[79FT]: Building Things
... the answer is NOT solder?!
|On:||Oct 08, 2019|
|In:||[Chickenhouse Charger] Electrical Rebuild|
|Tags:||tools, electrical, soldering|
A while back, I wrote a note on my failures at getting good crimps with the hydraulic crimper I had.
My conclusion then was, "solder".
Well, I tried :). I had to make a little bonding strap, maybe 5 inches long.
First time, I cowboyed it - just stuck the strap into the terminal, and soldered away.
In. My. Face.
Second try.. I think
I was soldering, de-soldering, soldering again, etc. Trying different positions, and different heating methods (butane torch worked best).
One of the better ones
I eventually started using the "wedge" trick - to wedge a piece of thick wire in between the wire strands, so that the wire gets packed into the barrel of the terminal.
All that yellow crust is rosin flux
My main problem was, I was trying to prevent solder wicking as much as I could. And I couldn't. It would make 1 inch or more of the wire perceivably "crusty", and I still won't have the barrel filled in. Remember, I was trying to make a small, short grounding strap, that had to be flexible to bend almost 180 degrees. I was trying to achieve a "crimp quality" break between solid metal and strands, and could not.
When I started thinking about it like that, I realized that what I'm trying to do is likely impossible.
Solder will wick - you can control how much with technique and practice, but you can't prevent it. So my current thinking is, if you solder your large lugs, be ready to support first few inches of wire really well, so that that "crusty" portion of it doesn't move.
So, I tried to Hail Mary the crimps again. Previously, I had them just damn ugly (I linked the article above).
I got a small anvil tool (the kind you insert the barrel of the terminal and whack a pin with a hammer) from Spruce. Thought, 25 bucks was worth a try.
Those crimps were even uglier. I don't know what I expected - I guess that was an act of desperation? I didn't even take a single picture.
But then... I had a minor epiphany.
With the Harbor Freight Crimper, dies are not properly ground for wire sizes. But. But.
Just like with hammering, we can crimp progressively until we "flow" all the strands and the barrel into one solid piece!
Here's the approach (okay, this is the final procedure, first try did not include turning - but I did it (admittedly, accidentally), and liked the results a lot).
Pretty, ain't she? And, no "wings".
If you don't do the turning trick, it'll still be pretty; but with just a whiff of those "wings" present:
All all this was what... five and a half hours?
Well, I guess, that's the "education" part of the "Education and Recreation" charter of E/AB aviation ;).
You start with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before you empty the bag of luck.
...fun with wires
|On:||Jul 01, 2019|
|In:||[Chickenhouse Charger] Electrical Rebuild|
|Tags:||6781G, MA5 Charger, electrical, soldering|
Well, all the electrical on the Charger is disassembled now. I logged about 24 hours doing it.
Firewall wire harness, looking into the side conduit
I have started with wires on the terminal block and in the side channel, and was moving back and forth between various locations - get bored in one, move on to the next.
The disassembly has begun!
In the side conduit, going on the right side of the plane to the back cockpit, I was slowly removing the wires, and the oil and fuel pressure lines.
Had to be careful to mark the wires I wanted to keep - all the wires going to the lights, and some instruments in the front and back.
Wire by wire...
I would cut them off, and pull them out one by one.
Behind the panel is a rat's nest!
I pulled the mechanical tach and it's cable, and the oil temp and pressure and fuel pressure gauge.
By the way, the oil temp gauge was unpowered! And still ran on a thermocouple - but it's huge, to generate enough power to move the needle.
Heck, I'm keeping it as my IHT Gauge!!! (Internal Hangar Temperature, that is). It just looks too cool.
Eventually, all the wires were gone from there, aside from the ones I'm keeping; and the ones I'm keeping got temporarily marked.
By the way, I found a burnt wire! Was one of the unfused wires going to the voltage regulator.
Burnt wire - can you see it?
I cut off the burnt chunk.
See those little "boil bubbles" on the back side? Insulation was super brittle, and just a minor twist cracked it open.
Meanwhile, behind the panel were a couple of soldered things - with wires unsupported. One of them was the master switch, the other one was this weird resistor in the voltage regulator circuit where the low voltage alarm light was supposed to be.. go figure.
But look at the solder joints:
Notice, they were not done very carefully (especially the ones on the Master Switch). Flux was not cleaned. But! The joints look, and are, solid. They are almost 40 years old.
I think I am officially now in the "no soldering on airplanes is an old wife's tale" camp.
At some point, I decided to take a break, and try on the new Voltage Regulator I'm planning on installing.
....it's not up to scale, and I did not have the time to paint it...
Side Conduit location
I'm thinking I'm gonna mount it in that conduit on the side. It'll stay cooler, and generally be tidier. I'll use the space occupied by the old voltage regulator for my current limiters and the ammeter shunt, though still need to think a bit more about placement. Maybe those will go somewhere else, too.
By the way, the old voltage regulator in all it's glory:
A Mechanical Switching Voltage Regulator
I also completely removed the strobe - I'll be replacing nav lights with SkyBeacon/SkySensor; which will cover my blinking needs.
