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Remote preheat, 2023 update?

cubscout

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Looking for an update for remote start for electric preheat, it's fall 2023. There have been some other good threads, but pretty old now, and often leading down some rabbit holes. Interested in an inexpensive way to start electric preheat on cold days, <500 watts. One hangar 45 minutes away, with Wi-fi, the other 45 minutes the other direction without Wi-fi. Have used timers (yes they work, but sometimes don't fly, due to weather). Not interested in relative merits of different heating systems--that's been beat to death. I know there are some $250+ commercial systems out there: Not interested. Seems likely that some simple, inexpensive technology has come along recently, but I'm pretty much a Luddite, don't follow this stuff.

Your thoughtful suggestions appreciated.

Thanks. cubscout
 
We have cell service at our hangar and use a Chinese cellular switch. It was $100 on ebay. You put a prepaid SIM card in it and text it to turn it on or off. Its been going strong for over a year now. It was 22 degrees when I got to the hangar the other morning but the plane was toasty and ready to rock. 10/10.

I'm not allowed to post URL's but I've attached a photo of it. Some assembly is required.
GSM_Switch.jpg
 

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Switch on is a good one. you can buy it with Venmo cash that always seems to build up.

https://preheatremote.com/product/switcheon-p6060/

Looking for an update for remote start for electric preheat, it's fall 2023. There have been some other good threads, but pretty old now, and often leading down some rabbit holes. Interested in an inexpensive way to start electric preheat on cold days, <500 watts. One hangar 45 minutes away, with Wi-fi, the other 45 minutes the other direction without Wi-fi. Have used timers (yes they work, but sometimes don't fly, due to weather). Not interested in relative merits of different heating systems--that's been beat to death. I know there are some $250+ commercial systems out there: Not interested. Seems likely that some simple, inexpensive technology has come along recently, but I'm pretty much a Luddite, don't follow this stuff.

Your thoughtful suggestions appreciated.

Thanks. cubscout
 
Just bought a Switch On last night, before seeing this thread, for my crane yard Mack engine coolant heater. Should be lots better than fooling with a timer, especially with a chaotic schedule.
 
Costco has Feit Electric smart outlets rated for exterior use. Connect to wifi and control remotely. I have a bunch of Feit lights in the new house. Very solid company with good products. I think it was around $15 at Costco. $21 on Amazon Prime.
 
$20 at our local Ace Hardware. Even though I live 2 miles from the airport and am there every day I am gonna have to try this one out.

Heat your plane? I thought you had a dry cold that wasn't cold?:lol::p

I have battled some of these issue but with poor to zero cell service and no internet.

Star link is changing the game on things, lots of places that had electrical but not internet or cell service can now use remote switching, so might be time to look more into it.
 
I received my SwitcheOn unit, and this non techie guy was at first challenged by the set up directions but eventually triumphed, (with prompt help from Sean at the company) and I also learned what a QR code was and how to use one in the process. Real good quality, like oversized cabling, at least for the amps involved, plus it just looks real cool. Controlling a test load for the first time, with just my phone, was one of those "what a great time to believe alive" moments,almost as good as the first GPS I ever played with. 5 thumbs up.
 
Installed a SwitcheOn last week. One leg to the two pad heaters on the PA-30 engines and the other leg on a cheap Amazon 500/800W heater in the cabin set to 500W. Night before flying turn on the engine pad heaters, just as I leave home turn on the cabin heater ( I live an hour away from the hangar). Both engines have a Harbor Freight moving blanket over the cowl. When I get to the airplane engines are nice and warm and cabin is warm. Saves having to get to the airport a couple hours before flying!
 
Installed a SwitcheOn last week. One leg to the two pad heaters on the PA-30 engines and the other leg on a cheap Amazon 500/800W heater in the cabin set to 500W. Night before flying turn on the engine pad heaters, just as I leave home turn on the cabin heater ( I live an hour away from the hangar). Both engines have a Harbor Freight moving blanket over the cowl. When I get to the airplane engines are nice and warm and cabin is warm. Saves having to get to the airport a couple hours before flying!

If the cabin heater you’re using is a fan type, be absolutely certain that fan will actually start spinning if it’s really cold. May not apply to your home, but if really cold, I’ve seen those cheap fan forced air heaters refuse to start the fan when cold. Then, IF everything works right, the heat coil overheats, and safety switch disconnects.

