Monday, May 19, 2014

Doing The Annual Inspection

The weather is getting nice, and I am wanting to work on the plane again. It should be put in condition to fly, and that requires an annual condition inspection. My airplane, being an experimental, and built by me mostly, I have the ability to do my own conditional inspection and sign it off. It hasn't flown for almost 3 years, so I haven't done a complete conditional inspection for some of those years. This one is going to be thorough, I am in no hurry to actually fly.

I've got everything opened up. There are items that need repair (IE drip rail in the front that I broke while storing a box inside the plane), and other things that need a good looking at. I am changing the oil, and sent a sample off to a lab for analysis, to be sure the last couple years of dis-use hasn't done significant damage to the engine. The lab will test the oil for elevated levels of metals that may be early signs of engine damage.

I am looking at the firewall extensively for the engine monitor, and where to attach the monitoring computer.  Most of the smaller wires between the engine and the firewall are for sensors. The wires around the oil filter are oil temperature and pressure sensors. The silvery wires are EGT/CHT thermocouple wires. Under the engine are the fuel pressure wires.  There are the ammeter wires on either side of the shunt (that is a bit of old fashioned technology).

In the annual inspection, I found the ammeter light is burned out. This light is only needed for night flying, since I can see the instruments during the day. Each engine instrument has it's own light bulb, so I am 1/6th of the way through needing to replace them all. It'll be good to replace all the engine instruments with a smart box to monitor all this, as well as display current state.

I've started on the bluetooth code. That is a bigger challenge than I thought, mostly because the Android emulator doesn't support bluetooth. I need to keep my phone plugged in and use that for the tester. It isn't bad, but the phone has lots going on, so the log files scroll fast (and this is my only phone right now.

Soon the annual will be done, and hopefully about that time, I'll be ready to put my arduino in the plane, and start testing some of this. In the mean time, I've ordered another arduino, a mega 256. It seemed I ordered that the same day the arduino zero came out. Why am I messing with 8 bit micros when 32 bitters are about the same price? I don't know, comfort maybe, or maybe it is all I need, the 32bits may not get me anything. (The zero only has the same number of IO pins as an uno, so there isn't a big win yet, some day there may be a mega zero, until then, I'll keep using the mega).

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