Downloadable Reference Materials for Amateur Airplane Builders

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Unlike closely held inventions and processes unique to individuals, knowledge and understanding are commodities that GROW in value the more they are shared. While the techniques and style of sharing may vary from teacher to teacher, the fundamentals are pre-existing and without ownership. If anyone finds an opportunity to expand the universe of dissemination for ideas offered on this website, you are free to reprint any materials published here. All I would ask is that reprints be published without modification and properly cited as to source.

If anyone detects a variance from facts or physics in any materials published on this website, I'd certainly like to hear from you. These pages are not intended to be the gospel according to Bob Nuckolls but a repository for some of the best aircraft design, fabrication and operating techniques to be found anywhere. Words found on these pages are representative of many sources of information not the least of which include our readers. Comments and alternative views from anyone are always welcome.

08/05/12

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AEROELECTRIC.COM

========== Table of Contents ==========

-A-

Annunciation and Warning

Antennas, Feedlines and Coax Connectors"

  • Antennas
  • Feedlines and Connectors
  • BALUNS

    Audio

    -B-

  • Batteries
  • Battery Maintenance

    -C-

    Circuit Protection

  • Breakers
  • Fuses
  • Fusible Links

    Connectors

    -D-

    DC Power Generation

  • Alternators
  • Generators
  • OV Protection
  • Failure Warning
  • Troubleshooting

    Design and Fabrication - Architecture Decisions

  • Architecture
  • Design for Living in the Real World

    -G-

    Grounding

    -I-

    Ice and Lightning

  • Pitot Heating
  • Lightning Effects

    Ignition

    Interference and Noise

    Instrumentation

  • Configuration Management
  • EFIS Systems
  • Fabrication and Maintenance
  • -L-

    Lighting

  • Landing/Taxi/Wig-Wag
  • Strobes
  • Cockpit and Panel

    -M-

    Manufacturer's Data

    -P-

    Panels

  • EFIS Systems
  • Instrumentation

    -R-

    Reference Documents

    -S-

    Shop and Bench Practice

    Starters

    Stories: Dark-n-Stormy Night

    Switches, Relays and Contactors

  • Contact Science
  • Switches
  • Relays and Contactors

    -T-

    Testing

    Tools

    Trim, Flaps and Autopilot

    -W-

    Wiring Techniques

  • Installation
  • Connections and Splices
  • Shields

    -Misc-

    How it Works Articles

    Aviation Interest and Commentary

    Bob's Miscellaneous Writings

  • ========== How To Articles ==========

    Design and Fabrication - Architecture Decisions

  • Architecture

    "Getting Started." If you're just beginning to plan your attack on the electrical system, here's an article to jump-start the process.

    Economics of Weight Reduction a piece which encourages builders to ascertain the REAL value of weight reduction in their project.

    "Avionics Master Switches: Really Necessary?"

    "What's all This Battery Isolator Stuff About Anyhow?" Sport Aviation, December 1995, Page 87

    "What's all This Failure Tolerance Stuff Anyhow?"

    New Z-19RB. Rear Mounted Battery version for single alternator automotive conversions. Click here for second sheet.

    "Low Cost Ground Power Jack for Your Airplane" Sport Aviation, November 1997, Page 85.

    An All Electric Airplane on a Budget

    EXP-Bus a review of the on-line advertisement.

    EXP-Bus Discussions on the Net

    Vacuum Systems vs. All Electric - a thread on systems that suck.

    All Electric Panel - a list server thread . . . .

  • Designing for Living in the Real World

    What's all this DO-160 Stuff Anyhow? A brief tour of RTCA DO-160 . . . A common sense approach to deciding if an electro-whizzy is going to survive and perform as intended in an airplane.

    DC Power Generation

  • Alternators

    Understanding Alternators . . a work in progress that explores the simple-ideas from which alternators are crafted.

    Adapting the Internally Regulated Alternator to Aircraft Here's a brief document describing how to install an interim alternator control and OV protection system in preparation for conversion to a new, AEC9004 Alternator Control System under development.

    Click here for an explanation of failures of internally regulated alternators when fitted with crowbar OV protection and a b-lead disconnect contactor.

    What about those built-in regulators?

    Know your Charging System . . . an often cited, not-so-helpful self-help document on the 'net.

    Alternator Testing with a temporarily installed test regulator.

    PM Alternator Noise a collection of 'scope traces that illustrate exemplar noise signatures from single-phase, permanent-magnet alternators.

  • Generators

  • Batteries

    To lithium or not to lithium, that IS the question.

