So a few months ago I decided that I was sick of my old nasty cockpit an panel that was not complimentary to my otherwise beautiful 8. I was also tired of having an unreliable engine monitoring system with multiple broken plugs. I wanted to go digital as well as change many of the things that were bugging me with the original setup. I had ZERO experience with working with electricity or avionics but knew that I could use this as a learning experience while taking advantage of fantastic online resources like this fine site to make sure I am doing it correctly and safely. The other goal was to save significant money not only through doing the work myself but also through non-traditional avionics equipment: a hard mounted iPad behind the dash with quick release connectors and 2 AHRS that pump flight data to the iPad.
In the end I designed a modular based panel (to allow future upgrades) in CAD and had it laser cut. Learned flush riveting to rivet the panel to its back bracket. The following is a list of all the things I ended up doing:
1. New stick grips. Removed the trim and flap switches from the dash and added 4 way trip switches to both sticks as well as flap control. Removed old spring aileron trim system and added electric trim servo. I used the UTRB relay board from Pat Hatch which is awesome! Also, he was extremely helpful and friendly. Thanks Pat!
2. Removed old vacuum system.
3. Installed all new engine plugs and sensors with Dynon D-10 EMS.
4. Installed front and back USB chargers and audio AUX inputs which ties into the ICS. Many thanks to rv7charlie for the audio tech help!
5. Made push button start with rocker lock switches (same as our F-18's master arm switch).
6. Hard installed in-dash iLevil 3 AW AHRS with remote GPS and ADSB antenna and connected pilot static lines. Special thanks to iLevel - very friendly folks!
7. Hard installed Stratus 2 (as backup AHRS) also with remote GPS/ADSB antenna.
8. Installed Garmin G5 w/batt backup and connected pitot/static.
9. Installed Fire Extinguisher
10. Created the quick release iPad holder with bus power and audio output with an iPad Air loaded with Firelight and WingX Synthetic vision to work with the AHRS.
11. Repainted and created my on decals.
12. And my most prized mod of all - cup holders!!!
And a few other things I'm sure I've forgotten....
End product, wild success! Well at least for me. It feels like a new airplane and I am extremely impressed and satisfied with the iPad/iLevil/Stratus setup. I am able to get all my flight data needed from the apps to include synthetic vision, flight planning, weather, audio flight/traffic alerts from the iPad. Multiple redundancy for attitude and nav information. I have not have any overheating issues with the iPad even after leaving it sitting in the hot central valley CA sun. Apparently it stays cool enough behind the dash even with the sun on the face.
I know this is not nearly as clean, high tech, or traditional of an install as most but I wanted to do something different, modular, inexpensive, easily updatable, and self created. The learning experience had been priceless and I have all you fine people to thank! While there were times (especially right after tearing out all my old instruments and staring at a rat's nest of wires having no idea what I was looking at) that I wanted to burst into tears, but I pushed through it, hit the books, and it was all worth it! Quite rewarding.
Thank you for all those who helped!! Enjoy!