Switch Wiring

Today I spent time disassembling the panel and making the wiring harness for all the switches. Since I’m using the VPX for my power distribution, all of the switches are wired directly to the J2 connector and to ground. It simplifies the wiring and allows for a very clean setup.

Once I had the panel out of the plane, I installed the switches so I could measure the wires and begin the assembly.

Once I had the switches in, I began wiring them and bundling the harness to that the wires could route to the VPX without too much trouble.

The resulting installation is quite clean and organized. I then tested each switch to ensure proper grounding and that the VPX pins match my wiring schematics. Next time I’ll test the functionality of each switch on the VPX using my laptop.

Another angle showing the switches. There’s still some cleanup of the panel to do, and then it will be ready for painting.

Switch Wiring

Radio

This evening I received an order with my new Bose 6-pin connector cord. I decided to use the Lemo style plugs on my plane rather than the GA plugs. The ship power for the Bose A20s is just so much more convenient.

I temporarily powered my Efis, radio and intercom to check all the wiring with the headphones.

Successful transmit and receive functionality

I was able to tune the AWOS to verify reception. Crystal clear. I then checked on the local traffic frequency with my handheld radio and everything functioned normally. A helicopter pilot happened to pass through and was able to verify my transmitting capabilities. The antenna is on the underside of the plane, and being inside the hangar I didn’t expect good quality but it seemed work okay, no static or anything.

Radio functions

I’ve been making a lot of progress on all the avionics wiring and power circuitry as well. I plugged my laptop into the VPX and configured it with my specific setup. I also verified the PPS with the master switch on I was detecting 12V on the Main output.

Updating the databases and software

All the major systems have been installed and individually component tested. I’m now beginning to do the subsystem testing and slowly adding additional components. Once I finish manually verifying the power pins on the VPX, I’ll plug all the connectors in and have the VPX supply power directly allowing me to test the switches and full circuits.

Checking the radio functions

I also finished installing the latch fingers on the canopy frame and verified the appropriate clearances around the fuselage and roll bar.

Now that the frame is fully riveted it’s time to prime and paint the interior, and then mask the frame where the canopy will go and paint the dashboard a flat black. Now that we’ve gotten through some of the biggest rain storms California has seen in a while, I’m hoping to get that knocked out soon.

Radio

Riveted Subpanel

This weekend I spent a few hours working on finishing up the canopy frame and sub panel riveting. I focused on riveting the subpanel completely to the fuselage to make sure that when I do final fittings of the canopy frame, everything is rock solid.

Here’s the left side attach of the sub panel to the fuselage. There are six more revets below this also attaching the sub panel to the fuse.

Here’s the forward part of the subpanel attached to the supporting rib. This is mirrored on the right side.

Here is the backside of the subpanel. Opposite of the first image. You can see some of the lower rivets near the fuel vent line on the bottom part of the image.

The sensor manifold on the firewall is now permanently attached as it is bolted to the supporting rib on the other side of the firewall. Now that it’s riveted in place this can remain attached.

Riveted Subpanel

Canopy Bracing & Panel Lighting

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.

Canopy Bracing & Panel Lighting

Switches

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!

Switches

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

More Avionics Wiring

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.

Firewall forward

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.

Center tunnel main harness bundle

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.

Serial Hub

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.

Fuel pump and selector valve

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.

More Avionics Wiring