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Thread: Instrument Panel overlay color

  1. #1

    Instrument Panel overlay color

    I'm having some avionics improvements done including a new overlay installed to clean up my "patch work" panel and to cover the hole created when the ADF is discarded. I need to decide on the overlay color, that is, whether to use a light beige, or gray, or perhaps black. The interior is the beige tone with green. What are the advantages of light color vs black?
    thanks much
    Greg Johnson

  2. #2
    Hi, Greg. I had thought some others would have weighed in on this by now. I have not personally completed a variety of panels. But I can tell you that, in my experience with the homebuilt world, the lighter-colored panels look better to me; and seem to be preferred over darker shades by a wide margin. Dark panels seem to be associated primarily with warbird restorations.

  3. #3
    Climbing to Cruise Climbing to Cruise
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Clinton, South Carolina
    I agree with Mike, lighter colored panels look better in my opinon, and if you think about it it would not be a heat sink in sunlight as opposed to the Darker color panels. Grey with white lettering for information, red lettering for warnings and so forth would look better on a grey or lt grey panel than a black one in my opinion.

    hope it helps


  4. #4
    Thread resurrection!

    As part of adding an engine monitor (AMU's) and the various ADS-B out options (AMU's), some wonderful person decided I don't have enough choices to consider and tossed in this: "Why don't you do a panel overlay in a nice light color and make your panel look updated!?" Innocently I asked "Where does one find out about panel overlay options?" and got that idiotic feigned innocent "I don't know" reply. Given I already feel like I have 50 choices on engine monitor configurations and 100 choices on ADS-B out configurations, I wanted to practice a strangle hold for this insolence.

    The urge passed and no pilots were hurt in the hangar talk exchange.

    So if you have done a panel overlay or have investigated it, I'd appreciate your thoughts.
    Last edited by mdunlevie; 02-16-2017 at 11:05 PM.
    Michael Dunlevie

    N9185S has taken me, so far...

    It has ever been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues. Abraham Lincoln

  5. #5
    I did a cheap overlay with a "fake" carbon fiber vinyl sheet for about $20 and about a day of extra labor. I was fairly happy with the results for the cost. I will redo at some point but hard to beat the price.

    One lesson learned...vinyl shrinks a lot when heated. If I do over I'll stick to the panel and leave the edges unstuck and let it bake in the TX heat a few days and come back and finish it off before I trim edges and holes. Also in the end I ended up doubling almost all of the thin areas with contact cement to get it to bond well. But it still still come off and clean up in 1/2 an hour if I redo.

    P.S. The product I used is available at - with links to several other colors.




    Full Album of project:
    Last edited by mgooderum; 02-16-2017 at 11:28 PM.

  6. #6
    Noticed that you changed the glare shield to gray also. How do you like the lighter color? Any problems with the sunlight? Night flying?


  7. #7
    No problem at all. I used a flat finish and deliberately picked a medium grey. I can say i have no noticeable glare. But, as planned, the glare shield doesn't get nearly as hot from the sun shining down. Even after a couple of hours of flying the glare shield gets warm but never so hot as to be uncomfortable to touch.
    Last edited by mgooderum; 02-17-2017 at 09:05 PM.
    States Flown To/From/In (but not including over)

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