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Voltage Regulators

 
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Robert Reed



Joined: 22 Oct 2009
Posts: 295
Location: Dallas/Ft.Worth

PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:47 am    Post subject: Voltage Regulators Reply with quote

I finished my build on a KIS Cruiser earlier this year and I am 12 plus hours into the flight testing phase. I started with the dual battery, dual alternator system for several reasons that I won't go into here but suffice to say it has turned into more of an issue than I bargained for. First was centered around the original Odyssey batteries not being able to spin the new engine for a start even with them in parallel. Yes, one was older and didn't seem to be able to hold the charge. I opted to replace both with the EarthX batteries which have proven to be more than enough for starting. The replacement was justified on the basis of a 22 lb weight savings and a three times longer life span. BUT no good deed goes unpunished.
That brings me to the real reason for my post.


PUT YOUR VOLTAGE REGULATORS WHERE YOU CAN EASILY REACH THEM AND HAVE ACCESS TO THE VOLTAGE ADJUSTMENT!!!!!!!!!
I know, I was shouting but I wanted to make dang sure I got my point across.
PUT YOUR VOLTAGE REGULATORS WHERE YOU CAN EASILY REACH THEM AND HAVE ACCESS TO THE VOLTAGE ADJUSTMENT!!!!!!!!!
Why the shouting? Because I mounted my voltage regulators on the inside of the firewall under a cross brace that totally blocks access and the only choice for me is to rip out my entire panel and everything in front of the panel including the voltage regulators to get access to the adjustment screws.
I purchased the 60 amp alternator and the 20-40 amp alternators along with the voltage regulators from B & C. Running the dual system with separate busses resulted in both alternators having an overvoltage condition and throwing the circuit breakers. Switched configurations to join the busses and run with just the Primary Alternator and got the same result after about an hour of flying. Switched configuration again to run with just the backup alternator and after almost two hours of flight time it also triggered the over voltage. Both alternators eventually peaked at just over 16 volts. My only solution without tearing out everything in front of the panel is to watch voltage build up and add load when it starts to peak. I plan to take the plane out of service sometime during the winter months and redo the wiring along with relocation of the voltage regulators. I will also be reconfiguring the system to dual parallel batteries, single buss, dual alternator system with only one alternator active at any one time. I am retaining the dual batteries since I have the dual ecu FLYEFII electronic ignition which are powered directly from each battery.
I have learned my lesson though, if it might need adjustment it will need adjustment and you better put it where you can adjust it.
Bob Reed
N247BR Kis Cruiser
PS: I can guarantee that you will end up with way more ground wires than you ever imagined on the inside of the firewall. And each one gets harder to connect to the forest of tabs ground bar if you try to mount them all individually. Bob's book outlines a few alternatives, use them!


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:04 am    Post subject: Voltage Regulators Reply with quote

Robert,
Why do you think the Odessy batts couldn't crank the engine? A couple of questions:
1. What model/part# Odessey batteries were you using?
2. Where were they located? Firewall, aft of the cabin?
3. What size cable from solenoid to starter, and how long?
4. Did the start circuit go thru the master solenoid and then the start solenoid?
5. What engine & starter?


I'm planning electrical system for a couple of aircraft and could learn from your experience. I've heard that Odessey batteries aren't what they used to be, but that is only hearsay. I have no hard facts.


Thanks,
Jeff Luckey
KCMA



On Wednesday, October 9, 2019, 07:54:18 AM PDT, Robert Reed <robertr237(at)att.net> wrote:






I finished my build on a KIS Cruiser earlier this year and I am 12 plus hours into the flight testing phase. I started with the dual battery, dual alternator system for several reasons that I won't go into here but suffice to say it has turned into more of an issue than I bargained for. First was centered around the original Odyssey batteries not being able to spin the new engine for a start even with them in parallel. Yes, one was older and didn't seem to be able to hold the charge. I opted to replace both with the EarthX batteries which have proven to be more than enough for starting. The replacement was justified on the basis of a 22 lb weight savings and a three times longer life span. BUT no good deed goes unpunished.
That brings me to the real reason for my post.


