Control Stick Grips Engraving

I got my control stick grips back from Midwest Sky Sports with the engraving done on them. I’m really happy with the way they came and and am thankful to Steve O’Connor from Midwest Sky Sports for getting it done and also for Kevin from Tosten Manufacturing. There’s a special plastic that is needed in order to do the engraving and I had already purchased my grips with the soft touch plastic about 6 months ago. Steve contacted Kevin and Kevin told be to just send the grips in and he swapped the plastic out for free. He also sent them over to Steve so he could do the engraving. So not only does Tosten make some cool control stick grips but their support is great as well. I like to support companies (and people) that are helpful and willing to work with you so if you’re thinking about which grips to buy definitely check them out first at Steve is also very active with the other Sling builders and has some good experience with the Slings. I believe TAF at Torrance has been working with them to build some panels so they’re a good resource to hit up if you need some custom wiring done or engraving done.

A few photos of the grips. These are the MS style grips and I added the side thumb switch which will be my AP Disconnect. The trigger is PTT. I’m not using the left/right hat switch and the small front button by the trigger. Steve recommended using the left/right hat switch for frequency swap who seemed like a good idea, but I don’t think I’d every use it and I’d have to do more wiring so I decided not to do that.

I also received my prop extension and spinner flange from Airmaster so I should be able to fit the cowling soon. I want to finish up the charge system wiring which I’m almost done with, just waiting on some terminal ends for the 6 AWG wire. Since I haven’t bough the propeller yet Jean worked with Airmaster to get me what I needed to fit the cowl (Thanks Jean).



Rear Seat Back Stops and ELT Antenna

Time: 2.75hrs (includes .75 avionics time)

Today I did some work on the interior section behind the rear seat. Prior to installing the rear seat stops I riveted and covered the area with carpet. I also had to drill a few missing holes in the rib. For the ELT antenna I put in a few M3 rivets so that I could remove the antenna if I decide to move it to a new place. Unfortunately the only better place I can think of would be just in front of the vertical stabilizer inside the fiberglass and running cable back there will be quite involved. I’ll try this out and if it doesn’t work then I’ll have to move it. I also made a mistake and mounted the antenna a bit too low on the rib. I forgot that the BNC connector would add about an inch to the length of the cable. It would have worked but it was a bit too close to the luggage support and I didn’t want the connector to vibrate and have issues so I moved the antenna up about an inch and installed 2 more rivnuts. I covered the other rivnuts with carpet. I also drilled out the top line of holes in the side inner skins (the holes that go into the fiberglass of the canopy).

The ELT mounted using 2 M3 rivnuts onto the rib. Covered the area with carpet and installed the seat stop. I also drilled a hole in the luggage support and installed a grommet for the antenna coax cable and crimped on the BNC end. I put some large diameter wire sheathing over the BNC connector and cable, just thought it looked a little nicer. I still want to install a few clips to hold the antenna on the rib.

Carpet installed and rear seat back stop installed as well. I will have to check how well the latch on the rear seat works. I saw that Peter C. added extensions on the seat stops because they barely reached the latch. I may need to do the same.

Touch Dimmer

Here’s a cheesy video I made of me messed with the touch dimmer I purchased to use on the rear overhead cabin light. This dimmer is pretty cool. The only thing I don’t like is that it comes back on at the level you had when you turned it off. It would be nice maybe if you could double tap it the get it to come on full brightness so you don’t have to dim is back up. I also hope it doesn’t cause any noise that will get picked up in the audio.

