Tuesday November 4th, 2008|
Dynon Autopilot Install Complete
I have finally given up on my Trio autopilot issues. The Trio folks were generous but honestly I have spent too much time and money trying to fix my autopilot installation. When Dynon announced their servos I thought I would give them a try. I can get a two-axis autopilot using my EFIS for basically the same price as the Trio which just provides roll.
Anyway, I've been working on the Dynon installation sporadically for the past week. Tonight I finally finished it. The installation was mostly trivial, just a lot of work. I had to basically remove the aft baggage wall, the left baggage floor and center tunnel, both seat pans, the fuel pump (argh!) and associated covers, etc. It was a lot of work and I have a collection of bruises on my back from the passenger stick socket to show for it.
Dynon has not released the 5.0 firmware yet to actually drive the servos. I had asked on the forum a while back if the servos would show up in the DSAB menu in earlier firmware versions. They stated that no they would not. That information is apparently incorrect, because they are there as evidenced by the picture above. You can see the screen says "4 NETWORK DEVICES". They are my EFIS, EMS, roll servo and pitch servo. Pressing the "DOWN" and "UP" softkeys on this screen will toggle through each device.
I'm assuming that in the calibration process there is a method for selecting which servo is roll and which servo is pitch. The servos are wired to the DSAB buss and are identical, so there's not physical difference in the wiring of the servos. The software must know which is which. This DSAB buss if freaking cool. I honestly think every avionics vendor should start looking at doing something like this. It would get rid of 95% of wiring in an instrument panel.
Also, I finally got rid of my night flight restriction! I had one due to color blindness. I passed the light gun signal test through my local FSDO so the only restriction I have now is for corrective lenses (I have to wear contacts or glasses).
I had previously flown in my airplane once at night with Mike Stewart acting as PIC, but I have yet to fly my airplane at night since getting my restriction removed. I started pulling the plane apart for the autopilot install immediately after returning from FTY where I did the light signal test last Tuesday.
Back to the autopilot...hopefully Dynon will release the firmware shortly and I can start enjoying this thing. I hope it works great. I have high hopes. I did not install the optional AP74 module. I decided that I will fly the autopilot first and if I am happy with it then I will install the AP74 unit (gives you pre-selects, external buttons to arm the autopilot, etc).