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Thread: Panel Discussion: Cessna 180 Upgrades on Poor Webjanitor Budget

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    SJ's Avatar
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    Cool Panel Discussion: Cessna 180 Upgrades on Poor Webjanitor Budget

    So below is our 1955 C-180 panel. It's hard to think about changing it because it was completely redone for me by the late Paul Fisher eight or ten years ago, but there are lots of things that need to be addressed and so I am looking for advice on this VERY slippery slope.

    Important things to bear in mind:

    1. This is our "Cirrus". It's our traveling plane. We like that we can land it off airport and here and there, but we have another plane for kind of monkey business also.
    2. I use it as an instrument flying platform - it has an STEC 30 autopilot (also installed by Paul Fisher) - and I am perfectly comfortable with flying it IMC as it sits.
    3. On top of the panel, you see the Stratux raspberry PI ADSB receiver. Obviously, to comply with 2020 I am going to have to do some kind of ADSB upgrade at some point.
    4. I'm perfectly happy with things like Foreflight / Garmin 496, etc, helping get the job done that I don't need an Aspen.

    Things that are not working:

    1. The EI UBG is on the fritz
    2. The tach is on the fritz
    3. The clock is on the fritz

    Things I am considering:

    1. Remove all of the EI instruments and install a CGR-30 OR an EDM-900 - interested in pros and cons. I can convert eight instrument into one!
    2. Move the dang GNS430 to the top of the panel so you don't have to apologize for grabbing the passengers knees every time you put in a new destination (this is tricky in '55 I believe).
    3. Put in something like that new whizbang garmin G5 display
    4. You can't see the KX-155 because the yoke is blocking it, but replace it with something else.
    5. Replace the ancient audio panel above the 155 & the intercom with a PS engineering audio panel
    5. Get rid of the marker beacon lights

    I would like to spend as little as possible on all of this - like $10,000 or less.... but maybe I dream....

    Ok there you have it, fire away!





    Last edited by SJ; 01-09-2018 at 05:41 PM. Reason: Lousy grammar
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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  2. #2
    SJ's Avatar
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    Bonus points if you can tell me what I use the bungee cord for!
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ View Post

    Things that are not working:

    1. The EI UBG is on the fritz
    2. The tach is on the fritz
    3. The clock is on the fritz
    I think you best start with troubleshooting your electrical gremlins.... that's just sounds fishy/noisy/grounds/broken crimp joint in connector....

    not just throwing money on new installs...

  4. #4

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    Calling soyAnarchisto: Yo Soy, I believe you went through this dance on your ~55 Green Hornet, and it turned out darned nice. Ideas for SJ?

    Thanks. cubscout

  5. #5
    Bill.Brine's Avatar
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    I am a cheap bastard who loves gadgets as much as the next guy. My plane? I would:
    replace the AI with a Garmin G5.
    Put a Garmin Aera 660 in place of the clock.
    Keep the 430 as it lays then link the 660 to the G430 via Gamin connect Flightstream 210.

    Deal with ADSB out next year. Fix the other stuff and be done with it.

    Ugly but very functional.


    To go wizbang. Dump the Vacuum system and add a second G5 as an HSI in place of DG.

    The bungee cord holds your iPad or tablet in place.
    Last edited by Bill.Brine; 01-09-2018 at 07:34 PM.
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    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Whatever you decide for instruments/avionics, cut a new, clean, panel and only cut the holes necessary for your stuff. If you decide that you need a center stack for your avionics, you should look into installing the U yoke in place of the T style you have now. Otherwise all instruments and avionics need to be placed above or below the top of that T.

    If you do most of the work yourself, your 10K goal might be doable. But probably not if you pay the hired hands. Think about cutting the panel and fitting the instruments, stringing the wiring, and setting up the breakers/bus bar, yourself. Not rocket science but time intensive stuff.

    Before you buy anything, make sure you know exactly WHAT you want the airplane to be capable of, when you're done. I.e., if you need to lighten it up, combining functions into instruments may save weight. Reducing the number of flight instruments will cut weight. Do you need to save real estate? Combining functions into a CGR or JPI engine instrument will clean it up nicely. Do you need the second nav system? If not replace the KX 155 and nav head with a com radio (if needed). Evaluate if you need an audio panel. If you get down to one com/nav, wire it through an intercom like the PM3000. It has a couple of aux audio inputs that can be used to pipe in nav audio. If you decide you need an audio panel, make sure it has a built in intercom to eliminate the stand alone intercom you have now.

    As for moving the 430, I guess that all depends on who you're flying with.

    Web
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.
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    aktango58's Avatar
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    Garmin limits one G5 per aircraft for IFR stuff, would have to get the book out but a limit there.

