Category Archives: Wiring

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Antenna terminations, chasing the hum, and baffles

It seems that finding time to work in the shop is difficult this time of year. But today, Eric and I were able to spend the majority of the day working on things. Eric got all but one of the antenna BNC connectors crimped on. We need to order one more BNC connector and we will have all the antennas done.

We also spent a little bit of time troubleshooting the humming that is coming through the intercom. Eric correctly surmised it must be coming from the EFIS system. I think he figured that out because the humming will stop for about 1.5 seconds when a radio source receives. The only channel on the audio panel that will mute when a higher priority audio source comes through is the music input. When Stein wired the audio panel, they used the music input for the audio warning from the EFIS. So with that knowledge we pulled the circuit breaker on the MFD EFIS screen, and low and behold the hum went away.

So we went digging into the MFD connector. We were going to pull the audio pins out to see if we could isolate the source of the hum to the screen itself or some kind of ground loop or induced current in the wiring. Unfortunately we didn’t have the correct pin extractor.

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So we swapped the PFD/MFD screens and the hum became significantly less. We want to do more troubleshooting and ask Garmin and Stein about this, but Eric is leaning toward the actual screen generating the noise. With the screens swapped, the hum is only minimally annoying, and won’t be a show stopper, but we would still like to eliminate it completely. So we will see what we can find out.

While Eric was working on these things, I was working more on making serial number 3 of the baffle system. I cut, fit, bent, and located holes for the horizontal “shelf” pieces of the aft baffle. Everything fits together decently for a pieced together system. I still long for less pieces, and less seams. But the pieces get significantly complicated trying to do this. By making more smaller pieces, I don’t have as much wasted work if I have to make changes. A multiple piece system is certainly going to do the job, but isn’t as elegant as I would usually look to do.

My plan is to get this multi-piece system working, and verify that everything cools properly. Then, after the airplane is flying and we know the cooling works well (and I have time), I will work on making a more elegant, fewer piece system. Next is to secure the pieces to each other and add nut plates. Then we will clean up edges and move on to the baffle seal.

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Where have I been hiding?

Garaggio time has been somewhat limited lately. It is less than one week until the application deadline and just over three weeks until the AirVenture Cup, so distractions abound. And that ugly four letter word… work… keeps getting in the way too. But, today I actually got nearly a full day in the workshop.

Oh and I would be remiss to forget that The Garaggio had a visitor last week. Rick Hall, a Cozy builder from Longmont, CO, was in town and came to take a tour of the workshop. We had a good time meeting and talking canard. I enjoyed his visit and hope to go visit his project sometime soon.

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Today Greg was here for the majority of the day. We working on our third attempt at baffles. We first bent the aft baffle piece to add a horizontal flange for the rest of the baffle pieces to mount to. The aft cylinder head baffles have to be redone to accommodate the new aft baffle location, so we used the existing ones as templates and cut new pieces.

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Then it was cut and fit around the exhaust pipes and intersecting baffles to get them to fit nicely together. Luckily, I still had a template from the last round of baffles that isn’t exactly right, but would give us a starting point for the shape of the bottom perimeter of the aft baffle. Since we changed baffle locations, the aft baffle had to be bigger, but it gave us a shape that we could enlarge by 3/4″ to use as a starting point.

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From there it was an exercise in cut and fit. We would install the cowl, mark the interference, remove the cowl, trim, repeat. It took a lot of time sneaking up on the shape, but we finally got it to where bot the top and bottom cowl will fit. The gap is still way too small to allow for engine vibration. I don’t want to trim to final gap until everything is secured and we know nothing is going to move opening up gaps to any larger than they have to be.

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Next steps on the baffle will be a little more trimming and then working on securing these pieces together. Hopefully I will have time this week yet to do some of that.

Later in the evening, Eric was here. We have been having an issue with our house AC and since Eric is an electrical genius, he looked at the electrical side of it for me. Our troubleshooting was inconclusive. We will have to wait for the technician to look into it deeper.  When we finally got to the workshop, he got some BNC connectors installed on the antenna wires. We were able to hook up Com 2 and receive the AWOS form Flemming. Kinda fun receiving and listening to something on the radio. There is a humming on the intercom coming from something. We didn’t have time to troubleshoot as it was getting late, but I am sure we will figure it out.

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EFIS has a new trick

It got to be a little too late last night by the time I could write a blog post that it was bed time. So here is what we did yesterday.

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I was able to get the rest of the fuel and oil hoses fire sleeved. Now everything that carries a flammable liquid is protected. Don’t mind the mess, I have to start tidying things up and securing hoses and wires. Murphy’s Law… If I start securing now, I will figure out a reason I have to pull the engine off… May as well be optimistic soon though.

