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  #16  
Unread 07-03-21, 03:31 PM
Rick Erwin Rick Erwin is offline
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wslade-

If your only problems are the EL panels, I've found two companies that refurbish them:

Air Capital Dial in Wichita, KS
and
Nimbus Aviation in Jacksonville, FL

I just shipped mine off to Nimbus this morning.

Rick
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  #17  
Unread 12-15-21, 06:59 PM
Rick Erwin Rick Erwin is offline
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Just to close the loop on my repair:

The refurbished EL panels I received back from Nimbus are just like new and work great!

The integral incandescent light bulbs that were in the OEM panels have been replaced in favor of LEDs ... so, the color temperature of the light coming from the panels is a cooler white vs. the warmer white of the OEM panels.
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  #18  
Unread 12-15-21, 11:11 PM
wslade2 wslade2 is offline
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So looking like should expect a turn around time of 5 months for panel refurbishment. And can upgrade to LED. So there’s a bulb in there? Brings up the question of local/diy repair.

Last edited by wslade2 : 12-15-21 at 11:20 PM.
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  #19  
Unread 12-16-21, 01:17 AM
Rick Erwin Rick Erwin is offline
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wslade2:

The Nimbus turnaround time was about 3-4 weeks. I installed the refurbed panels upon their arrival back to me. I am just late getting back to close the loop at the end of the project.

From what I could see there was no way for "me" to replace the bulbs myself. I'm pleased with the job Nimbus did. The really do look like they are brand new.

As for the bulbs, I don't think it's a matter of "can upgrade to LED", I think it's a matter of "must upgrade to LED", as in no other option but LED, from what I understood from both Nimbus as well as Air Capital Dial. I didn't see a way to access the bulbs myself. I'm thinking they are visible once the finish is removed from the panels. They repainted the surface and the lettering on the panels. I'll try to get a picture of the finished product and post it here sometime.

I suppose, if you're very crafty with stripping paint, repairing tiny electrical circuits, screen printing and repainting, it could be a DIY job. It was certainly beyond my ability though.

Rick
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  #20  
Unread 12-16-21, 06:52 AM
wslade2 wslade2 is offline
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Is the refurbished panel set up to connect to the old AC inverter? Since they’re replacing with LED seems like LED can be built in that could straight wire to an approved LED aircraft dimmer eliminating the complexity of the AC inverter.

Agree with skill for matting and sign making. We’ve got a local guy that CNC’s all kind of aircraft panel and a sign maker by trade. I was thinking about giving him shot at it since it sounds like this panel is just basically back lit plastic and not true electroluminescent. But if it’s not electroluminescent, why the AC inverter (electroluminescent requires an inverter). Or maybe they can’t repair the original electroluminescent and they are converting to a compatible backlit option?

All very interesting stuff. Thanks for closing the loop!

Last edited by wslade2 : 12-16-21 at 06:56 AM.
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  #21  
Unread 12-16-21, 09:28 AM
Rick Erwin Rick Erwin is offline
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wslade2:

The refurbed panels come back with new wire leads that are about 6-8 inches long, which is what the OEM panels had. They are a direct replacement, they connect to the Inverta-Pak and come back with certification. I assume that since the shop is a Certified Repair Station, that they are limited in what they can do to modify the OEM design? I agree though that it sure would be nice to get rid of the Inverta-Pak.

My panels were not "backlit" per se'. Somehow the light source is in the panel. I recall being told about the LED color temperature difference, so I assumed they are tiny "bulbs"? Perhaps they are just LED filaments? I sure would like to see one stripped to see how they work. They must be segmented somehow, as my Flap Panel had a strip down the middle that no longer illuminated.

It would be interesting to know exactly how the light in the panels is created and imbedded, and if they modified the original design. I know the company Uma, makes LED light rings that illuminate the face of steam gauges in the panel, and they still use inverters to power them.

If you ever get any of your queries answered, please let us know...

Rick
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  #22  
Unread 12-16-21, 10:42 AM
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Do mind sharing what the work cost?
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  #23  
Unread 12-16-21, 10:44 AM
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Why I’m asking is my thinking is to eliminate the panel altogether during the panel upgrade.
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  #24  
Unread 12-16-21, 10:56 AM
Rick Erwin Rick Erwin is offline
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Nimbus charged $1200 to repair and refurb both the switch panel and the flap panel.

Air Capital Dial was going to be another $300-400 on top of that.

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  #25  
Unread 12-16-21, 11:01 AM
Rick Erwin Rick Erwin is offline
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For anyone thinking of taking the electroluminescent switch panel off, be sure you read my edit of my post in this thread dated: 06-10-21, 10:31 PM.

It has the potential to save you a lot of grief!

Rick
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  #26  
Unread 12-16-21, 07:03 PM
wslade2 wslade2 is offline
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Yeah, my original original original plan was to eliminate the electroluminescent panel/converter, new plain panel and some other type of lighting.

But now that I think about it, alternative lighting might be a challenge. Recently did some work on the alternator switch and there’s not a lot of access behind there like for string of post lights, their securing nuts, wiring, ground…
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  #27  
Unread 12-16-21, 07:11 PM
Rick Erwin Rick Erwin is offline
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Agreed, I don't think the Cessna engineers could have designed anything else to go back there.

I had to remove three pressurization instruments just to get to the little alternator restart push button. It's crazy.

There's no such thing as a "Line Replaceable Unit" on these airplanes.
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