PUT YOUR VOLTAGE REGULATORS WHERE YOU CAN EASILY REACH THEM AND HAVE ACCESS TO THE VOLTAGE ADJUSTMENT!!!!!!!!!
I know, I was shouting but I wanted to make dang sure I got my point across.
PUT YOUR VOLTAGE REGULATORS WHERE YOU CAN EASILY REACH THEM AND HAVE ACCESS TO THE VOLTAGE ADJUSTMENT!!!!!!!!!
Why the shouting? Because I mounted my voltage regulators on the inside of the firewall under a cross brace that totally blocks access and the only choice for me is to rip out my entire panel and everything in front of the panel including the voltage regulators to get access to the adjustment screws.
I purchased the 60 amp alternator and the 20-40 amp alternators along with the voltage regulators from B & C. Running the dual system with separate busses resulted in both alternators having an overvoltage condition and throwing the circuit breakers. Switched configurations to join the busses and run with just the Primary Alternator and got the same result after about an hour of flying. Switched configuration again to run with just the backup alternator and after almost two hours of flight time it also triggered the over voltage. Both alternators eventually peaked at just over 16 volts. My only solution without tearing out everything in front of the panel is to watch voltage build up and add load when it starts to peak. I plan to take the plane out of service sometime during the winter months and redo the wiring along with relocation of the voltage regulators. I will also be reconfiguring the system to dual parallel batteries, single buss, dual alternator system with only one alternator active at any one time. I am retaining the dual batteries since I have the dual ecu FLYEFII electronic ignition which are powered directly from each battery.
I have learned my lesson though, if it might need adjustment it will need adjustment and you better put it where you can adjust it.
Bob Reed
N247BR Kis Cruiser
PS: I can guarantee that you will end up with way more ground wires than you ever imagined on the inside of the firewall. And each one gets harder to connect to the forest of tabs ground bar if you try to mount them all individually. Bob's book outlines a few alternatives, use them!


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Robert Reed



Joined: 22 Oct 2009
Posts: 295
Location: Dallas/Ft.Worth

PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:28 am    Post subject: Voltage Regulators Reply with quote

Jeff,
I was using the PC680 batteries and they are located under the pilot and copilot seats.
The master solenoids are located under the seats with the batteries and the crossover and starter relays are on the firewall.
The cables are the flexible 4awg cables with total run from batteries to starter of apx 7 ft.
Cables run from batteries to firewall connection to starter with one going through crossover relay.
Engine is Superior IO-360 but I don't remember which starter and all that information is at the hangar.
Biggest issue was probably that the engine was new, very tight and took more than a couple of revolutions to start. Also one of the batteries was a couple of years old and had been used for testing during the build process. It had been drained to zero a couple of times because of some fool leaving a switch on...that fool being me. The second battery just didn't have the power by itself to get it spinning for the initial starts. I knew that the one battery was weak and probably could have been replaced alone without totally replacing both batteries but I wanted to get some weight savings.
I can't comment on the Odyssey batteries beyond my limited usage and would say that I didn't give them a fair shake. Any issue with them was probably of my own making. My plane was heavier that I wanted and replacing the Odyssey batteries was a good option since I needed to replace at least one of the batteries so don't use my experience as your determining factor.
Bob Reed



On Wednesday, October 9, 2019, 11:05:23 AM CDT, Jeff Luckey <jluckey(at)pacbell.net> wrote:





Robert,

Why do you think the Odessy batts couldn't crank the engine? A couple of questions:

1. What model/part# Odessey batteries were you using?
2. Where were they located? Firewall, aft of the cabin?
3. What size cable from solenoid to starter, and how long?
4. Did the start circuit go thru the master solenoid and then the start solenoid?
5. What engine & starter?
I'm planning electrical system for a couple of aircraft and could learn from your experience. I've heard that Odessey batteries aren't what they used to be, but that is only hearsay. I have no hard facts.
Thanks,

Jeff Luckey
KCMA

On Wednesday, October 9, 2019, 07:54:18 AM PDT, Robert Reed <robertr237(at)att.net> wrote:




I finished my build on a KIS Cruiser earlier this year and I am 12 plus hours into the flight testing phase. I started with the dual battery, dual alternator system for several reasons that I won't go into here but suffice to say it has turned into more of an issue than I bargained for. First was centered around the original Odyssey batteries not being able to spin the new engine for a start even with them in parallel. Yes, one was older and didn't seem to be able to hold the charge. I opted to replace both with the EarthX batteries which have proven to be more than enough for starting. The replacement was justified on the basis of a 22 lb weight savings and a three times longer life span. BUT no good deed goes unpunished.