    IF you were going to a G5 garmin, (great unit I live mine), I would consider upgrade on the 155 to what ever the G5 will talk to so you can really use it as a full efis and flight director.... IF!

    The G5 and new com will eat your budget I suspect. But if you want to really look at stuff, make the panel modern center stack so that you can assist the Captain when she wants to fly- you can reach the coms to select while in the right seat and not flying, or left seat not flying!!

    If you are going to that trouble, design it so you can work forward over a three year period adding your stuff in like monitors or a new gps comm.

    I would find what is reliable to install and de-clutter, what saves effort and makes either seat good to work radios and go from there.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ View Post
    Bonus points if you can tell me what I use the bungee cord for!
    Cheep arse I-Pad mount?
    Last edited by OLDCROWE; 01-09-2018 at 09:51 PM.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    Garmin limits one G5 per aircraft for IFR stuff, would have to get the book out but a limit there.
    I didn't know this was a limitation on the G5’s. Can you point me to where I can find the limitations?

    Thanks, Joe

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    SJ's Avatar
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    Good info folks!

    The bungee holds my cell phone over the DG
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

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    Ruffair's Avatar
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    What in the Wild West is right under the mag compass....?

    it has two long arms too...?


    P. S. Have Lance do it. His looks Great...!
    Last edited by Ruffair; 01-09-2018 at 11:20 PM. Reason: Better idea
    "...We're fast enough to get there, But slow enough to see..."
    Fron the song "Barometer Soup". By Jimmy Buffett

  12. #12
    SJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruffair View Post
    What in the Wild West is right under the mag compass....?

    it has two long arms too...?


    P. S. Have Lance do it. His looks Great...!
    homemade adsb receiver...
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ View Post
    So below is our 1955 C-180 panel. It's hard to think about changing it because it was completely redone for me by the late Paul Fisher eight or ten years ago, but there are lots of things that need to be addressed and so I am looking for advice on this VERY slippery slope.

    Important things to bear in mind:

    1. This is our "Cirrus". It's our traveling plane. We like that we can land it off airport and here and there, but we have another plane for kind of monkey business also.
    2. I use it as an instrument flying platform - it has an STEC 30 autopilot (also installed by Paul Fisher) - and I am perfectly comfortable with flying it IMC as it sits.
    3. On top of the panel, you see the Stratux raspberry PI ADSB receiver. Obviously, to comply with 2020 I am going to have to do some kind of ADSB upgrade at some point.
    4. I'm perfectly happy with things like Foreflight / Garmin 496, etc, helping get the job done that I don't need an Aspen.

    Things that are not working:

    1. The EI UBG is on the fritz
    2. The tach is on the fritz
    3. The clock is on the fritz

    Things I am considering:

    1. Remove all of the EI instruments and install a CGR-30 OR an EDM-900 - interested in pros and cons. I can convert eight instrument into one!
    2. Move the dang GNS430 to the top of the panel so you don't have to apologize for grabbing the passengers knees every time you put in a new destination (this is tricky in '55 I believe).
    3. Put in something like that new whizbang garmin G5 display
    4. You can't see the KX-155 because the yoke is blocking it, but replace it with something else.
    5. Replace the ancient audio panel above the 155 & the intercom with a PS engineering audio panel
    5. Get rid of the marker beacon lights

    I would like to spend as little as possible on all of this - like $10,000 or less.... but maybe I dream....

    Ok there you have it, fire away!





    I don't know how you guy fly with all that crap in front of you? I don't know what 90% of it is or what it does LOL

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
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    86 the vacuum system while you’re at it.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!
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    It's your 1950's auto pilot or stops a rattle noise in the instrument panel. Chip

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    SJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubdriver2 View Post
    I don't know how you guy fly with all that crap in front of you? I don't know what 90% of it is or what it does LOL

    Glenn
    The only time I look at it is when you can't see anything out the windows!
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

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    Before I did anything I’d have want to know where Dynon is with their PMAd Skyview system and I’d explore a G3X Touch using the X Cub installation to support an approval. Both of those systems are going to make the rest of our panels yesterday’s news. I re-did my 180 panel 7 years ago. It’s a different world now.
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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    With the CGR30P 6 cylinder coming in at just under $4K that is going to blow a big hole in your budget. If do like Mike says and get you existing instruments working that is more $ for those wizbang flight instruments or it might just turn into a snowball and you double you projected budget, not that you know anything about that.
    Steve Pierce

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  19. #19
    SJ's Avatar
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    I have heard that I can probably move one radio and maybe the txponder or intercom up to the top without having to do the yoke mod. Leave the txponder and the secondary radio down below...
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  20. #20
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    1b4d99a9e0dfd7e053d1b36f.jpg

    And, ideas from a 170....

    d8b5e899e21556357946e54d.jpg

    567caae4571190aa4164aeca.jpg

    Either way, panel mount your iPad.

    pb

  21. #21
    SJ's Avatar
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    Nice, but the first one is a later model with the big panel, the second one is not IFR certified. I need to be IFR certified.
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  22. #22
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    Not sure about the STC'd version, but the original G5 can drive an autopilot.
    It can also be driven (HSI) by a nav input.
    Not sure of you need a Garmin nav or the new Garmin GFC500 autopilot,
    or if other brands will work.

