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Miscellaneous Fixes and Electrical Work

Date: December 22, 2002

So last weekend I headed out to FIT to do the 50 hour oil change on Precious Time in the 45F cold. This was the end of the "break-in" oil and the start of the regular Aeroshell 15W-50. I warmed up the engine for about 10 minutes to get the oil up to 140 F or so. The quickdrain works well, if slowly, and allows me to drain the crankcase with only a 3/8" tube which I can attach by sticking my arm up into the lower cowling through the NACA scoop opening - I don't have to remove the lower cowling. I did remove the upper cowling to change the oil filter. I poked a hole in it and let it drain for about one hour with the crankcase, surrounded it with paper towels, put a bag over it, and then unscrewed it. This time (unlike the last) there was almost no spillage and mess at all - I think I've finally got a technique that works -).

This weekend I headed out to the airport with an E.E. friend in 40F partial sunshine and 15 mph breezes to work on some electrical issues. I had a strange "buzzing" in the headset when pushing the PTT switch (and ONLY when using the PTT switch) that was also being broadcast - others had complained, although when I was talking everything was OK. I had spoken to a couple of E.E.'s about ground loops, noise injection, etc., and had a bunch of things to try. To make a long story short, I have a UPSAT Apollo SL-40 COM, which has a LOT of software settings. It turns out that the thing comes from the factory with the MIC level set to 255 (out of 255), so there's WAY too much gain on the MICs. I was able to set the MIC level to 064, and the buzzing went away (both in the headphones and the transmissions) completely. I can now use my ANR headsets again - that was simple, once I knew what to look for -).

I also flipped my master switch over so that it's working in the "standard" ON-OFF configuration, and then attended to the PORCINE GPS/Navaid coupler. As John Vance will attest, I was surprised on our way back from SBY in October when the coupler indicator light went dim on me, and we played with some switches to determine that it somehow went dim when the NAV lights went on. I spent a lot of time wondering how the heck the coupler light could KNOW that the nav lights were on, and mentioned this to these aformentioned E.E.'s, who were puzzled as well. To make another long story short, the coupler has wire (the yellow one, as it turns out) that explicitly connects to the NAV lights to dim the LED at night. I had installed the thing not a month before the SBY flight and had completely forgotten that IT WAS WORKING AS DESIGNED AND INSTALLED!

At any rate, after setting the vacuum pressure to 4.75", we called it a successful day - 4 things fixed/adjusted/figured out in 2 hours, with NO major problems - yay!

I took a short flight in between some rain showers just to make sure that everything is still working OK, which it is. The engine seems to start more easily with the new oil, the solar charger seems to keep the battery topped off (Thanks to Bob Misterka for THAT idea) and the oil temps never went above 160 F, so maybe when the weather gets warmer I'll take off the two little turbulators in front of the NACA scoop - I'll have to see what happens when the temperature is 100F instead of 35F.

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