Below is one of the last CAD representations of my panel. The high ticket item is the Garmin G-900X system. This is one of the top glass panels available (along with the Chelton & OP System). I prefer the Garmin because it has two powerful 16 watt COM radios integrated into the display. This is an important benefit as the GPS location drives COM frequencies so that they prepositioned at your fingertips. I also prefer the G-900X because it is the most likely panel I will find if I move up to larger aircraft.
Above the G-900X PFD (left display) is a TruTrac Flight Systems Sorcerer Auto Pilot. To the left of the AP are eight (8) warning lights to warn of items not displayed on the Garmin such as open doors. To the left of the PFD are the Master/ALT, Keys and my dual battery switch system. The lower panel will be set back about 0.5". The lower panel features headset jacks, lighted switches, Flap Control, Electrical Breakers, Telephone& Music Input. Below is a rough Photoshop image that somewhat represents the completed panel. Other than the G-900X I will have a full EFIS Dynon 100 to serve as my back up instruments. Below the Dynon 100 is a pop-up DVD player with XM and iPod capability. The DVD player will have the ability to play DVD's in front only or feed the signal to the rear drop down DVD player so all PAX can watch one DVD.
We are trying a new process for labeling the panel. Instead of painting and then silk screening the panel we have chosen to use a large format plotter/printer/cutter to print on premium vinyl. This printer can lay down any color you choose on a multitude of color vinyl stock. There are several advantages to this process. If you goof up all you have to do is peel off the vinyl and start again. Additionally if you make any changes to your panel (ex: add a breaker) you can print up a small “patch” to overlay and the additional piece will look as it was originally part of the design. Because of my crazy schedule at the time (remodeling two homes at once) I did not take full graphic advantage of the capabilities of this system. Had I had more time (and guts) I would have done a full 4 color graphic overlay on the panel & breaker bar. As it is I did make some custom labels for the Phone/Mic jacks plus the Telephone/Music inputs.
UPDATE: The vinyl overlay turned out to be a complete disaster costing significant $ and time to correct. When the panel arrived the white overlay already had finger print smudges on it. I expected the texture of the overlay to be glossy and impervious to oils and dirt but unfortunately the opposite was true. Additionally the vinyl started to peal up when attempting to fit the panel into the plane. The end result was a graphic overlay that was not suitable for this application and would have deteriorated further annoying me over time. The expensive and painful solution was to remove all the avionics, breakers and jacks. The remove the vinyl overlay, clean up the base aluminum and paint the panel IN THE AIRPLANE! Followed by a tricky silkscreen job. Had I to re-label the panel again I would have used custom printed decals vs. the silk screen in this application because of the difficulty in applying the ink to the panel already in the plane. Bottom line the vinyl overlay was a huge mistake.
I really like these custom engraved lighted switches as they have performed well in this application. The one thing I would change is where I placed the engravings. I placed “Off” on the top edge because I am looking down on the switches and it is obvious that when the upper portion of the switch is viewable the switch is in the Off position. But in this position it is a little difficult to read the important engraving on the face of the switch. If I were to do it again I would place the engravings on the lower flat surface of the switch, not the upper flat surface, that would make them much easier to read.
The photo above shows a clean straight forward panel that is well thought out and organized. Behind the panel is another matter; absolute chaos! One would have thought that with the plug-n-play nature of one of the most sophisticated integrated glass panels available Garmin would have simple prewired harnesses between the devices. But, nooooooooooo. Apparently the Garmin PFD, MFD, Audio Panel, dual COMM/NAV, Garmin WX/XM all require a similar effort as do wiring mix and match avionics components. Now really; what are all these wires for anyway? As you can see the photo below looks like a cat playing with a ball of string. This image does not include the wiring for the Dynon 100, TruTrack Sorcerer AP or the entertainment system. I am thinking of taking up gliding.

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