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Wire Management and Solutions

(Original thread started on 07-18-11 by Eric Williams)

Well it's time I started some interfacing but I struggle with a solution for what wire to use. I had been thinking Cat 5 Ethernet cable for price reasons. I could just bundle all the multiple Cat 5 cables from each panel and solder on the ends (planning to use an FDS board but haven't got it yet)


Each panel is going to need a pile of conductors so I'm looking for any ideas you guys have in mind or already tested.


(Posted by Jason Hite on 07-18-11)

Shielded cable is always a good choice (read Cat 5). Switches tend to create electrical magnetic noise when they are activated and could (in rare cases) induce a current and false signal in an adjacent wire. I used some cheap wire from eBay in my old sim and had lots of issues with false positives during use. I cannot attribute this entirely to the wire quality, but it can be mitigated with the use of shielded cable and perhaps ferrite beads around cable bundles to reduce Electromagnetic interference.


Does anyone have other recommendations on wire and sources for wire?


(Posted by Eric Tomlin on 07-18-11)

Personally I've never had an issue with normal 22 AWG from Radio Shack or from eBay. However, there is a first for everything. If you have access to lots of cat5, then that would be great. Otherwise look for big rolls of 22-28 gauge wire online and consider 4 colors- 1 each for Input, Input Ground, Output, and Output Ground.


(Posted by Ron Rollo on 07-18-11)

I am also using 22gauge wire from Radio Shack. The price is right too. Make sure you get stranded, NOT Solid. You will have an impossible time trying to solder the solid wire.


The only thing I wish Radio Shack had was another color. They only have red, green and black. One more color would be great for giving wires a specific task and being able to quickly identify the wire, or at least know if it is a ground, switch or power line.


(Posted by Mark L. on 07-18-11)

I've been using cat 5 stranded and the Radio Shack and agree, why don't they have the color white? Definitely do not us solid, a few bends or too deep a nick when stripping and it will break.


(Posted by Eric Williams on 07-19-11)

Sounds good guys. I just ordered my FDS SYS board last night so I should be starting very soon.  I had not thought of any induced signal problems, but it could be possible depending on how sensitive the interface board is and proximity to higher current switched items. The Cat5 should be immune.


Something to keep in mind, you can run twisted pair if you are running into induced signals, this can mitigate interference by inducing the signal equally across the two conductors. Normally used in data transmission but can work between signal and 0v wires. No shielding necessary in most cases.


(Posted by Ron Rollo on 07-28-11)

Here is a photo of what I have been up to for the past two weeks:

Ron 582


As you can see, I still have a little work to do, mostly on the AML switches that have double LEDs in them. What I have so far has been tested with perfect results. Everything has a 6 inch wire to plug so that I can easily remove the panels from the simulator if need be. I am having some fun now!


I am wiring up everything including the dummies just in case in the future we come up with solutions for those functions. Also, the dummy AMLs will end up having quite a bit of functionality even though they will not be doing anything to the simulation itself.


(Posted by Eric Williams on 08-01-11)

Ron. where did you get the connectors and did they come as a "pig-tail"?


Well this weekend I grabbed some wire for the sim. 1,000 ft worth! Turns out a roll of Cat5 8 conductor works out to about $86, so I have enough to wire 30 simulators or more!


I'm going to try some ribbon connectors (among other things) and try whenever possible to run the harness of multiple Cat5 cables directly to the FDS/POKEYS boards. Not sure how it will work, but if I can avoid having a connector right behind the panel, I will. This will save me hundreds of solder joints overall.


Seeing as how my interface boards will be right with the MIP, and not outside a shell, this shouldn't be too much of a problem.


(Posted by Ron Rollo on 08-01-11)

Hey Eric, I spent about $100 on 3,000 pieces from Mouser Electronics for the connectors and plugs. They do not come assembled. I have to pre-cut each wire, (in most cases, I cut these to 6 inches) and then solder a small metal pin to the wire. Then each pin snaps into either the male or female plug. It is a long process but well worth it in the end. I will be able to remove each the of the panels in less than 3 minutes and re-secure them in the same amount of time without having to worry about mixing wires up or deal with continuity issues.


If you need the part numbers, I can at least point you to the family of connectors I am using. They are super cheap and at the same time reliable for the type of project we are building.


Here is the information on the plugs and receptacles I am using:

Ron 583


I ordered a lot of everything because at this point, it is nearly impossible to know what we will need.  There are 1,000 male and 1,000 female metal ends here:

Ron 584


You can find these parts HERE at  You want to order from figures "B", "C", "F" and "D".

