Rear charge port, front headset jacks

Well, it was another day with stuff to do around the house but I still found some time for airplane stuff. I wanted to go ahead and finish up the rear seat stuff, so I decided to work on getting the charge port mounted. I would have liked to have terminated the power and ground wires as well, but I seem to be out of the correct fast-on terminals. I do see where I added those to my shopping list a while back but I’d been putting off actually ordering them. No wiorries though, crimping a couple terminals on is easy. Making the holes for the charge port and headset jacks would be more fun.

I decided a while back to mount all these items on the right-side armrest, which would allow for the wiring to be concealed by a cover plate that mounts below. The downside is that this means drilling holes in an awkward spot. The headset holes were pretty easy – they were small enough to be drilled with my modified uni-bit that I can chuck in the angle drill – but the charge port requires a larger hole, and thus my large uni-bit. There was just no way to use that uni-bit with any regular drill, so I resorted to opening the hole as big as it would go with the angle drill, then using the big uni-bit with a socket wrench to finish enlarging the hole by hand:

Another bit of fun with the charge port: there’s a little locating tab that requires filing a slot in the hole to keep the port from rotating. That’s pretty easy, except that the tab itself is about 3/32” deep, more than the thickness of the armrest material. In order for the backing nut to properly snug up, I needed to add a spacer to add a bit of thickness, which I made out of some scrap from my first panel attempt:

Finally, though, I got everything installed and now I’ve got a nice little setup in place for the backseater:

Next I went to work on wiring the front headset jacks, which went pretty well other than the soldering being a lot more awkward due to the position of the jacks. Once I got those done, it as time for another headset test. I repeated my test from the previous night, plugging in a headset, testing talking to myself on the intercom, and then testing transmitting with my handheld, all of which worked perfectly.

For my next move, I figured I’d plug up headset front and rear, and get Josie to come out and try a two-person intercom test. Unfortunately, this is where things got interesting. I’d been testing previously with a cheap Flightcom headset; for this, I got out my Lightspeed Zulu, but the moment I plugged it up in the rear jacks there was an obnoxious tone. Eventually I figured this was coming from the Lightspeed set itself, and only happened when I had the microphone cable plugged in.

Interestingly, the Lightspeed set works just fine when plugged up front, and the Flightcom set also works fine when plugged in back. Just to be more thorough with the troubleshooting, I grabbed my QT Halo set…which also works just fine in the back. So the problem is entirely limited to the Lightspeed microphone jack in the rear seat.

One thought I had was that the jack might be grounding out on the armrest, even though I carefully installed the isolating washers. Just for fun, I took the jacks back out of the armrest and tested again…same result. So I have no clue what might be happening here…guess it’s about time to run this by the VAF brain trust.

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