Eventually it is time for all those vague plans and dreams over the last few years to be made real … and this means decisions have to be made so that installation can be planned.
We’ve decided to go for an IFR capable RV14, and a Garmin fit had been chosen some time ago when the autopilot Garmin GSA28 Servos were installed.
Here is the list of the proposed equipment:
Those of you well versed in all this Garmin equipment will spot surprising items.
Why have a GAD 27 as well as a VPX Pro? Well, here in the UK the powers that be are still uneasy about Flaps/Trim etc being controlled by a relatively unknown Black (Red!)Box, the VPX. So I intend to control these items from the Garmin GAD 27.
And if you have an Air Avionics AT1 to display virtually all traffic here in Europe (ADSB In and FLARM), why not have a GTX35R rather than a GTX45R. The 35R would supply the ADSB out and is cheaper. The 45R will provide a redundant ADSB in, but it also has a UAT 978 MHz receiver. At the moment in Europe we do not have the luxury of this feature, but politics permitting it may emerge in the future.
Tim, my rivet partner, branched out and made some very useful foam boxes to the dimensions of the Avionic components.
In combination with a 3D program mentioned later, these proved invaluable in testing the configurations.
I’m not concerned with the centre stack in much detail yet … the planned boxes will fit fine.
I plan to make a removable tray for the GTX 45R Transponder.
Access Hatches in the Forward Top Skin opened up more fitting options …
…but much easier with this skin not yet attached : )
I noticed that Vans publish a 3D CAD file of the instrument panel in the RV14 Download section of their web site, and this got me interested. I’ve no background in 3D etc, but an internet search revealed an open source program called FREECAD which I used to open the file.
Garmin also publish G3X 3D Models (.STEP) of the various components, which Freecad can also read.
To learn the program would be a massive learning curve, but a bit of time invested revealed I could manipulate the component positions with a few keystrokes.
And it was relatively easy to make simple shapes representing the components for which there were no existing files, all to very accurate dimensions. It’s an amazing program.
Anyway, it’s not for everyone, but I found it time well spent, and helped me play about with fitting the boxes in the comfort of an armchair! It enabled me to see exactly if attachment bolts were going to cause issues with other boxes on the reverse side of panels, and how the connectors would clear the structure.
When I reached the stage of producing a DXF format file to get my intrument panel lasercut, I found it not intuitive to produce in Freecad. So I ended up using Autodesk Fusion 360, which is available free for non-commercial use at this time. You do need to to pay something to eventually export a DXF file, but a month’s fee is available to get this done.
If I was doing this again, I’d have used Fusion 360 from the outset, avoiding the use of two programs.
16 March 2021
After numerous iterations here are the locations I’ve decided for the boxes.
I tried to think about which boxes connect to which, but all the constraints of the structure meant some leeway was needed.
Also allowing clearance for the canopy was an important issue!
As you can see from the following screenshots FreeCad enables unlimited and exact views of the planned configuration.
It’s possible to hide components to see behind … here I have hidden the Panel Structure.
Based on wise feedback you’ll see in this picture I’ve moved the AT1 from the central position to the outboard face of the F-01456-R
FWD FUSE RIB. This will allow more room for wire looms in the central area.
17 Oct 2020
So I now have what I hope is a considered plan of where to fit the avionics.
I’m now working on making trays & drilling holes to turn it from a 3D Drawing into reality!