Project Update

Hey Guys,

So this is still it!  And yes, I continue to fight in my hope that this will be the final push –from now until Rough River– to get the main assembly of the aircraft completed.  That’s my goal.  An aggressive timeline to be sure!  After Rough River, I then expect the next few months to be finalizing any leftover punch list items and the finishing & painting! 

As you probably know, starting a few months back I had planned on knocking out a good dozen electrical related items so that I could close up the nose.  I got a bunch of those completed, but kept finding myself not being able to really close out wire runs, confirm install spacing configurations such as the pitch trim unit, etc. because I couldn’t sit in the airplane and confirm what I had dimensionally without the actual pilot’s seat in place.  I couldn’t get the pilot’s seat area done without contending with the fuel lines, driving me to complete the thigh support fuel sump.

So the immediate order of battle right now is to finish the major components in the back seat (GIB) area, primarily the oil heat system with requisite ducts, before then moving forward again to the pilot’s seat area. These mini-tasks are definitely time-consuming and a lot more slow going then planned.  But they allow me to work all this stuff while I can stand right next to the fuselage without having to deal with strakes being in the way!  

Plus, anything that I install now is just one less item that will need to be installed at some point in the future.  Obviously not as sexy as seeing major aircraft components (i.e. nose, strakes, canopy) being completed, but Oh so necessary for quality of flying later on!  Moreover, these completed tasks, in turn, will allow me to finalize the configuration of the nose components. At which point I will focus on the building the nose while concurrently finalizing the wheel pants install (nope, haven’t forgot about those!). Then the canopy install will be after that.

The struggle is REAL folks, as it continues to be busy all up in here!!



Chapter 22 – It… all… matters…

Today I actually started off adding a couple of more shielded wires to my Dynon Intercom wiring harness connector (no pics).  With the 2 wires I knocked out today, that puts me at about halfway done on that harness.  In fact, I’ve got one more wire to add and then I’ll call it done until final install.  Why?  Well, the majority of the remaining intercom harness wires come in from the relay that controls the COM1/COM2 selection functions for the intercom.  And I can’t wire that up until I’m close to going live.

I then started back in getting the jacked up situation from yesterday straightened out.  I decided to bite the bullet and simply add another 3/16″ piece of Nylaflow –which will carry 3 wires–  from the left sensor cover over to the right and then a 1/4″ piece of Nylaflow –which will carry 6 wires– from the right sensor cover over to the right sidewall where the wires will merge into the small wire bundle that traverses the side of the fuselage.

I measured out what I needed and cut a piece of Nylaflow.  I then dry micro’d some around the Nylaflow to attach it and glassed in a ply of BID over each end.  I have to tell you, even this endeavor was just being a royal PITA! [I 5 min glued it the front wall but for some reason it just did NOT want to stay in place . . . ]

After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I finally got the Nylaflow settled in close to what I wanted and after each end was cured, I then glassed a single patch of BID in the middle to finish off the 3/16″ Nylaflow conduit install.

I installed the left sensor cover in place using 5 min glue on 2 adjoining sides and silicone RTV on the other 4 (It’s hex shaped).  I then used my main battery to keep it in place while it cured.

A little while later, after the middle patch of BID cured, I then micro’d and glassed in the second piece of Nylaflow conduit, only this one was 1/4″ as I mentioned above.  I also used 1 ply of BID as I did before.

Even more of a while later I then 5 min glued & RTV’d the right sensor cover in place.  To be clear, I tested the LED lights in each sensor cover before securing them in place.

I will say that with this smaller Nylaflow conduit sitting right below the 3/8″ Nylaflow above it, the lip created by the top big Nylaflow conduit complete eclipses the lower conduit and you just can’t see it.

BTW, I’m covering the pictures by subject in this post versus jumping back & forth, but in reality I did go back on forth on these tasks.

