Sunday, September 2, 2012

On Letting Go...

There comes a time when you just need to let go. Whether you are a mentor, parent, teacher, or jailer, at some point you will have to step back from those under your guidance or tutelage and allow your protege to make his or her own way through life. And so it is with Van's. At some point, it would seem, they decided to just let us figure things out for ourselves now and then.

At least that's the way I felt about page 42D-20.

I had been putting off this rather intimidating looking page for a few days, hoping that the dry weather that was providing such a fertile ground for the airborne pollen that had my allergies torturing me more than I can ever remember would move aside in favor of an air-cleansing rain.

And so it was that I finally found myself coughing and sniffling a little bit less, but now plagued by the irritations that arise when a young, energetic dog, who has become used to being able to play fetch every day of the week, finds a wet yard blocking his routine play time. Desperate to escape the plaintive whining and ceaseless staring (of the dog, to be specific), I headed out to the hangar.

Here is the task at hand, writ in Sanskrit:

I knew this day of reckoning was going to arrive someday - the hint of complexities to come was delivered with this additional bag of wires labeled 'REV 1' and 'Fix-1'. This bag seems to be an adjunct to the bag that contained a beefy coil of wires labeled 'WH-00026'. The words/word fragments 'REV' and 'Fix' have a special connotation in the lexicon of RV-12 building. They mean that you have fallen squarely in the middle of preceding builders who encountered a problem with the kit and subsequent builders who will receive parts that make no reference to revisions or fixes. While it is better to be in the middle group than it is to be in the first group, it can still cause a bit of anxiety.

Inside the bag was a small wisp of wiring (I hesitate to even call it a 'bundle' or 'harness') and a single, lone, unattached wire. And no more. No explanations, no special directions. Nothing.

So, to the main book of plans to see what is to be done. "Find the WH-RV12-HEADSET wiring harness... and cut off any wire connectors leaving as much wire as possible."

Here they are:

"Crimp the (WHT/BLK) shield wire coming from the WH-RZ194 and WH-RZ195 into one end of a splice. Find the WH-RZ944 (WHT/BLK) wire coming from the WH-00026 Option Conversion Harness...."

Yeah, bit of a problem there. There was no wire coming from the harness in question. I could only assume that the wire in question was the lonely, unattached wire included in the Fix-1 bag. It was starting to become apparent what the problem the early adopters ran into may have been. It would seem that someone had forgotten to install these wires at the factory. For kits that were put together before a manufacturing change could be put in place, Van's just sent along the raw (well, slightly distilled, anyway) materials for us to figure out for ourselves. They were letting go; there would not only be no hand holding on this, there wasn't even to be the whiff of a hint.

That was my theory, anyway.

I opened the back shell of the WH-00026 and sure enough, there was a vacant hole where the Sanskrit drawing showed a BLK/WHT wire.

I went ahead and stuffed the provided wire into the appropriate socket.

I hope.

That just left the mystery of what the WH-RZ194 and WH-RZ195 were. I had a pair of suspects matching the description, but they were travelling under the aliases PILOT and CO-PILOT. I can't think about the subject of aliases without laughing; have you ever filled out a job application where they ask you to provide any current or formerly used aliases? I have, and I always wonder if the designers of the form are fully cognizant of the purpose of an alias. I mean, what was the point of using one in the first place if you're just going to tell the world about it anyway?

But I digress. I was pretty sure that PILOT and CO-PILOT were the guys I was looking for and that their real names were WH-RZ194 and WH-RZ195, but I didn't know which was which. I went looking for help on the internet and was able to find the answer. I recorded it for posterity.

They next mystery was similar: there were ES 320559 and ES 320682 splices referenced on the drawing, but no way to determine which was which in the bag of parts.

I went with a line-up to flush out the identities of the provided splices.

Counting worked.

A great deal of splicing ensued. After the BLK/WHT splices, I had to do GRN/WHT splices. The single GRN/WHT wire was also not installed in a back shell, but it was found attached to a few other wires that also weren't installed in the back shell.

Splices were attached to the PILOT and CO-PILOT bundles.

Matching them up with the Fix-1 wires was easy, but I had to make sure to keep the appropriate matching colors correctly matched to their new mates since there were two of each.

This is where Van's fell silent. I was on my own from here. I decided to clean up the mess of new wires rather than just leave them in a loose bunch. Tie wraps first:

Then I wrapped the whole bundle with the ugly yet functional orange stretchy silicone stuff I remember from back in the day when I was working on SR-71s. The Lockheed guys that built those amazing jets could make those bundles look pretty good; I can't.

Still working under the assumption that I should put the loose ends into the connector, I went ahead and did so. I added separate heat shrink for each bundle to ensure that I would have at least some chance of telling the wires apart and getting them into the correct holes.

Heat shrink shrunk (with heat - that's why it's called 'heat shrink'), the bundle bundled, and tie wraps added for decoration:

I also bundled the two separate bundles together? Why? Because Van's had had enough of my independent thought. They told me to.

I am starting to detect a theme here. A lot of color-coded connectors are gravitating towards this same little area.

I wonder if it has anything to do with this colorful little box still sitting back home on the parts shelf:

I'm sure they will tell be soon enough.


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