The special T.E. VAL-U-LOK extraction tool Part #1586343-1 can be found HERE


(Posted by Alan Norris on 09-13-11)

Ron, I think you meant to say figures "B", "C", "F" and "G".  G is the female connector right?


Is this what is needed for two and eight male and female connectors?


571-15863141 -- 22AWG CRIMP CONNECTOR MALE


571-15860002 -- 2 CONNECTOR HOUSING MALE



571-15860002 -- 8 CONNECTOR HOUSING MALE



I just received a shipment from Mouser of a bunch of Molex connectors from their 0.062 series. I elected to go with Molex because the crimper was only $16. I clamp one handle of the crimper in my mini vise so I can hold the wire and terminal in place on the bottom part of the crimper and close the other handle. Works like a charm even with solid 24GA wire -- no soldering required. I got a bunch of four terminal connectors for the majority of the AMLs that have the single LED and a few five terminals for the dual LED AMLs. The four terminal connectors are good for the three position switches on the electrical panel too. I even got a 24 terminal connector for Eric's CWP and as it turns out his pigtails are long enough so I can attach the mating connector directly to FDS pigtails without the need for an intermediate splice.


I paid around $120 for all the connectors and terminals I will need.


Here are the part numbers for all these connectors:

(these are for all the 0.062 series non-panel mount)


1.    538-02-06-2103                 0.062 DIA CRIMP PIN BULK 18-24 AWG $0.070 EA

2.    538-39-00-0331                 0.062 DIA CRIMP REC. BULK 18-24 AWG $0.059 EA

3.    538-03-06-2023                 2 CKT PLUG NATURAL $0.21 EA

4.    538-03-06-1023                 2 CIRCUIT RECEPTACLE $0.22 EA

5.    538-03-06-2152                15 CIRCUIT PLUG $0.800 EA

6.    538-03-06-1152                15C RECEPTACLE $0.770 EA

7.    538-03-06-2241                24 CIRCUIT PLUG $1.880 EA

8.    538-03-06-1241                24C RECEPTACLE $1.810 EA

9.    538-03-06-2092                9 CIRCUIT PLUG $0.620 EA

10.  538-03-06-1092                9 CIRCUIT RECEPTACLE $0.610 EA

11.  538-03-06-2032                3 CIRCUIT PLUG $0.300 EA

12.  538-03-06-1032                3 CIRCUIT RECEPTACLE $0.300 EA

13.  538-03-06-2042                4 CIRCUIT PLUG $0.230 EA

14.  538-03-06-1042                4 CIRCUIT RECEPTACLE $0.301 EA

15.  538-03-06-2055                5 CIRCUIT PLUG $0.440 EA

16.  38-03-06-1056                  5 CIRCUIT RECEPTACLE $0.459 EA


The crimping tool is only around $15. Here’s a photo -- for the crimps I have I use the smaller of the two crimp points (the second one back from the nose of the tool):

Alan 33


(Posted by Alaxus on 01-10-12)

I am just using parallel port printer cables with a DB25 plug at each end. Most cables are shielded already, and cheap.


(Posted by Gerry Vermaelen on 01-27-13)

For those of you who don't like soldering those small tinny AML pins, I found out that the connectors for radio commanded servos are just what we need to connect our AML switches.


Just ignore middle wire and there you go. The size of the Servo connection correspond exactly to the AML pins ( small ones ) distance, so just push the servo connection onto the AML pins, it fits perfectly. One connector is used for the LED connection to the sys3 card,and the other one for the on/off also to the SYS3 card. One Graupner connector is about 2$ each.


(Posted by Alan Norris on 01-27-13)

I see that you are using two connectors at right angles to each other. This will greatly reduce the amount of work wiring these AMLs. When I started I thought I had found a source for the correct connector that was used but they are no longer available.


This is the connector, of course you still have to solder the pins:

Alan 34


(Posted by Ron Rollo on 01-27-13)

Hey Gerry, if it works for you then go for it! I'll just say that whatever we do with our wiring management, we need to make sure that it is solid and that there are no loose connections, or cold solders. Otherwise we will end up chasing gremlins endlessly!


The day we had a semi hangar meeting a few months back, I was pleasantly surprised that as we were bringing everything up and assigning switches and LEDs, that EVERYTHING actually worked with the exception of a single green LED in the landing gear three pack. (And that was burned out!) Everything was soldered and although it was time consuming, it will save me tons of time and frustration looking for and then fixing whatever the issue is. I like the connector block if it was still available. Same amount of soldering but at least we can unplug them if we need to.


