Archive

Archive for the ‘Wiring’ Category

Battery Charger

Today I installed this Hella receptacle for my battery charger. I’m not sure exactly what the real name for this style of receptacle is, but everyone refers to them as “Hella.” BMW motorcycles use them as power ports for accessories and heated clothing.

I liked the plug because it’s got a spring-loaded cap and it’s rated for up to 15 amps DC. It’s sort of like an undersized cigarette lighter plug, but it kind of snaps into place in the last 1/4″ of insertion, too, so it stays put–unlike cigarette lighter plugs that always seem to back out.

This is my whiz-bang Odyssey battery charger/conditioner/maintainer. I figured that since I had an Odyssey battery, the Odyssey folks probably know how to make an appropriate battery charger. The nice thing about this one is that it’s got a quick charge capability, but it’s also “smart” in that it reduces the charge as necessary to a variable maintenance level to prevent over charging if you leave it plugged in forever. The downside to this is it’s pretty big and it’s got a fan that runs constantly whenever it’s plugged in. I’ll probably invest in a different, smaller charger for traveling.

Storm clouds near the airport this evening. It was a funky weather day around KFNL today. For a few minutes this evening I thought we might be watching for funnel clouds.

I laid-up this oil cooler diffuser box for a friend today. He’s got a Sidewinder and has been very helpful to me in my Midget Mustang project. It was the least I could do for him. The more I think about it, I think I’ll probably re-do the diffuser box for my oil cooler. The tubing size is just a little too big for my tastes.


Diodes, Lighting, Plenum Checkers, Ignition Harness

Ah the diode. Many people say that diodes are a necessary part of the master and battery solenoid installation. They prevent a spike in current when the solenoid snaps closed and protect sensitive electronic equipment. Some people say their normally-certified airplane doesn’t have them and they’ve never had any problems. At about $0.75 each and about 0.01 oz. each, I decided I may as well install them. I covered them with heat shrink and crimped the ends directly to the diode wires. It was a 5 minute installation.

Here’s a shot of the 2 diodes installed. The one on the master solenoid goes from the ground trigger wire to the power input pole. The diode on the starter solenoid goes from the 12 volt trigger wire to ground. The orientation of the band on the diode is very important. Bob Nuckolls has a good article available on his website that describes diode use in technical detail. Advanced Power Systems has a cartoon drawing explanation that I found more appropriate to my level of understanding.

There were thunderstorms and severe weather in the Denver area last week so a few Frontier airplanes diverted to KFNL. I’ve been at Frontier for over 6 years so I wasn’t too surprised to know the captains on both flights. It was fun walking up to the left side window and asking them if they were lost… or what?

It was a little difficult to get a picture of this, but what I’m trying to show is my new nighttime loading/unloading lighting. I bought 2 12-inch strips of LED lights from Auto Zone and installed one under the right longeron and one in the baggage compartment. I’m not talented enough as a photographer to figure out how to get a good photo of this so I had to take the picture with the hangar lights on. The short story is that the lights are connected to a switch and the hot battery buss. The lights look great and provide plenty of light. Gotta love bling, right?

I was really dreading the process of finalizing the routing and tying off my ignition harness. I was convinced that I could never find a home for all that wire and make it look decent. Well, I’ll let you (and the inspector) decide how it turned out, but it’s done and I’m pretty satisfied. As it turns out, it took a fair bit of time (several hours), but it wasn’t a dreadful task after all. One more piece of the puzzle completed.

Just in case you were wondering what I was doing with better than half my day on Thursday… Here it is. I taped the checkerboard pattern on my plenum pieces. Wow. Checkerboard really is time-consuming. I had Aerographics make me a big sheet of 2×2 checkerboard to speed the process. It worked, but since the pieces had many compound curves, I had to “fill in the blanks” with some 3M fineline vinyl tape. I painted the black on Thursday afternoon and the parts are curing in my hangar as I type this message. I’m currently sitting in a hotel room in Milwaukee, but will be back out at the hangar later this afternoon and again tomorrow morning. My day will be cut short tomorrow because I’m scheduled to give my last 2 Beech 1900 checkrides tomorrow afternoon. My examiner designation expires May 31st and I’m not going to renew it. I enjoyed it, but I’m looking forward to freeing up the time for flying my Midget Mustang!


