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  #1  
Old 02-22-2011, 07:53 PM
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N130PM N130PM is offline
 
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Default Electroair Ignition Failure

First, it is not my desire to flame Electroair in any way. I believe there are some data points that should be found in the archives, as I have spent the last few days searching VAF and the RV list, I think this needs to be added.

Way back in 2006 I was helping my buddy Mike Cupiole finish his 6. Being a staunch believer in Jeff Rose and his EI unit I goaded him into purchasing one. Mike was a better mech than me but it never worked. He took it out and put in a Slick and asked me if I wanted it.

5 years later I put it in my plane. No workie. Send it back, it was returned with two new coils and deemed to be OK. OK!

Flew 55 hours with it. Strange stumbling at low power while taxiing. Ran fine at first at high power then a couple of stumbles early in the flight. They were no kidding get your attention right now events. I circled the glider port for 5 minutes the first time trying to figure it out. It just stopped.

Last Saturday at Valkeria (by the way outstanding little airshow) as I raised my tail and stuck the RV down for that extra cushion of pull off speed I feel "DUUUH". It registers but I'm really busy at the time and I'm passing the shut her down and abort point, so I pull her off. Instead of flying off like she usually does, she sinks back in and bouces twice, I feel her tail drop down and then she just somehow flys off. I see I'm down 150 rpm from normal. This is new. So I just hold what I have and start looking for a place to go. Its much quieter than it usually is at this point in the flight. I find a road if need be, level out, I reach 110MPH and start a 300 fpm climb. I get to 500 feet and turn a wide base to return to Valkaria and the **** thing kicks in like an afterburner. It was ...DRAMATIC....she took off like a scalded cat and in a few seconds I was climbing at 1700 fpm. OK, so I'll climb up and see what I get. At 4500 feet I cycle the EI off and on and I do recreate what I just experienced. It was working fine and I flew home with no further pucker.

Today I received a return call from Electroair. They told me exactly what I had witnessed. I give them huge credit for not telling me that I was crazy and they never heard of such a thing. They told me the following.

When I sent my unit to them, there was no way they could duplicate the situation. Well, neither could I today. The problem is in the board, something I also knew since the Hall Effect unit was still functioning as that gives me my RPM reading and I was down 150 rpm on take off (its an enormous 150). Its an old unit and the silicon in the board degrades with time. I asked if I bought another unit, would I face this again? "Yes, in another ten years. But if you want we'll sell you another lower unit for 800 bucks. "Or, for your own piece of mind now given what happend, you might want to just put a mag in." I'll give them credit, they shot straight.

And this is the reason for the post. If you have one of these, straight from the horses mouth, it is a time sensitive component. I realize that 95% of those installed are problem free, but thats not a big comfort when you are trying to stay out of the trees at the far end. Seriously, it climbed like a Cessena 140 on a hot day. I have a Bendix on the shelf that was O/hauled with my left mag. I'll put it in, just for simple economics and the comfort of my wife who is a little freaked out.

I hope this will be helpful to someone in the future.
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  #2  
Old 02-23-2011, 12:46 AM
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Eric,

Can you clarify what you mean by "the board"? Is it a component inside the control box that is installed in the cockpit, or a portion of another component in the system?

Also, did they tell you new units would/might/will experience the same issue over time, or is the issue just with replacement units for the same vintage as that of your system?

I ask, because they have been refining the system quite a bit over the years. Haven't heard of this issue before, but good to have the data point.

Thanks!
Bob
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  #3  
Old 02-23-2011, 06:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvmills View Post
Eric,

Can you clarify what you mean by "the board"? Is it a component inside the control box that is installed in the cockpit, or a portion of another component in the system?

Also, did they tell you new units would/might/will experience the same issue over time, or is the issue just with replacement units for the same vintage as that of your system?

I ask, because they have been refining the system quite a bit over the years. Haven't heard of this issue before, but good to have the data point.