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Brown Santa (UPS Guy) came yesterday and delivered more fittings as well. This meant I could finally finish plumbing for the manifold pressure system. This comes from the induction elbow to a 4 way split where it then goes to the gauge transducer and each P-Mag. The silicone hose is a tight fit on the barb fittings off of the 4 way fitting. It certainly won’t pull off, I just hope it isn’t enough stress to crack the hose. It is a non-event if the hose does break. The ignitions then work as traditional mags and the manifold pressure indication is lost. Neither thing being mission critical. For now I am just planning on keeping an eye on it and seeing how it ages.

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Lastly, I was able to get the bleed air system plumbed. I know, most people are probably saying what is a bleed air system and why is it necessary. The short answer is it isn’t yet, though doesn’t hurt either. What it does is give an induction air pressure reference to the injectors. Turbocharged airplanes often require this since the induction air pressure is much different than the ambient pressure in the cowl. James Redmon has this system installed in his airplane because he is running cRAM air. I plan on eventually experimenting with different induction setups, so this may become necessary in the future. Airflow performance also recommends it for anyone operating in a dusty/dirty environment as it keeps all air going to the fuel injectors filtered.

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As far as I can tell that should complete all of the plumbing in the engine compartment. Onward.

The other task that I did was make up the nut plate washers that get bonded onto the F22 bulkhead for canard attachment. There is no convenient way of getting at the bolt and nut single handedly, so this is what the plans uses so that removing the canard can be a solo activity. I have to bond them in yet, and didn’t yesterday since Eric was here and we were working on wiring.

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Eric got the ELT wired up, we can check that one off the list. Boy am I glad that I have an experienced steady hand at soldiering here to help. This DIN connector that the ELT uses is tiny. To land all the wires on it in the proper locations with strong soldier joints is important and actually had to be disassembled and reassembled once to correct a jumper. Can’t thank Eric enough.

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Lastly, Eric worked on the discrete inputs to the Garmin G3X. These are a canopy unlatched sensor and a landing gear position sensor. We are still working out the details on the canopy switch installation, but the landing gear comes with a switch already installed, all we had to do was run two wires.

Now the EFIS knows if the gear is down or not. The EFIS gives 3 high/low warning tones through the pilot’s headset and also flashes a red “Check Gear” under the altimeter if the landing gear is not down and other conditions are met. Basically those conditions mean that you are in the landing phase of flight. The other conditions can be if the airspeed is below a certain value, altitude below a certain value, etc. I will have to check to see how they are currently set and evaluate if I need any changes. But for right now, it is working, see for yourself.

Update: I forgot, Eric also got the pitch trim position sensor wired up. We need to rig it to the pitch trim yet, but the sensor works.

Inventory Management fail

Started today by working on the brake system. About as far as I got was mounting the reservoirs to the master cylinders. I figured out that I didn’t have the right tubing to make the transition from the master cylinder to the fuselage lines. I had nylaflow, and need nylaseal. It seems that I need to be more careful when taking inventory of what supplies I have so I don’t end up waiting for things.

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While I did that Eric finished wiring the electric fuel pump. We also spent some time looking for the correct BNC connectors. Turns out, that I didn’t have what I think I had. Inventory management gets us again. So I need to order another BNC connector. While we were in the process of doing that it was the perfect time to organize some of the electrical supplies into the containers Eric brought.

Next we went on to installing the position sensor for the Landing brake. It should have been a simple installation, but took quite a bit of fiddling. You can see that we used single knuckles of aluminum extruded hinge as our mounting points for the z-shaped welding rod that connects the landing brake to the potentiometer. The installation is pretty much verbatim from James Redmon’s Berkut.

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The position sensor is mounted right next to the landing brake actuator, in the below photo that is above the hole that the welding rod passes through.

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We used this heavy duty velcro-like but much stronger material to mount the potentiometer in the right place.

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A little calibration on the EFIS and we now have landing brake position. Right now it is labeled as a flap “F”, I will have to see if I can change that to Landing Brake or Speed Brake. But it is indicating properly when open, closed, or any position in between.

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Last thing I did for the day was contour out the micro I laid up yesterday on the cowl modification. I think it turned out pretty well. Probably will epoxy wipe tomorrow.

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Holy Cow-l

Greg and I spent the majority of the day in the Garaggio. Greg mostly worked on baffles, and I worked on wiring and the cowl fit.

For the baffles, Greg had to do a little bit more trimming, then it was locating and drilling holes to secure pieces together and to the engine. In some places we added nut plates to make assembly easier. In other places, pieces were riveted together to make them an assembly. We had to think through the installation and removal process to decide where to use each fastener. Additionally we added doublers around some of the mounting fastener holes. These were supplied with the vans baffle kit, and should extend the life of the baffles. It was a long tedious process for Greg today because it was a lot of drilling, disassemble, deburr, dimple, rivet, reassemble, and do the process again on another part. Good news is we made a lot of progress on the right side baffles. Left side is similar and should go faster.

