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Thread: Earth X batteries, ok or not?

  1. #121
    kestrel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bearhawk Builder View Post
    What are you seeing for temps there?
    I originally installed in the winter and saw temperatures like this for a taxi and take-off (which produced the highest temperatures):

    20170218-OriginalTempLog.jpg

    Knowing that warmer temperatures were coming, I updated the installation with cool air and saw a significant reduction in temperatures:

    20170317-2-ModifiedBox.jpg

    20170317-3-CompletedInstall.jpg

    20170317-4-ModifiedTempLog.jpg

    In warmer weather I saw this:

    20170625-warmWeather.jpg

    I did a lot of watching, but stopped recording screen-shots because it was never getting too hot. The installation is still a very open box that I think could be done much better, but it is working well as is.


    It is worth noting that the 140F temp limit is for a battery that is under load/self-heating. Earth-X recognizes a higher limit for a batter that isn't doing much (forgot what it is, but is is mentioned in the EAA video I previously linked) and they are generally not concerned about installations on the engine side of the firewall (with due consideration for direct exposure to high exhaust heats).


    http://www.eaavideo.org/detail/video...ries-explained


    The thermal runaway temperature for the LiFePo4 is 518F and is considered "Very safe battery even if fully charged":


    http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/a...of_lithium_ion
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    Bearhawk, RV-4
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  2. #122
    Smith PA12's Avatar
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    So here in northern BC we just went through two weeks of -30 to -40, my plane was in a hanger, not a heated hanger. It was -35 at 9:00pm, at 3:00am it had warmed up to -8, I turned on my 900watt interior car warmer via a Switchbox, which I leave in the cowl with the engine cover on the plane, and at 10:00 the next morning I went flying. I switched on my beacon and nav lights for about a minute and a half, turned them off and fired the plane. It fired as if it was middle of summer. Cams advice to put a load on the battery to warm it up seems to be very good advice, I will certainly do that whenever the plane has been sitting awhile or if it's been cold.
    Btw, battery is under seat and car warmer only warmed the engine area.

    Thanks Cam for the advice!

    Rick
    RCW
    Fort St John BC

  3. #123
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    Fitted the Earthx yesterday. Wow. Does it crank! I'm still scratching my head in wonderment. I reckon if I run out of fuel the battery could crank me back home.

    Location ended up on the starboard lower engine side of the firewall. Best place to get the greatest distance from the exhaust pipes and pick up some airflow. Threw away 5 foot of battery cable from the old under back seat installation.
    Back Country O-375 wide body extended wing cub

  4. #124

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    Thanks for the detailed cold weather pirep. That is my greatest concern. The odyssey has been bullet proof in the -20 and warmer I tend to fly in. I just want to be sure of similar performance before I make the switch.

  5. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smith PA12 View Post
    So here in northern BC we just went through two weeks of -30 to -40, my plane was in a hanger, not a heated hanger. It was -35 at 9:00pm, at 3:00am it had warmed up to -8, I turned on my 900watt interior car warmer via a Switchbox, which I leave in the cowl with the engine cover on the plane, and at 10:00 the next morning I went flying. I switched on my beacon and nav lights for about a minute and a half, turned them off and fired the plane. It fired as if it was middle of summer. Cams advice to put a load on the battery to warm it up seems to be very good advice, I will certainly do that whenever the plane has been sitting awhile or if it's been cold.
    Btw, battery is under seat and car warmer only warmed the engine area.

    Thanks Cam for the advice!

    Rick
    Rick, I love the SwitchBox.

    I use the second outlet for a battery charger on the Odyssey. I’m not near your cold temperatures, but am cranking an
    O-520 in a c180 , and really like topping off the juice before I show up.

    The Swithbox is a great thing. I can light it up from about anywhere in the..... world, I guess...! Looking forward to an EarthX someday.

