The pictures below were taking during the upgrade of its avionics panel. Click on the thumbnails to see a much larger original.
First, here is the panel just before disassembly:
Next, the old avionics were removed
Leaving an instrument panel with no avionics:
Then, all the panel lights, switches, connecting wires, etc., were removed, leaving an empty "husk" of a panel:
While the avionics were being removed, the old auto-pilot controls and rigging were also removed.
The panel was then prepared for complete removal, using sheet metal tools.
While the removals and demolitions were going on, the new wiring harness was being designed to connect the new avionics. Brian McNutt is the harness designer.
To test the harness and interconnections, a test bench panel was built from lucite. These panels were also used to test the AutoCAD design, to make sure that all the instruments were going to fit as designed. A few problems were discovered, which resulted in a new plastic panel being cut. This was much cheaper than cutting a new metal panel.
Having tested both the panel design and wiring harness, it was time to begin installing the new harness. There are a lot of wires, and not that much space to work in.
While the front-end of the plane was getting a "facelist", the back-end was also opened up for new auto-pilot controls (ie: electric elevator trim control):
Finally, the harness is in, and now it's time to fit the new, AutoCAD-custom designed (but still unpainted) instrument panel:
There was a ton of work to do in accomplishing this significant upgrade.
Using AutoCAD on his old PC, Tom Smothermon, with input from Grant Sumpter and myself, designed the panel layout (he also does the avionics & telemetry design for Dago Red, the current unlimited class national champion racing plane).
Grant Sumpter (left-side) did the electronics component selection and interconnection design work. He also spent many hours on the phone with Garmin, Sandel, and S-Tec/Meggitt getting some bugs worked out in their equipment. Brian McNutt (right-side) built and installed the wiring harness.
Joel Myers and Tom Smothermon. Joel is an experienced full-time commercial pilot, with multiple type ratings, a CFII, and an FAA DE for the Santa Barbara area. Besides being my IFR instructor, Joel helped check me out in N4184R when we acquired it, and he flew it for the new Garmins IFR checkout.
Duane McNutt, the owner of ASB Avionics, helped "swing the compass" and the Sandel, and performed the Garmin IFR certification. (Sorry, Duane, no picture)
Alan K. Stebbens Flying Website - Last updated: 04/13/2003