Category Archives: Electrical System

8 Year Anniversary

Today marks the 8 year anniversary of purchasing the Long Ez project. When I originally bought the project with Marty, I figured we would have it flying in 2-3 years. I have heard other builders jokingly say, “take your cost estimate times three, and your time estimate times four, add 10% fudge factor, and you are probably in the ballpark.” I always thought it was all in good fun. Turns out the joke is on the builder because there is no joke about that statement.

In all seriousness, it really isn’t that bad. I have moved, had 3 jobs, got married, and had a few other life events go on during the course of the project so that added quite a bit of time to the project thus far. In addition, I didn’t come anywhere close to following the plans, which is responsible for at least an extra 2 years on the build. But I digress. If you aren’t a Facebook friend of mine, here is the last 8 years in photos. Each one is taken on or as close to September 17 each year.

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Its been an interesting but overall fun 8 years, but the project isn’t done yet, so lets keep going, shall we?

I cleaned up the layups from yesterday, and I am happy to report that the relocation of the rudder conduits and enlarging the aileron bays is done. The ailerons operate to more than the minimum travel with more than minimum clearance on the bottom skin. So we can move on to finishing the rigging.

I also cleaned up the layup from the intercom jack mounting plate and mounted the jacks. Nothing special there.


Since this worked well, I decided we would do the same mounting method for the rest of the peripherals that are in the arm rests. So I made and mounted a plate for the left side of the front cockpit that holds the 12V receptacle as well as the seat heater switch. I actually have an engraved cover to put over this one. Though I made some errors in how I designed it and we will eventually need to have a new one made.


While I was working down there, I made a replacement U-shaped fuel line for the inlet to the fuel pump. The last one we made worked really well until we tried to install the left console, which conflicted. The best way to solve that issue, in my opinion was to make the U shape longer to put the fore-aft part of the tube behind the console.


I also bonded in a ez-point nut as a hard point to accept the bolt of the adel clamp that secures the fuel filter. Now the fuel filter is rigidly mounted and the fuel system redesign can be called complete.


Eric also came over tonight and worked on wiring. He finished the last of the antenna BNC connectors, this one was for the ADSB. He is going to bring over his ADSB transmitter so we can see if it is working. He also fished wire through the wings for the nav/strobes and we got them final mounted.


Of course, then it was time for a light show. And Eric took a video of it. Never mind the goon working with 5-minute epoxy in the video.

Not bad for a celebratory, leisurely anniversary work session.


Air, spark, and starter 

Greg and I are continuing working on engine stuff. There is a relatively long task list. But we actually checked quite a few things off today. 

Greg spent a lot of time working on the air induction system. He got the alternate air door/filter mount fit to the firewall and drilled to match the mounting. That was no small job actually. There is still one more thing needs to happen to the alternate air doors. That is to install magnets to keep the doors closed in normal operation. It’s just a simple Flox job to add those. And I need to find the right magnets… Strong enough to hold the doors closed in normal operation, but weak enough to allow the engine to suck them open if the air filter gets clogged. 

In addition to getting the alternate air/filter mount installed, Greg got the flange mounted to the fuel injection servo and bridged the gap with a piece of scat tube. 

We still need to safety wire the duct flange on the fuel injection servo, but we will get that tomorrow. 

While he was working on that, I had to go back and change the gaskets on the ignitions. Long story, but I got them installed and the ignitions torqued down to the proper specs. 

Then I switched gears to do a bit of wiring. We are working towards a first engine start, and in order to do that, we need the starter operable. Eric is on a much needed vacation, so I had to see if I can put what I learned from him to use. I started by adding leads to the starter push button and then terminating these leads to a connector. So I soldiered on a pair of wires to the switch, added some heat shrink and labels, and then crimped on pins and assembled a connector. Incidentally, a spring clamp works well as a third hand. 

I didn’t take any pictures of the rest, but it was basically taking the starter lead from the VPX and terminating it in the mating connector to the starter switch, then running a wire from the other terminal back to the starter solenoid. I also needed to add a ground to the solenoid, which was a small jumper from the firewall ground bus to the base of the solenoid. Easy peasy. 

We then had a starter push button. We don’t have the starter ring gear installed, so I did go ahead and try it. Low and behold, the starter motor spun! Good deal. 

Greg and I then worked a little bit on the fuel vent system. There will be more on that tomorrow. 

We also worked on the bleed air system, which gives the pressure reference to the fuel injectors. Basically it is just a pressure reference port in the induction duct. In order to complete the system, we floxed a tube into the duct as near the fuel injection servo as possible. We then installed everything to make sure the tube gets bonded in the proper position. 