    Kem
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    Fron the song "Barometer Soup". By Jimmy Buffett

  6. #126

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    Etx900-vnt

    Quote Originally Posted by Smith PA12 View Post
    I've ordered a new Earth X battery and now I am seeing a lot of posts about them burning up. Any new information on them, should we be putting them in our planes? is there an installation issue that needs addressing? if anyone has info on why they have burned up, I'd sure like to know.

    Thanks
    It seems that on the VAF site there has been some discussion about the EarthX causing smoke (no fire) when hit with an alternators' runaway over-voltage. Now EarthX has a battery similar to their ETX680C which has vented leads that will vent smoke (if any is ever produced) to the exterior of the plane. This is recommended for any experimental airplane with the battery in the cabin. It's not cheap, (none of them are) but knowing that if it goes up in smoke and not in flames is comforting, as is the ability to take the smoke to the exterior of the plane. This smoke problem has happened once I believe so it is a very tiny concern. - Remember, in aviation $$ goes up in smoke of one kind or another every time we fly.

    Smoking or not The EarthX Li type batteries are quite safe according to Bob Nuckolls.

    http://www.aeroelectric.com/Referenc...Technology.pdf

    Look at the comparison of Li batteries at the bottom of this link. Not all Li are chemically the same... some are a lot more user friendly than others and the EarthX falls into the very safe category.
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  7. #127

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    Keep in mind a lead acid battery will smoke if hit with a runaway alternator. Something has to give when more than 18V gets in the 12V system.

  8. #128
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I have done a lot of research on the EarthX battery as of late. The only time there has been an issue was either the builder/owner used a powersport battery that does not have the over voltage circuit built into the battery or they fail to install some sort of over voltage cut out circuit and anything to warn of such. You can also put a temp sensor on the battery and an idiot light on the panel with a field switch on the alternator. I am working on a field approval right now on my Super Cub. My battery will be in it's stuck location so not in the cockpit. I have a B&C alternator and voltage regulator with an over voltage circuit. I also installed this with an alternator field switch which I don't turn on until the engine is started. There was a good article in Kitplanes and this is in the new EAA Sport Aviation magazine. I have read some discussions on other forums and it never ceases to amaze me how people respond when they have no idea what they are talking about.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Steve Pierce

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  9. #129
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    As pointed out, ANY battery will have issues with an overvoltage situation. Lead/acid fumes in the cockpit can be worse than some forms of smoke. Neither issue is healthy. Maybe worry more about overvoltage protection and amps/volts monitoring. It will keep the pilot healthy and keep the equipment from having to repaired/replaced.

    Web
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.

  10. #130

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    EarthX ETX aircraft batteries have redundant battery management circuits built in that will isolate the battery in low and high voltage events. They come with a output wire to connect an idiot light for battery status. My Odysseys don’t have that. I’ve deformed a couple of Odysseys while bench charging too aggressively so if I had a failed regulator in my plane I’d rather have the EarthX.

  11. #131
    cgoldy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    I have done a lot of research on the EarthX battery as of late. The only time there has been an issue was either the builder/owner used a powersport battery that does not have the over voltage circuit built into the battery or they fail to install some sort of over voltage cut out circuit and anything to warn of such. You can also put a temp sensor on the battery and an idiot light on the panel with a field switch on the alternator. I am working on a field approval right now on my Super Cub. My battery will be in it's stuck location so not in the cockpit. I have a B&C alternator and voltage regulator with an over voltage circuit. I also installed this with an alternator field switch which I don't turn on until the engine is started. There was a good article in Kitplanes and this is in the new EAA Sport Aviation magazine. I have read some discussions on other forums and it never ceases to amaze me how people respond when they have no idea what they are talking about.

    Mine has been installed with the light on the panel and connected to a BnC 8 amp Alternator with the crow bar over voltage protection. So I think I have the over voltage side covered but not sure about over temp. I put it on the engine side of the firewall in some airflow but it gets pretty dam hot on an Australian hot day. Where is yours mounted Steve and what did you do for temperature monitoring?