Baffles, Primer, Manifold Pressure

It’s been long enough since I’ve posted an update that I actually had to go read my blog to see where I’ve left off. I have to laugh because less than a week ago I mentioned how it was warming up and I couldn’t wait to ride my motorcycle. It snowed yesterday and today. Welcome to Colorado, I guess.
In any case, here’s a shot of my newly-painted baffles installed on my engine. I think they look nice.

I’m using the standard bulkhead pass-throughs for my ignition wires. I installed nutplates in my cylinder barrel baffles to accept these pass-throughs.

I finally remembered to bring the Garmin 496 from home. It was one more thing I needed to install before I could button up the wiring and put the forward fuselage skin piece on for good. I think the panel looks nice all lit up like this. I need to make some labels…

I’ve been trying to verify the operation of all my instruments before I close out the top skin covering the fuel tank and the backside of the instrument panel. I was suspicious of my manifold pressure gauge so I called UMA this morning. My gauge is an electronic version–meaning it uses a transducer and wires rather than an actual manifold pressure line running to the gauge. My gauge was pegged at full scale showing 35+ inches of Mercury. I thought it should read ambient pressure which (at 5,000′ field elevation) should be somewhere around 25 in. Hg. Sure enough. UMA confirmed that my instrument was not reading correctly.
I spent HOURS digging through wires and breaking bundles of wires apart to test, probe and verify everything I could think of. I called UMA again and mentioned told them what was going on. He said it sounded like I was feeding 12 volts to the 0-5 volt sensor wire. This would cause the needle to go full-scale rather than reading ambient. I ended up pulling the gauge from the panel and bench testing the setup. Same results.
I started taking voltage readings from everything I could think of. I called UMA again and started telling him voltage readings. He determined that my gauge was calibrated incorrectly. It was calibrated for a 0 to 70 in.Hg. scale rather than the correct o to 35 in.Hg. scale. He had me pull the gauge apart and turn the trim adjustment until my gauge read 25 in.Hg. It was a little scary tearing apart a brand new gauge, but it turned out to be no big deal.
The whole ordeal consumed about 6 hours of time today. It also pretty well sucked the life out of me so I had a hard time getting motivated the rest of the day.

One of the little clean-up chores was connecting the capacitive fuel probe to the UMA fuel gauge. In the process of verifying the correct operation of my fuel gauge, I discovered a bad connection in some other wiring. After about an hour, I finally finished this 10 minute project!

For a simple little no-gyro VFR-only panel, I sure wound up with a bunch of little wires! I did my best to tie everything up and support it so I won’t be having intermittent electrical problems.

I made the final connections today for my electric primer pump and fuel solenoid. I decided to go with an electric primer system to avoid bringing the 1/8″ copper lines carrying fuel to and from the manual primer plunger valve. Since the aircraft doesn’t otherwise have an electric fuel pump, I installed this Facet pump just for the primer. The primer pump sucks fuel from the gascolator and then routes it through the fuel solenoid. I’ve got it set up so the solenoid opens at the same time the pump comes on. They’re both connected to a single, momentary contact pushbutton switch. Getting the right amount of prime will depend on holding the button down for the right amount of time. One-Mississippi, Two-Mississippi, etc.

This will be the next project: routing my spark plug wires. I spent the money for a “custom” harness for my O-200. Well, I’m not sure what makes it custom. From all I can tell, the wires are all cut to random lengths and I’ll wind up with just barely enough in some instances and way too much wire in other instances. I’m experimenting with circuitous routing to take up some of the excess wire. I still need to check on some internet forums to see if it’s possible to trim these babies down to size.

I installed the canopy so I just had to take a progress picture. Getting closer… I installed a string system to keep the canopy from springing open too far and damaging the hinge attach point. I was trying to come up with all kinds of spiffy brackets and mechanisms to hold the canopy open, but in the end I just decided to keep it simple and use a length of black nylon rope. Light, simple and effective. It’ll do.


Baffles, Primer, Panel, Canopy

The good news is that rattle can primer and paint strips very easily with Aircraft Stripper. The bad news is that I spent 2-1/2 hours this morning proving this. I purchased some Ace Hardware hi-temp gloss black and sprayed it over the top of my SEM self-etching rattle can primer. The two didn’t get along and I had to strip all the baffles back to bare metal.

It took about 2-1/2 hours to strip all the baffles back to bare metal. To avoid any compatibility problems this time around, I bought Rustoleum primer and Rustoleum gloss black. It worked out very well and I’ve now got a bunch of shiny baffles hanging from my hangar door while the paint cures. I probably won’t be back out to the hangar until at least Wednesday of this week so I’m hopeful they’ll have time to fully cure.

