into the sensor.

I got brass T’s with the correct dimensions to run tubing at the firewall from the engine MAP line to the sensor manifold on the left side. I bought another manifold block from Vans and used it for the interface.

Time: 2:50

More Cockpit Work

March 12, 2020 – I installed a couple of items on or near the firewall.

I installed the manifold pressure sensor in the cockpit. Tried to find an out of the way corner. I’ll probably move it to the forward side of the bulkhead, so the hose doesn’t have to bend back to where it attaches.

I also attached a ground bus. This will provide my engine ground and connect it to other grounds in the cockpit.

Time: 1:45

Forward skin installed

November 11, 2016 – Wow! I guess I haven’t done any updates in a while.

I’ve been working towards getting the windshield installed. I wanted to install fans to help cool the avionics behind the panel, so I cut those holes, then I prepped the glareshield area for priming..

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I then permanently installed the sub-panel structure. I had previously painted it white for possible added light under there.

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I realized that I hadn’t dimpled the flanges of the firewall where the top skin will attach, so I did that.

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I painted the underside of the skin flat black where it would be above the panel, then i back-riveted the attach angles for the panel..

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Time to close up. I shot what I could by myself.


This is where some time got away from me. I had to get help to finish riveting the skin, and during that time we took a short vacation. But I got my friend Wilson to come and help, and we got the rest of the skin shot on in pretty short order.


I cleaned up the glareshield for painting. Had one more day of halfway decent weather before it cooled off and rained for a week or so, so I got the paint done. I found some spray on truck bed liner paint that I thought I’d try. It has a nice texture and is flat. I think it looks nice.

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I had to tidy up a few things: I installed the rollbar brace, and I had to resecure some clamps for the fuel vent lines. I had to move the vent lines so I could rivet in some of those locations.

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Time: 11:00

Back on track!

August 25, 2016 – HA! get it? Back on track?!

Anyway, I’m back where I needed to be with the canopy. I located and drilled the new tracks. I decided I still needed to bring the forward ends out just a hair to ease the rolling. After the tracks were installed and I dropped the canopy in place, it rolls really nice!

Here’s the holes for the windshield roll bar:


And the tracks:

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I also decided to paint the sub-panel structure and the top skin white, so it might be just that much brighter inside there when I have to do work. I’m going to install the windshield sooner than later, which will mean I have to install the top skin, which will take away some access later on.

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Time: 5:20

Painted Sub-Panel assembly

March 5, 2016 – Since I think I may be in a good place with the canopy frame, I decided to let that sit and move on to prepping the sub-panel parts for their eventual installation.

I mentioned previously about installing a shim just forward of the windshield brace, since a gap is created. I made that shim and drilled it.


I also drilled the forward end of the angle where it attaches to the firewall.


I took the subpanel out as an assembly, and got some pictures for future reference.

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The usual prep for paint, then everything was ready for assembly…

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I started by assembling the center rib, including my tapered shim.

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Getting the center rib through the subpanel bulkhead was interesting. I guess I had always previously done it in pieces. You have to twist everything and hold your tongue just the right way to get it to fit. The paint got a little scraped up, but I touched it up after this secondary assembly was done.

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Here’s the assembly with the shim installed. You can just see it between the rib and the reinforcing angle:


I installed nutplates in all the angles where they are required.


Then I installed the outboard angles that hold the corners of the instrument panel.

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Here’s the structure without the panel screwed in place:

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Time: 7:00

Drilled windshield roll bar

January 15, 2016 – I had a much better day today when it came to the airplane. I got the mounting holes drilled for the roll bar.

As I said in my last post, I really didn’t like where the pilot holes were located in the canopy rails; I thought they were a bit too close to the longerons and I risked damaging the longerons. So I decided to slightly pull the pilot holes inboard, so the outboard edges of the holes remained at or close to the edge of the longerons. I did this slowly, and final reamed the holes to¬†the correct size.

The instructions called for back-drilling the roll bar from underneath. I didn’t like the access I had for that, so I used hole duplicators to drill the roll bar. Here was a typical setup. This worked great.

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I used drill bushings to mark the spacers that go underneath. I still have to take those holes up to size.

I marked the edges of the brackets on each side. I’ll trim these to clean up the appearance.


Here’s an attempt to show how the access for the aft bolts is limited. I couldn’t even get the camera to see the bolt holes. You can just see that the camera is looking up, and it’s right under the roll bar.


I clecoed the top skin on and put the center brace in place. I trimmed the end to fit into the receptacle on the roll bar.


That receptacle then gets drilled for a 1/4″ bolt.

