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Thread: Earth X batteries, ok or not?

  1. #41
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    https://earthxbatteries.com/our-batt...ery-technology
    "The EarthX batteries use cells made of Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) chemistry that was developed in the U.S.A. This chemistry is the highest performance, most robust and the safest on the market today."

    There is a good explanation of the differences here:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion_battery

    There is also an excellent article on EarthX in the December 2017 issue of Kitplanes magazine.
    N1PA

  2. #42
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    There is also an excellent article on EarthX in the December 2017 issue of Kitplanes magazine.
    That was a very informative article.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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  3. #43
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    There is also an excellent article on EarthX in the December 2017 issue of Kitplanes magazine.
    That was a very informative article.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  4. #44
    Super Dave
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    CAR 3 aircraft should be able to use the Earth-X batteries based on CAR 4a.571 Battery

    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
    So I came across this in the old Civil Air Regulations. I thought of this because of the tail wheel issues and older aircraft that were certified under the CIVIL AIR REGULATIONS. This looks like an acceptable install of the Earth X batteries in certified aircraft per the regulation.

    So if your aircraft was certified under CAR3 looks like you can go ahead and install this without an STC or Field Approval.

    CIVIL AIR REGULATIONS
    PART 4aAIRPLANE AIRWORTHINESS
    As amended to April 7, 1950

    ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT INSTALLATION
    4a.570 General.
    4a.571 Battery.

    § 4a.571 Battery.
    Batteries shall be easily accessible and adequately isolated from fuel, oil, and ignition systems.
    Adjacent parts of the aircraft structure shall be protected with a suitable acid-proof paint if the battery contains acid or other corrosive substances and is not completely enclosed.
    If the battery is completely enclosed, suitable ventilation shall be provided.
    All batteries shall be so installed that spilled liquid will be suitably drained or absorbed without coming in contact with the airplane structure.

  5. #45
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    You are mixing CAR 3 and CAR 4. Two different sets of regulations and approvals. There are some similarities and some differences which may be rather subtle.
    N1PA

  6. #46
    Super Dave
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    OOPS..Ok here is the regulation from CAR3

    BATTERIES

    § 3.682 Batteries.

    When an item of electrical equipment which is essential to the safe operation of the airplane is installed,
    the battery required shall have sufficient capacity to supply the electrical power necessary for dependable operation of the connected electrical equipment.

    § 3.683 Protection against acid.

    If batteries are of such a type that corrosive substance may escape during servicing or flight,
    means such as a completely enclosed compartment shall be provided to prevent such substances from coming in contact with other parts of the airplane which are essential to safe operation.
    Batteries shall be accessible for servicing and inspection on the ground.

    § 3.684 Battery vents.

    The battery container or compartment shall be vented in such manner that gases released by the battery are carried outside the airplane.
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  7. #47
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I'll let you install one in your Super Cub and sign it off David and we will see what happens.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  8. #48
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I re-familiarized myself with AC 43.13-2B Chapter 10 Aircraft Battery Installations. It addresses lead acid battery installation as well as Nickel Cadmium with a lot more requirements for the latter but does not address Lithium Iron. Someone gets an approval in writing I will be glad to install one in mine and Customer's airplanes. If not I will wait for the certified version the article in Kitplanes said they were working on.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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  9. #49
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the info, folks....good discussion. For the record, I was really looking for info, not being the fun police.

    MTV

  10. #50
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    It is an interesting battery with a lot of pluses but a little more complicated than the simple lead acid battery. If you can get a hold of the article in Kitplanes it is very interesting on the design, how it is manufactured and the failures they have seen and how and why. Failures have been installation and electrical system design issues, not the product.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  11. #51

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    Just an FYI, the Navy actually has a review board that looks at EVERY potential lithium based battery that would be installed in an aircraft, along with the proposed use. All the way down to the little button batteries in keep alive circuits. While the EarthX battery looks promising, as a DER and DAR with Field approval authority, I won’t issue an approval on an installation, and as an IA, I won’t give an Airworthy annual on an airplane with one installed. If they got PMA, then I’d be inclined, but not now.


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  12. #52
    Super Dave
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    I'll let you install one in your Super Cub and sign it off David and we will see what happens.
    Soo what are you saying? Agree or Disagree? Not a valid point? Ummm

  13. #53
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidv.lewis View Post
    Soo what are you saying? Agree or Disagree? Not a valid point? Ummm
    I don't see enough data to install it via my A&P license. Would take a long conversation with my FSDO and then research their opinion.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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  14. #54

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    Got pretty excited when I saw an article in Cub Clues (May/June 2016) complete with a signed block 3 337 for an EarthX in a J3.. Then you realize the installation is not hooked up to a charging system.. I would imagine it’s only a matter of time before we see a legal option for certified aircraft..