I wasn’t happy with the routing of the copper tube for my primer system. I visited the airplane aisle at Ace again and purchased 5 feet of 1/8″ copper tubing for $1 per foot. I have no idea whether this is more or less than what Aircraft Spruce charges, but I don’t really care. It was nice to buy the stuff locally and finish the project. I routed the line out of the primer solenoid horizontally across the firewall and then followed the engine mount to the center of the case just inboard of the left upper engine mount.

I also covered the copper line with clear rubber tubing from a oxygen cannula that they used on my Mom in the hospital. They were just going to throw it away so I snagged it. It sure made it simple to tie the copper line wherever I wanted without worrying about chafing. You can see that I also included a loop for strain relief just forward of the engine mount. I figure there’s a good possibility that there will be a little movement between the engine mount and the engine.

I took the canopy to the airport with me this morning. It had been sitting in my living room at home since I finished the Micro Mesh process a week or so ago. A friend, who’s far more experienced than I in terms of building airplanes, predicts that it’ll take me another couple of months before I’m ready to fly. I was hoping to be finished before that, but who knows… I’ll need to cover my nice, clear plexi so I started by running a strip of fine line tape along the perimeter of the plexiglass. It shouldn’t screw up the plastic or leave any residue the way that masking tape sometimes does.

I then covered the canopy with masking paper to protect the glass. It’ll be a big milestone when the day comes to remove the paper.

Here’s a shot looking into the cockpit with the panel mostly installed. I forgot to bring the GPS from home or I think I would have finished the entire panel installation. I’ll need to order the graphics to label the panel from Aerographics sometime soon. For the unfamiliar, Aerographics is a great company for all sorts of custom vinyl work for airplanes or other applications. I’m very lucky in that they’re local and have lightning fast turnaround if I need it. I’ll probably go see Marilyn sometime this week.

Here’s a shot of the current status of my panel installation from the backside. Don’t be too critical just yet. I’ve still got to install the GPS and its mounting bracket. I’ve got a couple of hard points built into the GPS bracket where I’ll use a couple of Adel clamps to firm up my wire bundles. It’s amazing how busy a fairly simple VFR panel can get.

Here’s an overal status shot taken just as I was ready to leave the hangar this evening. I just laid the black forward fuselage skin in place to see what it will look like. It’s pretty exciting to see the project taking its final shape. I think installing the newly-painted black baffles along with the plenum, routing the ignition harness wires and installing the canopy will make a huge difference. I can’t wait until the day comes when I can roll it out onto the ramp and give it a good wash job. It’s accumulated a fair amount of dust over the past few months. I’m sure it will also require a light polishing to remove some hairline scratches in the clear coat, too. Oh well, a labor of love!
I’m scheduled to give 6 Beech 1900 checkrides over the course of the next 3 days. With this much going on, I sort of doubt I’ll make it to the hangar much this week until maybe Friday. My vacation from Frontier is coming to an end and I’ll have to go to work for 3 days starting on Saturday. I’m nearly out of clean clothes because I’ve been spending so much time at my hangar so I may have to play Danny Domestic on Friday rather than going to the airport. We’ll see how much I can accomplish in the evenings over the next few days. i’d really like to get another day at the shop in before I have to go back to work. Stay tuned!


Baffles and Tank Installation

The weather has been absolutely freaky around here lately. It starts off looking like it’s going to be 70 degrees and sunny all day and then sometime about mid-day, it turns cold and windy and starts raining. In the late afternoon, the skies clear, the sun shines and it actually gets warmer. Oh well. The reason I’m telling you all this is that I was hoping to prime and paint all the metal pieces of my engine baffling today. I primed them with no problem, but then kinda got weathered out on the actual painting. As it turns out, the paint I picked wasn’t performing well anyway so I’m going to have to strip everything back to bare metal and start over tomorrow. Bummer.

Knowing that access is much more difficult once the tank is installed, I took a bunch of pictures showing how things are installed before I inserted the tank. Here are my throttle, carb heat and mixture cables along the left side of my cockpit.

I changed out my Home Depot tye wraps in favor of the heavy duty wire ties that came with my Click-Bond fasteners.

$140 worth of firewall pass-throughs. The top one is aluminum. The other 3 are steel. I went with the aluminum because I needed a big hole for the wire bundle that wasn’t available in the steel pass-throughs.