That brings me to the real reason for my post.
PUT YOUR VOLTAGE REGULATORS WHERE YOU CAN EASILY REACH THEM AND HAVE ACCESS TO THE VOLTAGE ADJUSTMENT!!!!!!!!!

I know, I was shouting but I wanted to make dang sure I got my point across.

PUT YOUR VOLTAGE REGULATORS WHERE YOU CAN EASILY REACH THEM AND HAVE ACCESS TO THE VOLTAGE ADJUSTMENT!!!!!!!!!

Why the shouting? Because I mounted my voltage regulators on the inside of the firewall under a cross brace that totally blocks access and the only choice for me is to rip out my entire panel and everything in front of the panel including the voltage regulators to get access to the adjustment screws.

I purchased the 60 amp alternator and the 20-40 amp alternators along with the voltage regulators from B & C. Running the dual system with separate busses resulted in both alternators having an overvoltage condition and throwing the circuit breakers. Switched configurations to join the busses and run with just the Primary Alternator and got the same result after about an hour of flying. Switched configuration again to run with just the backup alternator and after almost two hours of flight time it also triggered the over voltage. Both alternators eventually peaked at just over 16 volts. My only solution without tearing out everything in front of the panel is to watch voltage build up and add load when it starts to peak. I plan to take the plane out of service sometime during the winter months and redo the wiring along with relocation of the voltage regulators. I will also be reconfiguring the system to dual parallel batteries, single buss, dual alternator system with only one alternator active at any one time. I am retaining the dual batteries since I have the dual ecu FLYEFII electronic ignition which are powered directly from each battery.

I have learned my lesson though, if it might need adjustment it will need adjustment and you better put it where you can adjust it.

Bob Reed
N247BR Kis Cruiser

PS: I can guarantee that you will end up with way more ground wires than you ever imagined on the inside of the firewall. And each one gets harder to connect to the forest of tabs ground bar if you try to mount them all individually. Bob's book outlines a few alternatives, use them!

Quote:


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:10 am    Post subject: Voltage Regulators Reply with quote

There has been some 'noise' of late on one of the RV forums about poor performance/short life from newer Odyssey PC680 bats. Of course, the problem with anecdotal evidence is that we rarely know the practitioner or their abilities.

My issue with Odyssey is more along the lines of value (what you get for the money), rather than quality. A good analogy would be Bob's tests many years ago, comparing the energy available in the two 'premium' name-brand alkaline batteries vs various 'no name', 'white label', etc alkaline batteries. The difference in average total energy (how long they last) between premium and 'cheap' was almost lost in measurement noise, but price could be double or even three times higher for name-brand versions.

I've found similar results (though no actual side-by-side tests) using various 'unknown' branded SLA batteries. Most last 3 to 5 years in my seldom-flown RV-4, which might go several months between flights in some cases. I just purchased a 20 AH SLA battery, in the same form factor as the PC680, for less than $37, delivered to my mailbox.  A PC680 is 16 AH, and the average street price right now is over 3 times that much.

The one minor caution when buying an unfamiliar SLA is to look for the 'internal resistance', if you can find the spec. Anything under 8 mili-ohms is fine. If the internal resistance isn't spec'd, then look at 'cold cranking amps'. (PC680 is 170A.) If CCA isn't spec'd, and you don't see any reference to use in a gas powered vehicle, you *might* be looking at one that's specifically designed for 'deep discharge', lower continuous current operation (like an uninterruptible power supply), but it's rarely a real issue with SLAs that are this big.

Separate post coming to Bob....

Charlie

On 10/9/2019 12:14 PM, Robert Reed wrote:

Quote:

Jeff,


I was using the PC680 batteries and they are located under the pilot and copilot seats.


The master solenoids are located under the seats with the batteries and the crossover and starter relays are on the firewall.


The cables are the flexible 4awg cables with total run from batteries to starter of apx 7 ft.


Cables run from batteries to firewall connection to starter with one going through crossover relay.