    Myths of Multiple Battery Installations

    Battery Replacement - a plan for throwing in the towel . . . a capacity test fixture.

    Click here to explore the question, "How bad can an alkaline battery be?"

    Everything you ever wanted to know about RG batteries but were afraid to ask. . .

    "No Juice" a short piece on RG batteries which appeared originally in Aviation Consumer, Februrary 1, 1995. and updated 4-15-98. Click here for compilation of battery maintenance techniques including output conditioning for solar cells to prevent over-charging.

    "Batteries, a list server thread."

    "Battery Cables . . . ."

    "Ni-Cad Cell 'Memory' - Fact or Myth" Here's an explanation about a mis-interpreted behavior of Nickle-Cadmium physics in small re-chargeable cells. Written by "Mr. Battery" hisself . . . Isidor Buchmann.

  • Battery Maintenance

    Battery Charger/Maintainers Overview

    Deltran-Odyssey Floobydust

  • OV Protection When is 110V not Over Voltage?

    DIY Project: Roll-ur-Own Crowbar OV Module. One of the parts in the earlier article has become obsolete. This new piece uses more generic and readily available components.

  • Failure Warning

    DIY Project: Click here for the data package on a do-it-yourself low voltage monitor. This circuit is identical to the one used on our LVM-14 Loadmeter/Voltmeter and LV Warning system. All of the parts can be acquired from Digikey.

  • Troubleshooting

    Annunciation and Warning

    Roll your own annunciator panel by Paul Dye

    Failure Detection and Annunciation, an article on current monitoring techniques to annunciating failures of lamps, pitot heaters, etc.

    Antennas, Feedlines and Coax Connectors

  • Antennas

    Building your own VHF Comm Antenna.

    Morris Com Loop Antenna for fiberglas aircraft.

    Popular Antenna Lore

    Bob Archer: Antennas for Aircraft

  • Feedlines and Connectors

    Instructions for RCT-2 Coax Crimp Tool

    Check out photo #1 and photo #2 suggestions for routing external antenna coax to your hand held radio.

    Comic Book on Coax Cable Connector Identification illustrates several styles of BNC coax connectors . . .

    Click here for Bob's Shop Notes on a low cost alternative to one-piece, right-angle coax connectors.

  • Baluns

    VOR/LOC Antenna BALUN Fabrication made easy.

    Huggins: Coax Velocity Factor in Baluns

    Audio

    Confused about microphone jack wiring? Click here for a page from Bob's Shop Notes that should help you sort out where the wires need to solder onto the back of your microphone jack . . .

    DIY Project: Audio Isolation Amplifier and Revision K to the ECB Assembly.

    Stereo Music in your Airplane? Here's a set of wiring diagrams that illustrate audio wiring to integrate stereo music sources with monaural aviation audio sources. The diagrams are specific to the Micoair 760 VHF transceiver and exemplary of other combinations of avionics accessories. This data package also shows you how to assemble and install your own audio isolation amplifier in either stereo or monophonic configurations. Click here to download.

    Connectors

    D-Sub Pin Extraction Made Easy.

    Bob's Shop Notes: A comic book on installation of open barrel pins on Waldom Molex, AMP Mate-n-Lock, and D-Subminature connectors using our BCT-1 or similar crimp tool.

    Bob's Shop Notes: Soldering D-Subminiature Connectors

    Circuit Protection

    Fuses & Breakers . . . to fiddle or not to fiddle, that is the question . . . .

    "Fuses or Circuit Breakers?" Sport Aviation, March 1993, Page 86.

  • Breakers

    New comic book on breaker failures. "Yes Matilda, there are breakers that I would not recommend for airplanes."

  • Fuses

    Click here for Bob's Shop Notes on the differences between ANL current limiters and JJS/JJN series fuses.

  • Fusible Links

    Comic Book on Fusible Link Fabrication shows step by step procedure for building 22 and 24AWG fusible links. . . . .

    Ignition

    Shower-o-Sparks Magneto Wiring. Here's a way to wire magnetos fitted with retard breaker points and still use low cost, panel friendly toggle switches for control.

    Magneto Timing A compendium of articles and pictures on magneto timing tools and techniques.

    Stories: Dark-n-Stormy Night

    Dark-n-Stormy-Night Stories A good example of how stories intended to educate and illuminate the inner secrets of aircraft operation fall short . . . especially when it comes to electrical systems.

    Never Again - The Saga Continues. One of thousands of stories over the years that shows were we need to be going with our airplanes and their systems.