My power bus system. The one on the far left in this picture is my avionics bus. The center is the main bus and the right is my main ground bus. I plan on editing this photo to add labels showing what’s plugged in to where. I have all my wiring information stored on my computer in spreadsheet format. Every wire has a number.

This was today’s little “challenge.” Installing this fuel line was a pain in the tookus. For those of you who haven’t seen me in person, let’s suffice to say that I’m not shaped like a gymnast and/or contortionist. In fact, I’m shaped more like a left tackle from a college football team. To make matters worse, I had planned to use a 45 degree AN fitting from the gascolator through the firewall to attach to this hose. Well, the twist of the 45 degree fitting wouldn’t work out for me so I ended up going with a straight fitting. Not only did I have to steal the straight fitting off my fuel flow transducer, I also discovered that the lack of the 45 degree bend meant that my fuel hose was now approximately 2 inches too short! Arrgh!. I checked with one of my friends at the airport. His hose stretcher was out of service so I had to fabricate a new hose.

If I ever have to remove this hose again or this Adel clamp holding the hose in place, I’m going to go steal one of my brother’s daughters to do the deed. One of them is 5 foot tall, 80 pounds and smart as most adults. The other is a 42 pound 2nd-grader who also happens to be into competitive gymnastics. Ah, the cycle of life. Kids come along just about the time I’m too fat and too stiff to fit into these tiny places!


Big Wires Day

Before I dive into telling you all about today’s wiring activities, I figured I’d share a picture of the parts and pieces of my baffles and plenum. I slathered filler on the last piece of baffling this afternoon. I’m going to do my best to finish the exterior parts of the plenum and baffling to a high gloss state. They’ll look much nicer and should be easier to keep clean.

I had a little paperwork and correspondence to take care of at my office this morning so I got a late start on the day. I decided that I was going to do my best to finish up the battery, starter and ground hookups today. A friend from Frontier offered to crimp these big connectors using his industrial-sized hydraulic crimping tool. I called him up and today was the day. Woo, hooo! Because these are some pretty hefty wires, it’s important to be accurate with both the length and the twist of the wires. I cut all the wires to length and then made marks to show the twist I needed.

Before I went to visit my friend with the expensive crimping tool, I loaded up the wires with the proper ends and a length of heat shrink. He’s a busy guy and was doing me a huge favor. I didn’t want to waste his time any more than absolutely necessary.

I’m very happy with how the wires turned out. Dave’s crimping tool was perfect and made some very nice wires. I used double-walled heat shrink with a heat-activated adhesive built in. I’m convinced that I’ve done everything I can to make sure these wires will last a long time.

Here’s a close-up of the finished ends. If you click on the picture and make it full-sized, you can see how the adhesive oozed out at each end and created an airtight seal. These babies shouldn’t have any chance to corrode.

This red wire runs from the output side of my starter solenoid to the starter itself. I’m freakishly paranoid about having this wire in place because my prop is just pressed in place right now… there are no bolts holding it in place. If the starter spun the engine, I think my prop would probably embed itself in my hangar ceiling. I removed this wire after the photo shoot!

This ground wire runs from the battery post to an engine case stud that holds the B&C starter in place. It’s important to ground the engine case to the ground bus. The starter uses the case as its ground.

My Odyssey 680 battery came with a couple of brass 90 degree mounting brackets. I used one of these brackets to create a straight shot between the battery post and the master solenoid directly above. I covered some of the mounting bracket with red heat shrink. I’m trying to minimize the amount of “hot” exposed metal. I’m pretty satisfied with how clean this is looking.

A close-up of the master and starter solenoid installation. If you look closely, you’ll notice a ground lead running to the firewall behind the hot side of the starter solenoid. This wire comes from the engine case and serves to tie everything together. The other wire (12 gauge) coming off the starter solenoid mounting base runs to the ground bus mounted on the backside of the main wing spar which also has a wire running to a secondary ground bus located under the seat. The solenoid mounting bracket is tied via a copper plate to a small, 6-post firewall ground bus located between and slightly below the 2 solenoids. This is also a good picture to see how I used heat shrink to protect the copper plate used to join the master and starter solenoids. This really is the fun part of the project!


Gathering Supplies

I had recurrent ground school on the Beech 1900 last Friday so I didn’t touch the Midget Mustang project. I had to go back to work at Frontier (flying an Airbus) on Saturday. It’s a bummer how these pesky jobs can get in the way of progress!

