13th May 2014

VP-X Switches

Wired up all 10 VP-X input switches and started making assignments:

SW 1 – Alternator
SW 2 – EFIS
SW 3 – Avionics
SW 4 – Fuel Pump
SW 5 – Strobe Lights
SW 6 – Nav. Lights
SW 7 – Landing Light
SW 8 – Taxi Light
SW 9 -
SW10 -AutoPilot Servos

I put the EFIS on a switch for now due to the way the original VP-X and the MGL EFIS must be interfaced & configured. :(

Hours: 3.0 | Posted in Avionics, Electrical | 0 Comments

15th January 2014

Radio Testing has Wrapped up

I’m moving on in the wiring. My radio testing revealing problems both with MGL & VAL firmware, so now there will be a waiting period until both get their firmware fixed.

VAL is apparently using an embedded controller (PIC) that may not be field programmable. I might have to send those radios back to the factory.

I went ahead and set up the SL40 that Brother Rich had repaired for me as COM2. This let me verify some of the things that are wrong with the VAL radios.

In this photo we see the VAL COM (COM1) on top, with VAL NAV, then 3rd down is the SL40 as COM2.

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Hours: 16.0 | Posted in Avionics, Electrical | 0 Comments

7th January 2014

Radios Interface Continued

I’ve set up to test the VAL radios single serial interface on iBOX serial port 3, with radio type set to Garmin COM1/NAV for right now.

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These are the messages that need to be tested:

Set of functions to be tested (I know some of these will not work as they are not part of the SL-30 command set and/or iEFIS firmware still has some firmware bugs).

COM:
9.1 Input Commands
The following input command messages are supported:
• Request data output
• Set active COM frequency data from a remote source
• Set standby COM frequency data from a remote source
• Set COM Volume and Squelch Level
• Set COM Mic Gain and Sidetone
9.2 Output Messages
The following output messages are supported:
• Reset status
• Communications Error
• COM Receiver status
• COM audio mode
• COM microcontroller software version
• COM Volume and Squelch Level
• COM Mic Gain and Sidetone

NAV:
8.1 Input Commands
The following input command messages are supported:
• Input VOR frequency data from a remote source
• Input Localizer frequency data from a remote source
• Request data output
• Set active VOR/LOC frequency data from a remote source
• Set standby VOR/LOC frequency data from a remote source
• Set Omni-Bering Select (OBS) value from remote source
8.2 Output Messages
The following output messages are supported:
• Reset status
• CDI, GSI, and flags
• Decoded OBS setting
• Radial from active VOR
• Communications Error
• NAV Receiver status
• NAV audio mode
• NAV microcontroller software version

PS: First look shows many problems. My guess is most are caused by incorrect iEFIS checksums. Going to write a small message parser/checker to make testing easier.

Hours: 4.0 | Posted in Avionics, Electrical | 0 Comments

6th January 2014

Single Serial Port – VAL Radios

Latest release of the COM2000 radio has a schematic for single serial port operation of the VAL COM/NAV pair. So I think I’ll do the additional wiring necessary to test this. This will require MGL to make firmware changes again which they need to do anyway as the current firmware has bugs in it.

VALSingleSerial

 

Hours: 0.5 | Posted in Avionics, Electrical | 0 Comments

6th January 2014

Updating SP-6 (magnetometer) & SP-7 (AHRS)

Wanting to get going on this again, I decided to upgrade my magnetometer (SP-6) and artificial horizon reference system (SP-7) to the latest firmware so that I can connect them into the system.

This requires making a small power/serial adapter cable so that I can interface them to COM port on the PC.

Completed the cable & SP-6 is first to get upgraded.

sp6-1

sp6-2

Tested SP-6 by power cycling & running the SP-6 interface program. Next is SP-7.

sp7-1

Verification:

sp7-2

This completes the updates until I get things into the plane for final compass calibration.

Hours: 3.5 | Posted in Avionics, Electrical | 0 Comments

24th December 2013

Started on CAN buses

Nothing heard from either VAL Avionics or MGL Avionics on my testing MGL firmware with VAL radios. Guess they are on holidays already.

So I started on the CAN bus with getting the RDAC-XF connected up first on CAN1. I only had 1 termination resister at the hangar as I took the others home for RPI work there.

But here is the RDAC-XF connected up to iBOX, not indicating anything yet as there are no sensors connected to it.

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STILL have a red X on COM1 even though it is connected!!

Just for grins and also wanting to see something work on the RDAC, I connected up the magnetic current sensor. After zero-ing the sensor & checking it, I placed it on the battery + cable. So without adjusting the scale factor it looks like I am discharging the battery at about 1.2 A (about right).

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Hours: 4.0 | Posted in Avionics, Electrical | 0 Comments

23rd December 2013

Radio Testing Continued at home

I went through the messages the iBox is generating & feel it is not generating the right checksums for some of the messages:

PostPosted: 23 Dec 2013 05:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post Delete this post View IP address of poster

I went ahead (while waiting for anyone to notice any of this) and set up my serial bus analyzer to take a look at what is being communicated on the bus between iBOX and the VAL COM 2000.

First just looked at a volume change signaled for iBOX to the radio. Here are a couple of them:

$PMRRV71@>17<CR><LF>
$PMRRV71A>18<CR><LF>

- The $PMRR looks right, MRR == II MoRRow format (now garmin)
- Question is whether it should be C71 or V71, this is a Com radio, not a naV radio???? Rainier or VAL please answer; or because the check-sum is not correct.

