GPS Antenna Installation

Time .75hrs

Today I installed the 2 Garmin GA-35 WAAS GPS antennas. Install was pretty easy. I mounted them on the mounting brackets that TAF provides. I had previously wired up the TNC connectors so it was just a matter of putting the supplied #8-32 screws through the antenna and into the holes in the mount bracket and then I used some washers and #8-32 all metal (prevailing torque) locking nuts.

Both GA-35’s are installed in the engine compartment. One antenna will wire up to the GNX375 and the other will go to the G5.

Panel Cut

Midwest Panel Builders sent me a photo of my panel that they cut. Looks just like my CAD drawing 🙂

Now they are waiting for the printer so we can put some of the placard warnings and N number on the panel rather that having to use stickers. Steve at Midwest Panel Builders said the printing is very hard to remove so it should last a long while. Getting excited about the panel now.

Box of Fun

Got my box of fun from Aircraft Spruce today… still one more on the way. I went ahead and purchased most of the avionics for the panel, plus all the antennas. Now I just need some of the higher ticket items like the GNX375 and the 2 GDU displays.

Still waiting on the Sika primer so I can install the windscreen. Seems that UPS returned it to the shipper as undeliverable. Also hoping it cools down so I can start working on the plane again. It’s just been way to hot in the garage to work to work in there for any amount of time.

Got the G5 (with battery backup) and a few of the antennas. Also got the install kits for the GDUs and the GMC. Another box should be here early next week with the GMC507 and another antenna. Next on the list to purchase will be the GNX375 and will hopefully get the cut panel in the next few weeks and can start assembling everything.

TO/GA Button

Time: 2.0hrs

A while ago I thought about putting the TO/GA (take off/go around) button in the hole in the side of the throttle handle (like I’ve seen on some larger aircraft). I kind of gave up on the idea and thought about maybe using a reed switch that gets trigger when the throttle boost handle is pulled up since that’s the situations where you’d also probably press the TO/GA button, but I thought maybe it wouldn’t be clear enough that that was the case and didn’t want to obscure anything that could cause an issue at those critical moments (take off and landing) of flying. So then I figured I’d just mount a button on the panel like normal and be done with it. Well in favor of not being normal and not wanting to add any clutter to the panel I went back to the throttle handle idea.

I found a button that I could get laser etched on the face of the button so that took care of how I was going to label it, next was to figure out how to cleanly run the 2 wires up to the button. I really needed a double pole button since I have to trigger both the GMC and the GNX, but I could only get a momentary single pole 16mm button. So the button now just grounds a double pole relay that is mounted in the center console area (next to the fuses for the headsets).I found some 4mm ID, 0.4mm wall 304 stainless steel tubing on Amazon that looked like it had enough room to run the two 22AWG wires through and also not be wider than the edge of the throttle stem. So now just have to put things together…

First I had to file off the threads on the button so it would fit into the hole on the handle. I’ll use some silicone to install it once I have it wired.

Then I drilled out an 1/8″ hole through to the mounting side of the handle so the wires could run through to the button.

I need to cut out a notch in the rear of the handle so the wire could exit the handle into the tubing.

Lastly the trickiest part was making some slight bends in the tubing so it would fit against the side of the handle and run along the back of the throttle stem. I did a slight forward bend and the a bend off the straight piece to angle it over to the hole in the handle.

Looks like this should work. I did a test run of pulling through some 22 AWG wire and attaching the handle with the wire installed and it went fine. Maybe a little more tuning for a better fit at the handle. I’m thinking I’ll try attaching the tubing to the handle with some 3M VHB double sided tape. I may also need to lengthen the cut out in the center console since the it now bottoms out on the tube instead of the stop when in the idle position, but I want to make sure every working before doing that.

I should have the 3M tape by tomorrow so will see about finishing this up then. I also want to get the dash installed and the windshield started.

UPDATE: 09/02/2020

Well it got a bit more involved so I had to wait for a few more things to finish this up. I ended up tapping the hole in the large part of the handle where the button goes in. I tapped it for a M6 screw. Then I had to get some longer socket head M6 screws. The reason why I put the treads on the large half was because it seemed to be very difficult to get the handle attached and then pull the wire through and mount the button. So I fired if the handle attache with a screw from the opposite side then it would make things a bit easier since then the button could be installed and then the handle attached. It ended app coming out pretty good. I do like having the button in this location so I think I will keep it this way.