I don’t trust “cheap” electrical heaters inside planes, without testing them thoroughly

MTV
 
If the cabin heater you’re using is a fan type, be absolutely certain that fan will actually start spinning if it’s really cold. May not apply to your home, but if really cold, I’ve seen those cheap fan forced air heaters refuse to start the fan when cold. Then, IF everything works right, the heat coil overheats, and safety switch disconnects.

I don’t trust “cheap” electrical heaters inside planes, without testing them thoroughly

MTV
Thanks for the warning. I'll try it in real cold to see how it does. It does have tip over protection and I put it on a piece of sheet metal so it is off the carpet. So far we've only been down to the high 20s here in the DC metro area.
 
Thanks for the warning. I'll try it in real cold to see how it does. It does have tip over protection and I put it on a piece of sheet metal so it is off the carpet. So far we've only been down to the high 20s here in the DC metro area.

Yes, those temps shouldn't be a problem. I've used the "Zero Start" (used to be "little buddy") heaters down to -40, but always listen to them when I plugged them in to verify fan starts. These are expensive, but built like tanks, steel case, etc.

In Fairbanks once, I ran into a friend who asked me if I was going to the airport. I said yes, and he asked if I'd plug in one of these heaters that was in his engine compartment, with engine cover. Said plane was parked next to a light pole, and there's an outlet at the base of the light.

It was about - 20F. I found the plane, and sure enough right next to it, at the base of the light pole was a 110 outlet, so I plugged in the heater, listened to verify the fan started, and went flying.

That night, the friend called me and (laughing) accused me of trying to burn up his plane. My response: "Huh??" He then explained that a clever mechanic had decided to steal a few amps off the State, by wiring an outlet into the base of that 220 light.....don't ask me how he managed to do so a) without electrocuting himself and b) getting connected such that amps would flow.

The friend said when he arrived to go fly, that little heater sounded like a J-58 jet engine in full afterburner, but it was still running. He opted to never use that heater again, but this situation reinforced my belief that these little heaters are pretty much idiot proof.

MTV
 
Dgapilot, you could put that Amazon heater on a stand outside and slightly away from the airplane and use HVAC ducting to connect it to dryer exhaust duct that passes through the pocket window into the cabin. That gets the heat source outside the airplane.

I used a setup like that plus a thermostat ducted into the engine compartment of a PA-11 and left in on all winter. It seemed to work well and kept condensation inside the engine to a minimum. We have the airplane tucked away in a heated hanger 75 feet from the house this winter. Life is good.
 
A handy feature of the SwitcheOn I just figured out: any time I click on the app, the temp in my crane building is displayed off to one side. It surprised me by showing that after I pulled in the other day from a 2 hour drive, with the building temp at 52 degrees, after I shut the 425 HP Mack engine down and left for home, the displayed temp ROSE to almost 70 degrees. With the SO unit and it's temp sensor 5' away from the front of the truck, I found out that the 2200 pound engine, once at 180 degrees or so, continues to throw off a fair bit of heat into the well insulated building.
 
A handy feature of the SwitcheOn I just figured out: any time I click on the app, the temp in my crane building is displayed off to one side. It surprised me by showing that after I pulled in the other day from a 2 hour drive, with the building temp at 52 degrees, after I shut the 425 HP Mack engine down and left for home, the displayed temp ROSE to almost 70 degrees. With the SO unit and it's temp sensor 5' away from the front of the truck, I found out that the 2200 pound engine, once at 180 degrees or so, continues to throw off a fair bit of heat into the well insulated building.

I question the accuracy of the temperature reading from the SwitcheOn unit. Current temp at HGR is 44 degrees, my hangar is a plain metal T hangar with no insulation and it is a solid overcast so not much solar heating on the metal yet SwitheOn says it is 51 degrees. I suspect it is registering the temperature in the unit and not ambient temperature. I guess even without it being on the electronics consume energy and give off heat.
 
I've come to the same conclusion. BUT, it's a consistent discrepancy would be my guess, so I am going to compare it to my wall hung old style mercury thermometer over several days,, and extrapolate from there.
 
