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Thread: Thinking non-electric for exp pa-18 project

  1. #1
    Larry G's Avatar
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    Thinking non-electric for exp pa-18 project

    I have been thinking of finishing my exp PA-18 a non electric system with out the starter and alternator and the other goodies that go along with them. To make this project as light as possible. To my understanding if I stay in the class D airspace I would not need the ADS-B or a transponder as long as I don't have a charging system to save weight there. I put the tabs in for aluminum interior panels but I was thinking of going with fabric interior I don't need aluminum panels for the flying I would do. I would like electric gauges for Visual flight rules in the instrument panel, would I be able to have a lightweight battery EarthX to supply power for the electric gauges and maybe a small Trig radio or hand held. Would this be legal to do what I'm thinkin?


    §91.225 Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out equipment and use.


    (e) The requirements of paragraph (b) of this section do not apply to any aircraft that was not originally certificated with an electrical system, or that has not subsequently been certified with such a system installed, including balloons and gliders. These aircraft may conduct operations without ADS-B Out in the airspace specified in paragraphs (d)(2) and (d)(4) of this section. Operations authorized by this section must be conducted—


    Requirements for airworthiness
    §91.205 Powered civil aircraft with standard category U.S. airworthiness certificates: Instrument and equipment requirements.


    a) General. Except as provided in paragraphs (c)(3) and (e) of this section, no person may operate a powered civil aircraft with a standard category U.S. airworthiness certificate in any operation described in paragraphs (b) through (f) of this section unless that aircraft contains the instruments and equipment specified in those paragraphs (or FAA-approved equivalents) for that type of operation, and those instruments and items of equipment are in operable condition.
    (b) Visual-flight rules (day). For VFR flight during the day, the following instruments and equipment are required:
    (1) Airspeed indicator.
    (2) Altimeter.
    (3) Magnetic direction indicator.
    (4) Tachometer for each engine.
    (5) Oil pressure gauge for each engine using pressure system.
    (6) Temperature gauge for each liquid-cooled engine.
    (7) Oil temperature gauge for each air-cooled engine.
    ( Manifold pressure gauge for each altitude engine.
    (9) Fuel gauge indicating the quantity of fuel in each tank.
    (10) Landing gear position indicator, if the aircraft has a retractable landing gear.


    §91.215 ATC transponder
    (5) All aircraft except any aircraft which was not originally certificated with an engine-driven electrical system or which has not subsequently been certified with such a system installed, balloon, or glider—

  2. #2

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    Just use steam gauges no need for battery unless you want to use it to power handheld radio.
    DENNY

  3. #3
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    As far as the installation goes, since you're experimental, seems the sky is the limit. If you run equipment off from a battery, make sure the battery is capable of running that equipment longer than your fuel will last.

    And make sure to mount it or connect it in a manner that makes it easy to charge or remove/charge.

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

  4. #4

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    Hey Larry,

    I see where you're coming from about the no electrics. At one point I seriously considered this also. However, I wouldn't build it that way. You can do a small amperage cub with minimal weight gain.

    Sooner or later you'll find another airplane to build and will want to sell yours. I am using traditional round instruments and trying to save weight in other areas. I may be wrong, but I'd think that during most of your flying the extra "few" pounds won't make a noticeable difference. A starter is certainly a nice option to have, and also, you don't want to constantly be wondering about how the battery is getting along.

    I think that well-installed fabric interiors are the cat's meow. I am planning to do my headliner in fabric. But, just the headliner. When I think about how difficult it would be to repair (or replace) the lower portions of a fabric interior... well, that's just a bit too much. I would suggest using 0.020"-0.024" aluminum panels which are primed and painted only (or polished).

    You will spend lots of time, effort, and money on your airplane before it's finished, don't overthink the super-light weight.

  5. #5

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    How about a hot air balloon.

  6. #6
    Clyde Barker's Avatar
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    My experimental cub has no electrical system. I use a small motorcycle battery to power a Becker com radio and a PS Engineering intercom. I mounted it under the front seat and have a pig-tail charger plug that stays attached to the battery. I hook it up to a Battery Tender charger when in my hangar. Make sure to use an AGM battery so you can install it laying on its side. I've never run the charge out of the battery.