    Ice and Lightning

    Paul McAllister: Anatomy of a Lightning Strike

  • Pitot Heating

    Gauging Pitot Heater Performance - A study in fundamental heat physics.

  • Lightning Effects

    Instrumentation

  • Configuration Management

    Minimum Instrument and Equipment Requirements for Powered Amateur Aircraft

  • EFIS Systems

    Pengilly: Flying with an EFIS

    Pengilly: How to Choose an EFIS Pt1

    Pengilly: How to Choose an EFIS Pt2

  • Fabrication and Maintenance

    Baker: Static System Checks for OBAM Aircraft

    Interference and Noise

    An illustrated discussion about spike catching diodes and how they work.

    Lighting

  • Landing/Taxi/Wig-Wag

    Low Cost Wig-Wag system using automotive flasher.

  • Strobes

    Is my long-term-storage strobe supply likely to self destruct? Check out this piece . . . Long Term Stability of Aluminum Electrolytics.

  • Cockpit and Panel

    Switches, Relays and Contactors

  • Contact Science

    Fine Tuning the Invention Here's a copy of patent 4696832 on a technique for treating the surface of switch, relay and connector contacts to reduce the effects of environment on the mating surfaces.

  • Switches

    "Switch Ratings - What Does it all Mean?"

    AeroElectric Connection drawings depict a mixture of progressive transfer switches by Honeywell-MicroSwitch and Carling (who makes the S700-Series switches stocked at B&C). Click here for a document on switches that describes the different numbering for the progressive transfer switches.

    The big, red, split-rocker switch popularize by the type certified airplane guys is easily replaced by a less expensive, progressive-transfer toggle switch that mounts in a ROUND hole and looks like the rest of the switches on your panel. Click here for the interchangeability data.

    DIY fancy handles for flap and gear extension switches.

  • Relays and Contactors

    "Let's Talk Starter Solenoids"(230K Illustrated).

    Testing

    Strange Voltmeter Readings.

    Trim, Flaps and Autopilot

    Schematic for flap system using permanent magnet motor includes dynamic braking, options for limit switches and second switch for "back seater" . . . . When Pitch Trim Systems Turn Ugly a discussion on the value of a Plan-B for misbehaving motors that drive flight controls.

    RayAllen (MAC) trim servos are fitted with a short bundle of small wires. This edition of Bob's Shop Notes: offers an easy connector solution for dealing with those frustrating little wires.

    Click Here for a .pdf file on Ray Allen (MAC) Servo Trim system using factory Relay Deck. Click Here for a .pdf file on MAC Servo Trim system with a roll-your-own relay deck.

    Panels

    Reference Documents

    A compilation of frequently asked questions thanks to AeroElectric-List reader L. Holt. This rather large .pdf file contains a huge data base of questions and answers fielded on the AeroElectric-List . . . use the Acrobat Reader word search function to quickly root out answers to many of your questions.

    "AeroElectric Connection, an Information Service and Guide to Theory, Operation, Design and Fabrication of Aircraft Electrical Systems". 8.5" x 11" 230+ pages. Loose leaf text designed to allow periodic updating with the evolvoing art and technology of building the world's finest single engine aircraft.

    MOST of the the work for preparing a nice wirebook for your airplane is alread done. The following links will take you to a collection of drawing files done in AutoCAD. TurboCAD version 7 or later will also open, edit, save and print these files. Copies of TurboCAD can be acquired for a little as $15. Click here for down-loadable architecture diagrams in AutoCAD. If you'd like to develop a wirebook for your project that rivals anything sold for a Learjet there is a collection of "work in progress" drawings at which you're welcome to download and use as you see fit.

    Part 91 Requirements for Instrumentation in Aircraft.

    One-page wire size chart excerpted from chapter 8 of the 'Connection.

    Drill Size Chart converts number, letter and fractional drills to decimal inches . . .

    Shop and Bench Practice

    Bob's Shop Notes: CladBoarding - The fast track from idea to proof of concept. This article illustrates on of Bob's favorite techniques for quickly assembling small to moderately complex electronic circuits for testing.

    VARIACs and Shop Safety

    Starters

    B&C Starters; A net thread . . . .

    DIY Starter Adapter for Lycoming Engines

    Tools

    Quick and Easy Garage Sale Table assemble in 30 minutes for about $20. This two-tier table is handy for spreading out your inventory in the shop during assembly or selling excess inventory in your post-fabrication garage sale. Knocks down for storage. However, so easy to build that I sell them along with merchandise at the garage sale for $30. Customer knocks them down for you and it avoids storage between sales.