Misc Work

Time: 2.25 hrs

Did some miscellaneous tasks today:

  • Finished wiring the GMU11 CAN wiring at the pitch servo
  • Retorqued the gear bolts to 18ft lbs (24Nm)
  • Ran wire for Stratus USB charger and wired connector

Originally I had spoken to the tech at TAF about torquing the 4 main gear bolts. He had told me that they were Grade 8.8 bolts so torque them to the specified value (which was around 50Nm for a 10mm bolt). The bolts I had were actually Grade 12.9 with an even higher torque required. So I torqued them to the standard Grade 12.9 torque value and went on my way. A little while later I had noticed the Peter C. had mounted his main gear and stated that he torqued his gear bolts to 24Nm. That seemed very low to me so I emailed him and he had said that TAF told him to use this value. Well he has since verified with multiple sources at TAF SA and they confirmed that the bolts are torqued to 25Nm. With that I just backed off on the torquing of my bolts to 24Nm (18 ft lbs). Thanks Peter for verifying and letting me know.


Tied the CAN bus wiring into the pitch servo so it could continue on to the GMU. The GMU is the end of the CAN bus now so I also ha dot remove a jumper on the DB15 connector for the pitch servo.

I’m going to install the Stratus USB charger in the back of the center console. The kids are always using the USB charger when we drive on trips so I figured it would be convenient to have one in the back for them. It can also function as another USB port for me or the co-pilot as well. I will also bring the USB port on the GMA245R up onto the instrument panel. That will be the main one that I use for charging my iPad or phone.

ELT Install

Time: 4 hrs

Mounted and wired the ELT today. I chose to use an Artex 345 instead of the ACK ELT that TAF uses. The Artex seemed to be a bit easier to wire up and was a little smaller (though heavier) then the ACK. Also the Artex does’t need a battery in the remote or buzzer so thats a few less batteries to periodically replace.

I ended up mounting the ELT to the side of one of the rear fuselage ribs and was able to reuse two of the 4mm holes already in the rib. I did need to drill two new holes in the ELT mount itself since none of the assortment of holes were totally clear of the lightening holes in the rib. The wiring was straight forward. The connection only requires two wires to the remote (panel mounted) switch and a single line for GPS location information.

I was able to reuse the two outermost holes (of the three) already in the rib and then just drill two 4mm holes towards the front of the rib,

The DB15 connector all wired and heat sprinkled.the gRey wire is a jumper to activate the automatic triggering of the ELT if it senses a crash.

ELT mounted with four #8-32 Stainless Steel screws provided with the ELT and torqued to 12in-lbs. The only issue with this placement is that the rib isn’t completely straight in line with the airplane plane of travel. It’s about 4-5º off from it. The ELT manual says you need to be with 10º so it should be fine. If it’s a problem I can always shim the rear mount to bring it in line. I’m happy I didn’t have to add any holes to the fuselage skin. The manual also says that mounting on the skin isn’t recommended so another reason to not mount it that way. I did try making some cross pieces out of angle aluminum but I wasn’t able to make the bend for the attachment flange (the aluminum broke). It would have probably work if I didn’t use extruded aluminum angle, but I think mounting to the rib will work well.

The manual calls for drip loops for any wiring connecting to the ELT so there they are. I still need a few fast-on connectors to connect the buzzer. Rather then wire the buzzer directly into the connector I added a black and red 22AWG extension wires and soldered that into the connector. I’ll add fasten connectors to the extension wires and the original wires from the buzzer so it can be easily removed. I’ll clean up the wiring a bit and add a wire tie mount for the buzzer wiring in a bit.




Pondering My Electrical System

Let me start with this. I’m not an electrical engineer so if anyone can bring some clarity to this I’m glad to hear it. As I get closer to actually having to wiring the charge system using both the external and internal alternators I’m trying to pin down exactly what I need to implement as far as the charge circuit and interconnection of the internal and external alternators. As I look around for ideas and wiring examples I’m facing some conflicting information. My original drawings (available in the Resources menu) were based on what TAF provided in their electrical system manual and what Rotax shows in their 914 installation manual. I’ve found conflicting (well different) wiring diagrams from Rotax regarding the wiring of the internal alternator. I also was thinking that passing the field trigger through the VPX for the internal alternator might be a bad idea. If the VPX dies then the engine should keep running, but restarts would not be possible since the VPX would be controlling the relay that ties the Engine Circuit to the battery. I’m also unclear why some Rotax manuals and TAF manual show a relay being used to connect the “B” terminal of the integrated alternator to the battery and also a relay to control the field terminal of the external alternator to the battery (to active the alternator). I believe the field connect of the external alternator can just be done with a normal switch between the IG (field terminal) and aircraft power since it’s fairly low current. The “B” terminal of the integrated alternator could just be connected directly to the battery (or via a diode) and then the “C” (field terminal) could be switched to enable or disable the alternator/generator. So why use a relay? If I don’t need to install a relay then I’d rather not since that’s one less part to break.