During cure times above, I took a piece of urethane foam and shaped it to create an exit duct out of the top of the main duct that moves the air to the GIB upper duct vent.  I cut a piece of 1.25″ diameter 6061 tubing that I ordered specifically for these ducts… mainly because that’s the diameter of the eyeball air vents that I have on hand.  In addition, I also ordered some Skeet tubing as well, but it’s on back order with ACS.

I then prepped the foam for glass using duct tape.  I of course left the 6061 tubing clear since it will become an integral part of the upper duct vent transition.

Since the air will curve a bit “up” (all relative here) coming out of the duct, unlike the lower GIB duct vent, I decided to create 4 sides to the duct transition (transition from the fiberglass duct to Skeet tubing and then to the eyeball air vent) so I needed to get the “bottom” of the duct transition glassed first.  Thus, I glassed the bottom with 1 ply of BID and peel plied it.

After the BID cured I pulled the peel ply.

And then trimmed the glass.

Here you can see both sides of the upper duct transition vent.

I then set the initially-glassed duct transition vent in place in the top of the main duct channel and taped it up in prep for final glassing.

I then laid up a small ply of BID just over the top of the foam piece area (taped) for strength, and then laid up a ply of UNI and a ply of BID to create an overlapping flange on the existing duct.  I of course could have created the entire duct transition piece to fit inside the main duct channel, but I wanted to optimize airflow as much as possible.

And here’s a bigger picture view of the GIB upper duct vent transition and the rest of the duct network.  If you’re thinking maybe the duct transition piece is a bit too high, you may be right.  But I’ll be able to adjust the height through trimming down the aluminum tube length and/or hacking off some of the main vent channel if need be.

Here’s a bit clearer shot of the fresh air / heater air valve with the control arm clearly visible.

Tomorrow I’ll continue to work on my GIB area tasks.  As you can see, I’m nugging it all out and getting significantly closer to being done in the back seat area.  That being said, I will be receiving out of town visitors late tomorrow night. They’ll be here until Sunday, at which point I’ll be heading back down to North Carolina for nearly a week.  However, when I return I should have no further distractions until I head out to RR.


Chapter 22 – Piece of cake!

Yeah, not so much!

I started off today running around doing a million errands.  When I returned home I tested out one of my ELS-950 sump low fuel level sensors.  Here’s a video showing how it works.

With my sensor function test good to go, I then applied a light ring of Permatex 80725 around the threads of each sensor and then installed them into their respective ports on the vertical face of the thigh support fuel sump.

Here’s a wider angle shot showing where the sensors are situated on the front of the sump front wall.

I then taped up the sensor wires to keep them out of the way for when the covers are installed.

I then added a spot of tape to the aft ring of each sensor cover and mocked them up in place.  Looks like they’ll fit just fine.

I then spent a fair bit of time labeling all the left and right sump low fuel level sensors’ wires.

I combined the 2 sensor ground leads into 1 wire by solder splicing them together.  Here they’re prepped to be soldered.

And here the ground wires are solder spliced with a lead leading to the Triparagon.

After the sensor wires were all squared away, I then attempted to run 2 wires from each of the floor LED lights embedded in the sensor covers through the conduit on the face of the sumps . . .  the same Nylaflow conduits that I had just run the 3 sensor wires through.  I had tested this out earlier and there should have been plenty of room for 5 wires, but the wires just weren’t to be routed no matter how hard I tried or what method I used.

This was one of those tasks that every step you take to remedy the issue, the problem keeps getting bigger and wider, kind of like a big ‘ol pile of horse crap.  After messing around with the wires, my attempts to reroute them in my GIB headset jack conduit (I could spend 4 big paragraphs just on that cluster alone!) was to no avail.

So I punted.  It was late and I just didn’t want to screw anything up ( . . . further).  In short, out of the myriad of tasks I had planned to knock out today, I got about 3/4 of one complete!

Yes, so tomorrow will be about completing the other GIB area tasks I had planned for today!



