19 July 2013

Wings: Fuel tanks. Capacitive fuel probes.

I decided to redo my fuel tanks.  See here for why.  The entries specific to the redone tanks are here.

Here in the 21st century, in addition to using floats (for steam gauges), I also want to go with capacitive (for the EFIS).  Turns out for the latter there is no such option for the -14 (though there is for other models).  Since the wing of the -14 is essentially that of a -10, there is quite a bit of precedence for fabricating the probes for the wing.  Here are four examples: Brian's RV-10, hanger52Mouser's RV-10 and of course the amazing Ed (pages 1, 2 and 3).  In fact, Ed's fantastic site includes essentially a stencil for the plates.

I printed his out after scaling it properly, precisely cut the paper with scissors and lined up the shape on my tank ribs.  Sure enough, it's a perfect fit.  So I bought the capacitive kit from Van's for the -9 so I can get all the parts then planned to fabricate my own plates using Ed's stencil (since I naturally won't be using -9 plates as they aren't the right size).

I purchased an 18"x16" section of AS3-020 from Van's and cut it down to four pieces 9"x8" each.  I drilled holes on the perimeter and where the mounting nutplates would be then attached clecos to hold each piece together in a stack.  Then, I taped the properly scaled stencil to the stack.  Running it carefully through the band saw, I got the following ("reassembled" to show the original setup):

Then after filing things down a bit (still needs more smoothing of the edges), I ended up with a stack of four nice capacitive probes.

I also got a nutplate jig so I can properly place the mounting nutplates on the probes.  I still need to drill out holes for the wires and fabricate some covers for the stock fuel level sender holes in the ribs (covers the holes for the float apparatus).  See Mouser's picture for reference.

See here for installation on my original & replacement tanks.

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