  15. #55
    Barnstormer's Avatar
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    Since I've been running EarthX batteries for a bunch of years now let me share a cold weather issue I consistently HAD. Had being the important word.


    First off when I was living and flying in the lower 48 I never experienced any issues either starting my hi-compression O375 or a IO520D. EarthX ETX36D in all cases because that was the model I'd originally started with.


    But once I moved to Alaska as soon as the temps went below freezing over night and I'd go to start the O375 I'd get a blade and that would be it, the battery would drop into protection mode (I could keep this from happening by keeping the charger attached overnight). I assumed since it was over 3 years old it was just loosing the ability to crank when cold so replaced it with another. Didn't get a chance to test it thoroughly as I put the plane in a hangar and headed south for the winter.


    Next spring, summer and fall everything was fine. Then the freezing weather came and the problem resurfaced. I called EarthX and we talked at length about the possibility of a bad run of batteries, or of course the proverbial electrical draw, etc. Nothing made sense. They had me do voltage tests both before and after.


    They shipped me a new battery which I promptly put on the shelf as it was easier to just plug in the charger if I knew the temp would go below freezing. Winter set in and again the plane went into storage and I headed south.


    Later in the winter I came up to move the plane to my mechanics hangar for some maintenance. I'd left the charger plugged in so no problems. Spring, summer and fall came and went without issues. Then winter and the problem resurfaced again. I pulled the brand new EarthX off the shelf, topped it off, and swapped out batteries. The next day the same thing happened again. Called EarthX and they were as puzzled as I since they have a bunch of batteries in snow machines all over the country.


    Finally after much discussion we came to the conclusion that the problem must be related to the hi-compression of the engine. They suggested I change to an ETX900. They made me an offer I couldn't refuse so I agreed.


    That was and is the fix. I've intentionally let the engine get as below zero as we get on the Peninsula and leave it for over a week. No charger and no engine heat and no problem cranks right over (of course I didn't let it start at those temps without engine heat- I was just testing the scenario I knew would fail 100% of the time with the ETX36D and my engine).


    Lithium batteries are not quite to the point of plug and forget like the old acid batteries, but as long as one understands this and is prepared for it, like having a Jump Pack on board just-in-case, they are absolutely worth it, at least to me.
    Phil Whittemore
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  16. #56

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    My Earth X in my experimental continues to perform wonderfully. Keeping in mind I transfer fuel up into the mains often using my floor mounted pump, originally installed when using my fuel bladder ferry tank. I do this a lot with the plane not running, on the ground, sometimes after its been sitting for a week or two. As much as 20 gallons, and when I go to crank the 912 Rotax, it's spins like NO prior power has been drawn from that battery. It's gutty and trouble free, going on 4 years now I think. In my case (being exp.) the 10 lbs. or more weight savings made it a no brainer. The newer EarthX's are even more trick I understand, then my earlier model. I think I already stated this in this same thread, but anytime I can save 10 lbs. or more by throwing 2 or 3 hundred dollars at the plane, I'll do it gladly, best weight/dollar deal ever.
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  17. #57
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Ok, so now begs the question to all of you mechanics, and pilots:

    You fly a certified plane in cold weather, battery mounted in the back so pre-heat won't touch it, and plane is left outside for a few days at a time so gets cold soaked.

    You need a new battery, what would you buy and install?

    If you are doing an annual on a plane and a guy has a non-approved battery, what do you do?
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  18. #58
    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    Ok, so now begs the question to all of you mechanics, and pilots:

    You fly a certified plane in cold weather, battery mounted in the back so pre-heat won't touch it, and plane is left outside for a few days at a time so gets cold soaked.

    You need a new battery, what would you buy and install?

    If you are doing an annual on a plane and a guy has a non-approved battery, what do you do?

    https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catal...clickkey=22004

    Stop by, i have one sitting on the shelf

  19. #59
    nanook's Avatar
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    We just started installing lithium iron batteries in Caravans! True Blue Power STC'd. (EarthX needs to get with the program). The first Caravan to get one has the Blackhawk P&W PT6A-140 (867SHP). The lithium spins the start Ng past 20%, the lead acid would get maybe 18%. The charge rate after start is noticeably higher for a short duration. The lithium weighs 32lbs less than the lead acid...

  20. #60
    Super Dave
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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    Ok, so now begs the question to all of you mechanics, and pilots:

    You fly a certified plane in cold weather, battery mounted in the back so pre-heat won't touch it, and plane is left outside for a few days at a time so gets cold soaked.

