Glass panel installation details



Hardware needed:

*      Plc #D0-06DR-D from automation direct.           $230


This is the device which handles all of the inputs and outputs.  It requires either 12 or 24vdc. It comes with 20 digital inputs, which are optically isolated so you can’t fry them if you hook something up backwards. It also comes with 16 relay outputs. Internally it has a large number of timers or counters. It’s basically a sophisticated computer designed for our need and much more. It also has slots for adding other types of inputs or outputs, but I’m going to ignore those for now. Further, it has an expansion capability to add even more sensors.


*      Communication cable.                                                               $30


I adapted a Cat 10 connector to mate with the Plc. In fact I made two, one for bench testing, the other permanently mounted in the aircraft. The shielded cable provides serial communication between the plc and the laptop. Don’t want to make your own? Then follow link below to purchase one.


*      Plc memory battery CR2354                                                      $5


Tiny battery inside the plc. Used to maintain memory if you don’t operate the plc for a few months.


*      Laptop computer.                                                                       $150 - ??


There are so many valid options. I’ll expand on these later. I modified an IBM ThinkPad to fit my panel. A tablet pc would be a good option if you have panel space for it. Some use a Mini-Itx mounted under seat, with small touch screen on instrument panel.



Software needed:


·        Wonderware Intouch:                                               $800 (You can demo it for free)


This is a key component to the glass cockpit. It is the brains of the whole package.

You want the “development and runtime module, minimum tag size”. You can always upgrade if you go hog wild improving the glass panel.



·        Direct Soft plc programming software.      $150


Make sure you get the version suitable for the D06 plc. This software allows you to write the instructions for the plc. Not that you need to write any code. You can just import my plc code into your device without change.


·        OPClink                                                                                 $0


This component handles communication between Wonderware and the plc.  It’s part of the Wonderware package.



                        ·        IOserver from               $0 - $500  (You can demo it for free).


This is the software which communicates between the plc and Wonderware.





Mounting the Plc:


You can place this just about anywhere inside the cabin. Mine is on the firewall, a convenient location to minimize total wire length. Only two screws are needed to secure it. I placed a rubber isolator between plc and firewall to reduce vibration.                



Wiring Plc:



This information will allow you to install the glass panel to your aircraft. You can implement this entire package for less than $400! Later expanding it to handle all of your sensors for another $500. After you’re fully operational, you can spend another $1300 to make it legal (software licenses). When you are all done, it will be approximately 10 times safer than any alternative out there. Lighter and less expensive than traditional instrumentation.



See the four light green connectors in the pic? Those are my analog input connectors. They have screw terminals. Easy for wires to come out. For those, you insert wire, screw connector tight, tug on wire. Then the next day you snug up each screw terminal again. When you are all done testing, you once again tug on all the wires, re tighten the terminal. I had 4 of the 20 wires come loose.

Discrete input wiring 1Discrete input wiring 2


The diagram to left shows how to wire all of the discrete (on/off type) inputs. Don’t be concerned if you wire them wrong. The plc uses optical isolation, so you could short out contacts, apply the wrong voltages, it doesn’t matter. It can handle it.


Most of the switches utilized in my plane are called Micro limit switches. You can pick some up at radio shack. I recommend you bench test these with the plc to see how they behave.



I use 11 of the above Micro switch  for Gear up, Gear down, Canopy safe, Canopy latched, Canopy cammed, Near full throttle, Idle throttle, Air brake down, Air brake up, Right tank selected, Left tank selected.


I use two rocker switches for “Aux fuel pump”, “Nav lights and strobe”.


I never did complete my two “wheel speed sense” inputs. I’ll include the sensor details when I finalize that installation. I’ll probably make use of magnetic proximity switch for that purpose.



Typical Microswitch