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 (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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Cockpit Air Vent Brackets

November 16. 2017 – Well, it’s been a painful couple of months since my last update. I lost my bride of 32 years in October. I put a post on the front page of this site.

In the meantime, I’ve been whittling away at the brackets for the eyeball vents in the cockpit.

I had the stock vents from Van’s that need to be trimmed to fit in the stock installation.

I REALLY don’t like these vents, so I finally caved in and bought the smaller vents from Stein. Here they are side by side:

I started making templates out of light cardboard. I wanted to integrate the headset jacks in the same bracket. I’d also done some research on the Bose powered headset jacks, but decided to wait on provisions for those.

These brackets have a small 90 degree angle that will have a screw attachment to the lip of the panel. This way the panel will still be removeable (if the need ever arises).

Once I got the brackets made and painted, I dimpled the skin rivet holes and installed them.

Time: 6:00

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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

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