Thanks!
Bob
Yes I'm assuming its the circuit board and the components on the control box. I know they now move those inside the cockpit, but I asked him specifically if I bought a new one would it do the same. He said yes, in ten or so years. He said that even though mine was a 2006 unit the board was 10 or 12 years old. He stated that it happens with any circuitry of this type over time. I wonder if thats why its impossible to keep my 1985 big money stereo in operating order.
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  #4  
Old 02-23-2011, 08:37 AM
barryrv10 barryrv10 is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Fl
Posts: 64
Default Electroair EI

I installed the system on a IO-540 six months ago. From the start I had a miss when the MAP sensor kicked in and started to advance the timing. With 20 hours on the system, the controller shorted out and became INOP. Electroair was very good in trouble shooting and sending me a new unit. The system should run very smooth all the time; if any miss or studder is present in any phase of operation, something is wrong. As a side note the harness from the factory was miss pinned, so I had a timing problem at first start. Again Electroair was very good with trouble shooting and fixing the problem; but check those pin outs on new installations. Blue Skys Barry
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  #5  
Old 02-23-2011, 08:53 AM
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Is the unit you're having problems with a gold or purple anodized unit? The old analog gold units have been rock-solid for me and everyone I know that has them.
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  #6  
Old 02-23-2011, 09:03 AM
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I installed the Electroair last summer and after 100+ hrs it works perfectly. Big difference from my previous dual Slick mags....more power, better fuel consumption, and clean plugs. They are working on an STC for the system and mine was one of those units. On my previous RV I had dual Lightspeed II's and had to send both units back to Klaus to be upgraded when one blew out a resistor and he charged me, both units having been flying for only a couple of months.
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  #7  
Old 02-23-2011, 09:40 AM
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I installed an Electoair system over 10 years ago in a previous airplane and it is still running today with the follow up owner. He has had a couple hall sense problems with oil leakage and carries a spare one, but the board is still original and works. The other half is a magneto.

When a magneto goes TU here, it will be replaced with an Electroair.
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  #8  
Old 02-23-2011, 07:01 PM
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N130PM N130PM is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocketbob View Post
Is the unit you're having problems with a gold or purple anodized unit? The old analog gold units have been rock-solid for me and everyone I know that has them.
Gold unit here, they are pretty much written off by E.A.

Had this not happened I was about to order ignition wires made by Aerolite in hopes of finding a cure in the wires. The things that you pin are just the cheapest things I've ever seen. If you do a search on the rv list you will find lots of talk on the unit stumbling because the wires are being run parallel. That seems kind of sad for an aircraft component.
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  #9  
Old 02-23-2011, 09:58 PM
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Yeah I run NGK plugs so the spark plug connection is not a problem for me. I originally ran with REM37BY's but had radio noise, so I switch to automotive plugs which solved that problem.

Last summer I had to pull my engine to weld up some gear leg cracks. I put the airplane back together right before Oshkosh and just did a few short flights before we left. At altitude I felt it misfiring and the RPMs were jumping around a bit, so I shut it off and pressed on. After landing I pulled the cowl and reseated the connector to the sensor I had disconnected when doing the maintenance work and all has been well after that. Moral of the story is your problem could be minor, and its likely the variable reluctance sensor, gap, or the wiring. In all of my years of working on all things electronic I have never heard of anyone claiming silicon degradation so I don't buy that explanation for a nanosecond.

My wires are run in parallel and have zero problems. They are Taylor 8mm wires.
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Last edited by rocketbob : 02-23-2011 at 10:03 PM.
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  #10  
Old 02-24-2011, 02:02 AM
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Eric, thanks for the clarification.

Bob, my box is silver and just two years old. Are the gold/purple boxes problematic units, to your knowledge?

Mine has been very solid, 250+ hours of everything from formation to long X-C to racing. I ran parallel wires (though I was careful to keep them from touching along the run) and have 37BYs. Been lucky with no radio noise, but good to hear the swap to NGKs solved that for you Bob (in case issues appear!)

Not sure I get the silicone degradation thing either. Mike and company seem like the diligent types that would have a service interval recommendation or a SB if that was the case...especially with all the work towards certification they are doing.

I'm sure its frustrating Eric...I had a frustrating experience with the older Plasma I that came with my plane. The EA has been much better for me.

Cheers,
Bob
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