Power Distribution Panel


This panel, located to the right and behind the pilot, contains all 12 Volt and 230 Volt power distribution circuitry. From here, all electrical systems are switched or at least powered - to be switched later via the EPIC system. This panel is the only place in the cockpit where 220 Volt connectors are located. Some 220-Volt cables run through the cockpit, but their number is kept to a minimum for safety reasons.

I wanted the ability to switch individual components of the cockpit on or off as needed in a given situation: For a short test ride with a Cessna I do not want to see the Boeing style PFD and NAV displays - the analogue standby instruments are enough in this case. The same goes for the servos and electromagnetic clutch of the Auto-throttle: For a short hop without using the autopilot at all, those systems can remain "cold".

Whenever something is switched on, an LED goes on for visual confirmation

The two rows of switches mounted on the tilted plane on the left control all 12-Volt and 230 Volt appliances in the cockpit. On the top surface are switches for the cockpit lights (lateral lights, front light and flood light). The two knobs control the cockpit's two fresh air fans.

The rear of this panel holds the left channel active 2-way loudspeaker used for aircraft and environmental sounds.

Close-up of the electrical input / output board. I use both 5mm jacks and PC style 12V/5V connectors, thus assuring that polarity will always be correct.

All 12-Volt power for the cockpit is provided by two 350-Watt PC power supplies. They are light, provide stable voltage and are fused. Since rather expensive equipment like EPIC and SimKit Instruments is hooked up to them, the power supplies are protected by a UPS.

The "business" side of the panel. It looks messy, but all soldering points were revised twice, and all inputs and outputs checked for connectivity or short circuits.

I know that there is no separation of 12-V and 230-V lines, and probably not enough color coding. But on the other hand: in case this panel ever falls into enemy hands - why make it easy for them?