    You need a new battery, what would you buy and install?

    If you are doing an annual on a plane and a guy has a non-approved battery, what do you do?

    If your aircraft is a CAR3 bird - the regulations don't specify a type of battery and you are good to install it.

  21. #61
    Super Dave
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    Taked to Earth X today and they told me that the testing is finished on the 900 and the STC should be forthcoming in early 18. The new model is the exact same as the EXT900-VNT.
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  22. #62
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Should mention: O-540 in a Maule.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  23. #63
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    ....From everything I have researched you are on your own installing an Earth X in a certified aircraft at this point, kinda like those Catto props.
    You just need a McGill decal (just like those McCatto props!)
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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  24. #64
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post

    You fly a certified plane in cold weather, battery mounted in the back so pre-heat won't touch it, and plane is left outside for a few days at a time so gets cold soaked.
    Years ago they just would have bootstrapped that old battery and got it warm enough to start

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"

  25. #65
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    If you are doing an annual on a plane and a guy has a non-approved battery, what do you do?
    You tell the guy that tomorrow you are going to be inspecting the battery compartment and that you hope that the EarthX battery isn't there in the morning.
    N1PA
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  26. #66
    nanook's Avatar
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    Kinda similar to the customer who, drops his plane at your place while you are gone to lunch. He needs an annual done, but, says "a buddy needed to borrow his prop", when you inquire why the prop is missing...
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  27. #67

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    Earth X batteries, ok or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by nanook View Post
    Kinda similar to the customer who, drops his plane at your place while you are gone to lunch. He needs an annual done, but, says "a buddy needed to borrow his prop", when you inquire why the prop is missing...
    And then you would get an UnAirworthy annual with the missing prop being the discrepancy. Still would need an A&P to sign off a prop installation to complete the annual.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  28. #68
    kestrel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeeBee View Post
    Li-ion or Li-iron. I would be very careful about putting anything lithium in an airplane without a charging system and electrical cutouts specifically designed. Lithium fed fires cannot be put out with any extinguisher you might carry. Boeing's solution to their fires on the 787 was to create a two inch thick stainless steel battery case machined out of a single billet. The design criteria was to allow the battery to burn itself out completely without fire fighting action.
    Be careful about the advice you put out. Did you know that there is a world of difference between Lithium_iron_phosphate (LiFePo) that EarthX uses and lithium cobalt oxide(LiCoO2) that Boeing chose. Did you also know that good old lead acid batteries can also pose some very exciting fire hazards?
    --
    Bearhawk, RV-4
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  29. #69
    PerryB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    You just need a McGill decal (just like those McCatto props!)
    Now WHO would do something like that ?!
    After Monday and Tuesday, even the calendar says WTF !

  30. #70
    kestrel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    Should mention: O-540 in a Maule.
    An ETX900 spins my 8.5:1 compression O-540 much better than the PC680 that was in it.
    --
    Bearhawk, RV-4

  31. #71
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kestrel View Post
    Be careful about the advice you put out. Did you know that there is a world of difference between Lithium_iron_phosphate (LiFePo) that EarthX uses and lithium cobalt oxide(LiCoO2) that Boeing chose. Did you also know that good old lead acid batteries can also pose some very exciting fire hazards?
    3 or 4 lead acid batteries hooked up in series make a dandy remote stick welder

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
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  32. #72

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    Tango,

    I have a three/four year old EX, 36D ?, in my pacer under the seat in the original metal box. Skytech NL in line starter.


    Yesterday night it dropped down to -9 so after my engine pre heat, four shots of the short primer, pull through four blades, I hop in the cockpit and turn on all the electrical (SOP for lith at these temps) to get the molecules in the battery warmed up for action.


    I get half a rotation, stop wait a few seconds, another half a rotation, wait a bit more, and then it spins through and does its usual two cylinder pop pop cold start.


    After a conversation with Lady at EX years ago about cold ops I've not worried about it and have had -30 nights where after about four or five tries the battery self warmed itself to function with vigor afterwords i.e.: under prime or flooded.


    Before I had the Skytech starter and EX battery I would always hand prop the first start of every winter morning. It warmed up my internal battery too.


    Having read that the real enemy of these lith batteries is heat I decided that mounting them on the fire wall was not prudent at this time. I could be wrong about how hot they'd can get safely. I like the it fully enclosed in the metal box too.


