Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
I have a Corvair powered Zenith Zodiac CH 650B.
I'm struggling to get it wired due to limited expertise and guidance.
If you can tell me how to wire up the starter from a rear mounted battery, behind the passenger seat, with adequate fuse box style and location and gauge of wire needed would be helpful. I simple schematic drawing is really what I'm looking for to move me fwd. I can run and connect wires. I lack the understanding and sequence and logic to 'wire' things correctly. I'm no electrician. Any wiring guidance that you can send my way is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Jim.
Do you have the Zenith installation manual from W.W.? It has diagrams for low winger installations.
I noticed that EAA is now offering the electronics sport air workshop course online. I took the course in person a few years ago and it was excellent. It’s a great way to get much more comfortable with wiring up the airplane, it is really organized to help you design and implement your electrical system. Highly recommend it.
I also have a Corvair powered CH650. I have some wiring schematic PDFs that I have attached below. The engine schematic includes the starter. My battery is behind the passenger seat. The drawings are titled 601XL since my project started as a 601XL, but I finished it as a CH650. Please let me know if you have any questions.
I've also got some wiring photos on my project site at
The Aero Electric Connection book by Bob Knuckles is excellent and should answer most of your questions about aircraft electricals. The PDF version is free on their website. http://www.aeroelectric.com/Books/Connection/
I was in the same boat as you. Just thinking about electrical wiring hurt my brain. I knew nothing, and really did not want to take the time to learn. I finally bought a hard copy of the Aero Electric Connection book by Bob Knuckles. Then i came up with an epiphany.
Rather than trying to start with a schematic I didn't understand - why not start with the just the first wire?
If I start at the positive side of the battery - where does the first wire go, what to I need to know about it, and how big should it be? I was able to answer this question from the book. It goes to the master solenoid, it carries a lot of current - and the book showed me how to size it. One wire down, 500 hundred to go.
Ok, so where does the "outlet" wire from the master solenoid go? what to I need to know about it, and how big should it be? Again the book explained this. Just keep moving thru the system one wire at a time, in order.
Four months later, my wiring was done. The engine started up the first time. Ok, well, I wasn't perfect. I ended up flying the first 7 hours without realizing my alternator was wired wrong and wasn't charging my battery.... However, I was able to figure out the problem and fix it.
I've got 400 hours on my plane and wiring changes are now no big deal.
Do I really understand electrical systems and how they work? Nope, they still confuse the hell out of me. Really, what are these things we can't see called "electrons" and which way do they run? I don't know, and don't care. That stuff still makes my brain hurt!
However, I can usually figure out a wiring problem and trace it down because of the wiring schematic I created, one wire at a time, in order, starting from the battery.
Thanks for the advice. I got the Aero Electric Connection. Do I have to read the whole book to get started wiring? Seems like a lot of theory. How did you use this book to proceed? Do you have any pictures you can email me, like, the area with your battery connections? Where are and how many fuse boxes/power busses do you have?, pics? Anything you think would help. Thanks much. Jim
If you understand plumbing you understand the basics of electricity. It takes a big pipe to carry lots of water, It takes a big wire to carry lots of electricty. If you run high pressure in the pipe it carries more water than a lower pressure system useing the same diameter pipe. If you run higher voltage in a wire you pack more elecity through it than a lower voltage will pass on the same wire. You lose some water pressure if there is a long run of pipe from the pressure source (a water pump or gravity tank) to the point of use. You lose some voltage if there is a long run of wire from the electrical source (a generator or a battery) to the point of use. You can reduce that loss over a long run if you use a larger diameter pipe or a heavier gage wire. You get the idea.
The big difference between a household water system and a DC electrical system is the water system dumps the water out at the point of use while an electrical system needs to return the "used" electrons back to the source of power. So a plumbing system has pipes in one direction only to dump the water at the point of use. An electrical system has wires to take the power to the point of use and then either wires or the metal of the airframe to return the power back to the power source. The power needs to make a round trip from the power source to the powered device then back to the power source.
Think of electricity in these terms and it makes it a whole bunch easier to understand what you are doing (at least for me it works - I can visualize water in a pipe and different water pressures and such, electrons not so much.) Have fun!