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Should I upgrade my ELT to 406 mhz?

Sure seems like it would rmake sense for the 406 ELT manufacturers to offer an inexpensive GPS receiver puck that was just a plug-n-play for their units,
and connected to it for power & data transfer with a mini-usb.
Or just have the gps receiver built into the elt unit & antenna.
Instead of needing a multi-hundred dollar aviation gps unit,
or having to dope out power & data connections for gps receievers that aren't really designed for this application.
 
Does antenna need to be externally mounted in a fabric covered airplane? Or is that just for aluminum?

Wondering how big of a project this install of 406 will be. May just buy the $120 battery for my 121.5 until I figure it out.
 
It needs to be on the outside for best function. Can you just mount it where the existing antenna is?

Your wallet. But remember that if you use a 121.5 ELT and you need it, no ones monitoring it anymore. Why put a battery in a piece of safety equipment that has little to no value in a crash?

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It needs to be on the outside for best function. Can you just mount it where the existing antenna is?

Your wallet. But remember that if you use a 121.5 ELT and you need it, no ones monitoring it anymore. Why put a battery in a piece of safety equipment that has little to no value in a crash?

Web

Existing ELT does not have an external antenna...

The only reason I am would waste the $ on a battery ($120) is because my ELT battery has to be replaced by the end of the month or I can't fly with plane. If I need to panel mount something, and install an antenna in the fabric this sounds like it is going to take some planning and a decent amount of time as I am a novice. Or is this install not as big a deal as I am thinking...
 
A 406 with an internal antenna is way better than a 121.5 with ANY antenna.

You will need to pull a couple of wires to the front to connect the status panel/on-off-arm switch. It isn't difficult.
 
Existing ELT does not have an external antenna...

The only reason I am would waste the $ on a battery ($120) is because my ELT battery has to be replaced by the end of the month or I can't fly with plane. If I need to panel mount something, and install an antenna in the fabric this sounds like it is going to take some planning and a decent amount of time as I am a novice. Or is this install not as big a deal as I am thinking...

This is a job for your mechanic unless he agrees to sign off your work.

Web
 
Existing ELT does not have an external antenna...

The only reason I am would waste the $ on a battery ($120) is because my ELT battery has to be replaced by the end of the month or I can't fly with plane. If I need to panel mount something, and install an antenna in the fabric this sounds like it is going to take some planning and a decent amount of time as I am a novice. Or is this install not as big a deal as I am thinking...

91.207 allows you to operate for up to 30 days with the ELT removed, a log book entry and a placard.


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I am still lost here as to what unit to get.

I don't have GPS in the Cub- other than Foreflight. I do have a transponder- but don't think that has GPS.

The Artex 345 is $850. The ACK E-04 is $750.

Only option I see with a built in GPS is the Kanaan Integra. That unit is $1758- so $900 more.

Would I be better of getting one with an interface and buying a GPS source with the $900 savings?

You could go with the ACK E-04 and hook it up to a portable GPS that has a NEMA output. You can pick up a Garmin GPSMAP 195 for about $75 on eBay. The data cable is another $30.


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I have a little standalone garmin gps unit - it outputs nmea codes that would work with an ACK- E-04. I bought it years ago, for my J3 cub when I intended to install an ACK-E04 in a very similar situation. I ended up selling the cub and upgrading to a 180. Now I'm on my second skywagon - and I've bit the bullet to install an ACK E-04 both times. The thing is brand new in the box, unused. Every bit as legal as any other portable gps sending signals back to the ELT. If you want it, it's yours. Send me a DM.

If you want to go to the trouble to install this thing, I'll give it to you. But personally speaking, It would be far more useful to have a portable gps unit in your cub. An aera unit would give you moving maps an a lot of functionality that you probably really want in your cub anyway. You hardware it to your panel to get power, and there is a d-sub connector that you pull a 3-conductor (shield is the ground so that is the 4th signal) all the way back to the ELT unit and it provides the necessary gps data over RS-232.

You do need an A&P for this - this is log book entry stuff swapping ELTs. That and the digical signals require some level of expertise with avionics and electronics. It ain't hard, but it also ain't for the feint of heart if you need to be flying it soon.
 
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Put it on the dash - that's what most people do. I'm speaking about the gps antenna. If you are referring to the elt radio antenna - that does need to go external - with a ground plane. Most folks in cubs use the wing root fairing. Easy enough to retrofit there and it's about as much metal as you will get in a cub for an antenna ground plane.

Does antenna need to be externally mounted in a fabric covered airplane? Or is that just for aluminum?

Wondering how big of a project this install of 406 will be. May just buy the $120 battery for my 121.5 until I figure it out.
 
I have a little standalone garmin gps unit - it outputs nmea codes that would work with an ACK- E-04. I bought it years ago, for my J3 cub when I intended to install an ACK-E04 in a very similar situation......

I'm curious about that device.
Got a model number, etc?
 
Anyone use the Artex 345 with an Aera 660 for gps data?

Did you have to “special order” to have it programmed for 4800 baud or does one of the other interface settings have the right format?


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Anyone use the Artex 345 with an Aera 660 for gps data?