Engine is Superior IO-360 but I don't remember which starter and all that information is at the hangar.


Biggest issue was probably that the engine was new, very tight and took more than a couple of revolutions to start.  Also one of the batteries was a couple of years old and had been used for testing during the build process.  It had been drained to zero a couple of times because of some fool leaving a switch on...that fool being me.  The second battery just didn't have the power by itself to get it spinning for the initial starts.  I knew that the one battery was weak and probably could have been replaced alone without totally replacing both batteries but I wanted to get some weight savings.


I can't comment on the Odyssey batteries beyond my limited usage and would say that I didn't give them a fair shake.  Any issue with them was probably of my own making.  My plane was heavier that I wanted and replacing the Odyssey batteries was a good option since I needed to replace at least one of the batteries so don't use my experience as your determining factor.


Bob Reed





On Wednesday, October 9, 2019, 11:05:23 AM CDT, Jeff Luckey <jluckey(at)pacbell.net> (jluckey(at)pacbell.net) wrote:




Robert,

Why do you think the Odessy batts couldn't crank the engine?  A couple of questions:

1. What model/part# Odessey batteries were you using?
2. Where were they located?  Firewall, aft of the cabin?
3. What size cable from solenoid to starter, and how long?
4. Did the start circuit go thru the master solenoid and then the start solenoid?
5. What engine & starter?


I'm planning electrical system for a couple of aircraft and could learn from your experience.  I've heard that Odessey batteries aren't what they used to be, but that is only hearsay.  I have no hard facts.


Thanks,

Jeff Luckey
KCMA



On Wednesday, October 9, 2019, 07:54:18 AM PDT, Robert Reed <robertr237(at)att.net> (robertr237(at)att.net) wrote:



I finished my build on a KIS Cruiser earlier this year and I am 12 plus hours into the flight testing phase.  I started with the dual battery, dual alternator system for several reasons that I won't go into here but suffice to say it has turned into more of an issue than I bargained for.  First was centered around the original Odyssey batteries not being able to spin the new engine for a start even with them in parallel.  Yes, one was older and didn't seem to be able to hold the charge.  I opted to replace both with the EarthX batteries which have proven to be more than enough for starting.  The replacement was justified on the basis of a 22 lb weight savings and a three times longer life span.  BUT no good deed goes unpunished.

That brings me to the real reason for my post.


PUT YOUR VOLTAGE REGULATORS WHERE YOU CAN EASILY REACH THEM AND HAVE ACCESS TO THE VOLTAGE ADJUSTMENT!!!!!!!!!

I know, I was shouting but I wanted to make dang sure I got my point across.   

PUT YOUR VOLTAGE REGULATORS WHERE YOU CAN EASILY REACH THEM AND HAVE ACCESS TO THE VOLTAGE ADJUSTMENT!!!!!!!!!

Why the shouting?  Because I mounted my voltage regulators on the inside of the firewall under a cross brace that totally blocks access and the only choice for me is to rip out my entire panel and everything in front of the panel including the voltage regulators to get access to the adjustment screws.  

I purchased the 60 amp alternator and the 20-40 amp alternators along with the voltage regulators from B & C.  Running the dual system with separate busses resulted in both alternators having an overvoltage condition and throwing the circuit breakers.  Switched configurations to join the busses and run with just the Primary Alternator and got the same result after about an hour of flying.  Switched configuration again to run with just the backup alternator and after almost two hours of flight time it also triggered the over voltage.  Both alternators eventually peaked at just over 16 volts.  My only solution without tearing out everything in front of the panel is to watch voltage build up and add load when it starts to peak.  I plan to take the plane out of service sometime during the winter months and redo the wiring along with relocation of the voltage regulators.  I will also be reconfiguring the system to dual parallel batteries, single buss, dual alternator system with only one alternator active at any one time.  I am retaining the dual batteries since I have the dual ecu FLYEFII electronic ignition which are powered directly from each battery.

I have learned my lesson though, if it might need adjustment it will need adjustment and you better put it where you can adjust it.

Bob Reed
N247BR Kis Cruiser

PS:  I can guarantee that you will end up with way more ground wires than you ever imagined on the inside of the firewall.  And each one gets harder to connect to the forest of tabs ground bar if you try to mount them all individually.  Bob's book outlines a few alternatives, use them!