I definitely like the idea of using the RC plugs for doing testing and temporary setups. However, the other thought that I had was the cost of the RC plugs are going to be much higher than our standard 20 or 22 gauge stranded hook up wire. There are about 70 AMLs in our projects and we will need at least two RC plugs for each. Then the other question is what about the other end? Are we going to end up soldering there anyway to hook into our wiring harness? Or are these RC plugs long enough to get back to the interface cards?  So the bottom line is if you think it will work for you, go for it!


(Posted by Mark L. on 01-27-13)

I like the idea as well, but the cost is what keeps me from doing those. I use those connectors on my TQ's to interface with the Leo Bodnar Joystick controller which makes it a lot easier to wire up.


Make sure to label what is switch and what is LED and keep the orientation consistent if both happen to fall off to make it easy to reconnect. I agree, they do fit snug, but stuff happens!


(Posted by Will Sasse on 01-29-13)

I bought: 3 Pin .1" connectors (ignore the center pin) with Crimp Pins to suit: here for Crimp Pins


And PCB pin sockets for individual pins: here for PC Pin Sockets


In use they look like this when fixed to cat5 cable:

Wills 18


I left a couple of crimp pins out of the blocks so you can see how they connect:

Wills 19


This image is of the individual PCB sockets (heat-shrinked) that I use for connecting the LED pins to an FDS SysCard:

Wills 20


Here is the back of one of Eric's panels with AML's connected. 3-pin headers on switch pins, individual sockets on LED pins. the black cable you see is the common ground from the SYS card to 8 PCB sockets daisy-chained in a row to provide ground to the eight active sockets (via the cat5 cable above) on the LED's


The 3 pin connectors fit on the AMLs nicely, you can even have one on the bulb pins and one on the switch pins (at 90 degrees to each other). As Gerry says, just ignore the center pin. And make sure to only use stranded core wire! Stay away from solid core.


At the other end of my Cat5 cable I fitted the AMP connectors to connect directly to a SYS card without a join mid-wire. Push-fit connectors, no soldering! Just remember to number the connectors for memory enhancement if or when a card needs replacing or you dismantle the sim. It is simple and cost effective.


(Posted by Terry Collins on 02-10-13)

Here's a document I found today which might be of interest to those that are not too familiar with the electrical side of our project (myself included):


You can also download this document below.

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Over the past few weeks I have been busy rewiring all my new v2.0 panels and coming up with solutions to make the wiring process easier and reduce the chances of "Gremlins" popping up.  I also want to label all the plugs and do the wire grouping at the back side of the panels, including grouping grounds etc....

The first thing I want to cover with you is the new Dymo label maker.  Over the past few years, label makers like this one are getting cheaper and doing more with higher quality.  Battery operated and easy to use, simply type in what you want, hit print and cut.  Done!  I am primarily using this tool to label all the plugs coming off the back of the panels and the wiring harnesses that will run from the panels to the Interface modules.

The next thing I want to cover is the way I am now grouping my grounds.  There are many ways to achieve the same results, but I found this method to be the most effective and neatest while at the same time utilizing the same plug and socket hardware that is used everywhere else in the build.

Here is an example of what I am doing.  Basically, I take all the grounds to be grouped and plug them in a socket.  The other plug groups the grounds with small wire loops soldered together.  In this example, the group on the left with the red wires is for a couple input (switch) lines.  The group on the right is for a couple output (LED) lines.

Here is another example below.  In both examples, there are between three and four ground lines being grouped together and narrowing down to a single ground line.

To make these ground loops, cut pieces of wire down two inches long and soldered them with pins like this. (This is a five in to one out example)

When installed in the plug with the loops, it looks like this!

This method takes several ground lines needing to be grouped together and reduces them down to one manageable ground line to be grouped with the other input/output lines.  Now we can make plugs at the back side of the panels to match EXACTLY the plugs on the Interface modules.  This means the wiring harnesses that run between the Interface modules and the panels will be as simple as possible and match the plug assignments in the Jet45 Pinout document.

Here are a couple examples of my panels with this ground grouping technique and the labels identifying each of the plugs.

Left Reversion Panel:


System Test Panel:


Environmental Panel:


Pitch Trim Panel:


APU Panel:


These are a couple examples of the methods I am using to try and simplify the wiring situation.  Besides being neat and orderly, the goal is to reduce the chance of "Gremlins" to near zero.  A couple more items you will notice are zip ties and shrink tube!  Zip ties and shrink tube are a must in order to keep things in order.  It might take a little more time to add all these preventative measure, but trust me, it is easier to spend the time fortifying your wiring than hunting for the Gremlins during a trouble shooting incident.

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