Yay we're not in Germany this year!

This week, we focus on wiring and indoor activities as CA goes from wildfires to frost faster than this airplane “crashed” into our front yard.

By this time last year, dear readers, I was already on my way to Munich, sitting on a plane and shirking my building responsibilities. Not this year! This year is a new year! No visa drama, no six-month-building-break, its gonna be good.

To finish off the story from last week, here is our scenic display!


Kids loved it and a couple of senior citizens in our neighborhood stopped and laughed at it. Overall we consider it a solid success for our first Halloween display and as a use of recyclable material. On Halloween night, we dressed up as “Mission to Mars” with my nine-year-old sister and engaged in some socially-distanced trick-or-treating (by taking candy that was left outside and, with a great collective effort of will, quarantining it for a day).

On the side of our one-day-definitely-going-to-be-actually-flying airplane, we used every excuse possible to stay home rather than brave the freezing depths of our very concrete hangar. However, we did venture outside to pull some rivets and hang out with Eugene at the hangar, who put together a flap all by himself!


We also mounted the right fuel tank with Kat, which was a massive pain in the backside and not an experience I am really looking forward to repeating. It took the both of them holding and guiding the fuel tank and me monitoring the boroscope to finally get it on. The issue (for us at least) is that those brackets sit very tightly on the spar, and if they are the slightest bit misaligned they will not go all the way on top of the spar “shelves”…

Here’s Kat really not looking forward to any more fuel tank struggle after the awesomely sucky time we had:


Meanwhile, at home, we tested the pitot tube:

Which indeed got hot enough to melt the ice in the bowl. We also brainstormed the wiring scheme. As we add more things to our airplane electrical system, how many cores are necessary and which conductors go where becomes a bit more hazy. We also had not really thought through how to strip the massive shielded multi-conductor teflon-coated wire we had bought for the strobe. That teflon is strong stuff! Does not want to come off the shield! We learned that you can either do it with a $0.08 razor (which is hard on your dexterity) or with a $1200 tool (which is hard on your sense of what is good and right in this world). So, we practiced with the razor and assembling the individual conductors with Deutsch connectors. We learned that you do not actually need the ~$300 tool from TE Connectivitiy to crimp these, a ~$30 tool will do just fine. Also, one thing the very encouraging but somewhat misleading tutorial does not tell you is that you have to shove the crimps as deep as you can into the connector, so that the wedding-cake part fits into the wedge-lock hole. Otherwise the conductors will pop right out once you pull on the cable.

We also realized that we had not taken into account sheild termination when we ordered our connectors - on discussion with the EEs at my work, we concluded that it would be best to terminate the shield at the panel side at the communal ground, but that meant that the shield needed to be connected through all the connectors we were planning on using in order to maintain that conductivity back to the panel. This meant that we would need to add another pin on all connectors - not a big deal, but good to realize now. While this all seems like a bit of overkill, I’m hopeful that the result will be a radio with no buzzes, no hypnotic strobe sound, and no weirdness whatsoever. Complete silence is the goal!

Finally, we decided to bougify our airplane landing/taxi lights with a spiffy spacer! This decision was based on this discussion on the Sling Builder’s Facebook group. Here are the STL/Blender files for anyone who is interested.

How are you, dear readers? Freezing your wingtips or living in a tropical climate? Wish you were in Munich instead? Leave a comment below!

Written on November 12, 2020
[ #wings  ]