Chapter 22 – Not so much…

Today I started out by heading down to a local restaurant, grabbing breakfast and consolidating my current three 3×5 card task lists into a single task list.  With my list consolidated I was motivated to get to work.  As I was leaving the restaurant I got a call from an old friend.  It’s always hard to not talk to friends or family that I haven’t heard from in a while, so I chatted a bit.  Well, I’ll be darned if that didn’t roll right into another call from yet another old friend.  My though was that I have to accept the fact that most people only have time to really chat during the weekend . . . . so I chatted some more.

A bit later, I checked the mail and found the Permatex 80725 Plastic Pipe Sealant that I ordered was delivered quite ahead of its stated delivery date.  Up until last week I was simply considering using pipe tape to install the ELS-950 sump low fuel level sensors, but after further thought I decided to order the sensor manufacturer’s recommended Permatex 80725 to better ensure no leaks.  To be clear, as a function of the low fuel level sensors they must be situated below the high fuel mark, making the ELS-950 sensors installation seals critical to having no fuel leaks.

With my preparing to install the sump low fuel level sensors, I needed to create wire labels for both the sensor wires and the GIB LED floor lighting wires that are located in the sensor covers.  Besides just wanting to keep my wires identified, in this situation it’s even more vital since all these wires are hidden away for the first 12-18″ and ascertaining what wires go to what would be much more difficult without wire IDs.

With all the obvious effort I’ve done on my electrical system, this little ditty here shows how extensive the task is:  As I was listing out my wire labels to print I realized that I didn’t have enough consolidated information on exactly what component power wires connected to my power busses at which tabs.  With the addition of a few extra unexpected electrical components over the past 6 months –including these low fuel sensors– it’s really too easy to lose sight of exactly what power wires feed from what buss, and exactly what tab a specific wire may get connected to.

Thus, yes, another unintended and unexpected task reared its head… I determined that my sheet of notebook paper with the Main, Endurance and Battery power buss connections listed on it just wasn’t enough.  I needed it in electronic format as a worksheet in my electrical system spreadsheet, so I made that happen.  Then I spent a few hours inventorying every instance and every wire that connects to a power buss, including each buss’s threaded feed stud.

Besides the information listed on my tattered notebook sheet, I did an accounting for the already labeled tabs on the physical ATC fuse busses.  I then went through literally every wiring diagram to account for every listed power buss connection in the diagrams.  I then went through my components list to ensure that the power feed for every electrical component going into the plane was accounted for.  Through all this I found some discrepancies in the required fuse sizes.  Finally, with a complete accounting of all my buss power connections I was able to reorganize some connections on the respective buss tabs.

I then printed out a number of labels.  Unfortunately, with all my above shenanigans I simply ran out of time, and energy, to start on any major shop tasks.



Chapter 22 – Cheat when you can!

I started out today by cleaning up the inboard face of the heat exchanger by sanding the edges of the added upper & lower ducts where they overlap onto the main assembly.

I then cleaned up & prepped the heat exchanger for glass, or actually for 1 ply of carbon fiber.

Here’s the ply of carbon fiber after I laid it up and peel plied the edges a bit to ensure it stayed in place.  I didn’t go with the traditional super sexy carbon fiber look, since the reason I’m adding the carbon is I believe that with this heat exchanger being inboard of the ducts, it will get rubbed on with legs, knees, small marsupials, etc. over the years.  If it was painted, as I’ve seen with many a canard, over time the paint would simply rub off.  I wanted something that would not only be a good contrast with the gray granite paint that I’m using for the cabin, but that would be hardy enough that it would withstand getting rubbed on over the years without discoloration or deterioration of the surface.

I used fast hardener so a few hours later I trimmed the carbon fiber and got the heat exchanger pretty much back to the way it was before, just with a ply of carbon fiber on the face of it.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the aft end, I just knew I didn’t want to attempt making my layup infinitely more difficult by trying to put carbon fiber here and wrap it around.  Admittedly, my original plan was to get much closer to the edge but the carbon fiber apparently had other thoughts on the matter.

