Testing Eric’s Work

Got home today and went straight to work in the shop. I started by cleaning up the baffle layup a bit more when Eric Osterberg got here. He has been doing the lion’s share of the wiring tasks lately. He likes wiring, is really talented with it, and has gotten more done in the time he has spent working with me than I could have gotten done in weeks. I try to keep up with him and what he is doing. I generally understand the installation, but it is intuitive to Eric. I have to sit and think about it for a while.

Eric has been working on wiring all of the stick functions which include push to talk, aileron trim, elevator trim, autopilot disconnect, and landing break. Along with that there is a trim disconnect switch and a rear stick disconnect switch. He had a few more wires to terminate today, then for the fun.


We modified some settings on the Vertical Power VPX to update it for the circuits we installed. This was a very simple task of hooking up the laptop and changing a few settings. Then was then fun, testing the items Eric wired in the last few weeks. In addition to the stick functions listed above, we also were able to test the front and rear seat heaters. I am happy to report that everything is working well with one exception. The seat heater switch is backward and the low setting is high and vice versa.It is an easy fix, we just need to swap two wires on each switch.

Here is the video of the landing brake going up and down using the switch on the front stick. Pretty cool, huh!

In order to do all these tests we had to put the avionics back in the airplane. Which also gave Eric and I a chance to play with the EFIS again. We could also see things like, in this no aerodynamic load test, the landing break draws 1 amp of current. The seat heaters drew 1.2 amps on low, and 4.9 amps on high. Kind of nice to be able to see all of that stuff.


After I was able to pull myself away from the avionics, we decided to make the mounts for the stick electrical connectors. By completing the mounting all of the things that Eric has been working on, we can tidy up the wire bundles and make things look nice before we go on to the next items. The stick connectors are called circular plastic connectors and the “ship” side of the connector is what is called a panel connector. It is made to be mounted in a bulkhead or panel. Then the stick side of the connector gets mated to the secured panel connector. We decided to make these bulkheads out of fiberglass, so we needed a simple mold.

It starts with cutting strips of cardboard on the bandsaw. Then putting aluminum release tape on the surface. These pieces of cardboard are then arranged into a “3-sided box.” In order to keep the box relatively square, we also added gussets around the perimeter. These cardboard pieces are secured with hot glue to keep them in place and rigid for the layup.

IMG_20150226_212525Peel ply was placed into the mold first for surface finish, then 5 plies of BID was put into the mold. Five plies is overkill, but I need the thickness for riveting nut plates to the mount. It will also help with rigidity after the necessary pieces are cut away from the raw part. Again, peel ply is placed in as the last ply for surface finish. Once done, it is put into the heat box with an incandescent lamp providing heat to expedite the cure.

IMG_20150226_222549These two mounts should be ready to trim, install nut plates, and bond into the fuselage tomorrow. More fun to come, for now, good night.

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