Tanya & Bryan Duke's RV-6 Panel Rebuild
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23 May 05: Alright, I'm waiting to finish the panel CAD drawing until I get my Aircraft Spruce order in with all the switches, breakers & my shiny cigarette lighter ("power adapter"). I know there will be some filing & other fine adjustments (or maybe not-so-fine adjustments) I'll have to do to the new panel after I get it laser cut, but I'd rather wait an extra day & have the chance that I could get everything perfect. We're probably going to have this panel for the rest of the time we own the plane, so I'm going to do all I can to make it look good.

There I was at the airport with "nothing" to do. So, I mostly installed our new autopilot. Trio Avionics included a wiring harness to connect the old NavAid auto-pilot servo/power/data connector to the new EZ Pilot II autopilot. It was so easy I'll call it brainless. I removed the 4 screws from the old autopilot, pulled the one connector off the back of it, put the 4 screws into the new autopilot & connected the old autopilot plug to the new autopilot. That was it. It fired right up.

Now, I had to manually enter our names & tail number on the startup screen, but it was simple. Other ground setup for the autopilot was described perfectly in the manual. One thing I knew I'd have to do was change the connections from my LORAN & GPS to the autopilot. No biggie - in fact, the new autopilot lets me pull my GPS Smart Coupler also. The Smart Coupler takes a GPS input (in my case, from my Garmin GPS90) & provides a VOR style output that the NavAid autopilot can read. Don't need that anymore! The LORAN is also going to get removed (but not today). More parts removed from the plane...

I don't have my GPS data output connected to the new autopilot yet. It really won't autopilot much until I do that, but it still should work great as a wing leveler. Depending on when my Spruce order gets here, I'll probably wait until I pull the old panel out to wire the GPS up. My plan is to connect the GPS90 & my EFIS/Lite GPS outputs to a DPDT switch to allow me to select which navigation source to use. I was going to use the same switch that's already in there (labeled VOR LORAN in 1st photo), but after looking at it today, I think I'll replace it. It's worth the $2 (if that) to have a new switch with no wrench marks on it.

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