Monday, January 18, 2010

The dream lives

There are days like I wrote about the other day when nothing goes right. Then, there are days when some time on the RV airplane project can get you back on track and feeling chipper. Today was one of those days.

It being the Martin Luther King holiday, I had the day off, so I headed to the hangar this afternoon to get a few things figured out. The antenna run for the transponder was one of them. The run for the push-to-talk switch on the yoke was the other.

It was 34 degrees at the hangar and thanks to Mr. Carhart and a small kerosene heater, it was relatively springlike. The radio was pumping out NPR (and MPR), which gave me the opportunity to listen to the entire "I have a dream" speech from King, when I realized -- and I'm ashamed of this -- that I've never heard the entire speech.

You neither? Well here.



One thing I like about building at the hangar is I can get smarter about so many things while I build. The speech was followed by a discussion about what "post racial" looks like in the real world. But I digress...

I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to run the transponder antenna. I was going to run it up the small bulkhead where I've mounted the headphone/mic jacks, but eventually I decided to run it down the center channel, somewhat away from other electrical connections.

I don't have a lot of buttons on the yoke, so the push to talk wiring run was a little easier. Both end up in the same bay.



The push-to-talk wires have an adel clamp, then a tie-wrap, and then a terminal strip. I have a ton of Adel clamps and I use them religiously. Another wire comes down the from the mic/headset jacks (I'm using black snakeskin and a dark gray interior so nobody will notice).



I'm very conscientious about not letting the wiring turn into a rat's nest, and being a little -- or maybe it's a lot -- OCD, I will put an Adel clamp in when I run one wire, then remove it and put a larger size in when a second wire comes along.



The wires here are the transponder antenna, the push-to-talk switch wire, and a wire for left nav light, which will terminate at a terminal strip. After they go through the main spar, the push-to-talk wires go straight to the bulkhead and then up to the jacks, the antenna wire follows the wiring run forward of the spar, and then down the left side of the center channel. I added a bushing in the forward heater cover to bring it up the firewall and -- at some point -- to the transponder.



It's a good thing I'm a relatively thin guy because getting in and out of the small space in the cabin takes a ladder and some contortion. I also stumbled across other things that needed fixing. The cotter pin hadn't put in the yoke bushing nut, and the control assembly was hitting -- slightly, but it counts -- several of the ribs. I fixed both.

You wouldn't think all of that would take four hours, but that's how long it took. Lots of in and out of the cabin, and lots of swapping of tools, and lots of pulled hamstrings.

But it got me back on track and I got some decisions made.

Onward!

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