The large part of the handle was tapped to an M6-1.0 thread. This allows the button to be fully installed in the handle and then the handle can be attached using a screw from the other side. I also had to enlarge the hole in the throttle lever and the smaller part of the handle to allow the M6 screw to pass through.

TO/GA button finally installed, just need to wire up the relay.

Wiring Switch Sub Panel

Time 1.5 hrs

Did a little work on wiring up what I can on the switch sub panel. Once I get the instrument panel in I can put on the Faston connectors onto the wires coming from the VPX to connect to the switches. The switches I have smaller with tabs. The standard is .25″ or Faston 250, these are .187″ or Faston 187. I used a few piggy back connectors so that I can attach the wire to the switch, but then also connect the main feed wire with an additional Faston connector.

GTR20’s and GMA245R Install

TIme: 10hrs

I was on vacation for the past few weeks so just getting back to working on the plane again. Prior to installing the dash for good I wanted to make sure all the “behind the panel” avionics are wired up. The last bit is installing the 2 GTR20 radios and the GMA245R remote audio panel. I ended up mounted the GMA 245R on the bottom even though it’s a bit shorter than the GTR’s and then made a bracket to hold the 2 GTR’s above the GMA. There was just enough space to get everything installed.

 

I made a U-shaped bracket to hold the 2 GTR20’s above the GMA. I used some angle pieces for the base and bent 2 strips of 2″ (.05″ thick) aluminum. Now to wiring these things up.

Now to wiring up the GMA and the 2 GTR’s. Unfortunately one of the GTRs didn’t come with the connector kit so I’m waiting on Aircraft Spruce to get the part to me. I’m hoping it’s not going to take too long. Also I needed to swap out the 20AWG power and ground wires I ran to the GMA with 22AWG since the pins only fit 22AWG or smaller wire. I don’t have any red and black 22AWG wire so I need to order that as well as some solder sleeves to finish up the shield pigtails.

The wiring for the GMA is pretty time consuming because there’s quite a few shielded cables that need to get pigtails put on. All the shields terminate at the GMA and are attached to the back shell of the connector. At the other ends the shields are lifted so the wiring is a little faster.

Almost forgot to add in the jumper between pin 8 and 27 on the GTR20 that is COM2.

Almost done, just need to finish the pigtails on a few cables, attach all the pigtails to the back shells of the GMA, and pin the connector for COM1 when I get it. Since the GTR20’s don’t have dual power inputs like most of the G3X equipment I ran the main power off the pass through of the battery backup. This way my COM1 will be battery backed up and I can even listen to weather or whatever by just turning on the battery backup system. I’m doing the same with the GNX375.

Even though this isn’t completely done, I think it’s safe to move onto installing the dash and the windscreen. I don’t think I’ll need to remove the dash to make room to drill anything. After that I just need to work on getting things prepped for painting. Hopefully I’ll be moving to the TAF hangar in a month or so. This will be great so I have some space to work and I can get some assistance from the guys there to make sure everything is ready for paint.

UPDATE 08/15/2020

Finally received the connector from Aircraft Spruce so I could pin the connector for COM1 and finish up the wiring.

VPX Install

Time: 14 hrs

Over the weekend I was able to install and wire up the VPX. I had ordered it at the beginning of the week along with the GMA245 and (2) GTR20’s. I mounted the VPX on the right side on the rib. Mounting was pretty easy since Vertical Power provides mount brackets that attach to the unit with a few 6-32 screws and can be drilled as needed. I took a small bit off one of the corner of the top mount so I could mount it as high and far over as practical.

I spent some time sorting through wires and trying to get the wiring as organized as possible. I also went over my wiring diagrams and the VPX manual to make sure all looked good. I did end up moving a few things around and found that I had incorrectly put the PFD on J12-9 power pin which when using the Garmin you actually put the MFD and run the serial cable between the VPX and the MFD. J12-9 is a special power pin that needs to coincide with the device you also run the serial cable to. The manual shows a list of different EFIS vendors and which device (PFD or MFD) you should wire.

