Update - Here's take 2
I've been collecting some of the electronics that I'll be using in my RV-7A over the last few years to try to spread the cost out a bit. But since I'm planning the wiring for the airplane now, I needed to make a few big purchases, which I did yesterday.
When I say "big purchases," I mean big purchases for me. From what I can tell, most RV builders are putting at least $20,000 into their panels. And as Stein Bruch said yesterday, his firm rarely builds a panel for under $80,000.
It's easy to get sucked into the "keeping up with the Joneses" syndrome in this business and it's a good thing, I suppose, that the recession has snapped us -- or at least me -- back to reality. I'm a VFR "go up and look down" kind of pilot and that's about it. Yes, I intend to fly cross country back to New England or down south, but I have no intention of doing it in crappy weather or at night, so I don't really need bells and whistles. Besides, there's nothing that says I can't add equipment later.
So yesterday, I wrote a $6,400 check to Stein and added the Vertical Power 50, the Garmin 327 transponder, and the Dynon D-100 EFIS to the collection of boxes on the shelves here at home. Would I rather have an Advanced Flight System 3500? You bet. But I simply don't have the money for it and I'm not interesting in taking on debt. The next owner of N614EF can do that.
Anyway, I'm trying to mess around with a design for the panel and that's it above. I need comments. I've got the Garmin portable GPS in a little more prominent spot than a lot of people do, but I rely pretty heavily on that, given that I fly under the Twin Cities Class B. Really keeping a close eye on situational awareness with regards to airspace is really important.
I don't have an audio panel. I have a small intercom, so the audio stack (currently just the transponder and the ICOM A-210) is pretty small. I've left room in that general area, however, to add a PS Engineering audio panel at some future point.
Not shown is the ELT switch. I'm not sure where to put that. I also haven't investigated the Lightspeed system that's on the engine yet. I'm using half a system and I'm not sure what has to be on the panel to accomodate that. And I'm leaving room for a map box although I doubt I'll need one.
There are a few switches down there by the VP system. I figure I'll need to gang up a few things (strobe/nav/landing lights) on switches. I could be wrong. But this system eliminates the need for circuit breakers and fuses (mostly), which frees up panel space and also some space behind the panel.
I need your opinion on this initial sketch.