    I would keep the KX155, still a good radio IMHO even though it's a 30 year old (?) design.
    KX155 with glideslope plus a 430 seems like a pretty good combination.

    A CGR-30 all-in-one engine monitor would free up a lot of panel space,
    plus since you already have a lot of EI gauges you might be able to use your existing probes/sensors
    instead of installing and wiring in all new ones.

    There should be room for (at least) one nav/com high in the panel,
    above the T style control column.
    Mount the flat, portable stuff (tablet, phone,etc) below that.
    Some stuff (autopilot maybe?) might be shallow enough to go there also without interfering with the control column.

    You spend more time looking at the panel (or at least having it within your view) than anything else on the airplane.
    That's why to me it's important for the panel to be attractive.
    IMHO your panel could really benefit with a paint job, or an overlay,
    to get rid of that bare aluminum "prototype" look.
    Hard to beat a nice gray finish, goes well with just about any color airplane and interior.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ View Post
    ... without having to do the yoke mod...
    FYI I have a U yoke, just the yoke, no sprockets and joints/shafts... I left it over at the cessna guy's place here, (I assume he's still got it for sale)... all powder coated..

  24. #24
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike mcs repair View Post
    FYI I have a U yoke, just the yoke, no sprockets and joints/shafts... I left it over at the cessna guy's place here, (I assume he's still got it for sale)... all powder coated..
    Will he parts swap over to convert?
    Steve Pierce

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  25. #25
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    Will he parts swap over to convert?
    not sure, but i think no... this was 17(19?) years ago.... I bought this one first, and when I was looking for the sprockets and stuff I found a whole complete other unit....

  26. #26

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    SJ,
    I think something similar to the photo is in order. Provision the panel so you can do a G5 or dual G5's in the future if it eats up too much of what you want to spend now. I am not a huge fan of the CGR-30's. I don't have one but I have two friends that have had their share of issues with them. However, you can't beat the display and how little space it takes up.
    Happy to help you spend your money,
    Joe

    070e6b2a722ccba5f557c60723845db9.jpg
    Last edited by joemcd; 01-10-2018 at 02:33 PM. Reason: i can't spell

  27. #27
    SJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joemcd View Post
    SJ,
    I think something similar to the photo is in order. Provision the panel so you can do a G5 or dual G5's in the future if it eats up too much of what you want to spend now. I am not a huge fan of the CGR-30's. I don't have one but I have two friends that have had their share of issues with them. However, you can't beat the display and how little space it takes up.
    Happy to help you spend your money,
    Joe

    070e6b2a722ccba5f557c60723845db9.jpg
    Hey! I've flown 180 Send Money before! It is a nice panel.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  28. #28
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ View Post
    Bonus points if you can tell me what I use the bungee cord for!
    to hold yer eyelids open when in IMC on the autopilot

  29. #29
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    more info about the dual G5 limitation George??

    my boss is planning dual G5's, EDM 900, and a 430 or 650 and removing the vac system and six pack in his 185

    Northern Lights Avionics will do the panel cutting and install except the EDM, which will be handled at Lake Hood when the new 550 goes on.

  30. #30
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Still looking... my manual had a limitation for only one.

    Reading the STC's today on the web I see they talk about two, so don't know. Still digging, but it is getting close to the sled race so up to my bald spot trying to get sleds out the door.

    One comment I have on the panel SJ- often we do a little more than we can afford- but not enough to get it done.

    What ever steps you make ensure that it is a long term solution to make it right. Otherwise you will be back at it in five years spending more money again.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  31. #31
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    Will he parts swap over to convert?
    Quote Originally Posted by mike mcs repair View Post
    not sure, but i think no... this was 17(19?) years ago.... I bought this one first, and when I was looking for the sprockets and stuff I found a whole complete other unit....
    Quote Originally Posted by SJ View Post
    So below is our 1955 C-180 panel. It's hard to think about changing it because it was completely redone for me by the late Paul Fisher eight or ten years ago, but there are lots of things that need to be addressed and so I am looking for advice on this VERY slippery slope.
    Wow sj, That is a typical 1940-50s panel. A mismash! (no offense intended) Here are some comments from an arm chair perspective.

