Friday, January 13, 2017

Section: Avionics
Hours: 40

At the start of my avionics planning I purchased and read through (multiple times...) AeroElectric Connection by Bob Nuckolls. This book is the bible for designing electrical systems for experimental aviation.  I knew I wanted to have an all electric panel (no vacuum instruments) and I do fly on instruments occasionally. To do so safely you must have a robust electrical system. After looking at the various systems illustrated in the Nuckolls book, I was inclined to go with a main battery and 2 alternators approach. The dual battery systems introduced a level of complexity (and weight) that I don't think I will need.

I was intrigued by the Vertical Power products because they implement many of the features of the circuits illustrated in the Nuckolls book but with microprocessor controlled solid state busses.
I spent quite a bit of time trying out different configurations of equipment using the VP-X planner software. I quickly discovered that for an IFR panel there are not enough circuits in the VP-X Sport so I moved on to the VP-X Pro. To use the planner software you first have to make an entry for each piece of equipment and specify the current draw. Then you can assign the equipment to the A or B bank, keeping in mind how the panel would operate if either bank fails. You can also assign equipment to panel switches. The planner then spits out a wiring diagram. Doing the layout exercise helped me refine my equipment list and prepared me for discussions with SteinAir.

I read through the tutorials on the Vertical Power site and read Aircraft Wiring Guide by Marc Ausman to get a better handle on how to configure the electrical system.

Here is the initial layout that I arrived at before starting discussions with SteinAir.

It took about a week of back and forth discussions with SteinAir to settle on an equipment list and to get the initial purchase order.

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