Avionics connectors progress

I ran that last remaining ground wire (the 14ga pitot heat ground) through the existing bundle, then connected the defrost fan power/ground crossing above the GTN, to be secured above it in some way (probably a Clickbond?) later along with the G5 GPS cable:

Cooling/defrost fans connected (wire over GTN to be secured later)

For the door sensors, I had previously attached Molex SL connectors to them, not realizing that the 18AWG I had ran for it per plans does not fit in the SL series :( so I swapped those for Molex CP series which can do 18AWG and are still fairly small:

Molex SL series (bottom, black) vs CP series (top, green) attached to door sensors

I ran the wire between the sensors on each side, but I'm still waiting to do the side connectors before I trim the other wires:

Molex CP series connector attached to door sensor

To prevent any chafing of wires coming out of the LRUs against the subpanel edge, I paranoidly added some grommet edging to that:

SL1 edge grommet on subpanel edge to prevent chafing

It was then time to finally work on the side connectors - the plan is to replace most DB connectors with a single CPC, and leave only the roll servo connector as is (so I can plug the CAN terminator to it). I started by trimming all wires to roughly the same length, re-pinning them (the TE series 2 CPCs use M39029/63-368 sockets just like the the DB connectors, so for all wires that were on the shortest bundle, no rework was needed), and adding labels which were missing:

Labels for right-side CPC breakout connector

Right-side breakout wires (including longer GTS power pin)

For the few 18AWG wires (the GTR20 and GTS800 power wires), those pins are too small. Stein's install had the GTR wires spliced onto a 20AWG wire just to go through the connector (and I left that in place since it was already the final length), but they had used a large separate Molex connector for the GTS power and ground - instead of doing that, I used the special 18AWG pin/sockets (FC6018D2 / MC6018D), which are a tradeoff - they require no splice, but they extend outside the connector housing and require heatshrink around the extension, plus they're not removable (the way to remove them is to cut them off since there's no way to get the removal tool around the bulkier part of it). I figured that if I ever do need to remove them, I can then add the splice and use a regular pin.

I then finally installed the CPC - the shell was a tight fit but I didn't need to go to the large-size shell as I had feared:

Right-side breakout connector fully pinned and ready to close

Right-side CPC and roll AP connectors closed up

Right-side CPC and roll AP connectors

Next I'll do the same to make the left-side breakout connector (which is much simpler since that's the power connector, but also much more critical as it'll carry power to the EFII system and feed the essential bus).

Time lapse:


Total avionics rivets: 161
Total avionics time: 242.7h

Ground/power wiring finished

I shortened/rerouted the fuse block wire bundle:

Fuse block and door relay wiring

I also finished wiring the VP-X by running all the light and pitot heat wires to the wing root exit points, and changing how Wig-wag is connected - in the old Ziptips they had to be grounded, were 18 AWG wires, and were associated with the landing lights, with the new ones they're 22 AWG wires connected to power and associated with the taxi lights, so I ran the wire out of the taxi light output of the VP-X. 

I then took on the tedious task of labeling the ground wires (which didn't come labeled from Stein) - which meant getting a probe into each device's ground pin, and then using the other to figure out which ground connector it was wired to, and since there were multiple wires per terminal, then cutting off the connector and figuring out which of those wires were for the device:

Tracing ground wires (multiple per terminal) before cutting off the terminals

Labels for all the ground wires

Labels on all the ground wires after tracing them

I also ran ground wires for the devices that didn't have them yet (fuel pumps, door sensors, GHA15, etc.), and then finally trimmed them all to size and attached faston terminals:

All ground wires shortened, labeled and with fast-on terminals

Ground wires connected to the forest of tabs on the firewall

(there's actually one ground wire left to run - the pitot heat ground - because I didn't have any black 14AWG handy - but I can easily slip that one through the existing wax lacing)

I ran the left-side signal wires through the conduit to the tailcone, connected the relay control wires, and attached terminals to the battery fault and hall effect sensor wires. These will get trimmed up front where I insert the breakout connector:

Primary power control wires in place in the tailcone

Next on the wiring, I'll add the side breakout CPC connectors and route the side wires where it doesn't interfere with the Aerosport panels.

