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Started laying out panel, thoughts?

JeremyL

Well Known Member
I started laying out my panel, wondering what features you wish you had added as well as constructive criticism. Oh and I think I may make one change already, make the nav and strobe the same switch up nav/strobe, center off, bottom nav so I can put the pitot heat on the pilots Side.
 

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Your GNX375 will need to be several inches lower in order to clear the F-1044A Fwd Fuselage Rib. The unit is almost 11" deep to the back of the connectors.Screenshot 2024-02-08 144244.jpg
 
here's my 9 G3X system

Standard cut panel - I didn't want to make it deeper in order to save leg room. This might help with flow, box location, and switch ideas. Million ways to skin the cat, so research ergonomics and what works best for what you want. Tis is an older pic....I've since added some dry labeling on areas that still needed it.
 

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Last edited:
Do not use a Cessna or piper style key switch for ignition. use separate toggles for right and left ignition switches. The Cessna and Piper style key switches have a single point fault that will take out BOTH sides. Ask me how I know or search my previous posts from summer 2023
 
Thanks guys! Yes it is a 7 slider, sorry forgot to mention that.
I will look into the rib and 375 location.

I will be using a VPX pro and will have a push button starter and dual Pmags. The little circles left of the G3x are representing the locking toggles from stein for the pmags.
 
Seems like a lot of space left in that center panel that can ever be used, with things spaced out like that
I think I would stack the two radios in the center stack tight with each other, top or bottom, and move that garmin G5 (?) the opposite direction...to open up some space for future additional radio boxes, AP, etc... or even for just switches or whatever.

Also, I'd swap the boost and landing light switches so all lighting is grouped together
 
The fundamental question is VFR or IFR. This will answer the minimum equipment that you must have, see the government regulations for the list/capabilities. Then you can add some "nice to have". For a travelling machine I think an autopilot deserves consideration.
 
Seems like a lot of space left in that center panel that can ever be used, with things spaced out like that
I think I would stack the two radios in the center stack tight with each other, top or bottom, and move that garmin G5 (?) the opposite direction...to open up some space for future additional radio boxes, AP, etc... or even for just switches or whatever.

Also, I'd swap the boost and landing light switches so all lighting is grouped together
I’ll have to play around with the position of that gnx 375 /center stack once it’s installed and I can sit in the plane and “play”. The good thing is I can change the center stack relatively easy since it’s only a cut panel insert. I do however love the idea of switching the boost and landing light switches, that makes total sense.

It is going to be ifr, I have gsa 28’s and will be running it through the g3x. Between the g3x/ g5/ and iPad running ForeFlight or garmin pilot with synthetic vision on the iPad as well as a yaseu nav comm handheld, I’m good with that redundancy. My plan was to go with simple yet powerful.
 
A few quick broad stroke notes on how I would set this up if I were doing it:

1. I would put the radio stack together, rather than having the G5 in the middle. This will make the physical process of mounting the radios to the panel much easier, as well as simplify your wiring, installation, and likely operation.

2. If those are Aerosport rockers, you will only be able to fit 6 in that switch slot, not 7.

3. If you are planning on using breakers, you will want to make sure you plan space for around 30 of them on the panel for an IFR G3X system.

Some items you may want to consider adding:

  • Defrost Fan Switch
  • Taxi Light switch (if using taxi lights)
  • Wig-Wag switch (if you want it)
  • ELT
  • Dimmers for panel lighting
  • USB Charger for Ipad
  • Rheostats for cabin heat NACA valves

Don't take any of the above as gospel - This is just a quick scan and a response based on what I typically see builders doing.
 
If it's a 7 slider, then the comment about what's behind the radio stack is spot on. There's a rib dead center at the top of the panel that's about 2" tall at the panel and gets progressively lower as it goes forward. Your choices are to either cut and reinforce that rib to make room or drop the deep boxes to the bottom. You'll also need to cut a hole in the sub panel wherever you put the trays so you can get the connectors on them.