With so much stuff to get done on this plane, I punted and went with the 80% solution to get this thing in the done column, and simply painted the aft end . . . In the grand scheme of things I don’t think anyone will really notice that the aft “face” is painted black.

I then got to work on the fresh air/heating air routing valve.  Below is the valve assembly in its component parts, ready for assembly.

And here’s after I riveted it all together . . . the second time!!  You see, the valve hinge had to go in first before I riveted all the main pieces together.  So of course I went to Tahiti for a few minutes in my mind while I riveted the first couple of rivets to get it all together.  My fault, but what a royal PITA to drill those rivets out.  Plus, it widened the holes a bit so I used a bit longer rivets and merely mashed harder!

Ok, so she ain’t perfect, but it looks like this dog will hunt.  The one thing I’m not overly happy with is the height of my valve, since it’s taking up valuable space in my duct and reducing the duct’s cross section for airflow by almost 0.5″.

Here’s a shot to see where this valve is in relation to everything else.

And here’s a few shots of the valve and the attached control arm.

I then added a cable mount bolt and a cable to test out the function of the valve.  It’s simple and I don’t think there should be any issues (besides having to trim down the upper edge of the valve since it’s just a hair wide.)

With my ductwork tasks done for the evening, I focused on getting the cable runs to the GIB headset jack squared away, primarily at the Dynon Intercom harness connector.

After doing over an hour’s worth of research and brushing back up on the intercom wiring, I then cut the wires to length, stripped the wires and then added shield grounding pigtails by using ground solder sleeves.

The pilot and GIB Mic/PTT wires share a common ground at Pin 2, so I went ahead and did a solder wire splice to add a small length of 20 AWG wire to the 2 shielded wire ground wires.  BTW, I used the Bob Nuckolls’ technique for solder splicing 2 wires together.

Here’s my soldered wire splice.

I then added a piece of shrink wrap over the soldered joint.

Here’s a shot of my Dynon Intercom wiring harness . . .  so far!  You can see that I labeled the main cable insulation and terminated the individual wires with the included D-Sub sockets.

Wrapping up the evening, I terminated the sockets into the Dynon Intercom 25-pin D-Sub connector.  I also stripped and heat shrank the GIB headset jack ends (the sides in the left GIB armrest) of the cables in preparation for installation.

Tomorrow I’ll continue to work on knocking out all this extraneous build stuff so I can get on to the nose, canopy and strakes.


Chapter 22 – Back in back

Today was one of those days where I was in full build mode all day long, but then at the end of the day it felt like I hadn’t done much.

First off, once again the nice man in the brown truck (UPS) brought me more airplane parts… Today I got the COM1 and XPDR antennas that I ordered, terminated with the appropriate fittings. One more thing off the list!

I started off on the actual build by drilling a few sets of tiny holes to inject fresh epoxy into some air bubbles along the joint of the front extension pieces that I had glassed onto the left GIB armrest.  This armrest is definitely the ugly duckling of the armrests, and admittedly looks pretty nasty where I glassed the front extension pieces into place (I was originally planning on having a throttle handle back here, but then realized first that it was located too far aft, and then second, that I simply wasn’t going to install one).

That’s why it’s so cool, and so much fun honestly, to see it turn out like this with just a few passes of a primer spray can.

I let the primer cure for a few hours, cleaned up and sanded a few minor imperfections, then shot two coats of the gray granite interior paint.

I then let the topcoat cure for about 6 hours before shooting it with a couple coats of matt clear coat.  A little over an hour later, when it was dry to the touch, I set it in place to get the pics below.

I have to say, I’m really digging this color.  It’s not super flashy nor does it make a huge fashion statement, but it really does look good.  And of course, as I often state, the pics don’t do it justice.

Although I documented my painting sequence on the armrest, it’s not all I did today, nor was it the primary goal on my task sheet.