    I have internally wired push-to-talk buttons on the sticks and headset jacks installed, so no wires are hanging around to get in the way. Light weight and simple is good.











  7. #7
    Little_Cub's Avatar
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    We agree with Clyde on the battery only option.. these little 8-AH batteries will operate a radio for a long time.
    That being said.. it's pretty nice to have a couple (flashing) lights and maybe a USB outlet for your favorite GPS..
    a small B&C alternator looks lighter all the time!

    Is it gonna be a hot rod? 0-320 with 10:1 becomes a real handful to prop.. it can be done.. just sayin'

    Going light.. I don't believe "any" instruments are required for (Experimental Category) Day VFR.
    http://www.flyingmag.com/safety/trai...ents-paperwork
    http://64.81.74.33/download.php?id=2...b70cf23e45fd0d

    May not help but things possibly worthy of (weight) consideration:

    A 4-wheeler oil temp, a small oil pressure and a radio.. what else do you really need?
    http://www.trailtech.net/digital-gau...nt/temperature
    Some radios have a battery voltage voltage check which helps.

    Why install interior at all?
    Rear D windows.. do you need 'em?
    Rear brakes and controls?
    Wrap a tube with the belt instead of welding in attach tabs.
    Use standard harness. (not inertial reel). lighter and no surprises if you s_l_o_w_l_y roll on your top!
    Shear pins instead of bolts where logical
    Aluminum washes
    Rocket nuts (titanium)
    Light side glass
    No header tanks

    If building really light are you considering moving the firewall back to help the CG?

    The BEST mod we ever did was cutting the firewall down on top (3") and moving the
    mount center-line down 1" but leaving the TL. We then installed a (tiny)
    dash all the way out against the firewall.. we used oil pressure, temp and a TinyTach HUGE VISIBILITY GAIN!

    hope that helps-

    frank

  8. #8

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    Would it be legal in experimental category to use a small light motorcycle AGM battery like this and denso 1 wire 35amp alternator?
    39$ for the battery https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00V9WEMQ6
    71$ for the alternator https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00KGIDF9Y
    Last edited by Eddie747; 11-25-2016 at 07:49 PM.

  9. #9

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    If you don't have a starter you never have to replace a starter.
    If you don't have an alternator...
    I have a 5AH battery that'll run my handheld radio and GPS for a long time.
    It's not just that it's much lighter, it's also much simpler.
    I wouldn't want it any other way.

  10. #10
    Clyde Barker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie747 View Post
    Would it be legal in experimental category to use a small light motorcycle AGM battery like this and denso 1 wire 35amp alternator?
    39$ for the battery https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00V9WEMQ6
    71$ for the alternator https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000KGIDF9Y
    It would be legal, but with an engine driven alternator I think you would also be required to have a transponder.

  11. #11
    Little_Cub's Avatar
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    >It would be legal, but with an engine driven alternator I think you would also be required to have a transponder.
    would that be true if FIRST certified without electric?

  12. #12
    Larry G's Avatar
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    Frank
    No hot rod just a O290 D2 the fuse is complete so no mods there

  13. #13
    Little_Cub's Avatar
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    hehe.. it's experimental, its NEVER complete!

    We live by Wayne Mackey's comment.. "the best Super Cub is the NEXT ONE"

  14. #14
    Clyde Barker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little_Cub View Post
    >It would be legal, but with an engine driven alternator I think you would also be required to have a transponder.
    would that be true if FIRST certified without electric?
    I guess it would depend on who defines "subsequently been certified". Is it a log book entry? I don't know.

    If an alternator is installed without any documentation or weight and balance change record it is not legal.

    I bet if you asked three different FSDO's you would get three different answers (if they would even commit to an answer).



    Sec. 91.215 - ATC transponder and altitude reporting equipment and use.
    ...

