Friday, April 2, 2010

One step forward. One step back

My zippy (for me) progress on the RV-7A a big wall today when all attempts to power up the ICOM A210 communications radio failed miserably. It powered up fine back when I was building the wiring harness, but now that it's installed in the airplane, nothing.

I checked to be sure it wasn't a misprogrammed or mis-pinned problem with the Vertical Power 50 system by running a wire from the battery into a male pin which was then inserted into the VP connector. It checked out fine.

I checked continuity in the harness for both the power and ground connections and it checked fine.

I removed it from the radio stack and unscrewed the connector to be sure it wasn't a problem with the connector not seating correctly with the connection on the radio. Nada.

It's times like this you want to have an actual person to talk to who sold it to you, but this is the danger of direct group buys via Van's Air Force or anywhere else. This was a group by more than two years ago on VAF, so the radio is out of warranty. It was purchased through Aircraft Spruce, and shipped directly from the factory.

About the only choice I have here is just to send it back to ICOM with a note that says "make it work," and a blank check.

What should I have done? First, I should've ordered a Garmin SL40 from SteinAir or some other company with an owner you can call on the phone.

Then, I should've said, here's the PS Engineering intercom, here's the mic jacks, here's the headphone jacks, and here's a blank check. Make me a harness.

Would it have cost more? Sure. But here I sit with a busted radio (apparently), no one to call, and this problem:

Consider this image (Click to enlarge):

When checking the continuity on the connections, I get continuity between the S/15 connectors (ground) and the H/7 connectors . But not a full deflection, about a half deflection. Other than something is messed up, what's that telling me? Beats me. But I'm pretty sure I should either get full deflection or no deflection so somewhere in this rat's nest of wires between all the jacks, the intercom and the radio that doesn't work, there's probably a problem.

This is why people like me should let people who know what they're doing, handle the avionics and just write a check.

Anybody need a $1,200 paperweight?


  1. Looking at the picture H/7 are headset connectors - it will be normal that there is less then full swing between them and S or 15. Ground should be connected to F/6?

  2. Hi Bob

    Which connector are you using?
    If it's the Molex connector, looking at page 1 of the A210 installation guide,

    There seems to be disagreement, or missing detail, between the wiring diagram at left
    and the connector pin mapping that's shown at right:

    The diagram shows a jumper between Molex connector pins M-11 and P-13, and
    power connection to pins R-14. The connector pin mapping indicates that
    pins M & 11 are also power input pins. P-13 are shown as "no connection".

    MAYBE you need power on M-11.

    Although you didn't buy the radio recently, I'd expect that a call to Icom, or
    to a shop that works with Icom equipment, might resolve this detail for you.

    Continuity between H-7 and ground is probably not relevant to your problem:
    It would not be surprising to see moderate resistance between an audio
    output and ground.

    Of course, all technicians would verify that power and ground are actually
    connected to a power source and return circuit... "It's not plugged in" is
    a very common cause of failure.

    Best regards

    Mike Linse
    Corvallis, OR

  3. I've dealt with Icom on numerous occasions and they're unfailingly helpful on tech support. Just call them and describe your problem.

    Suggest that your first step is to verify that the radio works by using a bench power supply.