Organizing Electrical Connections (In An EPIC Based Cockpit)

The EPIC Expansion Module provides 8 data leads, 38 module rows and 16 analogue channels. With other words: lots of cables! There are even more cables coming from the 32-point output modules, of which I have 2. Without proper organization the wiring in a full cockpit setup can quickly turn into utter chaos. In this case, nobody (not even you, the builder!), will be able to make modifications or perform even basic repair tasks without using a considerable amount of time and nerves. The solution: get organized and keep track of all cabling!

I decided to employ "Distribution Cards". They sit between the EPIC outputs modules and the panels. This is how they look schematically:

The square connectors # 1, 3, 4 and 7 are for inputs. The flat cables from the EPIC modules are plugged in here. Connector # 2 holds +5V from the EPIC clamp ground and feeds the LED's in the cockpit. Connectors # 5 and 6 are interlinks to the second Connector Board. They hold assorted Mod Rows and leads from the 32-Point output module. Since each upgrade brings changes of button assignments and groupings on the panels, some back-and-forth shifting of Mod Rows and other connections between the two connector boards became unavoidable over time.

Some of the EPIC ribbon cables have more than 20 leads. I simply split them up and routed them into different connectors on the board - or even into both connector boards, to have the leads where I needed them.

On the right side of the connector board are the DB25 connectors coming from my panels (or from groups of panels). Using one connector for each panel helps to keep the whole system modular and makes it relatively easy to modify or exchange individual panels.

Use the cursor to toggle between Connector Bord 1 and 2. Click for larger versions.

 

The 8 EPIC data leads come in at input connector # 1 and are routed thru all female DB25-connectors (# 1 - 6), since it is safe to assume that all panels will require these. The Mod Rows, on the other hand, are routed directly to the panel - or panels- where they are needed.

Here are two photos of the finished product. I am the first to admit that the wiring looks a bit messy. Some places are so crowded with cables that I had no choice but to solder new connections on the lower side of the board. But it all works, and it is easy to check for connectivity (or crossed wires) with a Voltmeter before any panels are attached.

 

In my cockpit there are two connector boards for connection of a maximum of 12 panels. They are installed on the same plywood panel that holds the all EPIC module cards (to keep cables as short as possible).