I also spent some time cleaning up some wiring and tying things off. Being sure to allow enough slack to prevent vibrational failure, but keeping things from chafing, or getting caught on things. In some places I used silicone fusion tape to further prevent any chafing.  There are plenty of more wires and hoses to secure, so there will be more photos to come. 

Lastly, I swapped two wires on the rocker switches to make the labels correspond to their functions. Last time they were installed, the master and the alternator switches were reversed. All better now. 

Tak about a good day in the Garaggio!

Idle – WOT – ICO – Rich

Today I started where I left off yesterday, on the throttle issue. I started by verifying our trig from yesterday for the slave tube between the front and rear throttles. While I was doing that, I realized that I have two problems I am working and I had better work them in the right order.

The fact that I couldn’t get the front throttle to rig exactly how I wanted it was most important. The problem there was that I could get the throttle to positively make contact on the idle stop, or the wide open throttle (WOT) stop. But not both. If I pushed on the FI servo arms, it made contact, but the lash in the cable was enough to allow it to back off. There was about a .050″ gap on either end depending on rigging. While it is acceptable to positively hit idle, and have a small gap at WOT, I wanted positive contact on both stops.

The only way for me to correct this was to increase the lever arm from the pivot to the attach point for the cable. With all of these things in play, I ended up making a new throttle lever. The plan was to make a new throttle lever blank much longer than it needed to be (Thanks James) and start by drilling holes. The longer lever would give me multiple shots to get it right without having to start from scratch. To start with, I moved the pivot hole up the lever about 1/2 diameter or ..625 inches. I reinstalled and tested. It wasn’t enough.

So I tried a little bit further. It was too much. Turns out that right in the middle of attempt 1 and attempt 2 was the sweet spot. Positive contact on both idle and WOT. It still had about 1/16″+ of over travel on both ends of the lever. Perfect. But, there wasn’t enough edge distance anymore to make it an airworthy part. But it was a good template. So I continued.

Next I drilled a series of holes in the front throttle to test for the slave tube between the front and rear throttles. When I reassembled, I was able to determine which one worked. Armed with a “swiss cheese” template. I now could make yet another throttle arm. It is kind of a shotgun method… just need to keep track of which holes worked.


After transferring this to a new piece of metal, I checked again. Everything still worked, So I went ahead and attached my handles and the saga of the throttle lever is conquered. Incidentally, the mixture has been flawless all along. ICO and Rich stops are positively contacted without need for further adjustment. I didn’t get a photo of it fully assembled, but here it is before I added the handle.


By this time, Eric had come by to do some work on wiring. We were going to work on the dimmers for the interior LED lighting, but true to form, my organization (lack there of) reared its ugly head. We couldn’t find the connectors we needed. So we switched gears to engine sensors. Eric was a machine. He was able to get ALL of the engine sensors wired. That is all of the EGT, all of the CHT, the fuel flow, and oil temperature transducers wired. In addition he has gotten a start on the Tachometer pickup from the P-Mag. The routings have been set, but in these photos we have not secured the bundles. I am anticipating one more time of removing the engine from the airplane, and we will more than likely end up having to disconnect the connectors. So no need to secure them right now. The bundles look nice when they are secured, but you will have to wait to see the beauty of this until a bit later.




While he was working on that, I was able to do some wiring too. Or at least wire routing. I started on the alternator wiring. The alternator comes with a pre-wired connector for the field wire. So I routed that up to the VPX. The wire was a bit short of what it needed to be, but we needed to transition to the VPX style connector anyway. So Eric got the soldiering iron out and spliced the wires. Field wire is installed. I also planned on running the big wire to carry the alternator output, but I need to order the right size ring terminals.

By this time it was the end of the night so we had to do one more thing. Turn the EFIS on and see the indications. All of the temperature probes were showing indications. The EGT and CHTs were between 60 and 63. The oil temperature probe was showing 70, which was very close to ambient temperature. I would guess the variance is due to the sensing ranges of the probes. The EGT and CHTs operate in the 1100-1400 and 330-450 range respectively. They may not be accurate at such low temperatures.


Throughout the day, I was thinking about tasks remaining before engine start. Specifically some of the wiring tasks, so I made a list. I am hoping this will help me get some organization in finding parts I have and ordering things I need. Today we got to cross three of them off and get started on a few more. Plenty more to do, but the lists are shrinking to a more manageable size.


There are plenty of engine tasks remaining, I just didn’t start writing the down yet. Hopefully scheduling leaves me alone tomorrow and we can knock off a few more things.

Builders Break

Its been a while since I have posted. Between battling a three week long cold that just won’t let go and trying to stay rested for work, I haven’t gotten a lot of time to work on the project. Mentally I needed a bit of a builders break too. I wasn’t able to turn a complete blind eye on the project, so rest assured that I have done little things here and there since the last post. I didn’t blog about them because I felt foolish doing so little on my time off, and wasn’t admitting to it here. But today we got back to it in earnest. So lets catch you up.