That G5 can go as high in the center as you want it as long as you offset it to one side or the other of the rib. Without the battery it's only about an inch deep. With the battery pack its only about 3" but in either case you have to remember that you have to leave room for pitot & static lines to plug into it.

As far as switch layout, I like the crucial stuff on the end of the row or grouped separately so I can easily find it without looking. I suggest you swap your landing light and boost pump in the first picture for that reason.

I've got several 3 position switches as well, but set them up so that down is off, the center is on 1 and up is on 1&2. Down always being off just seems right to me and it matches typically industry convention.

The way you've got it laid out, you're not going to have room for breakers so hopefully your planning on a VPX , otherwise youre going to have to get more creative.

Theres a website called hangarflying.com that has free panel planner with all the RV panels and common boxes and hardware to scale, so you can click and drag stuff around to see what it looks like and how it might all fit together.
 
My $0.02...

iPad is great for the passenger, but don't put it in a Gizmo mount or something like that just to make it flush with the panel. You'll want to upgrade it, and the next model sure as **it won't fit in the old gizmo mount. Provide an area where you can mount some kind of holder for it instead, like a RAM mount. Set the mount up so you can push it almost flush to the panel, or pull it out slightly and tip it towards the pilot for solo flights.

A standard radio stack in the center offers a lot of options now and in the future. A Gizmo mount would hold an aera 660 at the top, for a cheap GPS backup that can provide a lot of functionality and have almost no depth behind it where you have ribs. Autopilot and radios below it as depth allows.
 
Here is my panel. I would be careful with an i-pad; they get hot at altitude.
My radio stack is not ideal, but it is a compromise between the center rib and the order of the stack.
Lastly, If I had to do it again, I would combine more things on each circuit breaker. As it is now, I cant pull one without affecting another box on a different breaker, so what's the point of having them separate anyway? Maybe I would just separate the hi current draws, like radio and transponders, and group all the other stuff like magnetometer, AHDRS, CO sensor, etc together? JMHO
 
Personally I have found the iPad on the panel very marginal. It’s not quite bright enough (even the new ones) and lots of reflection. I’d second the fact that it is best used on your lap or for your passengers.

My RV7 is 2011 technology (G5 added later) but functional for IFR.

1707498561501.jpeg
 
I echo the “don’t put the iPad on the panel” comments. Leave a space for a second EFIS display when you have the cash. Keep the iPad in your flight bag as the third navigation backup.

As I’ve posted before, take the time now to make the panel fully removable from the plane. This sounds hard but in practice just takes some planning. The rule is “never on your back with your head under the panel”.

Carl
 
Wow! Thank you all for the comments,tips and information so far! Definitely giving me some significant food for thought.

The switches are going to be from rocker switch pros not aerosport. I’ve heard good things about them and the design widget is nice. I’d definitely love to make a few a 3 position switch with down being off but I think most all switches I’ve seen have off in middle and activate up and down.
 
Here is my panel. I would be careful with an i-pad; they get hot at altitude.
sidetrack comment...mostly I guess a suggestion for admins to consider

as a not-yet-a-builder.... when I see photos like this of a panel, I think that it might be awesome to have a repository someplace for
"nothing but panel photos"...could have a separate folder of panels per each RV model.

It seems to me that it would be very useful for folks planning their build to easily be able to browse different panels for ideas
 
sidetrack comment...mostly I guess a suggestion for admins to consider

as a not-yet-a-builder.... when I see photos like this of a panel, I think that it might be awesome to have a repository someplace for
"nothing but panel photos"...could have a separate folder of panels per each RV model.

It seems to me that it would be very useful for folks planning their build to easily be able to browse different panels for ideas
there is a sticky in each model specific fourm just for that purpose
 
I'd like to amplify Desert Rat's comment on the 3 way switch. If something happens in the worst case and you are upside down, in total darkness and trying to make sure everything is off as you attempt to escape the cockpit, you don't want to be counting switches and feeling around to make sure everything is off when you have one that is oddball. Much better to be able to run your finger across the row and verify all are off in a half second or less.
 