I don’t have any pics showing my progress, but today I actually determined the size and shape of the valve lever arm for the heating/air system.  This valve is the one that will determine whether incoming fresh air is left alone to be routed through the ducts for cooling air, or diverted to the heat exchanger for heating air.  I cut out, shaped and cleaned up the pieces to ready them for install via flush-mounted rivets.  I was getting ready to drill the holes for my rivets when a buddy called and I ended up meeting him out for dinner and  a couple beers.  So… I’ll get some pics of my heating/air valve work tomorrow.

In addition, as I was trying to consolidate my metal cutting tasks, I had on my list to cut an L bracket for mounting under the Matco parking brake to secure the brake’s ON/OFF actuator cable (with an Adel clamp).  As I was trying to finalize the dimensions on that bracket for cutting –remember, I have to pull saws out of an outside shed so I like to cut all that I currently have on my list at one time for efficiency’s sake– I determined that I don’t need a bracket at all, just some 1/4″ Nylaflow and a click bond mounted on the left side NG30 plate and I’ll be good.  So, check the parking brake cable install design off the to-do list as well! [Note I said install design, and not the install itself].

Again, tomorrow I will continue to work on the GIB area stuff, with the heating & air system valves my specific priority until I get those finished.


Chapter 22 – Kick plate finished!

Today I started out by pulling the GIB kick plate out to check the forward mounting bracket layup.

The mounting bracket looked good with the angle appropriate to how the lower corner of the cockpit is shaped.

I could tell by the bottom of the cured mounting bracket that not all of it was in contact with the taped fuselage corner . . . I guess gravity isn’t what it used to be!

I first drilled the #8 screw mounting hole through the kick plate and part way through the forward lower bracket when it decided to remove itself from the kick plate.  I then drilled and riveted a K1000-8 nutplate to the mounting bracket, and then trimmed all 4 bracket sides with the Fein saw.  Finally, I drilled anchor holes and sanded the bottom of the mount that will get floxed to the fuselage corner.

Here’s a few pics of the completed forward kick plate mounting bracket.

I then remounted the composite forward mounting bracket onto the kick plate.

Knowing that only a small portion of the mounting bracket had been in contact with the cockpit corner when I set it, I slathered it up with flox before remounting the kick plate.  I used fast hardener… so a few hours later after it cured I pulled off the kick plate to find that my mounting bracket floxing endeavor was successful.

While the kick plate mounting bracket flox was curing I took my fuel sump low fuel level sensor covers outside and painted them with the Rustoleum granite paint that I will be using for the interior cabin paint.

While the fuel sump low fuel level sensor covers’ paint was curing I called Mike at ACK to go over my ELT install configuration.  He gave me some very key information that will be very pertinent to my ELT installation.

I then determined the size of the phenolic LED light mounting reinforcement plates, cut them and then 5-min glued them into place (after I removed the paint and sanded the glass where they were mounted inside the covers).

I then determined where the 2 LED holes would be situated, then drilled the holes.  I tested out the angle of the LED light beams, so when I drilled the holes I made them a bit more horizontal in comparison to the aircraft waterline.

With the LED mounting holes ready, I then prepped the LED lights for mounting by soldering the red & white LEDs and wires, including a 470 Ohm resistor on the shared ground wired.

I then added heat shrink to secure & protect the solder joints.

Although the pic below looks like you’re looking down into a fiery volcano, I included this representative shot of the red LED test lighting.

Here’s the white LED test.  Again, the light showing up in these pics is more drastic, contrasting and harsh than what is really viewed in person.

Here are another couple shots of the sump low fuel sensor cover LED floor lights from the front, facing the camera (which I shot at an angle so they wouldn’t “blind” the camera).

Again, this is a representative view of the red & white LED lights glued in place into the right sump low fuel sensor cover.  The left looks pretty much the same of course.

Concurrent to the work I had been doing on the LED floor lights, I also primed & painted the kick plate with my gray cabin granite paint.  Over 4 hours later I hit it with a couple coats of matt clear coat.