    (4) All aircraft in all airspace above the ceiling and within the lateral boundaries of a Class B or Class C airspace area designated for an airport upward to 10,000 feet MSL; and
    (5) All aircraft except any aircraft which was not originally certificated with an engine-driven electrical system or which has not subsequently been certified with such a system installed, balloon, or glider—
    (i) In all airspace of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia at and above 10,000 feet MSL, excluding the airspace at and below 2,500 feet above the surface; and
    (ii) In the airspace from the surface to 10,000 feet MSL within a 10-nautical-mile radius of any airport listed in appendix D, section 2 of this part, excluding the airspace below 1,200 feet outside of the lateral boundaries of the surface area of the airspace designated for that airport.
    Likes jpmccann3 liked this post

  15. #15
    Jerry Burr's Avatar
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    One thing to think about is if you are going to fly alone or with a bunch of Super Cubs. I had a self powered intercom and a battery powered radio and only had to charge the battery every couple of weeks. I don't talk much. I switched to a battery powered intercom and was fine until I traveled with a group. They killed my battery in less than a day. And I wasn't talking. If someone else on the freq talks it keys the intercom. Thus draining your battery, even when you say nothing. Take Care. Jerry B.

  16. #16
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Put a battery in it, to power your handheld and GPS. My intercom runs 20 hours or so on one 9 volt battery. Get outside airspace? Turn off the ic. Battery installed as a "temporary installation". Simple and easy.

    But, bear in mind you're going to have to hand prop the engine. I don't consider that to be a huge deal, but it comes with baggage. Be sure you're comfortable with that before you commit .

    MTV

  17. #17
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Larry G, I live and fly under class B airspace so my Cub is "non electric" just as you are anticipating. This is my panel.



    The fuel injected engine has an electric fuel pump for starting and emergency, P-mags and a starter. The maximum continuous current draw with lights, four electric instruments and GPS is less than 5 amps, normally only 3. There is no engine driven generator or alternator in order to comply with the "never certified with an electrical system" rule. I have started the engine more than 8 times in one day, never seeing a need for charging the battery. At the end of the day a trickle charger is plugged in. My plan was and still is to install a wind driven generator to keep the battery charged. Haven't done it yet. You are correct in your interpretation of the rules. An "electrical system" must have an engine driven electrical source and once one is installed it can not be removed in order to comply with "no electric system installed". It's sort of like the LSA rule in that you can certify up in gross weight but can never go back.

    My Cub also has no interior at all other than floor boards.

    Make sure that you use a direct reading oil pressure gauge. They are the least expensive and do not fail with electrical malfunctions. In my mind if you only have one instrument, a direct reading oil pressure is the one.
    N1PA
    Likes Jonnyo liked this post

  18. #18
    Larry G's Avatar
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    Thanks skywagon8a that is just what I wanted to know.

  19. #19
    S2D's Avatar
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    I thought about going no electrics on my Super cub rebuild to have a real light plane. After handpropping my 160 hp lyc a few times on my other SC, I decided that a starter is a nice luxury I didn't want to be without. Especially in the cold of the winter, so I put a lightweight starter and Battery in it. No charging system.
    I may be wrong but that probably won't stop me from arguing about it.

  20. #20

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    Just a few more things to stir the pot. Two other things to think about. If you are flying with other planes or in crappy weather, worse yet both. Having LED flashing position lights are a huge safty factor. I often fly with other planes, my one buddy as a mostly white cub with stock position lights, he is a major pain to keep track of. Other buddy has gray and red plane with the flashing led position lights, he stands out really well!! So if you don't fly on crappy days or with others this may not matter but something to think about. The second thing is engine monitoring, I know everyone has done it before without cut/egt but they did not know what was really happening. You could check and see just how much juice a simple 4 cylinder egt/cht gauge uses for power might not be that much.
    DENNY

  21. #21
    Cub junkie's Avatar
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    I got by with a starter with no charging system on my EAA biplane with C-85. The battery was an Odyssey PC 545. Never did wear it down on a long day including running my GPS. I would plug in a battery tender when at the airport. I don't trust these electrical things when I'm not around. Battery technology has improved quite a bit recently. The airplane I'm building now will be no charging system with a starter. I live in the boondocks and play in the boondocks and don't plan on needing a xponder. I will remain a malcontent on this ADS-B sh*t as long as I can.