Another little snag I found was that I used a 12AWG cable to my pitot heater since that’s what Garmin called for in the manual, but the largest wire the VPX connector can handle is 14AWG. I had thought about running a whole new 14AWG wire at least from panel to the wing root, but then figured that maybe it’s better to splice in a short piece and keep as much of the 12AWG wire as possible. Even though the 14AWG wire could handle the max current of the heater (12Amps I believe) the issue is the voltage drop. So by using just a small piece of 14 AWG should still help keep the drop less and allow the wire to fit into the connector.

VPX Installed on the rib with (4) M5 screws into rivnuts. Yeah I know it’s upside down, but I wanted to keep the power cable as short as possible. Now to start wiring all this stuff up.

Got most of the stuff wired into the VPX. I still need to run the pitot heat and the 3 load wires for the TCW IBBS, these I need some 14AWG wire to finish the connection to the VPX. I also need to put in a few more tie wraps and get the Strobe/Nav lights wired. These will run into a Faston terminal block which I’m thinking it will install up high next to J10 on the VPX, but will see. Oh and also need to connect the big 6AWG power cable to it.

 

UPDATE 7/3/2020

I finished up all the wiring to the VPX.  This included tying the 3 20AWG wires from the TCW into a 14 AWG wire, Reducing the 12AWG pitot heat wire to 14AWG, Installing the main 6AWG power feed into the VPX, and installing a Faston terminal strip for the strobe/nav lights.

I found a 4 pole terminal strip that has Faston connections to use for combining all connections for the tail and wing lights. This worked out nice because there are a few connections to be made from the multi-wire cable that is run out to each of the lights. There is a strobe power wire, nav power wire, sync wire and the termination of the shields. When I wired up the lights I ran a separate 18AWG ground wires to each light, but after some reading it seems that the preferred method for wiring LED strobe lights is to run the ground through the shield. This I guess cancels out any EMF that can create noise. While the separate ground I ran would probably work fine. I may go back and wire in the shield as the ground wire. This is pretty easy to do since I carried the shields through any connectors so I would just need to attach a wire to the shield at the light and swap the separate ground wire with the wire that goes to the shield.

A photos of the Faston terminal strip that all the strobe/nav lights run into. The 4 poles allows a connect for the strobe, nav, sync, and shield ground

Panel Prep Work

Time: 2hrs

So it looks like I’ll be getting my panel cut by Midwest Sport Sky. They can do a full carbon fiber panel, not an aluminum panel with just a carbon fiber overlay. The all carbon fiber panel is much stronger and lighter that an aluminum panel so I think it will be a good way to go. I had made up my own CAD drawing of the panel using FrontDesign, the software that FrontPanel Express provides for free. It’s actually very good software and it’s pretty easy to use. I also was able to export the panel as an DXF file which most people use to transfer CAD files around between different CAD software and then used FreeCAD to make any changes I needed that I couldn’t figure out how to do in FrontDesign. Midwest said they can also do etching on the carbon fiber so I may also get the registration number and a few of tech standard placard warnings done as well, but will see.

Since it looks like the panel should be getting cut soon I wanted to make sure all the miscellaneous pieces will work out so that I know once the panel is cut it will be correct. One of those pieces are the sub panels for the ignition and switches areas of the panel. These panels are small anodized aluminum panels that will mount to the main panel. I chose to go this route because for one I was originally told that etching carbon fiber doesn’t work so well (though that may have changed by now), also if I want to change the switches I’m using or just want to charge some things around then I can just get these smaller panels redone and not have to do the whole panel again. So I finalized these sub panels and put I the ordered to get them done.

I also took a look at the various annunciator lights and made sure I had all the necessary connectors needed to hook them up. I may have the EAO switches etched rather that use the clear labels or maybe white letter will work better so may give that a try. I’m just using my labeler with clear labels and then stick that onto the button behind the colored tile. I added in the switch covers as well.

This is what I came up with in FrontDesign which is pretty much all I needed to get the layout all setup. I don’t know the cut out for the parachute handle or GNX375 so Midwest will need to do that.

Here’s the assortment of pieces that will be used on the panel. The 2 sub panels from FrontPanel Express, the EAO switches with covers and a few colored LEDs that are labeled on the bezels.

