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  #1  
Old 03-25-2015, 09:59 AM
douglassmt douglassmt is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Missoula, MT
Posts: 670
Default Melted Gretz Heated Pitot

On Sunday I took off for a fun flight in VFR. I have had the Gretz Heated pitot since first flight in February 2012, used it occasionally in IMC but less than handful of times. It has been tested in flight numerous times, no problem, seems to heat and work fine. However, the little indicator LEDs in the panel never worked well, eventually didn't work at all. I was able to verify heating by amperage draw via VP-X. So...I finally replaced the cheapo LEDs with some nice LEDs with built-in resistors from the aviation rack at Radio Shack and it was nice to see the indications again. So, back to the Sunday flight.

On climb out approaching cruise altitude I turn on the pitot heat to check it after replacing the LEDs. LEDs came on as designed. OAT was in the 40s F. Within a few seconds, my IAS starts running up from about 105 kias to well over 200 kias. Obviously not right, very likely related to the heated pitot I just turned on. Htd pitot off, IAS stays locked at 200+ kias. I level off and evaluate, guessing I've had the pitot tube melt and plug. I turn it on again and nothing happens for a few seconds, then the IAS drops to about 40 kias. OK, so IAS can't be trusted. Htd Pitot off for good.

I returned to base and landed without incident, climbed out, and observed a little hardened worm of goo protruding from the front of the pitot tube. Obviously a heated pitot tube problem as others have had here.

I was able to clean out this hardened goop so that the pitot functioned again. I blew out the pitot tubing from the backside of the pitot tube and tested it with a manometer. Test flew it for unheated operation, all is fine.

So...I try to contact Angus Aviation in Australia. I've heard about his lack of customer service and it's true. I emailed via his website, no response. I emailed via a post he made on VAF, no response. Second email via website, no response.

At this point I'm weighing converting to the Dynon heated pitot ($450) or just replacing the heated pitot portion of the Gretz ($250). My question is, how many of you are using the Gretz heated pitot, have used it a lot, and have had no problems with it? The last thing I want to do is to replace the heated pitot portion but not be able to trust it in IMC. However, if there was a bad batch 3-4 years ago that I got then maybe the problem has been solved. It would certainly be easier and cheaper to do this than to convert to the Dynon, but cost is obviously not the only factor here.

Your input on the Gretz heated pitot, if you've actually and often turned on the heat, is appreciated.
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RV-10 N242BD

Last edited by douglassmt : 03-25-2015 at 10:02 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-25-2015, 12:43 PM
jarvis jarvis is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: lexington, KY
Posts: 325
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If you decide to repair the Gretz, I have a complete new one I'll sell you for $250 plus shipping. Circuit board has been installed in wing--but not powered up.
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  #3  
Old 03-25-2015, 02:29 PM
douglassmt douglassmt is offline
 
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Location: Missoula, MT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarvis View Post
If you decide to repair the Gretz, I have a complete new one I'll sell you for $250 plus shipping. Circuit board has been installed in wing--but not powered up.
When did you buy it? I might be interested.
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  #4  
Old 03-25-2015, 08:37 PM
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dmaib dmaib is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: New Smyrna Beach, FL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by douglassmt View Post

Your input on the Gretz heated pitot, if you've actually and often turned on the heat, is appreciated.
Mine has been used extensively since 2008 and have had zero problems.
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  #5  
Old 03-26-2015, 06:18 AM
jarvis jarvis is offline
 
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Location: lexington, KY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by douglassmt View Post
When did you buy it? I might be interested.
I have had it awhile. I'll try to find date for you.
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  #6  
Old 03-26-2015, 06:24 AM
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sbalmos sbalmos is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Maineville, OH
Posts: 598
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Likewise, I have one also available, never installed, circuit board and everything. Purchased at the start of 2014, after the second report by Jon Thocker about his Dynon pitot freezing.
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Cincinnati, OH
Butler County Airport, KHAO
RV-9A Slider N112SB
Started 1/12/12, Airworthy 6/4/18, First Flight 7/4/18
Build Time - 6.5yrs
IO-320 w/EFII and Catto 3-blade
Beringer brakes/wheels/tires
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  #7  
Old 03-26-2015, 09:35 AM
douglassmt douglassmt is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Missoula, MT
Posts: 670
Default Thanks all

Thanks to the responders, keep them coming. I still have not heard from Angus Aviation. However, I have it on good authority that the composite material used to build the pitot tubes changed when it was sold to Angus. From my dusty records it appears I purchased mine from Angus in 12/2009 so I am guessing that mine was made of the new material. If I don't hear from Angus soon, or if he doesn't warranty the tube, then I will probably buy one from one of the posters, above.
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  #8  
Old 03-26-2015, 01:10 PM
jarvis jarvis is offline
 
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Location: lexington, KY
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Mine did not come from Angus. That much I know.
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  #9  
Old 03-26-2015, 01:13 PM
jarvis jarvis is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: lexington, KY
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Default Thanks, Scott...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sbalmos View Post
Likewise, I have one also available, never installed, circuit board and everything. Purchased at the start of 2014, after the second report by Jon Thocker about his Dynon pitot freezing.
for stepping on my neck here.
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  #10  
Old 03-26-2015, 01:19 PM
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sbalmos sbalmos is offline
 
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Location: Maineville, OH
Posts: 598
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Errr... Sorry? Just being as specific and upfront as I could in my post.
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Cincinnati, OH
Butler County Airport, KHAO
RV-9A Slider N112SB
Started 1/12/12, Airworthy 6/4/18, First Flight 7/4/18
Build Time - 6.5yrs
IO-320 w/EFII and Catto 3-blade
Beringer brakes/wheels/tires
Dual G3X Touch (Stein's bankrupted me!)
In Phase 1
=/\= 2018 Donation Paid =/\=
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