Chapter 22 Electrical and Instrument Panel


Well, It's Christmas Eve. For the past six months or so, I've been slowly but surely populating the instrument panel.  It's kind of like having Christmas every month.

Below, is the twenty-third rendering of my proposed instrument panel.  I'm planning on the  push-pull type throttle and mixture controls.  I've just always felt the quadrant sitting in between the two seats was little tight.  So, I plan on using that space to put a couple of cup holders. Nothing like creature comforts.

The green box you see, in the center, is the AIM-3000 engine monitor. It gives me the "all in the green" lights if everything is within specifications, and the appropriate bar graph will turn yellow or red if an out of spec condition occurs. It still has a selectable digital readout for fine tuning mixture and looking at exact temperatures and pressures if necessary.  I also had two of the bar graphs I thought were not necessary changed to left and right fuel.  That will save a bit of instrument panel real estate as well.
In any event, I still have plenty of room left to put in those "snazzy toys" which allow you to fly on instruments at a later date, when hopefully, I'll have more money.

As I got further and further into the construction process, and remembering how Greg Richter made his instrument panel attached to his forward-hinged canopy, I decided I would make my instrument panel "Semi-Removable".

After making the layout of for all the instruments in the G10 material, and deciding on the final shape and how far I wanted the panel to extend downward toward the floor, I traced the outline of the G10 panel onto the Plans panel.   I then cut the Plans panel out of the fuselage and glassed some flanges on to the areas I left of the instrument panel.   As of this writing, I have not figured out how I'm going to attach it to the flanges, but it will probably be a countersunk screw and nutplate in probably four or six places around the perimeter.

At left, you see the final arrangement of the IP. The empty square hole on the left is where the GRT EFIS Sport will go. Below that, are the backup altitude and airspeed indicators (UMA). The empty rectangular hole in the center of the panel will be populated with the more fancy instruments for IFR flight someday. On the right of the panel in descending order, I have the RST Com Panel, the IK Technologies Engine Monitor, a Communications Radio, and a Garmin GTX 327 Transponder.

You can see on the backside of the panel in the picture at right, the mounting system I used to attach the avionics. I tossed and turned for months, trying to decide what type to use. I came across a company called RadioRax. They have an avionics mounting system is really cool (But very expensive!). It will allow me to easily swap in/out avionics in the future, without having to redrill/re-tap the various hardware in instrument the panel.

They have an 8 inch tall "Experimental" version for $195. Since I felt I'll eventually be going IFR with this plane, I called them up and asked them if they would sell me a third-dual-sided rail to allow me to have two 8 inch stacks side by side. They said they be happy to make me a kit with all the extra hardware needed for three rail system for $295, (an extra hundred bucks). I got to thinking about how difficult it would be to swap out radios and the like after the plane was done, and my decision was made, (yet another kick in the budget!).

RadioRax has some pretty cool installation tools which made the installation of the rails a breeze! At first glance, it looks like you have to buy them. But, they have "Loaner Tool" option, in which you pay retail for the tool, and when done, you send it back to them for a full refund. You must, must, must use this option! It really made life a lot easier.

Overall, the RadioRax people were a pleasure to deal with. Make sure you check their site.

At left is a shot of the installed IP.The open hole is going to be for a Dynon D-100.  In the center is an AVMAP EKP IV. (Later note: Got a GRT Sport instead. More features, and better engineering... IMHO.)

The Trio Autopilot will eventually go on the left. (2/19/09 It did.)

I have  NO idea what might go on the right.

Throttle, mixture, ICO, and Prop Control (Push/Pull Style)  are to be mounted in the Center Support, above the Roll Trim.


The box over the battery, is the Lamar MC10 Power Control Unit.  It's a pretty nifty piece of equipment.  Contained inside this box are all of the solenoids necessary to control Webslinger's power. It has 3-12 V DC bus outputs, overvoltage, undervoltage, overcurrent, and reverse current alarm circuits. It also comes with a nice wiring harness that's long enough to reach all the way up to the instrument panel.  I paid $895 for it.  If you add up all the various components this unit contains, it would amount to close to $500.  So, for $400 I get a nice box and don't have to worry about mounting all the individual solenoids and figure out how to connect it altogether.  This should save me quite a few hours.


Here is a shot of the wiring to Lanza's Power Panel. I found it used for $200. Good investment. Very professional and compact.

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