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In between helping Greg with baffles I worked on more wiring, the rest of the fat wires in the engine compartment. This included the positive wire to the starter (it is grounded though the housing, and grounding the engine case to the rest of the airplane. Pretty simple, just 2 wires to plan a routing, terminate, and install. I am happy with the routing, and once the wires are secured with clamps and zip ties, they will look nice. I even pulled out the multi-meter and verified that we had ground on the alternator and starter housings as well as +12 volts from the positive terminal at the firewall to the starter case and alternator case.IMG_3295

Then I started in on something that is just annoying. Cowl surgery number nine thousand four hundred and eighty seven. There is not enough clearance between the exhaust and the cowl. So no choice but to make more room. So it was get the sanding drums and die grinders out and make it into a… Holy Cowl.

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Before the holes, 2 of the 4 exhaust pipes were resting on the cowl and one was within 1/8″ of the cowl. This is obviously not enough, you need at least 1/2″ or more. Even at 1/2″ it could be close enough to burn some paint. Only way to know is to fly and try it. I do plan on shielding this area with an insulation which should help as well. Now that the damage is done, I am committed.

Now to add more room for the exhaust pipes. I added 1/2″ of green foam to the outside contour of the deficient areas. This will become my sanding indicator. I hot glued them in place so that they don’t move.

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Then it was add some pour foam.

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Get rid of the excess and shape to a pleasing contour being sure to stop before you get into the green foam. It is easy to see when you are getting close. You just have to remember to stop or you will negate the purpose. I had to add a second pour on both sides around the aft edges to get the shape I was looking for.

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All in all, I think the shape will turn out just fine. I think in some ways I actually like the new shape better. We will see when it is all finished and primed. It may be a net zero on drag because it is a smoother shape with less retreating angle, and the radius of the surface intersections is larger. No way I will ever know since I have no before data, but makes me feel better thinking I’m not adding a ton of drag to my airplane.

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Then I took my Festool (yes Jon, a power tool) sander to the area around the “repair” to get down to pure carbon fiber. Bonding to the micro filler, and primer is not very structurally sound and is a big no-no. One side is basically ready for a carbon layup, the other side needs to get down to pure carbon yet. Once the exterior layup is done, I will dig out all the foam and carbon from the inside and do an interior layup.

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That is pretty much where I had to leave the project for the day. One more day off before a block of work.

Christmas Tree Lights

Every time that Eric and I are in the workshop wiring things, Kevin comes in and asks things like “when are the christmas tree lights going to be on?” Etc. Well, that happened today. The end result was the Nav, Strobe, and landing lights were wired. Ok, so they were temporarily wired, but still totally worth it to see this.

The reason they are only temporarily wired is because the wings aren’t on. But the wiring to the strake ends is permanent and in place. We just need to wire from the wing root to the light locations and we will have the exterior lighting done. Of course, I haven’t actually mounted the landing lights yet. These will be mounted well after first flight as I cannot fly at night during flight test anyway. Plus, I am not going to complete any of the optional tasks before first flight. It is time to get the bird flying. Small mods like adding the landing lights can be done during bad weather weeks once it is flying.

To run these wires for exterior lighting, we had to first drill a hole in the spar bulkhead so the wires could pass though. Luckily, Eric had 8′ long drill bits, and they work nicely.

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Then it was a matter of routing wires, being sure to nicely add them to our combed wire bundles. There were 6 wires to each strake end. One of them goes between the two sides to synchronize the strobe flashes.While we were at it, we also added some RG400 to each strake tip for the communications antennas that are in each winglet. These will be terminated later, but they are in place and follow the same routing. Incidentally, while we had the RG400 out we routed a wire for the ADSB receiver antenna. I guessed really well when buying the RG400 as we didn’t even have an inch to spare.

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When the external lighting wires are terminated, they look like this. Nice and labeled. Eric does nice work!

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In between helping Eric with these tasks, I worked on some of the fat wires. I was able to route, cut to length, and terminate the wire from the alternator to the current limiter and from the current limiter to the positive stud in the firewall. The positive stud runs current from the alternator all the way up to the nose to recharge the battery and also to supply the VPX (main bus) during normal operations.

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By the time we got all of that done Eric had to leave, but not before we got to test out our external lights. It was satisfying, as you can see by the video. It is always nice to see more and more things working. As far as wiring goes, the list keeps getting smaller.

I didn’t have the motivation to get to work on the baffles after all of this light excitement, but I did spend some time cleaning the shop. That is an endless task as well, but needs to be done. I ended up reorganizing things, and have a little ways to go yet. I didn’t like having a bunch of things in front of the overhead door. (Though that has benefitted me more than once by creating a barrier to unwanted visitors, It is nice to be able to walk outside.) By putting some things away (finally), and organizing parts I was able to get rid of one of my extra tables that was in front of the door.

You probably also noticed I rotated the airplane around to be facing outward. Really that was just an excuse to take the airplane for a walk. Its an airplane after all, its not supposed to be in one place for so long.