    Oh, I have a Sutton exhaust so radiant heat is not a problem.

    CGoldy
    Back Country O-375 wide body extended wing cub

  12. #132
    Barnstormer's Avatar
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    Nice work Steve!

    CGoldy, mine is mounted on the firewall behind an O375. I put it in this box and put this over it so it reflects the heat away. Never had a problem in the Texas heat.

    https://www.speedwaymotors.com/Aluminum-Battery-Box-for-Braille-and-Odyssey,42956.html

    http://www.jegs.com/i/JEGS-Performance-Products/555/10268/10002/-1

  13. #133
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I am awaiting FAA approval so have yet to install the battery but my intent is to install it in the stock location behind the stock baggage compartment.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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  14. #134
    Super Dave
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    So does AC 43.13 apply in this case? If its a CAR 3 certified aircraft I would say no. The 1A3 TCDS says the following:

    IV. - Model PA-18S "150" and PA-18AS "150", 2 PCSM (Normal Category only), Approved October 1, 1954. (FAA is born in 1959)

    Required Equipment In addition to the pertinent required basic equipment specified in CAR 3, the following items of equipment must be installed: Items 5(b), 109, 209(b), and 401(r). (no mention of battery)

    Certification Basis Type Certification No. 1A2 (CAR 3, as amended November 1, 1949).






  15. #135
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    David, An electrical system was optional in the PA-18 therefor would not be listed as "required equipment". Thus no mention of a battery.
    N1PA

  16. #136
    Super Dave
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    Umm sorry not accurate: From TCDS 1A2:

    Electrical Equipment
    301. Battery - Reading S24 +27 lb. (+51)
    Not eligible on Models PA-18 "150" or PA-18A "150"
    302. Landing lights in wing leading edge +4 lb. (+5)
    (a) All Models except PA-18 "150" and PA-18A "150"
    per Piper Dwg. 12534
    (b) Models PA-18 "150" and PA-18A "150" per Piper Dwg. 14442
    303. Battery - Reading R33-12V. Serial No. 18-1116, 18-1152, 18-1155, 18-1182, 18-1183, 18-1199,
    18-1204, 18-1212 through 18-8309025.
    (a) Models PA-18, PA-18S, PA-18 "125", PA-18S "125", +28 lb. (+84)
    PA-18 "135" and PA-18S "135" installed per Piper Dwg. 12302
    (b) Models PA-18A and PA-18A "135" installed per Piper Dwg. 13296 +28 lb. (+59)
    (c) Models PA-18 "150" and PA-18A "150" installed per Piper Dwg. 14241 +28 lb. (+84)

  17. #137
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Key word "Required". Those items are optional. You could order a new PA-18 back in the day when they were being produced with out an electrical system.
    N1PA

  18. #138

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidv.lewis View Post
    So does AC 43.13 apply in this case? If its a CAR 3 certified aircraft I would say no. The 1A3 TCDS says the following:

    IV. - Model PA-18S "150" and PA-18AS "150", 2 PCSM (Normal Category only), Approved October 1, 1954. (FAA is born in 1959)

    Required Equipment In addition to the pertinent required basic equipment specified in CAR 3, the following items of equipment must be installed: Items 5(b), 109, 209(b), and 401(r). (no mention of battery)

    Certification Basis Type Certification No. 1A2 (CAR 3, as amended November 1, 1949).





    AC43.13-2b Chapter 10 only gives data for lead acid and nickel cadmium batteries. Nothing there for LI batteries. All the mounting data is good to go, just not the installation of the LI battery. You need more data for that.