Also all the diagrams I’ve seen show no concern that the external and internal alternators all tie to the main aircraft power bus. From some research I found this is a big No No. You want to keep the alternators completely independent if both are on at the same time. This is different then a primary and backup alternator situation. The internal alternator should only be used to drive the main fuel pump, the turbo servo and other engine components. While the external alternator is used to drive all the avionics and the aux fuel pump. Of course the catch is that the battery needs to connect to both the Aircraft Power Bus and the Engine Bus so I would think you’d need to use a diode to connect the battery and internal alternator so the alternator doesn’t feed into the main aircraft power bus, but no diagrams show this.

NOTE (12/10/2017): Found this little nugget in the Rotax 914 Installation Manual which explains a bit about the reason to use a relay to switch the connection between the internal alternator and the battery. From the Rotax 914 Installation Manual:

“Never sever connection between terminal C and +B of regulator (e.g. by removal of a fuse) while the engine is running. Overvoltage and regulator damage can occur. During engine stop break circuit between battery and terminal C to avoid discharge of battery!”


This diagram (from Rotax) makes sense to me. When the master solenoid (19) is closed then the internal alternator (5,6) is enabled via terminal “C” connecting to the battery. Plus the engine components have battery power for starting. The external alternator (10,11,12) is enabled by the double pole master switch (16) which directly connects the battery to the IG (field) terminal. The only thing missing is isolation of the integrated alternator form the main aircraft power bus.

And here’s a similar digram from Rotax. The difference is the use of a relay (58) that is closed when the master solenoid (38,39) is closed and connects the B and Field terminals of the internal alternator to the battery. I also just notice that the main fuel pump was added to that part of the circuit as well. But still that doesn’t explain why you use a relay instead of just allowing the master solenoid to supply battery power to these devices directly. I always thought that the reason to use a relay is to switch a high current load with a load current load. In this case you’re not really doing that and it’s not adding any isolation between the integrated alternator and the rest of the aircraft power.



TOGA Button… Work in Progress

I thought I’d share this idea to see if I can get some feedback from other builders. I found a  DPDT (couldn’t find a DPST) switch small enough to fit nicely in the end of the throttle handle. I just had to remove some of the threads on the switch and will probably use some RTV to hold it in place. I think this would be a very convenient place for the Go Around button so I’m hoping to get this to work. The other idea was to use a button on the control stick, but since a DPST switch is needed (As stated by Garmin) and all the switches in the stick grip are SPST, then I’d have to use a relay and I’d like to avoid that if possible. So with the switch able to fit in the throttle handle I just need to figure out a nice way to route the wiring. I need to run 3 #22 wires so it’s not too large of a bundle. I know I can drill out the center of the throttle handle a bit and get the wire to the throttle arm pretty easy. The hard part is running the wiring down the throttle arm and into the center console. I’m thinking maybe down the back of the arm using a snap on plastic U shaped cover or maybe through a small aluminum tube that’s epoxied onto the arm. Anyways if anyone has any ideas I’d be glad to hear.

The switch fits nice into the bolt hole in the throttle handle and is short enough to allow for the wires to get soldered as well. I purchased the switch from DigiKey, it’s an NKK LP0125CCKW01F (Digikey #360-2524-ND). I believe there’s also red and grey. Now I just need to figure out how to run the 3 #22 wires to it. Fortunately I have an extra throttle handle and arm for hacking…. I mean testing.