- Data decode @ == 0×40-0×30=0×10 or 16 decimal , > == 0x3E-0×30=0x0E or 14 decimal , Checksum == 17

Clicked the volume rotary clockwise:

- Data decode A == 0×41-0×30=0×11 or 17 decimal , > == 0x3E-0×30=0x0E or 14 decimal , Checksum == 18

and then the <CR><LF> looks correct.

I’ll decode the data values further when I get home. There is a offset of 0×30 to give a data range of 0-20 for each (decimal). **Done

Now it may be that the radio is not responding because of the ‘V’ instead of ‘C’.

I need to get a direct answer from VAL and will bug them.

PostPosted: 23 Dec 2013 08:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post Delete this post View IP address of poster

I don’t think the iBOX is creating the correct checksum.

Looking at a couple of other messages on the bus:

$PMRRV42IRN4?<CR><LF>
checksum should be ’4?’ which it is

$PMRRV29JON52<CR><LF>
checksum should be ’52′ which it is

But then looking at the messages related to volume & squelch:

$PMRRV71@>17<CR><LF>
checksum should be ‘>6′ not ’17′

$PMRRV71A>18<CR><LF>
checksum should be ‘>7″ not ’18′

So it looks like the iBOX is not creating the right checksums & probably the radio is dropping the message as checksum fails.

I did email to VAL Avionics and ask about the message class ‘V’ versus ‘C’ .

bc

Hours: 1.0 | Posted in Avionics, Electrical | 0 Comments

23rd December 2013

More Radio testing

I re-grouped on testing the new EFIS firmware with the VAL COM 2000 radio. Here is my assessment:

VAL UPDATE #5: Current Testing Status will be here (sorry email users)

New day, new look and some things not working for me. Cause unknown. So I’m going to start with a clean slate & very carefully check everything, in both directions. I’m assuming that a change made made on the EFIS should show up on the radio front panel AND a change made at the radio should also show up on the radio panel on the EFIS.

9.1 Input Commands – Case where EFIS is controlling the radio.
The following input command messages are supported:
• Request data output
• Set active COM frequency————> Works
• Set standby COM frequency————> Works
• Swap A<–>S————> Works
• Set COM Volume and Squelch Level ————> Does NOT Work

The radio does not follow the values being set in the EFIS radio tool panel for volume & squelch. It simply stays on the last values set in the radio. At first attempt to change a value, both data values shown in the EFIS jump to what is held in the radio (status update?).

• Set COM Mic Gain and Sidetone ————> Does NOT Work

The radio does not follow the values being set in the EFIS radio tool panel for Mic G & sidetone. It simply stays on the last values set in the radio. At first attempt to change a value, both data values shown in the EFIS jump to what is held in the radio (status update?).

9.2 Output Messages – Case where the radio sends info to the EFIS for display
The COM 2000 / COM 2KR output messages include:
• Reset status
• Communications Error
• COM Receiver status
• Set Active COM frequency ————> Not allowed, can only set standby & swap
• Set Standby COM frequency————> Works
• Swap A<–>S————> Works
• COM audio mode
• COM microcontroller software version
• COM Volume and Squelch Level ————> Does NOT Work

Data values for volume & squelch shown in the EFIS radio tool panel do not follow the settings made in the radio. However if you attempt a change to volume or squelch from the EFIS, the values shown in the EFIS jump immediately to the radio values.

• COM Mic Gain and Sidetone ————> Does NOT Work

Data values for Mic G & sidetone shown in the EFIS radio tool panel do not follow the settings made in the radio. However if you attempt a change to Mic G or sidetone from the EFIS, the values shown in the EFIS jump immediately to the radio values.

Microphone Gain & Sidetone Data in the radio is in volatile memory? ————-> Yes, I can power cycle the radio and it retains all values.

So it looks like more work is needed on the firmware & I need to get my serial bus ‘sniffer’ up & running.

Hours: 4.0 | Posted in Avionics, Electrical | 0 Comments

22nd December 2013

Testing VAL COM Radio

I decided to wire up the VAL COM radio to do some testing with the latest firmware release for the EFIS. The VAL radios are a recent addition to the choices for COM & NAV plus some new extensions have been added to the remote command set, namely microphone gain & sidetone level.

So I decided to try and help testing of these for MGL as they did not have the radios.

Wired up power to the VAL COM 2000 radio and also the serial interface between the EFIS and the radio, for testing.

After a false start caused by incorrect documentation on the part of VAL avionics, got things partially going and tested the functions. Most worked but not the new functions for microphone gain & side tone. Posted this information to the forum for Rainier to see.

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Hours: 3.0 | Posted in Avionics, Electrical | 0 Comments

21st December 2013

EFIS wiring

Started on wiring of the EFIS system in the wiring jig, actual wiring receiving power from main battery through the VP-X ECB unit. Need to decide whether the EFIS will be switched separately. This may be required due to the way the VP-X is configured in the MGL case (stupid MGL).

The near term goal is power to EFIS, serial interface between EFIS & VP-X done right, then VAL COM radio power, then serial interface between the radio & the EFIS so I can test the new EFIS firmware.

Powering the EFIS went fine & it was able to get a 7 satellite 3D fix inside the hangar. I upgraded the firmware in the EFIS to the latest release and also loaded the latest USA navigational data.

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Hours: 4.0 | Posted in Avionics, Electrical | 0 Comments