This is about an hour later after the clear coat was dry enough to set the kick plate in place  to get this pic.

Here’s another shot of the painted and clear coated GIB kick plate.  BTW, I checked the weight of the kick plate just prior to painting it and it weighed in at a whopping 5.8 ounces.

Tomorrow I’ll continue my quest to finish all things GIB before moving on with other parts of the build.


Chapter 22 – Play Time is Over!

No more electrical stuff for me… back to the GIB area!  Ok, except this one sideline task. HA!

Today I started by finishing up annotating the J3 PQD connector color codes, which of course meant digging in the GRT Mini-X manual and also seeing what the wire colors were that I physically had on hand.  Since I had the Mini-X wiring harness (15-pin D-Sub) in my hand, I decided to go ahead and knock out the wire harness connector for my Mini-X.

First, I had to pull a few wires for connections that I won’t be using.  These few specific wires came installed on the GRT-provided 15-pin D-Sub connector/harness.  I measured the required wire lengths between the back of the Mini-X and the J3 PQD connector on the Triparagon.  I added a couple of inches for ‘insurance’ purposes and another half inch to account for the multiples pairs that would be twisted together, then ended up cutting all the wires down to 10.5″ long.  I then crimped some D-Sub sockets onto 3 wires for the magnetometer (since it’s optional) and terminated them into the Mini-X D-Sub connector.  I then twisted the appropriate wire pairs together using a small portable drill.

I then terminated the ends of the wires with D-Sub pins on the opposite end from the Mini-X connector and performed a continuity check on each wire… all good.

Then, on the Mini-X side of the harness I installed the D-Sub backshell.

Having also just received some more correct-sized wire labels, I then labeled the 2 individual wires and the 3 wire pairs.

For the panel component labels that run ONLY between the panel components themselves, or the panel components and the PQD connectors, I’m using a bit more simplified wiring label scheme than the one I use for the rest of the plane: essentially providing just a pin number, the wire function such as “power” or “DU link” and an opposite pin number, all separated by dashes.  Obviously, on the panel I’m looking at the wire runs from the back of the given device and seeing its termination point just a scant few inches away… all the info is there for me to see straightway, except the pin #’s and wire functions. So, for example, the lone magnetometer signal wire label goes like this:

10-MAG SIG-9

Pin 10 on the Mini-X EFIS D-Sub connector, the truncated description as to the function of the wire, and Pin 9 on the J3B PQD D-Sub connector.  Short and sweet.  If a twisted pair is getting labeled, I simply add both pins on each side separated by a “/” (aka 11/12).  I’m still sticking with the more robust label scheme throughout the rest of the plane which allows me to determine where the wire is coming & going, what devices it goes to (points A & B) and what pins it connects to at each end (typically power, ground or data signal).

Here’s a shot of the Mini-X wiring harness, minus the D-Sub 15 backshell (which is on order) for the J3B side.

I then set my sights on finalizing the GIB right side kick plate mounting.  I started by stuffing some plastic saran wrap into the aft lower hardpoint screw hole, and then laid up a ply of BID over it.

A few hours later it was really close to being cured, so I hand drilled the hole through the glass in the front to remove the plastic.  I then cleaned up around the hard point screw hole and test fitted the screw.

Here’s another wider angle shot of above.

I then spent a bit of time sanding down and cleaning the fuel sump low fuel sensor covers.

Here’s the exterior side of these things . . .  After sanding, I then gave them a good Simple Green wash and dried them off.

I then taped up the interior edge of both sensor covers and then shot them with a couple quick, light layers of black paint.  I would have preferred to use matt paint, but I only had gloss on hand so they’re a bit fancier than I had intended.

I then prepped both the outboard side fuselage area and of the interior wall of the kick plate with clear packing tape to keep the composite bracket from gumming anything up.

I then set up 2 prepregged 3-ply BID layups.

I then wet out the prepregs and combined the 2 stacks of 3 plies to make up a 6-ply forward kick plate mounting bracket.