    Lots of good discussion here and have mine installed under CAR 3 but this is my personal aircraft and would wait for a PMA'ed version before installing one in someone's aircraft. To be honest the EX people did this one right and every time I open my battery box for inspection I just smile: no corrosion, acid, etc, just torque check the fasteners and close her up.


    Used to be I always had two or three of those little orange batteries dead on my charging bench but not the last couple years. It was always the hunting guides that came through the village in the fall but not anymore. Ether they figured out how not to smoke them or they have switched up


    Thinking there are a good hundred of tales here about acid. I've reskinned a few 100 series spam can bellies after a battery puked, ditto a couple 206 firewall and rudder pedal assemblies, oh ya one left beaver mag after the pilot hand propped and the 80/100 amp jasco "charged" it back up so fast it too boiled itself dry! Billable hours...


    I believe there are technologies that will improve the both the safety of aviation and the quality of our experience that seem to be hamstrung by the approval processes. I also believe it is the legacy producers who are causing this.


    Wishing the major prop manufactures could have made a Catto-esq one years ago.


    Why on earth hasn't Gill got on board?


    And when you shake your little snow ball of dreams, the flakes settle down some, notice your little yellow cub on skis in there is going to have an electric power plant...




    Rocket
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  33. #73
    cgoldy's Avatar
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    I have mine sitting on the bench and procrastinating as to where to mount it. Experimental of course.

    Under the back seat utilising the yards of heavy cable already installed is not an option.

    Cram it somewhere on the firewall and loose the lovely access to the rear of the engine and further restrict airflow? Also specs suggests it may be too hot in this position. Although I know of others in this position.

    Between my rudder pedals? Easiest but specs advise not to mount in cockpit and also not minimising cable length? Is it not recommended because of fire or fumes? If it is fumes, I am not sure that would be a problem in a cub.

    inside the right hand boot cowl which would nesitate cutting metal liner and fabricating a custom box and access door. A lot of work and still not minimising cable length.

    As always, looking for opinions.

    Goldy

  34. #74
    kestrel's Avatar
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    It is a bit long, but anyone who wants some objective (if partisan) information about LiFePo (not the stuff in laptops or Boeings) batteries in aircraft should watch this Webinar.

    http://www.eaavideo.org/detail/video...ries-explained
    --
    Bearhawk, RV-4

  35. #75
    tedwaltman1's Avatar
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    Goldy...I mounted my EarthX 680C behind the firewall, beneath the boot-cowl. BackCountry SQ-2
    Click image for larger version. 

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  36. #76

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    Don't know about a Cub, but I found, to my surprise, I had some unused real estate between my rudder pedals on my experimental firewall, flat on the floorboards. All it took to secure there was 3 tiny, and light, little light gauge aluminum angles screwed into my wood floorboards. My parking brake valve body prevent it from going up, that and the stiffness of the cables, the light weight of the thing of course means you really don't need near as much structure as a securing a 10 or 15 pound battery. From my battery to my mechanical master is about 14", from there to the starter about 8", more weight savings.

    I guess I missed the part about not mounting it in the cockpit, now that I know, I'll ignore it, just too many advantages having it there to pass up. I have two big doors I can open that I'm pretty sure would vent anything out if it somehow lite off!

    I found it hard to believe at first it wouldn't be in the way there, so I first made a mockup out of cardboard and flew somewhere, after a 2 hour flight with many landings and playing around along the way, I realized I had forgotten all about the "test to see if it was in the way", obviously it wasn't, not even a little.

  37. #77
    CamTom12's Avatar
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    Mine is mounted on the cabin side of the firewall. No issues in ~2 years.

  38. #78
    Scouter's Avatar
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    Duracell has a AGM sealed lead acid battery that I want to try in the cub. The new version has 220 CCA. I went in to Batteries plus to pick it up and chatted with the owner about batteries, especially lithium. He is really knowlegeble about all kinds of batteries. He said he would not sell me a lithium battery if it is going into an airplane, and then said heres why. Went out back and got this battery. Its a Shorai, which is a pretty big name in lithium. If you look close at the pix, you can see the bottom cells are swelled up and getting ready to burst. It popped the battery top off. His opinion is most lithium batteries are not ready for primetime yet. I dunno, sure was eye opening

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    Jim

  39. #79
    gdafoe's Avatar
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    But did you ask what kind of Lithium cells? That is the question. Needs to be LiFePo. Lithium_iron_phosphate
    Gerald
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  40. #80
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cgoldy View Post
    ..Between my rudder pedals? Easiest but specs advise not to mount in cockpit and also not minimising cable length? Is it not recommended because of fire or fumes? If it is fumes, I am not sure that would be a problem in a cub....

    hmmm, that's where we put it... hmmm

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