Time lapse:


Total avionics rivets: 161
Total avionics time: 231.6h

Avionics rebundling progress

I shortened/moved the IBBS wire bundle (which also needed labeling the wires), the CO detector bundle, and the yaw trim bundle:

Pinning and labeling shortened IBBS wire bundle

Shortened IBBS wire bundle

Original, very long yaw trim relay bundle

Shortened yaw trim relay bundle in place

I also finished the roll servo breakout connector, keeping it as DB15 with the same pinout as the GSA28 itself so that I can directly plug the CAN bus terminator to it:

Roll GSA28 breakout connector with CAN terminator (until the wings are attached)

I then finally wired the EFII display connector and circuit breakers (may still need some cleanup/bundling later):

EFII display and circuit breakers connected to ECUs/power

EFII display and circuit breakers with all wiring in place (still not very organized)

After securing the main bundle to the panel, I wired all the switches:

Left-side switch connectors

and then updated the power connections to reflect both the VP-X bank analysis I mentioned in the previous post and the updates for the Ziptip Vegas (as well as shortening the long bundles):

Shortened left-side VP-X wire bundles

Shortened right-side VP-X wire bundles

VP-X with shortened wire bundles

Unrelated to the wiring, there was a discussion about the 120° clearance cone required for the GHA15, which made me measure it again for my install - it is indeed close to the main gear, but just about clears it - I could increase the clearance a bit by moving the antenna a few inches forward, but that'd require relocating the fuel pumps too (at least moving them up to clear the antenna connector), which I wanted to avoid:

Tip of the GHA15 120° clearance cone near the main gear

Next, I'll finish the power wiring by also shortening the fuse block wires, and all the ground wires (which also need to be labeled, none of them currently are). I decided to not try to shorten the GAD29 wires, but that'll be the only long bundle left. I also need to update some of the light switches for the Vegas ziptips (adding the recognition lights, and moving the wig-wag to the taxi light switch).

With this, I'll be doing the long, tedious work of doing a continuity check on all the in-panel connections (I'll later do the same for the tailcone and overhead connections, once I've finished the breakout connectors) - maybe by the next post I'll be able to turn on some of the avionics again.

Time lapse:


Total avionics rivets: 161
Total avionics time: 211.9h

Engine sensors, System32, GHA15 and more wiring work

I installed the CHT and oil temperature sensors in the engine:

CHT sensors installed in place

Oil temperature sensor with ATM connector

Oil temperature sensor safetied in place

I also finished wiring the System32 (as neatly as I could given its prewired bundles):

Completed ECU wiring in place (bottom view)

Completed ECU wiring in place (side view)

On the main wire bundle, the main challenge with SteinAir making it without having the physical panel is that a lot of the lengths are off - in a couple cases (the GTN bundle and the breakout connectors) it was a bit shorter than I'd like, but in most cases it was too long - like these very generous ground wires and the GEA24 bundle which would hang down onto the copilot's leg:

Super long ground wires I got from Stein, which will need to be trimmed

GEA24 wire bundle hanging down into the copilot leg space

so I shortened the GEA24 by about 8" - luckily, most wires were not connected on the other end so I could just pull them through, but a few others had to be re-pinned. I also realized this is the bundle I'm most likely to make changes to in the future (adding/removing sensors and so on), so I removed the nice-looking sleeving in favor of just wax lacing it:

Shorter GEA24 wire bundle, just wax-laced for ease of future changes

Since I was re-pinning the CAN bus connection to the GEA, I also took the opportunity to add the GHA15 in there, and got started with attaching with its doubler:

Match-drilling the GHA15 doubler in place

GHA15 doubler on the outside for opening up the remaining holes

Yes, the GHA15 is only about 2ft forward of the GA58 antenna, but Garmin doesn't seem very concerned given how far apart the frequencies are (~1GHz at 40W vs 24GHz at 19mW) - worst case, I'll need to adjust positions later by poking more holes into my fuselage. Also, based on the bit of trimming I had to do to the sides of the doubler, I updated the published F360 project so no/little trimming is required.

I also started analyzing the VP-X connections for reliability, and came up with a matrix of what bank I want each device to be on (so a full bank failure leaves me enough on the other bank to keep flying comfortably in IMC). The criteria was:
  • GTN and GNX should be on separate banks (NAV redundancy)
  • GTR and GTN should be on separate banks (COM redundancy)
  • GAD29 should be on the same as the GTN (most useful together)
  • PFD and MFD should be on separate banks (display redundancy)
  • GSU and G5 should be on separate banks (AHRS redundancy)
  • Fans and GTN should be on the same bank (most heat-producing device)
  • GEA and MFD should be on the same bank (most useful together)
  • GMC and GSAs should be on the same bank (most useful together)
  • ALT1 and ALT2 should be on separate banks (alternator redundancy)
  • Landing and recognition lights should be on separate banks (landing light redundancy)
  • IBBS and G5 should be on separate banks (backup battery redundancy)
  • Pitot heat and PFD should be on separate banks (both losing the PFD and getting iced up in IMC would suck)
With that criteria, I came up with a matrix of possibilities (spreadsheet here with a bit of magic in the conditional formatting):


which then let me make the selections:


Next, I'll shorten/move the IBBS wire bundle, wire the EFII display, wire all the switches, and get started on the power wiring updates above.