I then laid up the 6-ply bracket layup half way onto the forward kick plate mounting hardpoint.

I then folded it back on itself so that it was almost touching.  My goal here was that when the kick plate was mounted, gravity would simply pull the glass down onto the protective tape on the floor, creating the exact correctly shaped bracket blank –since the floor at the corner here is 45°– after it cures.

Here’s a shot of the entire kick plate, with the 6-ply mounting bracket glass formed on the inside.  I was able to get just a peak of it through the holes in the front seat bulkhead and from what I could ascertain, my “shot in the dark” layup looks ok.

As the kick plate bracket glass cured, I then took a quick opportunity to apply a couple of coats of gray primer onto both thigh support fuel sump low fuel sensor covers.  Since I’ll have a pair of LEDs poking out the bottom of each of these covers, I wanted to get them painted so as to not have to worry as much about taping off those LEDs, which again will be on the bottom side, when I paint the rest of the back seat area.

Tomorrow I’ll continue working on all things GIB!


Chapter 22 – Uh, more electrons please!

Well, I’ll be darned if another task didn’t blow up into a huge project.  I had planned on using this morning to finalize the electrical stuff I did yesterday: print out the diagrams and connector pinout sheets and verify a few connections.

I did just that and then, although electrical in nature, got back to working on the GIB area by working on the circuit for the GIB cabin lighting.

My GIB area cabin lighting essentially consists of 2 zones:

  1. The upper zone lit by a red/white LED map light.
  2. The lower zone lit by red/white LEDs mounted in the sump low fuel sensor covers.

I decided to start on the switch side which consists of a mini-toggle that allows for selecting all GIB area lights to be lit either RED or WHITE.  This then connects to a rotary switch that allows the GIB to determine which lights are on or off with the following positions:


So I got both switches configured & initially wired up, and all was fine until I had to tie in the LED map light.

As you can see the map light has 3 wires: white, red, and green.  I mistakenly assumed that the separate, selectable red and white set of LED lights were powered by the red wire for the red lights and the white wire for the white lights, with the green wire (maybe I’ve spent too much time installing house light fixtures!) being the ground wire.

Which is exactly how I had it drawn up for years!

But, alas, the manufacturers of these map lights pulled a switcharoo and pretty much made the install specific to powering the lights through an ON-OFF-ON switch with each light being controlled by closing that color (red or white) circuit to ground with the switch. You can see an initial swag I took at this in the lower right corner in the pic above… albeit I lopped off the ground symbols when I cropped the pic.

I played around with it for a while, getting a bit pissy having to “waste” time on a small luxury item as this GIB map light.  Moreover, all day my Chi was apparently way off center because I was letting a ton of that critical electrical smoke that must be contained out of as sundry items such as relays, diodes, wires . . . you name it! I clearly had the reverse midas touch so when I was done creating smoke by incidental shorting of wires, etc. I decided to dare not touch the plane nor attempt any glassing later in the evening!

Although I did –after much effort, angst, creative use of expletives, persistence and hard thinking (which was like pushing a brick wall!)– finally tested out a good circuit for the GIB LED lights, which took a few hours and involved incorporating a spare small DPDT relay I had on hand (don’t ask how long it took me to find it!).  BUILDERS HINT: Install the diode in the circuit the correct way!!  Ask me how I know . . .

The challenge was that I already had the entire circuit designed and mostly constructed, so I was adding on to the tail end of it and couldn’t really pick my power & ground wires from scratch (without adding more long wire runs or even more complexity).  I eventually got it, and thus I present to you the new GIB LED lighting circuit:

Yes, hopefully tomorrow I can actually get back to the REAL GIB area tasks!


Chapter 22 – Electric all the way!

Well, as not that uncommon in this build, what was supposed to take a few hours ended up taking up every minute of my day today and propelled itself into the wee hours of the morning.