 

 

GSU25 Install

Time: 4.5hrs

Over the past few days I got the GSU25C ADAHRS and GTP59 Temperature Probe installed. Nothing too exciting to report on the install. I was originally going mount the GSU vertically, but found there were 2 holes in the rib that would work and the GSU fit well horizontally so I changed to mount it that way. I used M5 rivnuts and M5 screws to mount it. The kit comes with AN3 hardware which is mainly used when mounting the GSU to the rear of the GDU though can be used for other situations, but I chose to use M5 screws to keep consistent with the way I mounted other avionics. For the pitot/static lines I decided to use the nyloseal fittings rather that the push in type that I used In the rear fuselage and pitot tube. They seem kind of cheaply made, but seem durable and install fairly easy, just remember to get the small inserts that fit into the end of the nylon tube if you’re not using the nyloseal tubing.

Also rerouted some wires and clean some things up and replaced some zip tie mounts with adel clamps

GSU installed with M5 screws also I used nyloseal fittings for the pitot/static lines. The pitot and static lines (not the AOA though) will continue on to the G5.

Lemo Headset Jacks

Time: 8 hrs

Over the past few days I installed and wired up the 4 Lemo jacks for the Pilot, Co-pilot and Passenger headsets. I decided to use Lemo Jacks because: A. Most ANR headsets come with a Lemo jack option, B. It simplifies wiring a bit, C. It’s easy to convert from Lemo to regular jacks, but a little harder to do the other way around, and D. I have an ANR headset with a Lemo jack so I want to plug that directly in and not have to use a converter. I purchased the pre-made jacks from Aircraft Spruce. They’re about $20 more than just the Lemon jack itself and saves some time in wiring. They come with 3 ft of wire soldered on to the Lemo Jack: a ground wire, power wire, Mic Hi and Lo, and Comm L & R. They’re designed to be wiring into an existing Mic/Phones type setup, but you can wire them directly if you don’t have existing audio jacks.

I also installed the USB port for the front seats. This is just a panel mount connector that connects to the USB port on the GMA245R. It just converts the USB-B connector on the GMA to a USB-A type port. Originally I was doing to put this on the instrument panel, but I have a USB charger in the center console in my car and I like it there so I figured it would be good to have it that way in the plane as well. It will also be convenient to store the cable in the box when not in use. The Lemo jackets for the Pilot and Co-pilot also were installed in the storage box.

I made up a quick template in FrontDesign to use for marking the drill holes. I was fortunate that I made the top of the storage box removable. It was much easier to drill these out with the top off. I purchased a 15/16″ punch to make the hole for the Neutrik USB port. I suppose I could have used the step drill, but I figured it would be easier and cleaner to use the punch.

For the passenger area I had installed the Stratus USB charger a while ago and now the Lemo jacks are finally done. To install the Lemos I just marked the location to drill and then used a step drill to get the hole to the correct, size (14mm or about 9/16″). I love the split wire jacket, I’ve started to use it in quite a few places now. It’s super easy to install and keeps all the cabling organized and protected. For the Lemo jacks I used it to organize the passenger wiring coming from the rear console cover and the pilot/co-pilot wiring coming from the storage box.

The Pilot and Co-pilot Lemos and the Neutrik USB port installed in the storage box.

Amazingly it all fits.

All done with the jack installation. Now just need to pin up the other ends and connect it the the main wire run back to the GMA.

The installation manual for the Lemo Jacks calls for 1/4A fuses or 1/2A circuit breakers. I found this on Amazon and thought with was kind of nice. It mounts on a DIN rail that I attached with some 1″ standoffs and a piece of aluminum. I didn’t want to drill the large holes for the M5 rivets into the supports here because the flap motor attaches here and thought it might weaken the support. The main feed runs to the VPX and is a 2A CB. This box then feeds that through the fuses and out to the headsets. The only thing better would be if it fed all the fuses directly from the main input like some fuse boxes do. This on I had to jumper over to each input

Another view of the fuse box ad the connector I had to wire up for the Lemo jack interconnect. I used 2 15 pin connects and ran the shields through for the shielded wires.

That’s all done. I’ll clean up the wires a bit more and secure everything down.

I finally received the left fuel tank skin so I can get back to working on the fuel tanks. TAF unfortunately sent me another right wing tip. I now have 3 right wing tips and no left. I guess I’ll have to wait for the next shipment for that. Anyways I’ll be shifting gears and getting back to the wings and finishing up the fuel tanks.

Lastly, I should be getting my custom floor mats from SCS Interiors very soon so can’t wait for that.