    The first thing to do is to investigate changing the yoke from a T to a Y. Get out the parts manual and study the pictures. Get some measurements of the critical points to be sure that it is doable and is it legal without spending your wad of cash. I do not think that the cables and sprockets will be a direct swap. Perhaps under the floor where they connect to the rest of the system? Someone else here may have the answer?

    Take the panel out and mount it above the fireplace with a placard honoring Paul Fisher.

    This panel is so full of wasted space that it is difficult to say where to begin.

    Start with a piece of cardboard cut to the outside dimensions of the available space. Mark on the cardboard where all of the behind the panel restrictions are located.
    Cut out some full sized squares of cardboard +1/8" all around of the maximum dimensions of each instrument and radio. Allow for the radio support brackets. Make note on each piece of the depth including connectors. Then like a jig saw puzzle move them around until you like the results.

    Update your brain into the 21st century and set up the flight instruments in the "basic "T" layout.

    You have way too many 2-1/4" engine instruments sucking up space. Consider one of the "all in one" units which are available. Place it way over on the right side.

    Take that stall horn and hide it behind the panel somewhere. If you want the light just place a separate light where it doesn't interfere with the rest of your more important stuff. It won't be hard to find a small acceptable location after all else is done. You will still be able to keep the marker beacon lights. Consider turning them vertically.

    The GNS430 can easily move up where you can see it. You may even find that it actually does more than you think it does. You may even find that some of the other radios can move upstairs though leaving them below as secondary uses would not be inconvenient. Move the transponder up to the top of it's current location.

    Move the ILS indicator over to where the turn coordinator is now. Move the turn coordinator to the right one space. Move the VOR indicator down to the left of the KX-155. You don't need those two instruments up in front of your face. The VOR indicator is only used for secondary purposes anyway.

    If the DG will not fit directly under the AH then move them to one side a bit.

    Include your smart phone in the layout if you wish so that it's use will not cover other instruments.

    If you have a G-5 (or 2) in your future keep that in mind now by making allowances for it.

    Perhaps I'm a bit naive but I'm seeing the biggest expense being the new engine instrument and some labor for making the new panel. This does look (at least from here) as though it can be done without changing the control column.
    N1PA
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  32. #32
    SJ's Avatar
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    Thanks! I think I am going to skip the Y thing. I have had four people offer me Y yokes, one for free! Just seems like a "whole 'nother" can of worms.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------
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  33. #33

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    This is the panel in my buddy's 1956 180. Garmin 420 so 430 will fit in the same place. Clears the original T yoke. He had it cut on a CNC mill by one of the local machine shops, I don't know if he still has the CAD file.

    Derek 180 panel 002.JPG

    Tim

  34. #34
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Make it 3 pieces!

    One left, one right and the center section which will get changed as avionics change.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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  35. #35
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    Northern Lights Avionics has a cut file for my '53 180 panel that at least the perimeter would be a good starting place.

    6 pack on the left with com and txp top center and EDM 900 bottom center. Right of the center stack is EMPTY!!

    I figured I can do a 430 and com 2 top center and move the txp somewhwere, keeping the EDM IN PLACE. When pigs fly and 430's are affordable again.

    T style control column assembly in my plane.

    I beieve I own the cut file if you want it SJ

  36. #36
    SJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Calkins View Post
    Northern Lights Avionics has a cut file for my '53 180 panel that at least the perimeter would be a good starting place.

    6 pack on the left with com and txp top center and EDM 900 bottom center. Right of the center stack is EMPTY!!

    I figured I can do a 430 and com 2 top center and move the txp somewhwere, keeping the EDM IN PLACE. When pigs fly and 430's are affordable again.

    T style control column assembly in my plane.

    I beieve I own the cut file if you want it SJ
    Dave, I'd love to see what it looks like!

    Fortunately, I already have a 430.... purchased back in the old days

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  37. #37
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    sj,
    Do you have any experience using an HSI? Once you do, you will never want to go back.

    Replace the DG and the ILS indicator with the G-5. https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/57.../K10-00280-30# One instrument replacing two which is a lot easier to use when flying IFR.
    N1PA

  38. #38
    SJ's Avatar
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    Oh yes, the G5 is on the list (I mention it above).

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  39. #39
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Better yet, get two for certified IFR. Include the GMU 11 magnetometer and you will never look at the compass again.
    N1PA

  40. #40
    SJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    Better yet, get two for certified IFR. Include the GMU 11 magnetometer and you will never look at the compass again.
    Here is that slippery slope I was talking about....

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

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