Today I worked on the switches for the panel. I have 6 switches dedicated to the primary power and engine ignition.

Here the top left is the master switch, and below is the L PMag ignition power and test switches. The PMag ignitions have a built-in generator that kicks in above 800 RPM. The test switch allows you to ensure the ignition will continue running when power is removed.

I installed the remaining ignition switches, along with the Alternator enable switch next to the master switch. Then I installed the two switches below the display to ensure they are easy to use and are not inhibited by the angled part of the HDX screen. These are the Avionics and Auto Pilot switches.

Here are all the remaining switches installed. There are five switches under the display for the aircraft lights. This includes landing, taxi, strobe and nav lights, along with interior lighting. The three far right switch are the fuel pump, flaps, and engine start.

The boost pump switch is right up against the flap bracket. I may not use this given the proximity to the switch. It’s all removable, so we’ll see.

I also installed the Dynon dimmer knob, and the dedicated IDENT button. The ident function is useful to have a dedicated button for so I don’t have to navigate the display menus. Similarly with the dimmer. Even though the system has light detection and auto adjusts the brightness, I like to have finer control.

The engine start button is a very high quality push button. It’s extremely satisfying to press. Can’t wait to fire up the engine with this!


Panel work

Yesterday I spent a few hours working on the panel. I received an order of some 6-32 nut plates for mounting the sub modules onto the panel.

I started by doublechecking the measurements for the through-holes, and then drilled the panel. I didn’t get individual photos, but here is the back once the nut plates were riveted on.

After double checking the alignment of everything individually I test fit all the components.

I then decided to mount the primary display tray to the back of the panel.

The panel then screws into this from the front of the panel. This will allow for some additional components to be mounted easily behind the panel.

I checked the fit by temporarily installing the panel in the plane. Plenty of room all around.

Starting to look almost like a real plane!

Next I’ll begin marking and drilling the switches and some additional components including the Hobbs meter, ELT tester, the Dynon Ident button and dimmer knobs.

Panel work

Cut Panel

Today I cut the panel for the main EFIS screens and the sub modules. I measured and compared to the CAD probably a dozen times, and luckily it all came out straight and even.

The first thing I did was look up how much the blank RV-7 panel costs on vansaircraft.com -$40. With that knowledge, I began to cut the first sub module hole, the knob panel.

After the knob panel went smoothly I began on the second one, the AP panel. All the modules are the same dimensions, but with the variability in my hand cuts I checked and lined up each element after test fitting.

The process begins by drilling a 1/8” hole in the corners (1/16” radius). Then using a cutoff wheel I cut just inside the lines for the hole. Then I filed the edges to the final size so that each item fit perfectly, but with no catches or tight spots. Then using some scotchbright, I smoothed the edges out so they are soft to the touch.

Here are the four modules sitting in the panel. I need to buy some mk2000-6 nut plates so that I can screw these to the panel.

Next I cut the large hole for the main Dynon HDX displays. It was very satisfying when the display was installed. Many years to get to this point!

Finally I cut the second hole, making sure everything lined up and was square, and then test fit the second display.

One thing I was (and still am) a little concerned about, is the angled ledge on the displays. With the gap below being just less than 2”, I planned to install my toggle switches centered between the display and the bottom of the panel. But with the ledge of the display sticking out a bit, I might bias the switches lower to give myself a little extra room to be comfortable flipping the switches.

Once I finalize the position of the Garmin G5 I’m going to install just to the left of the pilots display, I’ll start drilling the holes for the toggle switches. I placed one just below the screen in order to see how far up and down the switch is when toggled. It should have plenty of clearance from the display.

Cut Panel

Panel Layout

I finished the detailed layout of the panel for the major components. I wanted to get these laid out first since they are symmetrical about the centerline.

Here you can see the cutouts marked for the two main EFISs and the four sub panels in the center. I have left room for an Avidyne (either 540 or 440) in the center, as well as a Garmin G5 on the left of the pilots screen. Given the additional cost of the Avidine however, I will be waiting a little while to purchase that.

Next is to begin cutting the panel!

Panel Layout