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  19. #139
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    There is not a 1A3 TCDS. I'll let david sign off the EarthX with his license.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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  20. #140

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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    EarthX ETX aircraft batteries have redundant battery management circuits built in that will isolate the battery in low and high voltage events. They come with a output wire to connect an idiot light for battery status. My Odysseys don’t have that. I’ve deformed a couple of Odysseys while bench charging too aggressively so if I had a failed regulator in my plane I’d rather have the EarthX.
    Well, my idiot light was doing a slow flash. Read the manual. The slow flash can mean different things based on the battery voltage. Mine was fully charged so it didn’t make sense. I called EarthX. Reg, the big boss answered the phone and listened to my explanation of the problem. He told me to take the battery out of service because it had a cell problem. Told me to make a warranty claim even though the battery is 18 months old. The warranty dept required a receipt, which I was able to come up with. They sent me a new battery via 3-day priority mail. That’s pretty good service, but the bigger take is that the battery management system and the trouble light worked. And EarthX backed up their product based on it. I’m impressed.
    Last edited by stewartb; 07-10-2018 at 11:19 AM.
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  21. #141
    nanook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    I am awaiting FAA approval so have yet to install the battery but my intent is to install it in the stock location behind the stock baggage compartment.
    So, how long are we going to have to wait for this FAA approval?
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  22. #142
    Ken Kennedy's Avatar
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    Saw them at OSH,the Lady said they are just "a few weeks away"

  23. #143
    nanook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Kennedy View Post
    Saw them at OSH,the Lady said they are just "a few weeks away"
    Thanks Ken, I was wondering what news would come out of OSH.

  24. #144

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    Told me the same thing, and the battery will have vents for vent tube lines, can be mounted in cabin with vents going outside cabin and be certified. Certified they said in next couple months. About $650.
    John
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  25. #145
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john schwamm View Post
    Told me the same thing, and the battery will have vents for vent tube lines, can be mounted in cabin with vents going outside cabin and be certified. Certified they said in next couple months. About $650.
    John
    Hmmm maybe we should have mounted it in a vented box.....


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  26. #146

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    Earth X has offered the "VNT" vented model for a while now, probably to comply with the FAA's regs. Fortunately there's little correlation between FAA regs and reality so I'm not worried about my open battery box between my feet.
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  27. #147

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    The certified version I saw at Oshkosh has vents built into the battery to hook up/plug in the vent line tubes, so having in sealed box would not really be the answer. Just run the tubes outside and all should work for certified version.
    John
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  28. #148
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    The battery they arecertifying is big enough for 520s or 540s. Overkill for my 320. They are not certifying a battery comperable to a 680. That is my motivation for the field approval. Need to get back to round 2 with the FAA on that.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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  29. #149
    SJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    The battery they arecertifying is big enough for 520s or 540s. Overkill for my 320. They are not certifying a battery comperable to a 680. That is my motivation for the field approval. Need to get back to round 2 with the FAA on that.
    A guy we all know at Johnson Creek had one up and die on him for no apparent reason. Others had to fly a Concorde back to him from McCall. I'd like to to see these things get a few more kinks worked out before I am going to worry about saving a few pounds.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------
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  30. #150
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ View Post
    A guy we all know at Johnson Creek had one up and die on him for no apparent reason. Others had to fly a Concorde back to him from McCall. I'd like to to see these things get a few more kinks worked out before I am going to worry about saving a few pounds.

    sj
    To call out a single issue with a particular battery is very subjective. Did he leave the master on and kill it at some point? These batteries and the AGM batteries (Hawker) are susceptible to the same thing. It is all a compromise. Lots of people getting 7-8 years out of them like the Hawker. Concorde and Gill about half that if you are very lucky.
    Steve Pierce

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  31. #151
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    I've used a Diehard cart battery from Sears with good results for years. Just sayin.
    N1PA

  32. #152

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    Read post #140. I’m a happy customer. Happy enough that when I was told to take my battery out I marched right into Reeve’s and bought another one. Then a few days later I got the warranty replacement, so now I have a spare. I’ve been an Odyssey battery fan for 20 years and still have one in my Cessna. My Earth X hasn’t been through a winter yet but in every other operation it’s equal to or better than my Odyssey. It just weighs a lot less.

