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  #1  
Old 11-25-2012, 02:02 AM
ao.frog ao.frog is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Manstad, Norway
Posts: 866
Default A GREAT homemade tool for flathead AFS EFIS connector-screws!

I have a AFS 3500 and recently I had to remove the EFIS. To be able to do that, I first had to remove the aft-mounted connectors.

As you all know, it's very tight beetween the panel and the sub-panel, so getting a flathead screwdriver in position on the small flathead screws on the connectors, is VERY hard. And it's even harder to actually start turning the screwdriver so the screw can be loosened. (or tightened for that matter)

After 30 mins, standing on my knees on the seat, partly bent over the panel, under the opened canopy, I finally where able to loosen the screws on all three connectors (that's six screws total) and could take out the EFIS.

Already I began to fear the job of installing it again....

I mentioned this problem to one of the guys on my building team the next day, and this guys is a real problem-solver:
On our next "RV-building day" (we build three days a week), he brought a tool with him and after alittle tinkering, he had made a GREAT tool for those ...#¤%£$@... small flathead tools on the EFIS-connectors.

He used it in the RF-5A's in Norwegian Airforce where he used to be a camera-technican: that tool where used to set the shutter on the camera's after the cameras had been to service. (The RF-5A's had four 90mm Hasselblad cameras mounted inside the nose)
It was very important that the shutters where set with the correct number of turns, so the norwegian technicans invented the tool theirselves:
they took a camera pics-counter from the previous recce-plane in the Norwegain AF; the RF-84F Thunderflash.
Then they made a special screwdriver for flathead-screws and mounted the counter on the screwdriver and then they could set the shutters on the RF-5A's 100% correct.







As you can see on the pic below, the screwdriver itselves, is slightly recessed: it's inside a small tube.
The ID of this tube is the same as the screws on the camerashutters, thus giving a trouble-free operation of the screwdriver.




What he did was this:

Shorten the camera-tool.
It had to be short enough so it could be placed on the connector-screws when the EFIS was installed in the panel.






The screwdriver-tip was just alittle to big for the connector-screws, so he had to make slightly smaller.







Then the tool could be placed on the connector screws:






If any of you would be interested of making a tool like this, I think you could make it with what you have in your shop: a small screwdriver and a piece of tubing. (for example a piece of leftover fuelvent-line)


To end with a little history here:
that tool used on the RV-5A's on the Norwegain AF is now back in use on another airplane, after spending some 25+ years in a toolbox in a basement...

Also; it's 100% sure that I've flown RF-5A's with cameras which have been adjusted with the VERY SAME tool.... because I was stationed at the same AF base (Rygge AFB) "way back when".....

It's fun to think about that I didn't have a clue back then, that I one day would fly another airplane which had used the same tool.... and this time the plane wasn't made by Northrop, but made by some friends and my self in a garage....

We didn't need the pic-counter from the RF-84F ofcourse, but I didn't want to throw that thing away, so the old counter now sits on my desk at home, reminding me not to throw away any old airplane-parts, because sooner or later, you'll get the use for them....
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First RV-7 completed, (bought partly finished from a US-builder) 305 hrs per July 2014, SOLD
Second -7 had first flight Feb 25th 2014. 220 hrs pr July 2019. Life is good!

Last edited by ao.frog : 11-25-2012 at 02:42 AM.
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  #2  
Old 11-25-2012, 05:31 AM
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ronschreck ronschreck is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Gilbert, AZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ao.frog View Post
I have a AFS 3500 and recently I had to remove the EFIS. To be able to do that, I first had to remove the aft-mounted connectors.

Great solution. However, wouldn't it be easier if you had provided a service loop for each of the connectors so you could remove the EFIS and THEN remove the connectors while the EFIS is sitting in your lap?
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  #3  
Old 11-25-2012, 07:09 AM
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jlfernan jlfernan is offline
 
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Location: Port Orange, Fl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronschreck View Post
Great solution. However, wouldn't it be easier if you had provided a service loop for each of the connectors so you could remove the EFIS and THEN remove the connectors while the EFIS is sitting in your lap?
Buzz kill.
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  #4  
Old 11-25-2012, 09:09 AM
Tom Martin Tom Martin is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Ontario, Canada
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I have enough of a service loop to put the 4500 in my lap for servicing and I still like the idea of this little tool. The 3500, as shipped, does not come out the front of the panel. The AFS is not the only item behind my panel that uses connectors like this. What a great idea, thanks for sharing, maybe Stein or someone can make up some of these. If you put a socket end on it to accept a small ratchet for tight corners it would be even better.
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  #5  
Old 11-25-2012, 09:23 AM
ao.frog ao.frog is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Manstad, Norway
Posts: 866
Default The 3500...

.... is installed in my first -7 and it's made by AFS to be installed from the backside of the panel, so it has to come out the same way: backed out of it's cutout in the panel, then slided upwards beetween the panel and subpanel and finally out.

The -7 I'm building now has AFS 4500 S and a 3400 S and both of these are constructed with a different way of mounting: they are installed from the front side of the panel and pushed into place.
For both of these, I have installed serviceloops.

Ofcourse, I schould have built a special bracket of some sort for the 3500 when I built my first -7. That way, the bracket AND the 3500 could be pulled of of the panel and into my lap.

But sadly enough, I didn't think that far ahead when I designed the panel, so that's why I appreciate this little tool.
At least, that saves me for modifying the panel in my first -7...
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Regards Alf Olav Frog / Norway
First RV-7 completed, (bought partly finished from a US-builder) 305 hrs per July 2014, SOLD
Second -7 had first flight Feb 25th 2014. 220 hrs pr July 2019. Life is good!

Last edited by ao.frog : 11-25-2012 at 09:42 AM.
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  #6  
Old 11-25-2012, 10:40 AM
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erich weaver erich weaver is offline
 
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Location: santa barbara, CA
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I replaced the dsub connector screws for my GRT efis with thumb screws procured from an electronics shop that look a lot like your tool, except that they stay in place permanently. Cheap and easy.

Erich
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  #7  
Old 11-25-2012, 11:05 AM
N15JB N15JB is offline
 
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Location: Denver
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Cool tool. Stein has dsub thumb screws that replace the originals. Part SA-TS. Eliminates the need to get a tool on the head on the screw in those situations where you are working blind.

Jim Berry
RV-10
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  #8  
Old 11-25-2012, 03:54 PM
aerhed aerhed is offline
 
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Location: Big Sandy, WY
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S;otted screws on DSUBS should have gone out with tube rectifiers.
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  #9  
Old 11-25-2012, 04:00 PM
aerhed aerhed is offline
 
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Which leads me to my next gripe. Navworx 600. Here plug it into your laptop using our convenient DB9 serial interface and some terminal program. They should sell you a Commodore 64 to go with it.
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