In the last few weeks we finished the cooling inlet fairings. Last post we had one side of them laid up and they required a close out layup on the top aft side. Greg and I were able to do that during one of our short work sessions in between doses of DayQuill. These fairings turned out well, and expand the cooling air to twice inlet area before dumping it into the cowl. Exactly as planned.


Another exciting thing that happened in the last few weeks was I got the engine mount back from Dick. Better than new, still fits very well, and most importantly, its ready for flight. Can’t wait to get the engine back on the airframe.


The GPS antenna shelf that Jon made during our last official work session turned out not to work. When we were designing it, we failed to take into account the nose gear actuator cover. If we used Jon’s shelf, we wouldn’t have been able to get the cover off to service the nose gear. So I decided to split the location of the three antennas. I made a cardboard mold for the GTN650 antenna shelf. Laid up the shelf, added nut plates, drilled a relief hole for the TNC connector and bonded it into the inside of the nose.


Today, Eric was able to terminate the ends of the RG400 wire to connect antenna to GPS. I think the installation looks nice. It is out of the way, the antenna run for the GPS is short, and the antenna has a clear view of the sky.


Then it was time for some fun. Since the GTN650 now has its antenna hooked up, might as well power it on and see if the GPS can find itself. I am happy to report it can, even inside the Garaggio. Here you can see the GPS has a 3D position and is seeing 6 satellites.


I have also spent some time continuing on the baffle work. I have moved on to the inter-cylinder baffles. These are a pretty complex shape, and again I am doing them out of fiberglass. This involves first using tape to protect the engine and prevent the epoxy from bonding to the engine. It is a complex shape and the tape job takes a while.


Today I Was able to do the layups on this side as well as tape the other side and do the layup. Just as with taping, doing the layups themselves was a chore. It was a lot of small pieces of cloth bonded together and overlapped. I also used some UNI to make tight corners. I am not sure how the parts are going to turn out. I am hoping that I will be able to use them after some more work to them, but I am just not sure. After I get a bit further I will know more.


Baffles are a terrible job and I am not enjoying this task. The parts really don’t look nice, I am just hoping that they work. Maybe if I put some hammered texture spray paint on them they will look better. As Weasel says, we can fly ugly as long as they work.

Today, in addition to the 650 antenna, Eric wired a switch for the Integrated Back Up Battery System (IBBS). He also worked a little bit on cleaning up the existing wiring. He mounted the relays to the avionics shelf which will help us to route wires. He also mounted the forward stick panel connector. I think the wiring is going to clean up and secure well. I can’t wait.


Greg was also here today. He spent most of his day working on making a template for the stainless steel cover for the firewall. The original builder of the airplane had made an aluminum one already. Due to my many changes to the airplane, it was too small and needed significant modification. We are taking this opportunity and making ours out of stainless.

Greg started by using the old aluminum firewall and making changes as needed to fit the existing structure. This included adding holes for the aileron bearing, rudder pulley mounts, and enlarging the clearance around the engine mount extrusions. We will obviously have to add cardboard around the perimeter of this piece to make it an accurate template for the shape of the firewall. But we have a great start and eventually will end up with something we can use to trace out our stainless one.


I think that brings us mostly up to speed on the progress. I may not have to travel for work a few days this week and have quite a bit of time off next week. We are going to keep working on the firewall and engine baffles and installation. It would be nice to get the engine hung, hopefully for the last time, sooner than later.

The trio is rolling

Had both Greg and Jon in the workshop today, and we had a great day. We were able to get a few things done. First off, yesterday, I was playing hooky form the Garaggio.  It was a recharging kind of day. Brewing beer in the morning and going for an airplane ride in the afternoon. I am lucky enough to have a friend that lets me take his RV-7A out from time to time. So I did.

IMG_2861In the evening I did get the required hour in the workshop. I am happy to report that serial number 5 of the aileron trim mounting bracket turned out well. The redesign made the part simpler to make with the tools I have available. The original design would have worked well if I had access to a finger brake, but this one works too.


Then today Jon started by working on a shelf to mount the GPS antenna. We are mounting them, all 3 of them, on the inside top of the fuselage just forward of the canard and aft of the nose access hatch. The flanges on this shelf will be bonded to the “ceiling” in that position. Then the antennas will be mounted in place and the coax wires routed appropriately. The mould is a simple cardboard box that Jon cut the side off and jigged the top flanges into place. He then put a layer of tape on it to create a mold release.

