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Thread: ADSB Tail Beacon Mounting Issues

  1. #1

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    ADSB Tail Beacon Mounting Issues

    I have a '53 model PA-18, and I bought a Tail Beacon for it. I removed the rear light today to see how it fit, and long story short it's too big to fit in the holes. It might fit in the outermost hole if the fabric wasn't wrapped around the opening. The bigger problem is that there is a second hole right behind the opening, and it is much smaller. If I could trim the fabric away (bad idea?) And push it through there is no way it's going past the next hole. Has anyone seen or felt with this? Is there an adapter?

    I hope my description makes sense. I didn't take any pictures.

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  2. #2
    Grant's Avatar
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    It just doenst work. Even if you got it through the holes. the fabric would be pushed out by the width of the unit. There may be an adapter but I would opt not to use it on a rudder. The company says you can disable the light and mount it inside the tail, keeping the original light but tying into the Nav power.

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    Jerry Burr's Avatar
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    Send me a PM. Jerry
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    I am sure Jerry has the solution for you.

    We simply used a hole saw. You stuff masking tape in there to catch chips and to grab the wire to pull it back out, then slowly run the (sharp) hole saw in there. A drop of cutting oil won't hurt.

    Go slowly - no need to heat things up, especially around fabric, and when almost through go even slower, so you do not break through and nick the fabric.

    We have done one J3, two Super Cubs, and my Decathlon this way - piece of cake.
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  5. #5

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    Thank you everyone for the responses. I also sent Jerry a message.

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    A question for the experts: Is the bezel which holds the nav light in the rudder considered “structural”?

    MTV

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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    A question for the experts: Is the bezel which holds the nav light in the rudder considered “structural”?

    MTV
    A Husky rudder that I got to patch and repaint, with the new piece welded in place, after the rudder broke as the result of a tail beacon grinding treatment. The previous owner was the installer, the newest owner, my hangar neighbor, reaped the benefit. Plenty of loose fabric on the rudder when it broke. On a side note, my neighbor contacted UAvionix about the issue and they exchanged him for a wing unit. Can't complain about that customer service.
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    Last edited by robertc; 12-10-2020 at 11:09 AM.

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    Yikes!

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    mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    ADSB Tail Beacon Mounting Issues

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    1 1/8”

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    This was test jig I made. Works to drill rudder out with fabric installed. You still may need to slit and patch


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  10. #10
    Grant's Avatar
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    So, Maybe I was misinformed. Does the unit touch the fabric once this mod is conducted sucessfully completed?

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    Depends on how the fabric was shrunk. Either way, it will not look bad. I can get a photo.

    On the J3, you have to start from scratch. I used 1/16" steel, with a glued and faired in piece of plastic tube. Owners were delighted.
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  12. #12
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I have been installing the skyBeacon on the wingtip, way less trouble.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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    Took a bit more effort than it was worth. If I did it again I'd do the wingtip one.

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    RVBottomly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkozak12 View Post

    Took a bit more effort than it was worth. If I did it again I'd do the wingtip one.
    It does look harder, but one advantage seems to be that if you also install an AV-30, you can use the tailbeacon as a controllable transponder. It doesn't look like the wingtip version allows that yet. Might be a weight-saving option.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RVBottomly View Post
    It does look harder, but one advantage seems to be that if you also install an AV-30, you can use the tailbeacon as a controllable transponder. It doesn't look like the wingtip version allows that yet. Might be a weight-saving option.
    The tail beacon doesn’t have a transponder, you are thinking the tail beacon X. Tail beacon is a UAT ADSB unit, tailbeacon X is a 1090ES unit. Each has their advantages and disadvantages. The tailbeacon X is about $500 more than the tailbeacon.


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    Quote Originally Posted by dkozak12 View Post
    Took a bit more effort than it was worth. If I did it again I'd do the wingtip one.
    Looks really clean though.
    Two strikes against the wingtip-mounted SkyBeacon IMHO:
    1) ugly
    2) too subject to damage-- either busting off the part (antenna) that hangs down,
    or more likely smearing it off on something during a hangar rash incident.

    I like my Tailbeacon, super easy mounting on my 180.
    The only improvement I can think of would be if they added a flasher like the Skybeacon has.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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  17. #17
    RVBottomly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgapilot View Post
    The tail beacon doesn’t have a transponder, you are thinking the tail beacon X. Tail beacon is a UAT ADSB unit, tailbeacon X is a 1090ES unit. Each has their advantages and disadvantages. The tailbeacon X is about $500 more than the tailbeacon.


