The tool that got away

Sometimes you see a really cool tool that you think about buying, but you don’t need it at the time – and when you do need it, it’s no longer available. Such is the case with the Terminal Tool.

The Terminal Tool

I had originally bought a hydraulic crimping tool from Harbor Freight, but the dies that came with it weren’t compatible with quality Amp terminals.

HF crimper result

Fortunately, a friend and fellow RV builder at KASH had a Terminal Tool. It’s easy to use, and makes first-rate crimps on large cables.

Terminal Tool

Terminal Tool crimp

Racking and stacking

Getting a little frustrated with tweaking engine stuff, so in preparation for permanently installing the subpanel I started working on fitting the avionics racks.

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The GMC-307 autopilot controller was easy.

A trimmed subpanel

Wasn’t so easy to get a correctly-aligned hole in the subpanel to accommodate the GTN-650 rack (the comm/WAAS GPS/VOR/localizer/ILS does-everything box).

Aligning the radio racks together

Also had to make sure the GTN-650 and GMA-245 (that’s the audio panel) racks were correctly spaced from each other.

A lot of filing and fitting to get to this point

Took a lot of filing and fitting to get to this point. The rear rack mount “ears” are actually riveted to two 0.063″ angles that will be held in place by nutplates. I would’ve preferred just to attach them to the front side of the subpanel, but the rack attachment fasteners are too close to the subpanel to allow that.

Another bit of visual progress - the radio stack fitted

A nice bit of visual progress, don’t you think?

The last really big check

…I hope.

I wrote it to Tim Hass and the folks at Approach Fast Stack for a Garmin 10.3″ G3X Touch EFIS system with Sirius XM, GTN-650 GPS/Nav/Comm, GTX-45R ADS-B In/Out transponder, GMA-245 audio panel, GMC-307 autopilot mode controller, two GSU-28 autopilot servos, and all the associated Garmin boxes that go into a G3X installation.

All these gadgets will be connected to one of Tim’s Fast Stack Pro-X hubs, which will make wiring significantly easier and neater.

ProX hub

It’s worth the (relatively) few extra dollars to speed up avionics installation, and the resulting product will be a lot easier to upgrade should I ever want to.

Two really expensive boxes…

Two really expensive boxes

…and their contents.

The contents of two really expensive boxes