Quote:

















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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:31 am    Post subject: Voltage Regulators Reply with quote

On 10/9/2019 9:45 AM, Robert Reed wrote:

Quote:

I finished my build on a KIS Cruiser earlier this year and I am 12 plus hours into the flight testing phase.  I started with the dual battery, dual alternator system for several reasons that I won't go into here but suffice to say it has turned into more of an issue than I bargained for.  First was centered around the original Odyssey batteries not being able to spin the new engine for a start even with them in parallel.  Yes, one was older and didn't seem to be able to hold the charge.  I opted to replace both with the EarthX batteries which have proven to be more than enough for starting.  The replacement was justified on the basis of a 22 lb weight savings and a three times longer life span.  BUT no good deed goes unpunished.


That brings me to the real reason for my post.




PUT YOUR VOLTAGE REGULATORS WHERE YOU CAN EASILY REACH THEM AND HAVE ACCESS TO THE VOLTAGE ADJUSTMENT!!!!!!!!!


I know, I was shouting but I wanted to make dang sure I got my point across.   


PUT YOUR VOLTAGE REGULATORS WHERE YOU CAN EASILY REACH THEM AND HAVE ACCESS TO THE VOLTAGE ADJUSTMENT!!!!!!!!!


Why the shouting?  Because I mounted my voltage regulators on the inside of the firewall under a cross brace that totally blocks access and the only choice for me is to rip out my entire panel and everything in front of the panel including the voltage regulators to get access to the adjustment screws.  


I purchased the 60 amp alternator and the 20-40 amp alternators along with the voltage regulators from B & C.  Running the dual system with separate busses resulted in both alternators having an overvoltage condition and throwing the circuit breakers.  Switched configurations to join the busses and run with just the Primary Alternator and got the same result after about an hour of flying.  Switched configuration again to run with just the backup alternator and after almost two hours of flight time it also triggered the over voltage.  Both alternators eventually peaked at just over 16 volts.  My only solution without tearing out everything in front of the panel is to watch voltage build up and add load when it starts to peak.  I plan to take the plane out of service sometime during the winter months and redo the wiring along with relocation of the voltage regulators.  I will also be reconfiguring the system to dual parallel batteries, single buss, dual alternator system with only one alternator active at any one time.  I am retaining the dual batteries since I have the dual ecu FLYEFII electronic ignition which are powered directly from each battery.


I have learned my lesson though, if it might need adjustment it will need adjustment and you better put it where you can adjust it.


Bob Reed
N247BR Kis Cruiser


PS:  I can guarantee that you will end up with way more ground wires than you ever imagined on the inside of the firewall.  And each one gets harder to connect to the forest of tabs ground bar if you try to mount them all individually.  Bob's book outlines a few alternatives, use them!


Quote:





Hi Bob,

I wholeheartedly agree about accessibility, but we shouldn't limit it to adjustable stuff. I've suggested before that in future revisions to the 'Connection, he should hammer us at every chance throughout the book to build *everything* (and *document everything*) where we'll have access after the plane is closed up and flying.

On the subject of seeing 16V out of your alternators: Something is very wrong. Either the regulators weren't adjusted properly from the mfgr, or their adjustments got changed, or your voltage measurement device is defective, or something's broken. The regulator should never allow alternator voltage to rise above its 'set point'. And you should never see alternator voltage decline until you've loaded the alternator beyond its capacity (should be almost impossible with a 60A alternator and a healthy battery in an a/c with a complement of 'modern' electronics). If I had expensive avionics in the plane, I'd be very fearful of operating it until I figured out the source of the problems. The next voltage excursion might be to 30 volts, or 60 volts, or...  If you're running B&C regulators, I'd be surprised if both had the same failure at the same time. I wonder if you could have an issue with voltage sensing, making the regulator think that alternator voltage is lower than reality.

On starting: I'd agree that your problem with the PC680s was likely due to old, tired batteries, but 7 feet of #4 cable (especially if that's each way, in a 'glass a/c) might be a bit much for starting. A lot of builders are using #2 if the battery isn't on the firewall.

One last thing, if you parallel the batteries, you won't really have redundant power to your dual engine controllers any more....

Charlie


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