Chapter 22 – Minor panel redesign

I’m not sure exactly when I came up with the idea, but over the last couple of days –while updating the Instrument Panel CAD drawing– I decided to move forward with a Panel Warning Annunciator Cluster Sub-panel that would include the major panel components that I would need in case of most emergencies: including notification via the pair of AG6 Warning Annunciators and possible fix actions via the Gear Automatic Extension System/Emergency Gear Down Switch and the Backup Alternator (SD-8)/E-Bus activation switch.

In addition, I would move the “AEX ENGAGED” notification Korey LED light from the row just above the HXr EFIS to this sub-panel cluster as well.  That would, in turn, allow me to use that empty light position to add a “RAM Air Open” indicator light to give me positive feedback that my RAM air butterfly valve was in fact in the open position…. good to verify when descending below 3000 feet for low level flight ops, landing, etc.

Finally, conspicuously not added to this group is the Alt-Static Source switch, which I will leave in a different spot on the panel.

I then spent a few hours creating and then extracting this model drawing from the Instrument Panel CAD drawing…. thus, not only does it share the same DNA, but more importantly the same top curvature and centerline.  This will allow me to better appropriately notch the panel for clearance of this cluster if I end up going this route.

Just in case you’re scratching your head wondering what the heck I’m on about (probably not unusual!), I’ve depicted a rough outline of this Panel Warning Annunciation Cluster overlaid on a pic of the panel.

I should note specifically that I have 2 main driving reasons for incorporating such a warning annunciation cluster:  First, I want to ensure unimpeded visibility of the AG6 warning annunciators by literally putting them “in my face,”  and by extruding the mount for the AG6’s rearward and placing them just under the aft edge of the glare shield gets them in that “in my face” position.

Second, by consolidating the 2 key emergency-specific electrical switches in this cluster, I both better organize the panel functionally and concurrently clean up the panel of extraneous switches placed in a somewhat willy-nilly fashion.

Upon arriving home this evening from NC, I fired up my trusty 3D printer and made a very fast, rough “proof of concept” 3D print of this warning annunciation cluster.

As I was leaving out from NC, I stopped off at the hangar to scavenge the AG6 warning annunciator display/buttons, “AEX ENGAGED” Korey indicator light, the emergency gear down switch guard and some mini-toggle switches.  

I then used all the above to populate my freshly 3D printed warning annunciator cluster sub-panel.

Here’s a top view, which would actually never be seen if this sub-panel were mounted in the airplane since the top abuts the underside of the glare shield.

Moreover, the pic below does show a change that I quickly realized I needed to make on this model, which was to increase the “height” (technically depth) of the switch stepped platforms moving aft by 0.15″.  This will serve to get the aft edge of the switch guards (there will be one on the right side switch as well) closer aligned with the AG6 annunciator faces.

This sub-panel will be mounted to the top center of the panel via 5x #6 screws, which I have a couple installed to test fit the screw hole sizes.  

Here’s a shot of the backside of the sub-panel, showing AG6 module, switch, and Korey light position, configuration and clearance.

With space tight, and to keep this cluster as compact as possible, I incorporated the “AEX ENGAGED” Korey indicator light so that it is actually embedded into the body of the sub-panel.  Moreover, the switch guard of the AEX OFF/ON and Emergency Gear Extend switch slightly overlaps the bottom edge of the Korey indicator light.

So far I’m very happy with how this Panel Warning Annunciator Cluster Sub-panel has turned out and I’m excited to test fit it in the actual airplane.

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