I returned to Denver this afternoon at about 2:30 so I had a little time to do some shopping in the Denver area before everyone closed shop at 5:00.

I ran by Portable Power Systems and purchased a new Odyssey 680 battery. Very cool. $107 and no shipping since I picked it up in person. Kind of a bummer how heavy it seems. I know it’s lighter than virtually any other viable battery solution, but it’s still an additional 14.25 lbs.

I also stopped by E & G Terminals in Commerce City. For the locals, they’re located near the old Stapleton airport in the industrial area just northwest of the intersection of I-70 and Quebec. I couldn’t believe the selection they had of high quality electrical crimp-on connectors and various gadgets. It was sort of like the back corner of an old Ace Hardware store with all the assorted screws, gaskets, grommets, etc. I picked up a few ring terminals for the #4 wire I’m going to use for my battery and starter connections. A friend of mine from work offered to crimp the ends with his expensive crimping tool so I’m going to try to hook up with him sometime soon.

I’ve been up since 3:15am this morning so I’m about ready to head to bed. I’m excited to be assembling what I believe to be the last volley of little parts needed to finish this project!


Yet MORE Electrical

I’m at that point where the progress is constant, but barely noticeable to the outside world. I keep putting in the hours and I’m mostly headed in the right direction (forward), but it’s hard to see actual progress from one day to the next.

These are the carcasses from the Click-Bond fasteners I was trying to describe yesterday. These things are the throw-away parts to the Click-Bond installation. These little towers hold the actual mounting pad in place long enough to allow the glue to cure.

This is what’s left behind after the Click-Bond installation. I didn’t even realize it before completing the installation, but the mounting saddle actually swivels on the mounting pad. I would have been less concerned about placement had I known this beforehand! If you enlarge the picture, you can see that I got a good “squeeze-out” on the glue around the perimeter of the mounting pad. I didn’t horse on these things too much to test them, but I’m convinced they’re stuck on there pretty good!

This is another little clean-up item. I ran coax with a BNC connector from the baggage compartment to the tip of the vertical stabilizer. I also ran power and a ground wire back there that is on/off switchable from a little switch in the baggage compartment. I hadn’t taken time to finish all the connections and make it look pretty until today.

Since I’m hemorrhaging money these days, I haven’t yet purchased a lipstick camera to complete my hoped-for video set-up. I wrapped the wires in a little foam insulation I had laying around the shop. This should protect the wires and keep them from rattling around until I can recover from all life’s little expenditures and buy the video system!

I’ve had to accept the fact that I’m getting older and can’t seem to remember things the way I used to… even just 5 years ago! I installed this white-board in my hangar. I make it a point to jot down notes on what should be included in my next Aircraft Spruce order or the next trip to Ace Hardware. The red writing at the top of the board is a “note to self.” I MUST remember to fill and bleed the brakes before installing the gas tank. There’s no reason to stand on my head to reach the brake cylinders when they’re easily accessible with the tank removed.

I didn’t take any pictures of the sanding and filling I accomplished on my plenum system this afternoon. The plenum has pretty much been finished for 6-9 months, but I never actually prepped it for painting. In the process of getting it ready for painting, I noticed a few places where a little grinding and a few more well-placed squares of fiberglass cloth could make the parts look much better.

Even though I’d really rather just slap them on at this point, I sucked it up and applied the additional cloth. It will be ready for me to sand and fill when I get back to the project next week.

I’m doing my best to maintain my currency on 2 different “big” airplanes these days. I’m an examiner on the Beech 1900 and I fly the Airbus 320 at my real job. Last month I had a Proficiency Check and recurrent ground school on the Airbus. My Beech 1900 currency as an examiner and as a pilot expires in May so I’m scheduled to do a day of ground school tomorrow. Bummer. There goes a perfectly good day shot to heck! I’ve got a couple of sim sessions scheduled over the next couple of weeks and then a checkride with the FAA on May 7th.

I’m fortunate in that I won’t have to study much to be ready for the oral portion of the checkride. I’ve been giving 2-5 checkrides a month in the Beech for the past year so I’m keeping fairly current on the systems just by osmosis. The more challenging part might be the actual flying of the aircraft. I’ve hardly touched the controls in over a year! I’m hoping to be competent enough to get a single-pilot designation during my FAA checkride. Should be entertaining, if nothing else!


