Electric System Lessons Learned
I Would Do Different
I learned many electric system lessons as I installed
the various systems in my aircraft. Many of these ended up as
notes on how I would do things differently if I were starting again.
Perhaps these will give you some ideas for better ways to
build your airplane.
the tail before riveting the turtledeck
I didn’t have the luxury
on the turtledeck until
after I had run the electrics. I
close to moving to Louisiana
and had a half-built fuselage. I
to finish the turtledeck and the canopy to feel safe hauling it down
road. Most builders
will probably not
face this problem.
You can still accomplish
a lot of
building with the
turtledeck only clecoed on. The
to remove the turtledeck will save you a lot of time and the pain of
into the back of the tail. With
turtledeck removed you can easily rig the entire elevator pushrod,
system. You can
also reach over the side
and drill the holes, run and clamp the conduit, and build and install
If I were able, I would
have done all
of the following
before riveting on the turtledeck:
and installed the longer
F-818C-L and R needed to hold the autopilot servo.
and primed all the
the outside air
temperature (OAT) probe
and drilled the bracket for
the Dynon remote compass, but not installed it (I
think it would get in the way of crawling to the back to rivet, so
it for later)
and clamped the conduit
the wires for the tail
lights, elevator trim, OAT probe, and remote compass
the d-sub for the remote
and installed the static ports
Then after the turtledeck
in place, I would
the pitch servo on the F-818Cs
as I installed the F-635 elevator bellcrank assembly
and connecting the
and connecting the
I am happy with my
wiring, it all
works! But I think
if I was to do it again, I would
make a change to make removing the main panel easier.
At the top of the left gear box, I would
install a plug panel with several d-sub connectors like in the picture. The panel would have
socket savers mounted to
it, providing male on one side of the panel, and
female on the other. Then
all of the wire runs
to the airplane
would start there with a male fitting and go aft.
The wiring for the panel would start there
with a female fitting and go to the back of the instruments. I would run all the wires
instruments into the center of the panel, then run the one large bundle
left, then back to the d-sub panel.
I know this would add a
weight, but the ease of
maintenance provided would outweigh the penalty. It will also make
wires easier. Measuring
the length of
the wire will be easier too because you will know exactly where to
measuring from at the panel end.
A quick look on the web
savers to go through the
panel, male and female connectors and their cases for the end of the
bundles, nuts and screws. I
a help document that has the size to cut the holes in the panel. I could connect
up my entire panel for about
$120. In fact, I
think the next time my
panel has to come off, I will do just that.
I ran individual strands
of wire for
time I would use multiple-wire bundles,
like Vans ES MSTS-WIRE. It
six-wire bundle needed to connect the trim servos.
The autopilot, and possibly the intercom,
also be wired with multi-wire bundles.
Although this may
increase the parts
cost a little bit, it
will be a lot easier to install, and will weigh less.
You just need good measurements before you
order to ensure you get what you need, and not a lot extra.
One of the biggest
lessons I learned was in wire labeling. I labeled my wires
with masking tape
while I was installing
them, and removed the tape as I crimped and fastened each wire. BIG MISTAKE! Now I have a bunch of
white wires that look
I would suggest
both ends of every
wire. If you use
with colored wires, you can label just the bundle, then list the colors
The technique I like the
best is the
use of different
colored shrinkwrap. A
single piece of
one color can be put on each end of a wire, or you can mix colors. For example, with just
three colors of
shrinkwrap, you can mark a 13 wire bundle like this:
the wires on your schematic to match
the shrinkwrap, and tracing electric wires later will be a lot easier.
Mounting the Radio Trays
mounted the back of the trays to the F-802NPP L.G. Box Upper Brace with
a screw. I thought I had located it where it would be easy to
install and remove, but it was harder than I
initially thought I would be able to easily reach the top of the
radios, but that isn’t the case. I have to remove my GPS and
mount to get to the screw for the radios. Otherwise,
with a lot
of difficulty, I can reach through the radio trays to get to the screw.
next time I remove the instrument panel, I will change the
I will remove the small piece of angle aluminum I riveted to the top of
the radio trays, and will rivet it to the bottom of the
trays. Then I will
screw or rivet a straight piece of aluminum to the back of
the F-802N that matches up to the angle. Then I can screw the
together from below the radio trays without effort.
If I was starting a new project, I would check out
Landing/Taxi/Wingtip combo lights.
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