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iEFIS/Standard instrument installation times
#1
Hi everyone! So I’m closing in on my solo and then hopefully it will just be a short road left to my full PPL and then it will be time to focus on my build.

But in the meantime when I’m not studying I’m trying to make some difficult decisions, and what I’m stuck on right now is instrumentation!

Okay so I know the topic of whether to use the standard instruments or a full EFIS glass cockpit has been beaten to death and I’m not trying to open up that particular can of worms.

But my entire build is going to be viewed through the prism of my build time unfortunately. With a full time job and 3 weeks of vacation which I could probably get away with taking an extra week of unpaid time off before they want to just get rid of me lol, every decision I’m making is gonna be related to how it affects the overall build time.

I really like the idea of the EFIS panel, and I’m willing to spend the extra money on it, but my question is how much time, realistically, the installation would add to my build. 

And yes I know that build times are almost exclusively reliant on build skills, now I’m not gifted like my brother in small piston engines, but working in the controls and automation field has left me with a modest skill set to call upon. So just assume average skills for comparison, but I’d be very much interested to hear about your installation times!

I was also curious if anyone has moved over to the MGL Explorer or Discover iEFIS’s yet? The touch panels sound amazing but it seems like any iEFIS that I’ve seen in a Mosi has been the older model Enigma panel, will the install process be the same? Or is it like my Variable Frequency Drives, every new model comes with different termination points and installation quirks lol!

Anyways any help y’all could toss my way to better assist my decision would be greatly appreciated! Yeah I know at the end of the day the Mosi is more like a motorcycle, just hop in and putt around town for a little while and come home, no need for fancy electronics! But the way I figure it is, I’d rather have every little possible thing available at my fingertips and not ever need it, than to get into a situation where I need it but don’t have it.

P.S. Jeez I write some long posts about simple questions...I bet y’all who met me at the fly-in we’re glad I’m not like this in person!  Tongue
"Into the fires of forever we will fly through the heavens
With the power of the universe we stand strong together
Through the force in our power, it will soon reach the hour
For victory we ride, Fury of the Storm!" 
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#2
Hi Casey, I built my xe285 with a dynon skyview hdx. I had to take the large instrument panel option and make it even bigger. The display is fairly thin and fits nicely depth wise. Behind the display I was able to make a tray that holds the remote comm radio, transponder, and a vertical power vpx. It's difficult to put exact hour times on projects like this but I probably spent over 100hrs over the winter planning and building/wiring my panel. My wife was nice enough to let me take the dining room table for the job! It gets pretty cold in the garage, even with the heater running. Those hrs include installing the panel into the heli and then finishing that side of the wiring...sensors, antennas, gps, equipment, lights, etc. I'm happy with how it's all turned out so far, flight tests could reveal bugs, but hopefully nothing major.
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#3
How in the world can you operate a touch screen panel? Can't use your right hand. Can't let go of the collective unless you have added friction to both throttle and position. I'm not being sarcastic, I am curious.

I have an MGL radio and I added a box that would allow me tune it with the military stick grip so I never have to let go of the controls.
XE285 #1329 N869DJ
Start: June 2018
Done:  Sep 12, 2018  Sleepy 
AWC Issued: Sep 26, 2018  Big Grin  
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#4
Hi Casey,

Nearly solo, EXCITING!

I have built my machine with the individual MGL electronic instruments (old model), but dont think the build time should really change much between those or a glass panel. Most of the time is designing and then wiring the signals to the engine, gearboxes etc... As a new Mosquito pilot who had just been through some training in a 2 seat machine I would say I preferred the analogue instruments for vertical airspeed and forward airspeed as you like to glance at those quickly, but you get used to glancing at a number. If you do decide to go to individual MGL's I think they are a bit clearer now they changed to color screens compared to my older LCD type. I made an electrical drawing when building my machine and you are welcome to a copy as a start point for your design.

One other thing to compare between them is the rotor/engine rpm part. Especially as a new pilot and no governor you want that part really easy to glance at. The little MGL instrument is not as nice as an old analogue instrument for this. If its really big, fast and clear on the glass panel that might be a selling point all by itself. I ended up making a backup rotor rpm set of lights and put them on top of the dash, now after flyng a little I prefer them to the MGL as a primary instrument. You can see what I mean in one of my little vids on youtube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVbAUD2mmq8

Gary
XE285 in NZ
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#5
G'day Gary, That was a very good selection of clips, showing your LED rotor speed indicator. It has to be a winner, maybe the factory would like to fit those to all Machines. Great country for flying around too.  All the best Darrell.
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#6
(08-02-2019, 01:04 PM)Eblezien Wrote: Hi Casey, I built my xe285 with a dynon skyview hdx.  I had to take the large instrument panel option and make it even bigger.  The display is fairly thin and fits nicely depth wise.  Behind the display I was able to make a tray that holds the remote comm radio, transponder, and a vertical power vpx.  It's difficult to put exact hour times on projects like this but I probably spent over 100hrs over the winter planning and building/wiring my panel.  My wife was nice enough to let me take the dining room table for the job!  It gets pretty cold in the garage, even with the heater running.  Those hrs include installing the panel into the heli and then finishing that side of the wiring...sensors, antennas, gps, equipment, lights, etc.  I'm happy with how it's all turned out so far, flight tests could reveal bugs, but hopefully nothing major.