Alright guys, taking the advice and comments here, I changed up the lay out a bit and added a GMC 305, ELT panel(I forgot about it before), rheostats and a panel PTT.

On the stick will be main PTT, AP, trim and TOGA…. Maybe ident and or comm swap.

Above the fuel selector (planning currently on exactly how to make this tidy) I plan to have usb-c chargers and cabin heat. The portion above, I was suppose to cut off because I have electric trim, but why not use the panel space.

I grouped the boost pump,landing and taxi lights on the left because as a flow to me it makes sense to have them near each other for take off and landings. Also I use the landing light as a marker that I was cleared to land by a tower.
Also, as for right now I still like the idea of the panel mount iPad with integrated fans.

So with this reiteration, thoughts, comments and concerns? This is a fun way to do this and receive feedback. Thank you all a ton!!
 

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Alright guys, taking the advice and comments here, I changed up the lay out a bit and added a GMC 305, ELT panel(I forgot about it before), rheostats and a panel PTT.

On the stick will be main PTT, AP, trim and TOGA…. Maybe ident and or comm swap.

Above the fuel selector (planning currently on exactly how to make this tidy) I plan to have usb-c chargers and cabin heat. The portion above, I was suppose to cut off because I have electric trim, but why not use the panel space.

I grouped the boost pump,landing and taxi lights on the left because as a flow to me it makes sense to have them near each other for take off and landings. Also I use the landing light as a marker that I was cleared to land by a tower.
Also, as for right now I still like the idea of the panel mount iPad with integrated fans.

So with this reiteration, thoughts, comments and concerns? This is a fun way to do this and receive feedback. Thank you all a ton!!
Some more thoughts:
- You have the GTN-650 at the bottom. This is the thing you need to be able to see and manipulate most. Move it up as high as possible. The screen is usable to fat finger in ATC routing changes, but just.
- The fancy carbon fiber panel sure seems like it wastes a lot of valuable space.
- No need to have cabin vents on the panel. Move them to below the panel.
- The standalone G5 is fine, just move it to toward your field of view.
- No audio panel? While not required for a cross country IFR bird it is a nice feature.
- The clunky Garmin autopilot panel is mounted in the most valuable spot in the stack. This is something you need not constantly stare at. Move it down to perhaps the bottom where your right hand easily falls on it.
- Considering the absence of breakers I assume you are using a VPX or such. If you are using breakers be stingy - you can get by
with a lot fewer than many people use.
- I find those big rocker switches to take up too much space - but many people love them.
- The single avionics master is an “installed” single point failure risk. Make sure you know why you are adding it.
- Assume you will move the iPad off the panel as some point to update. Plan for that.
- Plan now for panel maintenance and upgrades (as in easy to remove). My first build is now 20 years old and on the fifth panel. The panel in my RV-10 build lasted 18 months before replacing to fix placement issues I found during Phase 1. The current owner redid the panel again at the 8 year point.

A lot of ways to lay out a panel. In the end all these are just separate opinions. Figure out what you like and don’t like.

Carl
 
Also, as for right now I still like the idea of the panel mount iPad with integrated fans.

Absolutely. It really is important that you build the plane *you* want, especially on decisions that won't affect anything but your enjoyment of the airplane.

Nice thing about that carbon panel with discrete sections is that even if you do cut one to fit an iPad mount, you can always cut another insert at a later date to fit a different tablet, second EFIS, holographic display, AI autopilot, or whatever as technology improves.
 
with the modern avionics, I think there is no need for an avionics master. I don't have one and when the master is turned on, the panel comes alive. Also, when I such down, the panel doesn't die until the master is turned off; keeps me from leaving the master on and killing the battery.
also the autopilot head and the audio panel are not too deep so they tend to be placed higher up with the comm and navigator down lower since these are deep units.
 
Plus one on moving the G5. The less head/eye movement involved when/if you’re having a “really bad flying day” and looking for approach lights and terra firma, the better.
As to the A/P control, that’s where mine will go. I’m used to looking for it there in the work plane, plus there’s that pesky support bracket and the depth of the unit doesn’t interfere (I don’t believe).
 
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