    My day pack has a Jump Pack in it. I use it fairly regularly, but so far not on a plane. I don’t know how the new Cub would hand prop but I’d rather jump it than find out. Why didn’t the Johnson Creek plane get hand propped? And none of you back country guys had a Jump Pack in your gear?

  33. #153
    SJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    To call out a single issue with a particular battery is very subjective. Did he leave the master on and kill it at some point? These batteries and the AGM batteries (Hawker) are susceptible to the same thing. It is all a compromise. Lots of people getting 7-8 years out of them like the Hawker. Concorde and Gill about half that if you are very lucky.
    It was thought to be an internal failure at the time, jump pack would not budge it with the battery connected but would with it disconnected. I have not followed up on it. As you know, I like new technology, but we pretty much understand all of the failure modes of old fashioned batteries, I am only saying I would like to see more of the failure modes of the new technology before I switch to it.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  34. #154

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    What did Earth X say about the problem? I’d like to hear the rest of the story.

  35. #155
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    What did Earth X say about the problem? I’d like to hear the rest of the story.
    They replaced it as well. I don't remember if it was still under warranty or not but he was happy with their service.

    I agree with you SJ, I can live with the compromise at this point since it is easy to hand prop my plane and I don't need electricity to fly it.
    Steve Pierce

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    Will Rogers

  36. #156

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    The battery they arecertifying is big enough for 520s or 540s. Overkill for my 320. They are not certifying a battery comperable to a 680. That is my motivation for the field approval. Need to get back to round 2 with the FAA on that.
    FWIW, Earth X recommends sizing the battery based on the charging system output, not the storage capacity. When I asked a couple of years ago the known failures of Earth X batteries were caused by improper charging.

  37. #157
    SJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    What did Earth X say about the problem? I’d like to hear the rest of the story.
    Not sure they ever did, at least I did not hear it.
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  38. #158
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    I was the one who had the EarthX ETX900 die on him at JC in June.
    The battery would not take a charge and registered 3.46V on a tester. It had been acting up slowly over the past few weeks. Started cranking slower than normal. I was able to start it with my EarthX Jump Pack but it would not keep the battery contactor relay closed once removed. I was unwilling to make my “plan B” a “plan A” and rely on the Jump Pack to fly around the Backcountry for a week!
    I had to buy a Gill 35 (worst battery ever) from McCall Flying Service at $170 over Spruce’s online retail ( not happy) but it was that or nothing. That alone added 23 lbs back on the plane!
    I called Kathy Nicoson at EarthX and explained the situation. She confirmed I had done all I could to trouble shoot it and when I returned home there was a new ETX900 waiting for me. It was 6 months out of warranty but she honored it.
    The most troubling thing about the failure was the fact that the BPM under voltage circuit ( a feature of all EarthX aircraft batteries) and light did not come on.
    This is my second EarthX battery aircraft. I ran one in my SC for 6 years without a problem.

    EarthX stands behind their products, knowing that these type of failures do happen on rare occasion. Just the fact that their main battery line is made in the USA as opposed to China is comforting.
    Oh, and in the spirit of full disclosure, I am an EarthX dealer and have faith in all their products, or I wouldn’t sell them.

    Lou
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  39. #159
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    The Concord in our RV-4 went from fine to unable to fire up the alternator in just a few starts/flights. Had to hand prop it to get it home.

    The Earth-X ETC900 in our Bearhawk has been running strong through summer and winter.

    ...single selected data points don't tell much. Just about anything can fail.

    I can carry 3 Earth-X batteries for the weight of a single PC680. ...imagine how many I could carry instead of a Concord or Gill!

    The EarthX starts better too.
    --
    Bearhawk, RV-4
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  40. #160
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kestrel View Post
    The Concord in our RV-4 went from fine to unable to fire up the alternator in just a few starts/flights. Had to hand prop it to get it home.

    .
    That’s more a charging issue than a battery issue. Unless I don’t understand how you worded that.


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