Well thats awesome! I'm going with a factory assist build though, so that's why I'm limited in time, I'll only have 3 weeks that I could probably stretch to 4 weeks for the entire year to get it done haha.

(08-02-2019, 04:12 PM)Dick Campbell Wrote: How in the world can you operate a touch screen panel?  Can't use your right hand.  Can't let go of the collective unless you have added friction to both throttle and position.  I'm not being sarcastic, I am curious.

I have an MGL radio and I added a box that would allow me tune it with the military stick grip so I never have to let go of the controls. 

Well of course, I wasn't trying to insinuate that a touchscreen is useful while flying, but it has a built-in GPS moving map for example so just imagine being able to just drop a couple of Points of Interests that you want to fly to and check out with your finger while you're still on the ground doing your preflights/warm-ups, etc.! But anyways, the screens are fully programmable, so you can literally design one screen that will have everything you need while flying so you won't need to change anything. 

And MGL sells an accessory for the old Enigma panels that's a  little programmable I/O module that you can wire in a few switches on your cyclic that will allow you to scroll through your iEFIS pages while flying. Now I noticed the new MGL panels don't list this module in the accessories on their site, so I need to give MGL a call to see if its an option with the new series, but I digress lol.

(08-02-2019, 09:35 PM)grevis Wrote: Hi Casey,

Nearly solo, EXCITING!

I have built my machine with the individual MGL electronic instruments (old model), but dont think the build time should really change much between those or a glass panel.  Most of the time is designing and then wiring the signals to the engine, gearboxes etc...  As a new Mosquito pilot who had just been through some training in a 2 seat machine I would say I preferred the analogue instruments for vertical airspeed and forward airspeed as you like to glance at those quickly, but you get used to glancing at a number.  If you do decide to go to individual MGL's I think they are a bit clearer now they changed to color screens compared to my older LCD type. I made an electrical drawing when building my machine and you are welcome to a copy as a start point for your design.

One other thing to compare between them is the rotor/engine rpm part.  Especially as a new pilot and no governor you want that part really easy to glance at.  The little MGL instrument is not as nice as an old analogue instrument for this.  If its really big, fast and clear on the glass panel that might be a selling point all by itself.  I ended up making a backup rotor rpm set of lights and put them on top of the dash, now after flyng a little I prefer them to the MGL as a primary instrument.  You can see what I mean in one of my little vids on youtube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVbAUD2mmq8

Gary
XE285 in NZ

Yeah I like what you're saying! I like the idea of the iEFIS for all of the customization options that are available. You can program all types of audible warnings that happen if certain conditions are met. There's a digital co-pilot option where the panel will announce things like your speed and altitude to you, all kinds of fun stuff. Probably take a masters degree in software programming to make it all work well but its always nice to have the option lol!

I guess I should probably give the experts at CFX a call and see what they say, I just hate bothering them when they're trying to work with a billion questions lol!
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#7
You want to base your decisions on what you want to use in flight, not the build time. If the build time is such a worry why dont you electrically design what you want now, and get the instrument console sent to you so you can pre-assemble it and have a wiring loom hanging out the bottom ready to go. You do controls and automation, the electrical design should be a breeze.

With the EFIS you are interested in, have you read the manual already and found screenshots of the instruments you need like rotor/engine rpm to see if they look good. If you cant find screenshots maybe email the EFIS sales people and get them to send you one of another helicopter configuration. If its configured by PC software can you get a copy of that and see what you can make your screen look like. If its that configurable you dont want to spend any of that 3 week build time working out the EFIS, you want it ready to go as best you can. Some others who have done factory assist builds can comment here and tell you how busy that build time is and what you can expect.

Gary
XE285 in NZ
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#8
FWIW, I use an iPad-Mini on a RAM mount on the top of my dash. I program my flight route before takeoff and use the HSI to provide steering info. That way, I don't have to try and change it in flight.
XE285 #1329 N869DJ
Start: June 2018
Done:  Sep 12, 2018  Sleepy 
AWC Issued: Sep 26, 2018  Big Grin  
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#9
Casey, which hand would you use in flight to manipulate the touch screen?

In a Mosquito I would imagine that there is no auto pilot or hold for cyclic or collective?
Maybe you could squeeze the cyclic between your legs for short periods so you can reach your touch screen or change a radio channel ?
Is that feasible/safe with the Mosquito?

I would think that the less you have to interact with your flight instruments the better and safer you will be.
I'm thinking analog or the MGL style digital/analogs would do just fine and be the least distracting.

However since its a hobby there are the intangibles of just having some cool gadgets to play with that may be attractive as well.
Ray
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#10
My thought is to install an adjustable friction hold on the collective.  You can already tighten the friction on the throttle to hold its position, but the collective will drop if you let go of it.  Right now, I have other issues, but if I engineer a design I'll let everyone know.

I think it would be too risky to ever let go of the cyclic.
XE285 #1329 N869DJ
Start: June 2018
Done:  Sep 12, 2018  Sleepy 
AWC Issued: Sep 26, 2018  Big Grin  
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