A Wiring Kind of Day

I spent a bunch of time today on “invisible progress”. I know I worked for many hours, but I can’t put my finger on having accomplished much! This is the backside of my instrument panel. I made a few more connections and tied up a few more wires. It’s been a challenge maintaining my goal of having the panel removable by unplugging things rather than cutting wires. Most of everything comes apart with fast-on tab connectors or the big DB37 connector you see near the center of the panel. I found myself accidentally tying things that stay with the airframe to the bundle of wires that go away with the panel when it’s removed.

I’m using these Click-Bond mounting bases to tie wire bundles to the inside walls of my fuselage. They come with a little dual ketchup packet thing with resin and activator. You tear the top off the foil pouch and then mix up the contents. If the smell is any indication of the strength of the adhesive, these are going to be very well bonded!

I used 3 Click-Bonds on the left hand side of the fuselage. I’ll secure the fore-aft wire with a single mounting point. There are 2 mounting points for the 2 wires that run bottom-to-top just forward of the main spar.

Here’s a close-up shot of the Click-Bond I installed on the right side of the fuselage. It’s a pretty nifty contraption. The base of the mounting bracket is metal. You put a dollup of the glue mixture in the center of the mounting base and it squeezes out when you stick it to the mounting surface. The majority of what you see in the picture is a bracket that straddles the actual mounting base. It’s got little legs on either side of the actual mounting base. The legs of the bracket stick to the mounting surface with double-sided tape. Once the contraption is in place, you push on the center of the bracket and it snaps down against the mounting surface. Once the adhesive cures, you break off the bracket and are left with the little saddle bracket to hold your wire bundle. I’ll take more pictures… I’ve managed to confuse even myself with this explanation!


Verifying Electrical Gizmos

I forgot to bring my camera home from the airport today so the pictures will have to wait until tomorrow.

I keep going to the airport each day with grandiose plans to declare the electrical system completely finished before the end of the day. Unfortunately, I keep finding problems and, in some cases, causing problems because I’m second-guessing things that I did several years ago. This getting old thing kinda stinks!

Today’s misadventure involved my oil pressure transducer. When I attached the wires yesterday, I noticed that one of the 3 lugs had a “G”–presumably meaning “ground.” Well, I got to thinking about it last night and realized that I set up my system with the assumption that the POWER lead would be switched on and off. Not thinking things through, I decided it was necessary for me to rearrange the appropriate wires so that the solenoid would switch the ground, not the power side of the circuit.

I broke my harness apart and started switching things around. About 2/3rds of the way through the process, it dawned on me that I was going to have to reverse the wires on my Hobbs meter, too, because it runs off the normally-open side of the same transducer. Again, I had planned on the positive side being switched, not the negative.

About this point is when it dawned on me that the pressure switch really doesn’t care which side of the electrical circuit it’s switching. It’s just a dumb ‘ol switch. When pressure is applied, the normally-open side closes and the normally-closed side opens. Hammer simple. Unfortunately this little mental lapse cost me several hours of head scratching and work.

My next challenge will be figuring out why my manifold pressure gauge is not working. It’s a UMA electronic gauge so there are 4 wires coming out of the gauge that run to power, ground and the transducer mounted forward of the firewall. When I turn the gauge on, I think it should read ambient pressure, ~25 in Hg. at our 5,016′ field elevation. Unfortunately, the gauge is pegged at a little over 35″. Something’s not right.

I’m going to head to bed tonight and hit it again tomorrow. I should have some pictures tomorrow night.

I keep forgetting to take my headset to the airport so I borrowed a friend’s headset this afternoon to test out the audio input function on my XCOM radio. It appears that it’s working as advertised. I plugged in my iPod as a test device and the sound played just fine through my headset via the amplifier in the XCOM radio.

I went round and round with the folks at XCOM several years ago. It was very frustrating because the factory insisted that the problem was with my wiring harness and couldn’t possibly have anything to do with their radio. I shipped it to Australia twice at my expense only to have it exhibit the exact same problems within 5 minutes of unpackaging. They even went as far as building a harness for me insisting that this would fix the problem. The radio still malfunctioned. I contacted Bob Nuckolls who was very helpful, as usual.

About the time I had reached the end of my rope, out of the blue, XCOM offered to just send me a new radio and start fresh. I gladly accepted the offer and swapped out radios. I was so extremely frustrated by the experience that I put the new radio on the shelf, unopened, and didn’t even look at it until a few weeks ago when I installed it in my airplane. Today was the first time I lit it up. What do you know, it appears to work. I haven’t changed a darned thing on my XCOM harness in the airplane since I first discovered all the problems a few years ago.