  22. #22
    Farmboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little_Cub View Post

    The BEST mod we ever did was cutting the firewall down on top (3") and moving the
    mount center-line down 1" but leaving the TL. We then installed a (tiny)
    dash all the way out against the firewall.. we used oil pressure, temp and a TinyTach HUGE VISIBILITY GAIN!

    hope that helps-

    frank
    Frank, any photos of this?

  23. #23
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY View Post
    Just a few more things to stir the pot. Two other things to think about. If you are flying with other planes or in crappy weather, worse yet both. Having LED flashing position lights are a huge safty factor. I often fly with other planes, my one buddy as a mostly white cub with stock position lights, he is a major pain to keep track of. Other buddy has gray and red plane with the flashing led position lights, he stands out really well!! So if you don't fly on crappy days or with others this may not matter but something to think about. The second thing is engine monitoring, I know everyone has done it before without cut/egt but they did not know what was really happening. You could check and see just how much juice a simple 4 cylinder egt/cht gauge uses for power might not be that much.
    DENNY
    My Cub above has those items along with wig-wag led landing lights. All with the max draw of 5 amps.
    N1PA

  24. #24
    Larry G's Avatar
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    I was thinking of going with the GRT sport ex that draws only .5 amps and only weighs 1 1/2 lbs and the EIS to go with it draws only .20 amps. Having a starter would be nice if you have a good battery to run every thing for the day.

  25. #25
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    That GRT certainly has all of the whistles and bells. I'd still want a direct reading oil pressure for safety.
    N1PA

  26. #26
    Larry G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    That GRT certainly has all of the whistles and bells. I'd still want a direct reading oil pressure for safety.
    I will definitely keep that in mind Skywagon. Is there a way to hook it up to have a direct reading and be able to go to the EIS also

  27. #27
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry G View Post
    I will definitely keep that in mind Skywagon. Is there a way to hook it up to have a direct reading and be able to go to the EIS also
    Just connect the line from the O.P. gauge and the sender from the EIS to the same port. They will indicate pressure from the same source.

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

  28. #28
    Little_Cub's Avatar
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    We are a minimalist but agree the tractor oil pressure gauge is worth it's weight.
    The little temp gauges are used for oil and single CHT, they remember the last peak
    and the current temperature. We have changed to a TinyTach and the pressure gauge was removed
    after break-in. The best part is the dash is away from your nose and everything dropped 3" for
    visibility.
    Yeah.. no transponder, still trying to get over the (huge) value of a radio, a lot more folks out there now!

    Click image for larger version. 

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  29. #29
    nanook's Avatar
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    The only engine I didn't mind hand-propping was a C-85 with dual impulse couplings...all the rest are a royal pain to start.

  30. #30

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    A few years ago I had my experimental pa18-95 inspected for an airworthiness cert. I had a starter, and a battery, no generator/alternator. The inspector refused to sign it off without a charging system. I did have it wired for one in case I changed my mind, wires all neatly insulated and tied up. While he was still there I installed the generator, he signed it off. Tried to convince him it was experimental so I could do without, he strongly disagreed.

  31. #31
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sburg58 View Post
    A few years ago I had my experimental pa18-95 inspected for an airworthiness cert. I had a starter, and a battery, no generator/alternator. The inspector refused to sign it off without a charging system. I did have it wired for one in case I changed my mind, wires all neatly insulated and tied up. While he was still there I installed the generator, he signed it off. Tried to convince him it was experimental so I could do without, he strongly disagreed.
    You need a new inspector.

    Web
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  32. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by wireweinie View Post
    You need a new inspector.

