A Family Adventure


Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

New sensors

December 4, 2013
Emilie Phillips

One thing that prevents us from flying longer trips is weather. So, to fix that, Tyson is studying up for his instrument rating and we are upgrading the instruments in the Bearhawk so it is IFR equipped. Eventually we want to completely upgrade the panel to all digital, LCD screens. But, for now we calculated that if we just add a few backup instruments, we can fly.

The first set of instruments were two remote compasses and a backup attitude sensor. This upgrades a our existing Dynon system, and adds an MGL system with duplicate capabilities. Unfortunately, performing the upgrade has been a bit less than simple. First, the existing Dynon went on the frits, so we sent it back for repairs. Next, the remote compasses needed to be placed way out in the wing because there is terrible magnetic interference almost everywhere in the cabin. There are access points into the wing, but most are small and getting in and out is either awkward, or you can’t see once you have your hands stuffed in them. I got recruited for most of the work in the wing because my hands were smallest.
Then, lastly, we started by hooking up the MGL system since the Dynon unit was out, and the MGL remote compass did not work, so we sent the MGL parts back for warrantee repair too.

We received the repaired and upgraded Dynon in time to reinstall it. Now that system is fully functional and we finally have an accurate compass. We reassembled the airplane at that point. Unfortunately this means we have to disassemble it again when the MGL parts come back.

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Comments (2)

  • But did you fix the battery charging?

    The added electronics sounds great, but I seem to remember problems with the battery holding enough charge. Does any of the new electronics require maintenance from the battery?

    • Re: But did you fix the battery charging?

      We have not addressed the parasitic load, but we’re pretty sure the load is not the biggest issue for starting the airplane. What we found is that our starter has the wrong gearing and so was drawing too much power. The battery could only provide that when 100% charged. We have a new starter on order and preliminary testing indicates it can start the Bearhawk even when the battery is significantly drained.

      As for the new electronics, they are all connected to the master switch and definitely get turned off when the airplane is off.