But my immediate task is done . . .  for now of course!  I tried a few different ways to get this on the screen, but alas my JPG captures on my CAD program suck.  So I just took a screen shot (pic below).  It gives you a general idea of what I was up to all day yesterday sorting through essentially a massive pile of spilled spaghetti.

I pretty much assessed every wire and every connection coming out of the GRT HXr EFIS (PFD), GRT Mini-X EFIS (MFD), Garmin GNS480 GPS receiver, and Trio Pro Pilot Autopilot. I identified if the wires would simply be run from point A to point B, or in a twisted pair or shielded conduit, all based on the requirements coming out of the installation manuals or the manufacturer’s guidance.  Where there was no specific guidance I turned to words of wisdom from the grand pupa of aircraft electrons, Bob Nuckolls, by referencing his masterpiece, The AeroElectric Connection.

In addition I clarified some info via phone calls and emails as I did with Chuck from Trio Avionics.  And will do the same with GRT tomorrow.

As I mentioned yesterday, I also labeled every RS232 serial pair and ARINC 429 pair for the data signal wires with their respective configuration labels and correlating baud rates that will be used when setting up the individual components to talk nicely amongst themselves.  I was also able to reallocate and free up some serial ports based on my newfound knowledge and tweaking of my system (also facilitated by some updated manuals such as a new 2017 install manual for the Mini-X).  This, in turn, both reduced the physical number of wires and allowed me to clear off unneeded ports that I was tracking on the diagram above.

With the wire types identified for each port, I was then able to massively rework my Panel Quick Disconnect (PQD) connectors and consolidate all the HXr EFIS harness wires on the J4 PQD 37-pin D-Sub connector.  I was just short a couple of positions, so I moved the power off the J4 connector and repurposed the J10 connector label for a new 4-pin mini-Molex power connector (HXr primary, secondary and tertiary power plus ground).  The old J10 connector got bumped down the line and is now J12.

Below is a page out of my connector pinout tracking sheets packet.  I track literally every wire, pin & socket in every connector on this aircraft.  As you can imagine, I’m waiting for the day when I can stop updating these sheets!

In addition, I did exactly the same thing in consolidating every wire for the Mini-X through the J3 PQD 15-pin D-Sub connector.  This is very significant in that it allows me to simply unplug & remove my HXr EFIS by disconnecting only 2 connectors: a D-Sub & mini-Molex (ok, and a USB cable . . . you got me!).  Moreover, If I choose to, I’ll be able to disconnect & remove my Mini-X EFIS by disconnecting 5 things: a D-Sub, a USB cable, the GPS antenna cable, and of course the Pitot & Static connections.

After I finished reworking my panel component wiring diagram and the pinouts for the 3 PQD connectors, I then did a scrub of every wiring diagram I have on hand, which is nearly 30 diagrams.  In addition to the panel component wiring diagram, I had to do significant updates to 8 other diagrams.

To help bring all this massive paperwork drill to life so you can see it in the physical world, I went back and snagged a couple shots of the Panel Quick Disconnect (PQD) connectors in the PQD bracket (still in its rough state before cleanup) so you can see what I’m talking about.  The 37-pin D-Sub J4 HXr connector runs across the top, while the 15-pin D-Sub J3 Mini-X connector runs down the right side.  The big round 24-pin connector, which admittedly is sparsely populated now (read: scalability) is the P6 AMP CPC connector.

Here’s a shot of the PQD connector bracket at the aft right corner of the Triparagon’s top cross shelf.  The PQD bracket is situated right below the aft face of the Trig 22 Transponder.  In addition, the PQD connectors are only a scant 4.5″ (IRRC) from the aft side of the HXr and Mini-X . . . so close in fact that I could not physically install the cable clamp on the aft panel-side P6 AMP CPC connector and still have clearance to run all the wires!

With my short deviation back into the world of electrons over (…for now!), I can get back to tackling the GIB area and start seriously planning on knocking out the nose and canopy (with perhaps a quick sideline tryst to finish the wheel pants?!)