Did you have to “special order” to have it programmed for 4800 baud or does one of the other interface settings have the right format?


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Nothing special order. If anything needs changed it will be the serial programming in the 660. Just look under 'Interfacing' in the manual.

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The Aera 660 has NMEA 4800/9600 baud. Artex tech support said it needs to be “Aviation In” at 9600 baud vs NMEA 9600


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The Garmin GPS units I’ve connected to ELTs use the 9600 baud and connect without any issues. I doubt the 660 is any different. Look at page 182 in your manual.
 
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It's a garmin GPS 18 oem. The current version has 3 different interface connectors: db9 serial, usb, and bare wire. The one I have has a small 4-pin connector suitable for a pcb jumper. I never got around to using it, but my understanding is there's no configuration. You put power and ground and it starts acquiring and outputing NMEA messages on the RS-232 send/receive wires. When I looked for it years ago it should be a simple 4 wire connection.

https://www.garmin.com/en-US/p/223

Of course I just wired up an ACK-E04 to my panel mounted GTN 650 and I am unable to confirm it's receiving gps position messages. The ACK installation instructions say to wire up a test lead on the mini-din 4 pin connector which corresponds to the send signal from the ACK. I hooked my multi-meter up to it according to the installation manual, and I never see any activity - I get a pretty steady -5.5V whether the GPS is on and sending positions or not. I can't figure out if it's working correctly.

Anyone have any ideas?


I'm curious about that device.
Got a model number, etc?
 
Of course I just wired up an ACK-E04 to my panel mounted GTN 650 and I am unable to confirm it's receiving gps position messages. The ACK installation instructions say to wire up a test lead on the mini-din 4 pin connector which corresponds to the send signal from the ACK. I hooked my multi-meter up to it according to the installation manual, and I never see any activity - I get a pretty steady -5.5V whether the GPS is on and sending positions or not. I can't figure out if it's working correctly.

Anyone have any ideas?

Re read the instructions. You need power on pin 1, ground on pin 3, and the GPS receive line (pin 4) needs to be connected to a transmit line from the GPS RS232 data channel. Pin 2 on the ELT is used ONLY for testing. Once testing is complete pin 2 is capped and stowed.

Once the LED test light is connected as per the diagram, make sure the ELT switch is set to 'armed' and the GPS is on and has acquired satellites. The LED will flash VERY rapidly and to observe it, you may have to cup your hands over it. The flashing is also rapid enough that you won't be able to observe it on a standard volt meter.

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My ACK instructions showed how to hook up an LED to the data. It also warned that the power of the signal wasn't much and indeed I had to wait till evening to see the weak flashes.
 
I still have my LED from my prior installation. The latest ACK manual says measure with a digital voltmeter - the concept is the same. I don't see any flashes, or any activity on the meter. Now trying to figure out how to debug further.

If you run the top of the hour reset/test button test, is there any indication you have valid gps position reported? The install manual is no help.



My ACK instructions showed how to hook up an LED to the data. It also warned that the power of the signal wasn't much and indeed I had to wait till evening to see the weak flashes.
 
I (we) did all that. No flashing, no activity on the test wire. How rapid is "very rapidly"? Rapidly enough that I need to attach an oscilloscope or a UART and try and decode the RS232?


Re read the instructions. You need power on pin 1, ground on pin 3, and the GPS receive line (pin 4) needs to be connected to a transmit line from the GPS RS232 data channel. Pin 2 on the ELT is used ONLY for testing. Once testing is complete pin 2 is capped and stowed.

Once the LED test light is connected as per the diagram, make sure the ELT switch is set to 'armed' and the GPS is on and has acquired satellites. The LED will flash VERY rapidly and to observe it, you may have to cup your hands over it. The flashing is also rapid enough that you won't be able to observe it on a standard volt meter.

Web
 
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I don't recall the flash being fast but for such a dinky little light it sure was dim. It required carefully blocking all ambient light to be able to see it illuminate.
 
I (we) did all that. No flashing, no activity on the test wire. How rapid is "very rapidly"? Rapidly enough that I need to attach an oscilloscope or a UART and try and decode the RS232?

I still have to ask: did you verify that the RECEIVE line at pin four is connected to the TRANSMIT line from the GPS? This happens a lot.

If it checks good, start verifying the programming of the GPS vs the ELT.

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That's a fair question. My A&P insists that he did, but I now have to personally verify the connections. I tried a bunch of different rs-232 settings on the GPS side, even enabled all 4 of the rs232 ports on the chance that he wrote down the port number incorrectly. It's been 5-6 years since my last 180 where I did this exact same install - and it went much smoother. Alas different A&P signing the logs this time.

Unfortunately, the mini-din connector is already sealed up with RTV. I'm probably going to build another 4-pin mini-din to plug in between with the option of sticking a null modem (swapping send/rcv lines) to see if that magically fixes the problem. Then I can also hook up a terminal emulator and at least verify I'm getting the GPS position signals from the GPS.

I'll investigate more. Thanks for the pointers.

I still have to ask: did you verify that the RECEIVE line at pin four is connected to the TRANSMIT line from the GPS? This happens a lot.

If it checks good, start verifying the programming of the GPS vs the ELT.

Web
 
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