Would you owners with the Switch-on, please keep the rest of us updated on long term use. I'm asking this due to a friend having one with consistent issues, he contacted CS, which was nearly non-existent (his words), where upon he literally smashed it with a hammer and returned it to them. Then he proceeded to buy another one and is having similar non connecting issues. Personally I'm wondering if it is due to being inside the metal hangar.

I was about to buy one last year until he relayed his experiences.

I do have a couple of the Wi-Fi types, but since my hangar is 300' from my house, and metal, the Wi-Fi struggles to get connectivity also. Got plenty of time to figure it out any ways, my flying is on hold until spring due to upcoming surgery, so I have all winter to research options.
 
Mine is inside a metal T hangar, I”m the third hangar down on a line of about 10 or 12 nested T hangars. The power receptacle are on the inside corners where the tail goes so just about 1/3 in from the front of the building. I’m using the stock antenna and so far it locks right on. I was concerned as my cell phone sometimes has trouble getting a signal with the door closed but so far (about 3 weeks) when I open the app it locks right on. Home is about 50 miles away, and I have to use my Wi-Fi to connect my cell phone as the cell coverage is all but non existent in the house. There is no Wi-Fi available at the hangar.


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My building is metal roofed and sided, and I have the unit attached to an inside wall a couple feet below a window, and the signal is always there so far. But there's no reason I couldn't raise it up on the wall a bit to have the antenna peek out the window if I felt that'd improve things.
 
Turns out I was entering my time I wanted to turn it on, then pressing the SET button, AND also pressing the (digital) ON button for channel one. Now I know..., pressing the ON button supersedes any future time to start entered, it turns it on right now, as soon as you push the button. That also explains why I was getting a temp reading of 70+ degrees, when the building was at 50 or so, the unit puts out a bit of internal heat when, and only when I believe, it's actually "at work." Like any digital thingie, it takes me a bit to get it figured out, but once I do it's obvious.
 
Would you owners with the Switch-on, please keep the rest of us updated on long term use. I'm asking this due to a friend having one with consistent issues, he contacted CS, which was nearly non-existent (his words), where upon he literally smashed it with a hammer and returned it to them. Then he proceeded to buy another one and is having similar non connecting issues. Personally I'm wondering if it is due to being inside the metal hangar.

I was about to buy one last year until he relayed his experiences.

I do have a couple of the Wi-Fi types, but since my hangar is 300' from my house, and metal, the Wi-Fi struggles to get connectivity also. Got plenty of time to figure it out any ways, my flying is on hold until spring due to upcoming surgery, so I have all winter to research options.

Okay, I gotta jump in there on this one.....you can't just walk the 300 feet to your hangar to plug in/turn on heat? Sorry, couldn't resist.

I hope your surgery goes well.....arthroscopic??

MTV
 
Another option:https://www.amazon.com/Distance-Wireless-Lighting-Industrial-Transmitter/dp/B07Q348BHY

I use two of them, the DC version one controls a water pump almost 1/2 mile away, the other AC model turns on a heater in my car (cold tested), which I park 80' from the front door in a unheated polebarn. 80 often brutal feet, when it's drifted in 3' deep by 30 mph winds, dark, and still snowing, and I haven't had any coffee yet. They both work as advertised, and are pretty inexpensive for what they do.
 
Okay, I gotta jump in there on this one.....you can't just walk the 300 feet to your hangar to plug in/turn on heat? Sorry, couldn't resist.

I hope your surgery goes well.....arthroscopic??

MTV

Mike I was literally laughing out load.......Left out a bit of info on the 300' from the house. What I didn't mention is, the house near the hanger has the Wi-fi yes, but I actually live in another house about 1/2 miles away. I normally just walk or drive over and plug the plane in the night before I plan on flying.

Yes on the surgery being arthoscopic. Thank you for the well wishes.
 
Mike I was literally laughing out load.......Left out a bit of info on the 300' from the house. What I didn't mention is, the house near the hanger has the Wi-fi yes, but I actually live in another house about 1/2 miles away. I normally just walk or drive over and plug the plane in the night before I plan on flying.

Yes on the surgery being arthoscopic. Thank you for the well wishes.

Sorry, Keith, I couldn't resist. Me too on the surgery.....new hip in a couple weeks.

Gonna be a Merry Christmas.


MTV
 
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