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Old 03-22-2021, 08:14 AM
JDBoston JDBoston is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Boston Area
Posts: 295
Default Fuselage Wiring Harness - When and How

I'm at that stage of the build where the decision tree gets more complicated. (Chapter 29 - Fuselage where you can actually start to envision this thing is an airplane)

My current thoughts are around Avionics / Fuselage wiring. I have heard that while the fuselage is open is the best time to run the wiring, and also that you can either buy the harness from Stein or others or make it yourself, but of course that depends on what options you need, etc (more decisions).

I am leaning Garmin although what I have seen with the AFS and the quickpanel is appealing as well. It may not matter really at this stage.

- What's the best or perhaps latest time in the build to run these wires?

- Stein is the obvious choice but have others used other places to build a harness?

- Do it yourself is an option but having seen a recent post here - I am thinking time savings vs cost favors pre-built.

To clarify: I am talking about the fuselage harness for the wiring that runs through that, rather than the panel itself at this point.

Status: Tail mostly complete, Wings complete(ish), Working on: Fuselage Kit

Last edited by JDBoston : 03-22-2021 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 03-22-2021, 08:44 AM
Carl Froehlich's Avatar
Carl Froehlich Carl Froehlich is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Dogwood Airpark (VA42)
Posts: 2,941

As I have posted in the past, my experience helping someone install the RV-14 wiring kit was not good. Here are a few examples:
- Too many clunky Molex connectors
- Wrong wire (as in not using shielded wire for NAV/Strobe, trim servos, etc.)
- Reliance on airframe grounds.
- Some leads too short.
- Simple things like headphone jacks mounted in exactly the wrong place.

It took more time and money to fix the provided wire kit than just doing it right from the start.

PM me if you want a list of stuff to get - all available from Stein.

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Old 03-22-2021, 09:00 AM
AlexC AlexC is offline
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Oviedo, FL
Posts: 73

I am a first-time builder, and decided to go with all the stock harnesses that came with the individual kits as well as purchase the pre-wired WH-00125 main fuselage harness. All of those harnesses are actually made by SteinAir for Vans. I had decided early on to use SteinAir for my panel, so that helped my decision to go with all the stock harnesses that Vans provides for the RV-14(A). I added a few wires here and there (e.g. pitot heat wires, multiple RG400 runs for antennae), but nothing major. I liked the idea that I would be installing wiring as I built each sub-kit, when access was easiest.

When I installed the panel and programmed the avionics, it was nice to be able to reverse wiring when needed at multiple connection points, which the stock harness affords (you can change wires at the intermediate connectors, and not just behind the panel, which is helpful at times). As I mentioned, I went with SteinAir, which then wired my panel to mate with the large D-subs and molex connectors that are part of the WH-00125 main fuselage harness. The whole experience was nearly seamless - I only needed to tweak a few items.

BUT, I have several friends who opted for Aerotronics, and are very happy with their choice. Aerotronics provides all the harnesses, so you do not need to purchase the WH-00125 separately (or, from what I understand, the individual sub-harnesses that are part of the Emp and Wing kits). At this early point in the game, you might call both companies and ask about their wiring styles/philosophies.

I also learned early on that building my own harness (or panel) was not in the cards for me. Even with a prebuilt harness and prebuilt panel, one still has to terminate over 100 connections, confirm all the wiring diagrams, etc., so you'll still get plenty of avionics experience. Having completed all of that, it was more than enough for me.

Alex C.
RV-14A: Flying as of 4/13/21 - 12hrs into Phase 1
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