Originally Posted by Polar
Would you possibly elaborate on this Carl? Is it the quality of the harnesses that you found insufficient, or the type of harness used?
I've read many of Carl's posts regarding the wire harness and while he has made some interesting points, I believe, for most builders the supplied harnesses are more than acceptable and in fact the best choice. Consider this a friendly rebuttal to Carl's well thought out posts.
First, all of my supplied harnesses from Van's were built by Stein. I believe that is still the case. Stein does first rate work and I have never had a material or major quality issue with any of their harnesses.
Second, Carl has mentioned the fuselage to aft fuselage joint as being unneeded. While a connector free run is always better, the practicality of the connector is beyond question a good thing. You can build the tail cone and have it wired up without having to worry about running wires after the fact.
Third, some people object to the larger molex connectors that are used to join the harness sections together. These connectors are more than adequate for the job they have. Builders should understand that these connectors have a limited number of on off cycles - so don't be connecting and removing them willy nilly, only connect them at the appropriate time and leave them alone.
I object to some uses of the mini molex connectors and replaced the ones in the sticks and the one to the flap motor. These connectors can be troublesome for field installation of small wires. I replaced the stick connectors because I was not able to isolate the joint from motion and in my experience they will separate or pins will come loose unless they are secured from any cable strain or joint flexing.
I replaced the flap motor mini connector for reasons unrelated to the mini connector.
Fourth, the materials used in the harnesses are aircraft grade Tefzel wires and I found all the wire size choices to be acceptable. I've already mentioned that I believe the connectors are entirely suitable.
Fifth, although touched on earlier in this post, the ability to have the wiring done while building the sections is not to be underestimated. If you are a new builder and starting on the wings, you will have to start worrying about how to wire the plane right at the start. That is not a trivial task, as you will have to make many decisions about what size wire and how many you will need.
With the 14, at most, if you know you are going to have something not provided for in the basic wiring, you will only have to add it to the supplied bundle. I don't know how the wing wiring has changed, but I added two wires for pitot heat at build time. I was surprised to find that they are in the fuselage wiring so maybe they are now in the wing wiring.
Van's has also made a change to suggest running wing grounds all the way to the fuselage for magnetometer issues. I had added a wire to the wing bundles for this purpose so I was able to make that change easily.
Sixth, the wiring is already very complete for a very robust list of gadgets. It supports three servos, including a yaw servo, all typical lighting options, wing mounted ADAHRS or Magnetometer, OAT, old style stall warning, both pitch and roll trim, flaps, headphones - including the fancy new plug for powered headphones, all typical stick functions, aux power jack and audio input and at least partially - pitot heat.
Now, some have nits with some of the basic choices, for example the aux power jack being just the old cigarette lighter type, but these are trivial to fix later in the build when you are knee deep in wiring up the panel. These are no reasons to toss a perfectly good set of wires.
I have now built two airplanes. I did all the wiring on the first one and enjoyed it immensely, but it was a lot of work even though I was basically following a Bob Nuckells Z drawing. I had to route it all, decide on wire sizing, buy all the wires, run out and buy more wire and then end up with way too much of a wrong size - and that was for an airplane without AP servos, electric trim or electric flaps.
I found all that work done for me by Van's to a very acceptable level. There are several things I might have changed or done differently had I designed the wire bundles myself but I was more than satisfied that, on the whole, Van's had done a credible job.
I also had Stein build me a harness that interfaced with the fuselage wiring and the Garmin units, but I had them just leave long unterminated leads for all the power and switches that I then routed to my own panel layout and power distribution system. Their work matched the quality level of all the other wiring and was almost fault free.
For my last point, I have now flown my airplane with Van's standard wiring and have had no issues with any of the wiring. No noise in the headphones or radio transmissions, or interference with the magnetometer. All the Garmin tests on the ground passed easily and no issues have presented themselves in the air.
I am still early in my flight testing so I report any issues that may come up further along. So far however it's a totally wonderful airplane, including the electrical system.
I'm very satisfied with my aircrafts wiring from Van's and do not recommend tossing out the valuable wiring supplied with the kit.