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    Thanks for catching that! Good point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by robertc View Post
    A Husky rudder that I got to patch and repaint, with the new piece welded in place, after the rudder broke as the result of a tail beacon grinding treatment. The previous owner was the installer, the newest owner, my hangar neighbor, reaped the benefit. Plenty of loose fabric on the rudder when it broke. On a side note, my neighbor contacted UAvionix about the issue and they exchanged him for a wing unit. Can't complain about that customer service.
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    I think an earlier thread covered this topic pretty thoroughly.
    I had posted some pictures of the process; first performed on a surplus bent a rudder I had laying around.
    minimal amount of material removed to accommodate beacon, plenty of material remaining for structure. I’m sure one could get over zealous with a grinder and remove too much material, common sense applies here.
    I’d be curious to see the altered/failed part that was removed.
    I think the best approach moving forward is to alter mounting flange during build/prior to covering to assure nothing is comprised.
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  19. #19

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    I want to thank everyone for all the information. In the end I took the easy way out that I thought would also be the safest. I mounted it in the fuselage behind the rear storage compartment. The board was already there, so I just made a bracket.

    The picture was taken before I ran the power wire. Also I haven't tested it yet, so I don't know if it's going to work.

  20. #20

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    I opened up the hole with a dremel. I was was a long and tedious process but it will work. The bulb body barely touches the fabric from the inside. Works great and shouldn't cause fabric issues.
    Last edited by sdischer; 12-13-2020 at 06:24 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fhu667 View Post
    I want to thank everyone for all the information. In the end I took the easy way out that I thought would also be the safest. I mounted it in the fuselage behind the rear storage compartment. The board was already there, so I just made a bracket.

    The picture was taken before I ran the power wire. Also I haven't tested it yet, so I don't know if it's going to work.

    I feel so ignorant, that is genius! I could have saved a lot of trouble.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by fhu667 View Post
    I want to thank everyone for all the information. In the end I took the easy way out that I thought would also be the safest. I mounted it in the fuselage behind the rear storage compartment. The board was already there, so I just made a bracket.

    The picture was taken before I ran the power wire. Also I haven't tested it yet, so I don't know if it's going to work.
    Please report back with results when you’re powered up.
    They can be finicky in certain mounting positions when mounted externally. Internally may pose some issues.

  23. #23
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
    Please report back with results when you’re powered up.
    They can be finicky in certain mounting positions when mounted externally. Internally may pose some issues.
    yes, I’d want to fly that a number of times, requesting a PAPR after each to verify no errors. If it works, it might be the cats behind.

    MTV

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    Kicking myself I didn't think of that. I might pull it and hide mine anyway.

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    hotrod180's Avatar
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    I wonder if it's finicky about orientation.
    Be interesting to see if mounting it sideways as shown effects how it reports.

    FWIW here's the performance report website:

    https://adsbperformance.faa.gov/paprrequest.aspx

    Don't forget to de-select the nav light function when setting it up!
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  26. #26

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    Orientation is as it would be on the tail.

    The weather didn't cooperate yesterday, so I'll report back as soon as I have some information.

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    pa-12
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  28. #28

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    What did you have to do to make it fit?

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    Cant find the earlier thread on this nor my old photos, to recap:

    Remove old light, cut wires and press them into the end of a wine cork. press the cork into existing hole, should be a snug fit. get a sharp (new) 1 - 1/8" hole saw and SLOWLY remove material around the cork, do not generate heat with hole saw or youll cook fabric.
    stop and check progress frequently. when you are almost thru, wiggle the cork and remove little metal ring created. Cork will prevent shavings from getting in rudder as well as retain the little ring of material to be removed. Do not try to finish cutting with the saw or youll risk cutting fabric beyond hole.
    You may need to dress up the hole a bit with dremmel and drum sander.
    Treat the raw metal with paint, Connect wires to beacon, finish bottle of wine.
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  30. #30
    Seaworthy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anzack View Post
    What did you have to do to make it fit?
    Hole saw that was a micron less in diameter than the outer bezel. Had no impact on the structural integrity of the original tail light mount/ aperature--just made it wider
    Marine Corps Aviation since 1966
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  31. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by fhu667 View Post
    Orientation is as it would be on the tail.

    The weather didn't cooperate yesterday, so I'll report back as soon as I have some information.

    Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk

    Have you had a chance to fly and get a report on how this installation worked? Hope it worked out. This is a great idea for installation.

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    I know it's been a while, but I've run into an issue. I can't get the Tailbeacon to see my transponder. I haven't entered all of the information into the database yet to pull their report, but I do see my flights on Flight Aware. I don't know for a fact that my transponder is working correctly, and I probably should verify that first. I read an explanation somewhere about how the Tailbeacon sees the transponder's code through the electrical system. I'm a little skeptical about how that works, but if that's the case mounting it where I did shouldn't be part of the problem I wouldn't think.

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  33. #33
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    From the uAvionix website:
    "The tailBeacon works with any existing transponder. uAvionix’s patented power transcoder technology seamlessly communicates with your existing legacy transponder over your aircraft’s electrical system."
    Sounds like BS to me--
    kinda like the gizmo they used to sell on late-night TV ads that turned all the wiring in your house into a super-duper TV antenna.
    I think the tailbeacon must grab your txp signal out of the air.

    Re your problem: the Tailbeacon will not see your txp until the txp sends out a reply to being interrogated.
    If it is not where an ATC radar can hit it, your tailbeacon won't see it.
    Turn everything on, including your set-up app, then turn the txp switch to "test".
    I always thought that just tests the reply light,
    but apparently it also sends out a ping.
    The txp code on the app should change from blank to 1200.

    It's pretty easy to see just what it's sending to ATC (or whoever monitors these things),
    just fill out a PAPR request.

    https://adsbperformance.faa.gov/paprrequest.aspx
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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  34. #34

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    i like the part of finishing the bottle of wine, I would have done that procedure first to allow me to control my nerves with that hole saw!

  35. #35

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    A dremel and 3 hours and a variety of tools, mainly a drum sander, round hand file . Takes time, I also hand filed the unit just a bit for a perfect tight fit. Be sure to run a ground all the way back to the power source. It isn't a perfect match for sure. Remember that it must go in at about a 10 o'clock position then turned clockwise (I think) so check this fit before you complete the install.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by fhu667 View Post
    I know it's been a while, but I've run into an issue. I can't get the Tailbeacon to see my transponder. I haven't entered all of the information into the database yet to pull their report, but I do see my flights on Flight Aware. I don't know for a fact that my transponder is working correctly, and I probably should verify that first. I read an explanation somewhere about how the Tailbeacon sees the transponder's code through the electrical system. I'm a little skeptical about how that works, but if that's the case mounting it where I did shouldn't be part of the problem I wouldn't think.

    Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk
    To verify the transponder, ask ATC. They should see your code ( i.e 1200 or whatever you are set for) and your pressure altitude. No code or wrong code is a transponder malfunction. No pressure altitude or wrong altitude is an encoder problem.

    If the transponder is operating properly, check your 'Monitor' page. What info is it showing? Also, is the red LED on the beacon on steady or blinking?

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

  37. #37
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Instructions suggest that to “validate” your installation, you should fly it in “rule airspace” for about an hour, then request a PAPR. I don’t know whether the unit must be “validated” to be legal, though. I tried to validate mine just outside Charlie A/S, and it didn’t work. Climbed to 11,000 and drove around for 45 minutes, and voila! No idea if that was actually “required”.

    But, be advised, the FAA IS monitoring these things. I got the dreaded call, twice.

    MTV
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  38. #38
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Also. be advised that uAvionix has issued a service bulletin on the Tailbeacon & Skybeacon, to update the software to the 1.5.1version. The app can tell you which software version is currently in it.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  39. #39

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    I can't do the PAPR report yet. However I expect that it's going to tell me it doesn't see the transponder since the Tailbeacon doesn't see it.

    I don't have a red light on the beacon. In the Tailbeacon software it just says it can't see the transponder code. I was going to contact approach yesterday, but they were really busy with all the traffic into DFW.

    My transponder does a test when powering up, and it doesn't throw any errors. Also, I can see it replying to queries on the indicator. I just don't know if it is actually transmitting.

    I know the ADSB is working since I can see it on Flight Aware, but I realize there are some thresholds that it must pass that I can't see on Flight Aware.

    My next day off is Thursday. If the weather is good enough I'll give it another shot.

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  40. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    Also. be advised that uAvionix has issued a service bulletin on the Tailbeacon & Skybeacon, to update the software to the 1.5.1version. The app can tell you which software version is currently in it.
    Thanks for the info. I'll be sure and check that.

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