Rear Cabin Lights (Part 3)

Time 3.25 hrs

More work on the rear cabin lights today and yesterday. Now I need to wait for a few parts to finish it up. It’s getting there. I’m kind of wishing I just bought the Aveo lights, it would have saved a lot of time.

I had to change the way I did the dimming and switching of teh front lights because of the way the lights are wired. The Airkit lights for some reason have a single power lead and two grounds , one for the white light and one for the red (rather then a single ground and seperate poor for each colored light). I didn’t like how the potentiometer was dimming the lights so I wanted to use a PWM dimmer to get better dimming. The problem is you can’t dim on the ground side so I had to do away withe the dual concentric knob idea and go with a double throw switch (to select the red or white light) and pot to control the PWM dimmer. It’s a bit of a tight fit to get the switch and pot on the mounting plate, but the tiny pot that comes with the dimmer helps. The pot also has a switch built in so that removes the need to put that in the dual throw switch.

I made a new anodized plate (I didn’t like the gray one) and did the cut outs for the dual throw switch and pot. I found a nice knob made by Kilo International on Allied Electronic’s site. They make a few styles so I purchased a few different ones to see what would work best.

Ran the wire to the rear cabin lights and pinned the ends for the connectors. The rear lights just use a 2 pin connector (+14V and Ground). This will connect to the touch dimmer and I’ll just wire that directly to the light. Oh and I also riveted in the nut plates as well.

It’s getting there. I never imagined it would take this long to get everything installed and wired up. There’s been a lot of trial and error. mainly because the space is so minimal in the canopy roof. The small circuit board hanging is the PWM dimmer (really a motor control) that I got off Amazon. It takes 14V in and then just a connection out to provide dimming for the lights. The ground side will go into the double throw switch. The PWM dimmer has a connector for the on/off switch and another for pot.


Pilot/Copilot Cabin Lights Install (Part 2)

Time: 0.75hrs

The 3/32 (2.4mm) countersunk rivets came for Aircraft Spruce today so I was able to install the nut plates and make sure the lights mount flush to the canopy. Everything went very well. The only mishap was I missed the mounting hole in the nut plate with one of the rivets so that needed to be drilled out and redone. I’m really happy with the lights and the install and the cost of these lights versus the Aveos is about 4X less.

The rear lights also came in today as well. They’re pretty much perfect except that the description said they were anodize aluminum, but in fact they are some weird fake aluminumish metal from China (I like to call it Craptomium). So I may end up sending them back… I know its just cosmetic, but I’d like to try to get lights that all match in appearance and these are just enough different that it bugs me.

Two lights in and the nut plates installed for mounting the dimmer pot. The biggest pain was clearing some space out on the back side of the hole. There’s foam that was used to keep the shape of the canopy (between the inner and outer skin) and some of it needed to be removed so the nut plates could be installed.

Everything mounted. I’ll have to disassemble to wire everything up, but I wanted to make sure all the screw holes lined up and the mounting plates sit flush on the canopy. The plate for the dimmer pot will need to be painted grey to match the canopy. If the paint doesn’t match then I’ll make up another one using the anodized aluminum plate. I’m using a concentric pot so that I can do dimming for the red and white lights in one knob rather then two. I’ll make the main knob be the red since that’s probably more important at night and the smaller ring be for the white LEDs. I purchased the knob from an online guitar shop, I believe they fit a Fender bass :-).

Front view on the lights.

A photo of the nut plates and rivets I used. The 3M nut plates came from Pegasus Racing and were like $3 each, so I only purchases enough for teh job. They’re nice because the nut moves around a bit so if the holes are a little off you can still get the screw into the nut. The rivets were just standard issue Cherry BSC-34 rivets.

I found these on an RV (recreation vehicle) site and they looked perfect. And they would be perfect except I don’t like the finish or the material that’s used. I was hoping it was “real” aluminum, but it seems like just a faux finish. If they weren’t such a good match for what I needed I would have sent them back already. They are held in with a spring loaded leveler which I think would work well for the rear lights. I would need to widen the holes slighting to get these mounted, but not by much. I also hooked the electronic touch dimmers up to these and it works great. The lights have a push on/off as well which is pretty cool, though with the touch dimmer it isn’t necessary and somewhat complicated things.