Panel (pg 7)

 

 

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Panel:  pg 1 | pg 2 | pg 3 | pg 4 | pg 5 | pg 6 | pg 7

Electrical:  pg 1 | pg 2 | pg 3 | pg 4 | pg 5 | pg 6 | pg 7 | pg 8

 

When I selected the Lowrance 2000C as the handheld GPS to mount in my panel and drive my Trio autopilot and Dynon EFIS, I considered it the best "bang for the buck" both in purchase price and database updates.  It worked great, had terrain awareness features, and was easy to use.  But sometime around 2010 I think it was, Lowrance made a decision as a company to get out of the aviation business and completely abandon all their prior aviation customers by not providing database updates for purchase and essentially preventing any third party companies from supporting continued database updates.  That worked ok for me for a while, but summer of 2012 brought a Navy move from CA back to Kitsap county in Washington state, near Seattle.  The Seattle class B airspace was dramatically different than the outdated database in my 2000C so it was time for a panel change.  

I'm not a fan of the overpriced Garmin database subscriptions and found another smaller company with a great product, the iFly 720 from Adventure Pilot.  I figure it's a little bit of a risk to go with other than the "big guys" again, but I really like the 720 unit and at least for now the chart subscription price is pretty reasonable so the price difference between the other options will save enough that if I have to change again in two or three years, it'll be a wash other than my time in doing another panel change....

Here's what I flew with for the first 4 years of my RV-6A's life (well, almost 4 full years - 3 months short):

 

So I pulled the 2000C GPS out of the panel, leaving a gaping hole....so I made a cover plate to cover the hole and hold a mount to hold the iFly unit and let it stick out a couple inches to allow for the cords that plug in the side (USB to Serial cable to feed Trio autopilot and Dynon, and the main power cord).  

First step was to trace the hole so I could make a cover plate; our kids are 22, 18 and 15 so I had to ask my wife if we still had any crayons and surprising enough, she gave me a box of brand new ones!  So I got to color today:

 

Then transfer that onto some leftover scrap from the first panel I ruined during the build phase many years ago:

 

Then once I had a rough shape cutout, I held it up behind the hole and traced where I needed to trim further:

 

Eventually I had a blank cover plate that I riveted tabs onto so I could use the same screws used for the 2000C mount I made way back when:

 

The suction cup mount that came with the iFly GPS looked like something I could use for my mount once I took it apart (I only used the top piece that fits into the back of the GPS):

 

And here's what it looked like when I mounted it on the cover plate:

 

And here are some pictures when doing the fitting, some prior to putting holes for the cables:

 

The only power cable provided by Adventure Pilot with the iFly is the cigarette lighter plug style.  To hard-wire to your electrical system, you have to take the plug off one of their DC cords, or you can buy your own plug with bare wires or plug that you can solder your own wires to.  I couldn't find what I needed at the local Fry's electronics so used the extra DC cord I bought with the iFly.  Here's what it looked like when I took it apart:

 

And after I wired it into my plane, using the same power and ground wires that I had previously used for the 2000C:

 

The other cable work that needed to be done was the USB-to-Serial cable had to be connected to where my 2000C NMEA data had been wired.  The manufactured plug on the cable I bought with the iFly mated nicely to one I made from what I had in the shop:

 

With everything wired and working, my Trio autopilot was getting good GPS data and all looked good, so I cleaned up and secured the wiring re-work and mounted everything in place:

 

All in all, not a hard job that was done in about half a day at the airport, including the usual hangar talk interruptions and airplane watching.  I still need to pull that cover plate out and paint to match the rest of the panel, but that will be quick work.

October 2012 update after July 2012 iFly 720 installation:  Adventure Pilot has followed through with promised software updates, first adding terrain awareness capability shortly after I installed the GPS in my RV-6A and then in October 2012 they released the software version that added the ability to change the display to a portrait mode configuration.  The portrait mode view is what I had been impatiently waiting for since it allowed me to more closely match the originally installed Lowrance 2000C footprint.  When using in landscape display mode, I have to reach behind the GPS to get at a couple infrequently used switches/buttons (start button, start enable toggle switch and altitude hold main power switch).  In portrait mode, everything is almost as easily accessible as it was with the original flush mounted 2000C GPS.  

Installation as of October 2012:

 

Panel:  pg 1 | pg 2 | pg 3 | pg 4 | pg 5 | pg 6 | pg 7

Electrical:  pg 1 | pg 2 | pg 3 | pg 4 | pg 5 | pg 6 | pg 7 | pg 8

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  This page was last updated on 12/18/11.

 

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Copyright 2007.  All rights reserved.  Chris Hand, chris@ckhand.com