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I called it a day right there. I still have to drill the lower two holes for the center brace, and drill the spacers to the final hole size.

Time: 4:15

Sub-panel and throttle quadrant

November 18, 2015 – I re-clecoed the subpanel in place after getting the fuel vent lines done.

The first problem I ran into is the outboard corners of the bulkhead forward of the panel interfered with the vent lines. I really didn’t want to redo the vent lines, and I believe this small area is non-structural, so I cut 1 1/2″ off the flange on¬†each side.

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The next thing I found was that for some reason, the small angle between the center rib and that same bulkhead didn’t fit correctly. I had made and drilled one, but the holes didn’t line up. Sooo…I made a new one.


With that done, this was something I had been looking forward to.

I pulled out the DJM throttle quadrant I bought at Oshkosh. I knew I would have to engineer the mount for this. It was pretty straight-forward.

I clamped it to some .063″ 3/4×3/4 angle, then clamped that to the center bottom flange of the panel.


Since the bottom of the bulkhead forward of the panel is higher than the bottom of the panel (huh?), I couldn’t just attach the angles to the bottom of that bulkhead. So I made some angles to attach on the forward end.


I made sure everything was square and straight. Here’s the forest o’clamps:


Then I drilled it. It’s all pretty rock solid now.


Once that was done, I moved on to other things. Seems like I’m running out of things to do before the finish kit comes.

Time: 3:50

Continued sub-panel structure prep

November 3, 2015 – After the subpanel assembly was removed to the table, I took it apart and started prepping the parts.


I had two pieces, however that needed to be remade.

The F7108B angle that stiffens the center rib had two holes with bad edge distance. These are the two holes that get bolts that hold the center windshield support.


So  I cut a new angle, drew the fastener line, and drilled it to the center rib. This came out much better.

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I also had to remake the F7109 plate because I had made the first one from the wrong material.

The firewall holes where the three ribs attach needed to be dimpled as well. Wasn’t sure how to do this, so I came up with the following sequence using a rivet, an angle with a countersunk hole and a bucking bar.

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Time: 3:40

Continued sub-panel

October 27, 2015 – I continued working on the sub-panel structure.

I needed to locate the center rib against the firewall. There are no instructions or guidance to do this, so I went ahead and drilled those holes. I took the top skin back off and slid the center rib out. I drew a centerline and drilled holes in the rib. I clamped it back in position, put the skin back on,  and drilled the holes through the firewall from inside and underneath.

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Back off with the top skin, I needed to drill the F7108B angle. This is a solid angle that reinforces the center rib. I also drilled a fastener hole where this angle attaches to the firewall.

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I clecoed the actual panel into place.


There are some angles that need to be formed to fit the top curve of the panel. I fluted those, clamped them in place, and drilled the attach holes through the panel.


There are also small angles that hold the panel in place on the outboard corners. The problem with drilling these was that the panel moves, so the angles move. I clecoed the top skin entirely in place, all the way down to the edges. This was a lot of work. I drew lines at the panel edge where it sits on the canopy rails. You can just see the lines against the lower surface of the panel in this photo:


I drilled the entire skin to the structure.

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I also drilled the holes in the top flange of the firewall.


Now that I knew where the panel would be, I removed the top skin. I clamped the angle in place using those drawn panel edge marks as a guide, then I drilled through the canopy rails.

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There are smaller angles that support the panel on the inboard side of the canopy rails. I clamped these in place and drilled the holes for those.

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I pulled the whole assembly off to the table where I will beburr everything.

Time: 4:40

Started sub-panel structure

October 25, 2015 – The sub-panel structure is the structure that supports the instrument panel. The structure runs between the firewall and the panel itself.

There are a few angles and parts that need to be made before starting. I took some of the pieces to work and cut them during breaks. I’ll drill as I go…


I clecoed some of the larger pieces in place on the fuselage.

The F7109 plate reinforces the center F7108A rib. The rib is piloted with the fastener holes. To make sure the plate is in the correct location, I put it in place, then marked the holes through the rib, then made sure I had good edge distance before drilling.

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The rib is supported at the sub-panel by an angle, but I didn’t know where to drill that angle. I drilled the holes on one leg of that angle where the plans say to, and clecoed the angle to the rib.


I decided to cleco the top skin in place to get everything in position. I figured out that this particular skin does have a left and a right side, and a top and bottom surface. It looks symmetrical, but it’s not.


With everything firmly in place, I drilled the angle through the sub-panel.


In other news, my finish kit is set to ship the week before Thanksgiving.

Time: 3:30