IMG_2868While he was working on that, Greg and I were working on the cooling air inlet ducts. They have been reshaped to provide for attached flow and expand the air by two times before it is dumped into the cowl for cooling the engine. We had to add a bit more pour foam and then finalize the shape. After that Jon and I did a simple two ply layup. I say simple, but working in those small areas required some patience as well as pre-wetting out the cloth on plastic at the workbench. After that it was pretty easy to stick it into position.



Somewhere along the way, the three of us each worked on a mount for the electrical relays. We were able to get a bracket made to fit in the little space left on the avionics shelf. It is a simple piece of sheet metal that we secure all four relays to, and then use 2 click bond studs to secure the mount to the shelf. The click bond studs are curing now. Having these mounted will allow us to route their respective wires to clean up the wire bundles in that area. If you look really close, you can see where it mounts amongst the mess of wires.



Lastly, somewhere in there, Jon located the proper place for the aileron trim mounting bracket on the back of the main spar. Then prepped the area and some click bond studs. The click bond studs are bonded in place with flox and a layer of BID will be put on top of that.


It was a very productive day. Unfortunately, I have to go back to work tomorrow. Next time around, hopefully we get all the things done that we need to do in order to put the firewall on permanently. Once that is done, we can get the engine on and start working on hooking engine systems up to the airframe as well as wiring engine components.

Clock troubles

I am convinced that the little man who runs the hour hand in my clock gets some perverse satisfaction out of turning time at Mach two. The hours seem to slip away all too fast when I’m spending time in the Garaggio. Someone tell him that doing his job at published speeds would be appreciated.

Eric was back in the shop today with me and we started by making plans and discussing the next phases of wiring. Specifically we talked about things like connectors we will need and and resistors that need to be put into led lighting circuits.

We then started by installing and routing the first of the wiring harnesses that plug into the GEA24. This harness connects to airframe sensors such as fuel quantity probes, gear indicators, landing brake position sensors and things like that. This involved some time working in the hell hole. If you look closely, I’m in there.

After wires were routed, we went after the only low hanging fruit. That was the voltage sensing wire which we were able to terminate on the firewall connection for the wire that runs the positive battery connection to the starter and alternator.

Then we turned our attention to the fuel quantity probes. Eric spent some time running wires to supply power and ground to the fuel sending units. We need some connectors for these, so we didn’t get the wires terminated, but the wires are ran, and in place. We temporarily hooked them up and verified that the fuel gauges are getting a voltage signal. They still have red x’s on the fuel gage because they are not calibrated. But a voltage signal is a good sign.

In between helping Eric with these wiring tasks I spent some time on serial numbers 4 and 5 of the aileron trim motor mount. Eric had a lead on a foot sheet metal shear and a finger brake. So we ran to the airport to see if we could use the tools. Unfortunately, the trip proved unfruitful, which is a shame. Those tools are the right tools for the job. Instead we ended up redesigning the mount.

By this time the little man had wound the hour hand sufficiently far that it was nearing quitting time for the day. But I did rough it out the new stainless steel blank for the mount. Hopefully tomorrow I can get the blank cleaned up and bent.

My goal for this block of days working on the airplane was to get the firewall installed. This requires the aileron trim motor mount to be finished among a few other things. Unfortunately my arch nemesis, the little man in the clock, has foiled my goals. But “make not mistake” little man, (I know, that phrase is like nails on a chalkboard) we will meet again.

Serial number mismatch

If you have been following the blog for any length of time, you know that my airplane is registered as serial number 3. It is number three because I figure I have built enough parts for three airplanes. Catch is number one and two are both unairworthy because the parts didn’t turn out acceptably. So why in the heck did I make three aileron trim motor mounts today and none of them worked out? We are going to have a serial number mismatch. We can’t have parts with serial number 4 or 7 or 29.

I’m making this trim motor mount out of stainless since it will be on the spar in the engine compartment. It looks simple. But it’s a relatively complex shape. First, one the bends didn’t turn out right. Nothing was even close to square. I think it slipped when I was bending it. Second one, I changed the design to make the bends easier. It ended up being more difficult. The third one I decided to do in two pieces and weld them together. My welding sucked and I blew holes in the material. I guess there is always tomorrow.




On a positive note, I demolded the panel connector mount and cleaned it up. Then it was drilled and nut plates were added. Finally, they got mounted in their new home. The process worked well and I’m happy with the results.



I also got the secondary layup done on the aft right baffle top radius. I think it cleaned up nicely.

Greg was also here today and worked on the cooling air inlets. The expanding angle in the inlet was too steep and has to be reduced. To do this Greg sanded everything and made a dam to use pour foam.

We have the shape nearly contoured. A little more sanding and it will be ready for a layup. I will have to post a photo of that tomorrow.