Tonight I spent a few hours finishing the canopy bracing.
Here are the rivets on the underside of the canopy skin. The bottom are pulled rivets and the top ones are solid rivets.
The center brace.
Here’s the right side brace. One rivet will need to be redone as the bucking bar slipped.
The entire frame will get painted with my interior paint, a dark gunmetal gray.
I wrapped up the night by testing out my panel lights.
I’m using a high density led strip that has a silicone diffuser. They are very bright, but will be wired to a dimmer switch on the panel for fine adjustment. I may switch to a more blue light for better night vision. I’ll be adding these strips to other parts of the interior to aid in visibility during night operations, the baggage area in particular.
Today I spent a few hours working on getting the pitot and static lines up to the panel for the Garmin G5. The G5 will act as a backup EFIS to the Dynon.
I had to route the static line from the aft static ports to the front of the plane.
The tube here runs parallel to the rudder cable along the side of the fuselage.
It’s secured with a zip tie and this will be behind a panel that also covers the flap actuator tube.
I had to drill two holes through the bulkheads. This is blind riveted and I didn’t want to drill it off. The alignment took some trial and error.
Here is the routing just next to the pilots seat, this will be behind the side panel.
The final two holes put through the center channel bulkheads. From here, the static tube is routed up and to the panel and to the G5. Also on the panel will be a toggle switch an alternate static source in case of a static port failure.
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!
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.
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.
I’ve been working over the last several months on the panel layout and design. I’ve gone through a few iterations and I’ve finally settled on a design.
I have a full size rendering of the panel so that I can visualize it as I do the detailed measurements. I have the entire thing measured out in CAD as well for the cutouts. The actual panel currently has a few reference lines marked on it for pilot/copilot centerlines, panel centerline, 1.5” ref line from the top, and finally 1” & 2” ref lines from the bottom.
Next update in a few days will have the complete panel marked and ready for cutting!
Today I spent a solid chunk of time routing wires. Making wiring harnesses has been one of my the more satisfying parts of the project so far.
I started by organizing the firewall forward sensor wires. This bundle contains everything from engine temps, to oil and fuel pressure and the ignition harnesses. These are now secured to the engine mount and won’t be able to move.
On the other side of the firewall I’ve secured everything and routed a portion of the harness down the left side of the fuselage in order to route the wires to proper area.
This is the center section between the pilot and passenger seats. The main harness here is routed up to the vertical power above for all the power distribution. Other parts of this include all the serial connections, and the electric pitch and roll trim motors.
Here’s another look at all the wires and how they’re routed (Ignore the tie wraps and scraps). The harness splits to allow for the left and right lighting wires to route to the correct wing. I’ve isolated all power wires from my radio wires so that there will be no interference.
This is my serial hub, it had ports for the primary and multifunction flight displays (empty slots) and the five serial avionics. The ADSB, transponder, Vertical Power, GPS and ELT (black box) all communicate via serial. This hub allows all the components to connect to the two main flight displays in parallel for each of the five serial ports. Once I’m down with all the routing of the wires this will be mounted to the sub-panel permanently.
Once I finished with the wiring I wanted to test fit my fuel pump and selector valve. I have custom fuel hoses from TS Flightlines, so I had to modify the brackets to allow the hoses to fit (you can see the cut bracket on the left below the wires). Once I mount the wings, the two fuel hoses will attach to the fuel tanks.
Tonight I spent a few hours making my ignition harnesses. My engine uses twin P-Mag ignitions, so I had to make two identical harness.
I started by removing the connectors on the ignitions so I can attach the wires. The connectors use a screw-clamp style connection.
Here you can see the connector attached to the ignition with the wires attached. This is a six pin connector with Ground, ignition kill, power, and RPM out. There are two additional pins that can be shorted in order to change the default timing of the ignition.
The left ignition connector is on the bottom of the ignition and is a bit more challenging to get to, but I managed.
Here are the bundles completed. Looking forward to the day I get to start it up!