Wanna see a couple old electrolytic caps? The strobe power supply still worked, by the way!
The Strobe power supply and bulb
I have disassembled the charging and starting circuits completely, too. Since I'm redoing everything anyway, adding better wires, and new terminals would not add too much expense, and be good for the system. I also want to modify how battery is grounded.
Found this next to the Master Contactor
Accidental welding on firewall
Do you see it? Two spots, above the screw? Someone didn't disconnect the cable when working on her! :). (And, no, that wasn't me)
And finally, here's how almost the entirety of electrical system looks like.
Most of the electrical of a biplane
Some swithces, some fuses, some wire, and that's it!
If it doesn't work, rename it. If that doesn't help, the new name isn't long enough.
tested fuselinks, measured loads, removed and diagnosed turn-and-slip indicator
|On:||Jun 18, 2019|
|In:||[Chickenhouse Charger] Electrical Rebuild|
|Tags:||6781G, MA5 Charger, electrical, experiments, research, instruments, soldering|
Finally, doing some actual work on the airplane, and having fun! And I decided to start logging time.. because, why not!
I like marked wires. I used to be a networking guy, and I was very meticulous about marking every single wire in my cabinets, so that I knew exactly what was plugged in where.
It took a bit of upfront time, but saved a bunch of it later on.
So naturally, I was planning to do the same on the Charger, and, more importantly, make it look professional.
Thanks to living in this day and age, that is simple. No, I'm not gonna pay someone to laser etch my wires - that's a cop out :). It's like paying someone to paint your plane.
Instead, I have researched and found a perfect label maker - Brady BMP21 (not including a link here because it will probably go dead after some time... just search for it). This thing has 3:1 heatshrink tube cartridges.
The proverbial coupon
Prior to shrinking
Prior to ripping the old wiring out, I wanted to take some real life load measurements with various things turned on, so that I don't get any nasty surprises.
But this plane has no ammeter... damn. I searched around, and found this little doodad:
Hall Effect ammeter
Very nice. It basically measures current on the wire passing thru this big white ring using Hall effect. Very cool! No need to splice into the battery leads and install a temp shunt.
So, I rigged it up and took some numbers.
So couple interesting things here. I think the x-der number is too low, but it wasn't being interrogated, and I can't make it be interrogated without flying the plane or using a transponder tester which I don't have. Also, Master On is too high seemingly... Will need to double check later and isolate things (master solenoid, hobbs, voltmeter, voltage regulator, fuel gauge) if I care enough - I don't think I do. Also, fuel pump is too low seemingly. Need to double-check the spec.
And then, I could not turn on the Turn-Slip Indicator...
Sad, sad indicator... see, it's long. And it's wire connector is sticking out. And it's right behind the front seat's headrest, and there's just not enough room for it, and the connector.
So whomever put it in... did this:
Sad, sad wiring
It's hard to see; but basically, those wires are bent "down" at a very sharp 90 degrees angle. Notice how he just used pins without the actual connector. The distance between them is tiny! I am surprised they haven't shorted over all these years. I really am.
Initially, I thought the gauge didn't turn on because that wiring was all bust up, so to test it, I decided to pull it out.
On the bench
I cut off the wires with those pins on them to hook it up to my testing battery... hmm.. but I needed some leads! Well, I was gonna make a bunch of various test leads - so this is as good a time as any! Man, I love soldering...
I long decided to make a bunch of leads with "passthru" banana plugs on one end, and something (a crocodile clamp, a battery clamp, a ring terminal) on the other. This way, I could mix and match, and plug them into my multimeter; daisy chain, and have multiples depending on what and how I needed to hook up. I had all the bits (clamps, crocodiles, banana plugs), and even got a roll of very nice super flexible silicone coated probe wire.
Components, and the battery clamp crimped on
Release the Soldering Kraken!
The banana plug pin
All hooked up
The gyro in the gauge didn't start. Damn.
But I had resistance between + and -. And I had voltage! Hmmm..
Second time I hooked it up, I saw a bit of a spark when I put the positive clamp to the battery, and heard something.
I spun the gyro with my finger.... it spun up!
Well, well. So that gyro "froze" in a bit... Yep, it was hard to turn over with a finger - no doubt a small motor in there had a hard time!
I probably "cleared it up" a bit when turning it over with my fingers - but that won't last long... damn.
Are we looking at the overhaul for this thing too now? Sigh.... Maybe I can find parts to do that myself, but not so sure about that.... It's not common for owners to overhaul their instruments - they're precision clockwork, after all...
And I will have to figure out how to solve that wiring problem with no space to hook up the right type connector. I am thinking along the lines of maybe routing a wire from inside of the gauge down thru a hole I'd drill, a grommet it it, and covering the whole business with with some sealant or something, so that the dust doesn't get in. we'll see. Need to ponder this a bit more.
You can land anywhere once.
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This website only shows how I did things in my various projects. These pages are for information and personal entertainment only and not to be construed as the only way, or even the perceived correct way of doing things. You are responsible for your own safety and techniques.