Day 27: Try the other wire (beep)

Time for some aircraft fun. Today’s goal is to sort out the wiring for all of the avionics, and figure out where the wires are actually going to run inside the plane.

It’s going to be a long day, and we know we’ll forget to eat lunch, so we go to Dinah’s for a huge breakfast.

When you open the garage at my brother’s house, this is what you see.

As you might expect, the kids in the neighborhood love it.

Bethany’s having a party at the house tonight, so the first thing we do is put the engine cowling on to make the plane look nice and presentable. CJ shows me the recent epoxy work he’s done where the doors meet the fuselage.

Here’s where the electronics need to go.

This aircraft is classified as “experimental.” The equipment we need to sort out today is:

  • Primary and secondary flight displays (EFIS = Electronic Flight Information System)
  • Vertical power control system
  • Engine monitor (which also acts as a third redundant EFIS)
  • 4-radio communication stack
  • Audio interface panel
  • Various sensors and deely-bobs

We start laying out components and wiring harnesses, and bring up specs and plans on the computer. There’s a lot of information we can get from similar planes others have built, but none of them are exactly like what CJ is building, so there’s some “use the meter to see what this cable is connected to” action.

RS-232 and RS-422 are old computer connection standards, but they’re robust. Planes still use them for just about everything. There are serial connections from every component to every other component.

After the first wiring pass, we climb into the plane to test-fit the components. They don’t fit, so CJ makes minor modifications to the aluminum plates.

As predicted, we totally forgot to eat lunch.

Here are most of the systems together, including the radio stack. About 75% of the white wires are going to be serial connections between one system and another.

When we’re done, the panels all fit into the plane, and most of the cables have a place to go. The next step for CJ is to build a test mount outside of the plane so that we can power up the components, and test their interactions as we hook them up.

CJ and Bethany are very proud of this project, and can’t wait for it to be @&*%# finished. When it’s done, it’ll take them less than 2 hours to come to San Francisco on a whim, and less than 80 minutes to Las Vegas.

Bethany’s Celtics shirt is trouble, but we like her anyway.

In the evening we’re really ready for a break.

Bethany’s house party tonight is no-boys-allowed, so CJ and I disappear to watch the Laker game at Hans‘ house.

Hans is a writer and a lifeguard, and we’ve been friends since we were both 2 years old. That means I’ve known him longer than either of my brothers. He and Jen have their own 2-year-old now, who has already started demonstrating superpowers. Keeping him off the tops of the bookshelves was a big task tonight. Lakers: Seriously? Wow.

Random assertion: Each new generation has a responsibility to shock the one before it. Shock-resistant parents make this a challenge.

Steganographic data: 1878/0.6

Published in: on June 13, 2008 at 4:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Day 23: A Glimpse of the Future

Everyone’s got work to do in the morning, so we put some coffee and tea on and the house gets quiet for a few hours.

Then we head to Epic Roasthouse on the Embarcadero for a special brunch. They put one of those old seltzer bottles on the table, and it’s really hard not to start a seltzer fight.

When we get home, everyone’s busy again. Dad is working on his lecture, and my muse is finishing a knitting project.

(Knitting, what?) Don’t laugh, those 12-inch #5 aluminum needles will pin you to the wall from across the room, and you’ll never even see it coming. Trust me on this one.

She’s been doing it her whole life, and is super-fast now. Today she’s just finished up something for herself, and shows it off:

Mom and Dad are heading out of town tonight, but first we all make our way to 4th Street to watch the Lakers/Celtics game with some hot wings and beer. Gotta have priorities.

Funny thing about the game was that the TV we were looking at was about 3 seconds ahead of the big one most of the pub was watching. We’d cheer (Whoa!!), then wait 1.. 2.. 3.. “WHOA!!” …and roll over laughing. For a while there, we were able to see 3 seconds into the future. It looks pretty good.

Random assertion: If you see someone knitting, it means she has serious math skills and a whole quiver of sharp objects. Be nice to her.

Steganographic data: 1880/1.8

Published in: on June 9, 2008 at 8:18 am  Comments (1)  
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