    Bob's Shop Notes on crimping tools for solderless terminals, a comparison of two tools with wide range of cost. An examination of how well they work.

    Click Here for Bob's Shop Notes on coax stripping tools

    Wire Strippers - Wire Strippers - Facts and Myths A shop note that explores the physics of getting that little bit of plastic out of the way so you can get on with wiring the airplane . . .

    Curious as to the accuracy of your hand-held voltmeter? Here is a schematic for an easily constructed, precision voltage source that may be used to confirm the accuracy of your voltage test tool.

    Wiring Techniques

    "Wire Sizing" Sport Aviation, June 1997, Page 56.

  • Installation

    "Adel" Clamps, everything you wanted to know and were afraid to ask . . .

    Keeping track of the wires: Check out this technique for tagging the ends of wires as bundles are installed in your airplane.

    Here's a picture that illustrates some important points for installing our S704-1 as an alternator disconnect relay in permanent magnet alternator installations.

    Local Battery Grounds Bob's Shop Notes on local battery grounding to metallic structure in airplanes.

    Integrating Homeless Components into Airframe Wiring.

    Firewall Penetrations Getting the Wires in While Keeping the Flames Out. A comic book on a time tested, simple firewall penetration technique for wires.

    Click here for robust, low cost option for wing-root wiring disconnect.

    Click here for Bob's Shop Notes on string ties for wire bundles

  • Connections and Spices - Soldered and Crimped

    Crimp or Solder - the debate just won't die. Here's a critical review of an article that appeared in Sport Aviation. The author advocates a lot of tools and techniques that are in stark contrast to aviation practice and rudimentary physics of joining wires.

    Anatomy of a Good Solderless Terminal

    Terminal Installation on Copper-Clad Aluminum

    "FastOn vs. Ring Terminals . . . What's the Difference?"

    "Big Connections - Terminal Installations on Big Wires . . ." Kit Aircraft Builder, Fall 1996

    Multiple wires in a single crimp? Sure, why not? Click here for an illustrated Shop Notes on an easy technique for insuring good results.

    Bob's Shop Notes: "Solder Lap Splicing of Wires" A comic book on high integrity splicing of small wires in aircraft.

    "Jack Tab Soldering, Bob's Shop Notes on attaching wires to solderable tabs on jacks, switches, etc.

    Soldered Lap Splices" in lieu of bulky, more expensive techniques.

    Quick-n-Easy Thermocouple Splicing.

  • Shields

    Pictorial on preparing ends of shielded wire for connection to other goodies in your airplane. . . . .

    Bob's Shop Notes: "Shield Termination Techniques" Got a ton of shielded wires and only a few ground pins in the connectors? Here's an easy way to deal with the task.

    Bob's Shop Notes: "Splicing Shielded Wires" A comic book on making a permanent joint between two shielded wires.

    ================================

    "Wired for Disaster" a critical review of a Sport Aviation Article.

    When is a Good Ground Not? An article on the fabrication and use of a 4-wire milliohmmeter.


    ========== How it Works ==========

    What's the AeroElectric-List About Anyway?

    What's all This List-Server Stuff Anyhow?

    Back to Basics Testing in Aircraft with Electronic Flight Instrument Displays

    "Spikes and Transient Voltage Suppressors" A list server thread (600K Illustrated).

    Recombinant Gas Batteries Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

    "Thermocouples - An excerpt from Chapter 14 of The AeroElectric Connection."


    ========== Aviation Interest and Comentary ==========

    In Flight Fires a collection of articles on fires aboard aircraft.

    Document Hazard Warning Richter says wiring per the 'Connection can produce "atrocious" results. It would be nice if effort expended by all individuals concerned with this thread advanced the state of our art. Sadly, this is not so. Until the offer for open and constructive dialog is accepted and acted upon, this thread will have to be filed under the Interest and Commentary section.

    "The Future of Amateur Built Aviation - We Need to be Better Than Certified"

    "The American General Aviation Technology Experiment: A future for you and me?"

    ========== Bob's Miscellaneous Writings ==========

    In Memory of Robert L. Nuckolls, Jr.

    A Belated Tribute to my most cherished teacher.

    Some Observations on Citizenship

    My Grandpa Would Know

    Resistance is Futile . . . You will be Assimilated.

    A Tale of Two Crises

    How about a comprehensive bone ban treaty?

    I'll have a Physics 101, History 201 (hold the War of 1812) and a side of Football? . . .

    Logic Man - his condition is deteriorating . . .