Time lapse:


Total avionics rivets: 161
Total avionics time: 193.2h

FWF fuel system installed

I replaced the original EFII hoses between the cylinders with the much nicer Aircraft Specialty ones, and attached the hoses to the regulator and post filter:

Original FlyEFII fuel hoses connecting the injectors

Aircraft Specialty integral firesleeve hoses connecting the injectors and regulator

Aircraft Specialty integral firesleeve hoses connecting the injectors and post filter

To use the cross-over hose from AS, I had to thcange the fitting on cylinder 1 to an AN826-6D ($15.50 at Spruce - what happened to hardware prices!?):

AN826 fitting connecting the right forward injector to the cross-over hose

Multiple fittings to connect the left forward injector to the cross-over hose

I'm still puzzles by having to use 3 fittings and a shorter hose on cylinder 2, but they say it's for better fitting the cowl so I believe them. Some day I may change that to another AN826 and a normal-length hose, after I know exactly how the cowl fits there.

Attaching the post filter was quite annoying - I tried the special Adel clamp tool, but the bolt was too short for that, so we ended up developing a new technique for these (which I'm sure someone will say is wrong - but if it worked, is it?) - we compressed the clamps, then ran safety wire at the base of their flange to hold them closed, and with that it was (comparatively) easy to get the bolt and nut in place:
Securing the post filter to the engine mount with Adel clamps


Safety wire trick to tighten the post filter Adel clamps in place

Post filter secured in place

The fuel pressure regulator conveniently had a 1/8" NPT port on the side, so I installed the fuel pressure sensor there:

Fuel pressure regulator with fuel pressure sensor attached

With this, there are only a few finishing steps left for the FWF fuel system - supporting the engine hoses again, adding the induction system drain hole, and securing the cross-over hose.

Time lapse:


Total fuel system rivets: 7
Total fuel system time: 9.3h

Wiring and antenna installation progress

I finally started wiring the EFII system in place. For the ECU RJ45s, I found that 2ft Monoprice cables give me just the right length:

EFII ECUs with shorter CAT5Es attached

I wired the Bus Manager, carefully getting each wire down to the proper length:

Bus Manager with wires attached

Bus Manager right-side wiring

Routing of the Bus Manager wires

EFII power wires in place

I removed the Bus Manager one last time, finished labeling the wires with heat shrink, and then final-attached it in place underneath the ECUs:

Bus Manager with wires attached

EFII ECUs and Bus Manager attached in place

I attached the Noctua fans to the glareshield (had to use 1-1/4" screws, 1" was just slightly too short):

Avionics cooling / defrost fans installed on the glareshield

In the GPS and TAS antenna holes, the core was showing and I wanted to protect + reinforce it, so we filled those sides with resin+flox (and on the TAS hole, used the same resin to attach the 1.5" metal tube section):

GA 57X antenna hole sides showing the core

GA 57X antenna hole sides after covering/reinforcing with resin/flox

TAS antenna hole with resin/flox + metal reinforcement

With that, I attached the GPS antennas temporarily, which made me realize that the screws that came with them are just slightly too short too (they engage the insert threads, but don't come out):

GPS antennas attached to the top of the cabin cover

GA 57X antenna doubler without screws sticking out (meaning they're too short)

Finally, the moment I've all been waiting for - the main wire bundle:

Main wire bundle sitting in the fuselage

I started by loosely attaching it with Adel clamps, then running the side and FWF wires out of the way:

Main wire bundle (somewhat) in place

FWF engine sensor wiring

FWF power and sensor wiring

It was then time to finish wiring the EFII system - for some reason I don't understand, they provide connectors with wires already crimped in them, which is not useful (most of them are too short), so I de-pinned it all and attached my own wires:

System32 pre-wired Bus Manager connector with short wires

In the process, I also realized that their crimps were weird, not really holding the wire jacket (this was true for all pins), which is also against Molex's guidance (in their crimping handbook) of what a good crimp looks like:

System32 pre-wired crimp (left) and mine (right)

Molex crimping handbook highlight showing that the System32 insulation crimps are "marginal"

This was also true about the ECU Molex connectors, so I removed each pin from those, fixed the crimp, and put it back in:

ECU connectors with bad insulation crimps

I attached and labeled all the pins on the Bus Manager first:

Bus Manager connector wiring

Bus Manager connector in place

To avoid having a lot of splices, and because at this point I was a bit annoyed with the provided connectors, I decided to switch the DB25s from soldered to crimped pins, also moving one pin at a time:

Moving ECU soldered DB25 pins to crimped pins

Last but not least, I started the wiring of the Spartan3 (only leaving out the actual wideband output pin since that's already wired on the GEA24 side):

Spartan3 AFR connector wiring

Next I'll finish connecting the EFII and Spartan3 to the main wire bundle, and try to finish other updates to the main bundle.

Time lapse:


Total avionics rivets: 161
Total avionics time: 175.3h