Sunday, December 7, 2014

Troubleshooting and some progress

This week started out with a little troubleshooting of the electrical system in the airplane.  As I mentioned last week I installed and tested the EICommander.  Well I found during the testing that my right PMag was not indicating correctly on the instrument.  In addition I found that my right PMag switch did not work.  So Monday evening I set out to remedy both situations.  For the switch I found that my ground screw on the switch itself had some foreign material between the screw and the copper grounding bar.  I couldn't see exactly what the material was but once I removed it and re-installed the switch everything worked as expected.

Next up on the list was the right PMag.  I ended up pulling apart the wiring pig tail that I created to allow updating of the EICommander and found that for the right PMag I had swapped the ground wire with the wire used to sense engine RPM.  After putting the wires in the correct location everything worked well with that.

Oh one more thing, I re-installed the horizontal and vertical stabilizers again this week in preparation for finishing the fairing the covers the gaps between the two of them.  Expect pictures of that in my next post.

I finally managed to get a somewhat decent picture of the instrument panel.  At least its as good as I am going to get until I can get the airplane outside or at least in a better lit location.  I took this picture when I had everything powered up.  Still lots of updating of the BIOS for many of the instruments in this panel.  The center screen (GDU460) looks particularly out of date as there should be a nice 3D image of the surrounding topography showing on the screen with the indicators you see overlaid on top of that image.  I also have the lower center panel off so that I could run some wires and also I think I may replace it with one that has the same pattern as the rest of the panel.  Incidentally this picture was taken before I fixed the issue with the wiring on the right PMag hence the series of X's on the EICommander.

Next up on the agenda is the cover for the center console.  I had to break out my wood working skills that may have atrophied a little since I started this airplane building business but I managed to get a serviceable mold for the console cover.

Here is is after I put it all together.  I still have to smooth the inner surfaces so that the carbon fiber surface will be smooth. Its probably pretty easy to figure out but I will lay the carbon fiber cloth inside this mold and then apply a suction to a plastic "bag" which will force the cloth into the mold.

A side view of the same mold.
Here it is as of Sunday evening.  The paint is there to make a nice smooth surface for the epoxy/carbon fiber.  Next up I will give this one more smooth sanding and then spray it with a mold release compound that will ease the process of popping the finished part out of the mold.  Then its time to lay up some cloth!

I think the plenum is about as far as I am going to get it for the foreseeable future.  I am testing a product called Smooth Prime and it has to sit for three weeks before I can put the epoxy primer over the entire thing and call it finished.

Here is is after I sprayed a coat of "Smooth Prime".  I will sand this down to a smooth finish and then set it aside and wait.

Oh, and the remaining parts I needed to finish the throttle and mixture cable mounts on the engine came in so I finished it up.

Here it is ready to go!

This is the inside of the top half of the cowling.  Following Jeff's example (and using his product) I am painting the inside of the cowling with a special paint for boats called Bilge Coat.  It is designed to be applied to fiberglass and when dry is resistant to fuel and oil.  However, I found that the inside of the cowl has a LOT of pin holes (normal for fiberglass) that I will have to fill with another coat or two of this paint, or some epoxy.

Having learned my lesson on the top cowling I decided to put a layer of epoxy on the inside of the bottom half of the cowling.  Its hard to see it in this picture but the shiny stuff is the new layer of epoxy that should fill the pin holes...or at least most of them.  Once this dries I will roll on some Bilge Coat.
The last thing on the agenda for this week was the canopy latch hook.  The kit manufacturer sends this out a little large so that it can be custom fitted to each install.  Well tonight I finished trimming the hook so that the canopy will close and latch properly.  I am still having some issues with the canopy being a little too tight when closed.  It takes a pretty good push to get the canopy rolling up and back again.  I will have to do some trimming of the aft nylon latch blocks I think.  Another day....