It has taken a very long time to collect the assortment of OEM needed parts to complete the forward and aft overhead panels. Finally the build is now in progress and it’s hoped completion will be towards the end of 2016.
LEFT: Lower electrical panel showing reproduction latex-style cap (ELEC 2) and OEM Honeywell Switch Accessory 15PA90-6W (ELEC 1). Click to enlarge. For those with keen eyes - yes that is a voice recorder in the lower panel - more to follow in later posts. Of interest are the two different white caps (read main text).
Earlier on, I had purchased several dozen Honeywell toggle switches, however, for whatever reason the white caps on the toggles were either missing or damaged. I was intending to use reproduction white push-on caps (aka white condoms), but the caps failed to fit snugly to the OEM switches, and their appearance was slightly different to the OEM version - the ends of the caps looked rather bulbous.
My next choice was to use latex caps that are used in automotive industry. Once again, the appearance was slightly different and the automotive caps sported a small nipple at the end of each cap where they had been connected to the plastic retaining spur; I found the appearance of the nipple disconcerting.
Short of viable options, I purchased the OEM white caps from Honeywell which is the company that supplies Boeing. If you carefully look at the above picture of the lower electrical panel (click image to enlarge picture), you will observe the nearest toggle switch has been fitted with an automotive style cap; the nipple and joining line is clearly visible. The second toggle switch is fitted with the Honeywell white cap.
The reproduction slip-on caps currently available on the market bear little resemblance to those made by Honeywell.
LEFT: Honeywell Switch Accessory 15PA90-6W showing internal screw thread. The thread screws onto the stem of the toggle switch (click to enlarge).
Most of the reproduction white caps are either a push-on condom style, or are a white-capped head attached to a slender hollow shaft. The shaft then slides over the existing switch stem.
The Honeywell caps are not slip-on latex but a solidly-produced head with an internal aluminium thread. The head is designed to be screwed directly to the shaft of the toggle switches. Firmly attached to this head is the white latex cap.
To mount the white cap on a toggle, witch you must first gently heat the switch stem which will loosen the head of the toggle. It then is an easy matter to screw off the head and replace it with the OEM head.
Not everyone wants to utilise OEM parts. As such I have provided the measurements of the switch head (courtesy of Honeywell) for those who wish to try their hand at making their own white caps.
As the overhead build continues, I will be posting more articles that showcase the overhead and the various panels and functionality.
Honeywell – Avionics conglomerate that is heavily involved in the defence and aviation industries.
OEM – Original Equipment Manufacture (aka real aircraft part).