14 March 05 - Controls in the back, Altrak Servo, Finishing Baggage Floor Conduits

This seemed to become an evening that (with the exception of a bit of wiring) ended up being devoted to sticking a bunch of parts in various places to try to determine how they were going to fit. Most of this was stuff in the rear of the plane, but we're still futzing around with the GPS mount, too.

Pushrods, bellcrank, strobe power supply, and the Altrak servo, all in there. The "brains" of the Altrak still need to go back here, for thinking all that through, we're making frequent reference to Sam Buchanan's RV Journal. In any case, noodling over all this has started.
GPS mount. This has been in and out a few times, and we're still not really happy with the way it fits. There's an extended discussion of this below.
The power outlet jack in the subpanel is all wired up, now, too. Extended discussion of this below, too.

Extended Discussion

There are a few things to note, here: first, the GPS mount. This is a neat mount, but in order to try to get it to look all nice and flush, we've mounted it in such a way that it's extremely difficult to get the GPS out after the panel is all together. How? In order for the GPS to be released, the tab on the left side must be pulled back. If you mounted it flush - like we did (at least it's flush when the left side of the panel is in there) - then you try to pull it out and the tab won't move. This is a nice security feature - no one would be able to steal your GPS - but if you were hoping to use it in another plane, you're pretty much out of luck, unless you have a dremel (and another GPS mount). The GPS mount is a bit narrower than the radio stack, so it's necessary to put a washer on each side, which creates a bit of a gap. Tonight we tried putting two washers on the left side (where the tab is) and none on the right, with the hopes of getting a bit more room in there and making it possible to pop the GPS out with the whole panel in there.

No dice. Would have been nice, though.

At this point, about the only other thing that we can do is to cut a little part out of the left side of the panel so the tab has room to flex. This isn't a big deal, but it's going to look a bit less good. That's the only reason not to do it, though, and we were going to paint the panel again . . . so it looks like that's what we'll do unless some other inspiration (or perhaps a different GPS mount) strikes.

Wiring the power outlet in the subpanel: this can be wired in such a way that you could use it (not that this would be a normal use) to recharge the battery in the plane. Hmmmmm. If you do this, odds are that you'd also be able to drain the plane battery with your laptop. This seems to be worth the risk, though - I mean, if you really really need to charge your phone when the plane is off, it would be nice to have the ability to do that, and it seems to me that you probably wouldn't forget and leave something charging in the plane that was large enough to cause the battery to go completely belly up.

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