    Web
    Reminds me of a story I was told:

    CAA inspector is issuing an airworthiness certificate for an experimental plane but refuses to sign the C of A until a logbook is raised for the experimental wooden propeller.
    The LAME present shows the CAA man the rule that says you don't have to have a logbook for a wooden prop.
    CAA man still refuses to sign the C of A.
    Owner gets fed up with the on-going argument and goes around the corner and buys a propeller logbook and brings it back, fills it out for the experimental wooden propeller.
    Now "happy" the CAA man signs the C of A.
    Owner throws propeller logbook in the rubbish bin in front of CAA man.
    CAA man leaves…….
    (nothing he can do because no rule has been broken)

  33. #33
    CamTom12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MainlandCub View Post
    Reminds me of a story I was told:

    CAA inspector is issuing an airworthiness certificate for an experimental plane but refuses to sign the C of A until a logbook is raised for the experimental wooden propeller.
    The LAME present shows the CAA man the rule that says you don't have to have a logbook for a wooden prop.
    CAA man still refuses to sign the C of A.
    Owner gets fed up with the on-going argument and goes around the corner and buys a propeller logbook and brings it back, fills it out for the experimental wooden propeller.
    Now "happy" the CAA man signs the C of A.
    Owner throws propeller logbook in the rubbish bin in front of CAA man.
    CAA man leaves…….
    (nothing he can do because no rule has been broken)
    I like this story. But the difference between the two is that now that a generator has been installed in the other guy's experimental cub it can never comply with the "non-electric" clauses in the FAR.

  34. #34

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    I am using the new Garmin GTR-200 in a J-3 with 7 ah battery. So far so good - internal intercom is working just fine with door open. It does seem to draw more current than the SL-40 + PM-501 + 296 GPS combined.

    I am planning to install a starter, and power it with a portable Odyssey. There will be no generator. My Decathlon goes down on Jan 1, 2020, awaiting the shake -out of this ADS-B stuff. I will miss it, but I will still be flying every single day.

  35. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry G View Post
    I was thinking of going with the GRT sport ex that draws only .5 amps and only weighs 1 1/2 lbs and the EIS to go with it draws only .20 amps. Having a starter would be nice if you have a good battery to run every thing for the day.
    That's exactly what I have on my Rans, simple to install, light, and very low amp draw as you said. And still more information then I'll ever need. It's my only ASI also, the only round instrument I have is my hour meter. If I lose the electrical system, I lose my ASI, big whoop.

  36. #36
    Lowrider
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    I'm following Sky's lead completely...same stuff he has...no more...no less and I think I'll be just fine. I'm too old to prop much anymore so the starter is mandatory.

    I use a rechargeable battery on my handheld radio and have an extra set of AA batteries with the adaptor just in case...I like to talk in the pattern, otherwise never use it.9olt battery in the intercom works just fine. If it dies...so what.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

    There are no new ways to crash an airplane no matter how hard you may try!

  37. #37
    Farmboy's Avatar
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    @skywagon8a or others running no charging system without a GRT or system monitor, anyone bother to install a good ammeter to show amp draw while flying?

    pb

  38. #38
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farmboy View Post
    @skywagon8a or others running no charging system without a GRT or system monitor, anyone bother to install a good ammeter to show amp draw while flying?

    pb
    You'd be better off using a voltmeter for that set up. More useful as most electronics have a thresh hold voltage, below which, they stop working. I.e., watch your battery voltage and know that you lose radios at, say, 9.5 volts.

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

  39. #39
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Click image for larger version. 

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

  40. #40
    mvivion's Avatar
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    One other thing to consider if you're installing a battery but no charging system: Be sure to install that battery such that it's easy to remove and re-install. If you ever plan to overnight away from home, you'll need a way to recharge the battery for the next day's fun, and there likely won't be any electrical outlets near where the plane is parked.

    My battery is mounted in a box below my right leg, on the floor. It's out of the way, but readily accessible. Remove the lid, unhook the quick connect from the battery, and take the battery in to the airport office, or wherever, with the trickle charger cable....plug in overnight. Next morning, you're ready to go.

    i also carry a small solar panel, with a connector and lead such that it can be connected to the battery if I'm away from a current bush overnight.

    Two round trips to OSH, and plenty of battery the whole trip. Got to OSH and plugged in the solar panel during the stay, left with full battery.

    MTV

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