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Thread: Key West regulator

  1. #1
    Moderator Dana's Avatar
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    Key West regulator

    Does anybody have contact information for Key West Controls? They don't seem to have a website, and the phone number on the instruction sheet is invalid.

    I'm having a bit of a problem with the KW regulator on my UltraStar.

    The plane has a Westach tach/EGT combo; the tach runs directly off the lighting coil on the Cuyuna and always worked fine. I just added a Key West regulator so I can have 12VDC power for my strobe and radio. The tach and regulator are wired in parallel to the lighting coil (unlike the Rotax, the Cuyuna has a single lighting coil). No battery. However, with the regulator connected, the tach reads low.

    When I first installed the regulator, the read low, no more than about 2500 rpm indicated at full throttle (6500 rpm). However, when I switched on the strobe, it read much higher, around 4000 rpm. Figuring I needed a load on the regulator, I added a 50 ohm resistor to the output to draw a constant 1/4 amp. Now it indicates about 5000 rpm when the engine is actually doing 6500, regardless of whether the strobe is on or off. Finally, I disconnected the regulator, and the tach again reads correctly. When I measure the input voltage to the regulator, it shows very low, around 2VAC (with the regulator disconnected it's as it should be, 10-40V depending on rpm). I suspect the meter or something else weird, though, as even when it's showin 2VAC on the input it's putting out 14VDC.

    Westach has suggested several things which didn't help, and I can't seem to get a hold of Key West.

    Has anybody else seen this problem?

    -Dana

    We are born naked, wet, and hungry. Then things get worse.

  2. #2
    Registered User Robby's Avatar
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    Re: Key West regulator

    Dana,

    I have one of these ( not installed yet ) and going from my engine manual ( Rotax 503 ) and a little extrapolation, some guesswork
    ( I know - BAD for aircraft ) and a bit of 'Kentucky windage' -

    If you are getting 2VAC at the input terminals on the regulator with the regulator connected that's because of the circuitry inside the regulator - the fact that are you getting the 10- 40 with it disconnected proves this. Your coil on the engine is fine.
    You're on the right track with the resistor.
    My manual show that WITHOUT a battery there needs to be a minimum 2000 uf/25V capacitor on a connection from the regulator's red output lead to ground before ( upstream ) of the other devices being powered by the 12V.

    You may want to try this.
    I can scan the diagram and post it or send it to you if you wish.

  3. #3
    Moderator Dana's Avatar
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    Re: Key West regulator

    Robby,

    With the Key West regulator? I know some of the other regulators require a largish capacitor if there's no battery, but the the Key West is designed to work without a battery, no cap needed.

    I did try a small cap on the regulator output, the biggest one I had laying around, but nowhere near 2000 uF (which is quite a large capacitor) . It made no difference.

    -Dana

    Drink wet cement, and get completely stoned!

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    Re: Key West regulator

    Dana,

    Key West Controls, Inc.
    440-275-3191

    This is a division (as I've been told) of Titan Aircraft.

    Jim Ratte
    Recreational Mobility Pilot Supply Store

  5. #5
    Registered User Robby's Avatar
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    Talking Re: Key West regulator

    Dana

    Best I could do.
    Please let us know if RECMOB's number works out for ya.

    If it does, another 'bit' of information to put in my
    'rosetta' ( aka - within this file is all of the information known to mankind - well, at least the IMPORTANT stuff !! ) file folder !!

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    Re: Key West regulator

    FYI. I had a Key West regulator on my RANS Stinger II ultralight and one day while ground running the engine it exploded, blew half the face plate off. I have heard of this happening to another while airborne, can you imagine....... I tried to no avail to contact Key West and find out what gives but all leads led to a dead end. Yes the voltage regulator had functioned well for several years and my battery was properly connected. I would imagine the capacitors overheated/shorted and the unit is sealed so only place for the gas to go was out the face plate. I will probably buy another, best fit and already wired for my plane and I dont see any other suitable alternatives.
    Don

  7. #7
    Moderator Dana's Avatar
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    Re: Key West regulator

    Hmmm, old thread but I see I never updated with my results. I talked to somebody, I forget who. Learned that the KW shunts any excess power back to the ground, effectively a short across the lighting coil if there's no load on the output side... but because that pulls the voltage down to near zero on the input it's not a problem, effectively no power is being dissipated... but no voltage on the input side causes the tach problem I saw.

    In the end, I put a couple of largish resistors (I forget the exact size) from Radio Shack across the output. It was a bit over the rated power of the resistors, they got hot, so I added an aluminum heat sink salvaged from a dead computer battery backup, and everything has been working fine ever since.

    -Dana

    Society is like a stew. If you don't keep it stirred up, you get a lot of scum on top.

  8. #8
    Registered User brian's Avatar
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    Re: Key West regulator

    Just to confirm - this is the correct contact info for Key West. I talked to them today about a problem with my regulator. Ed was very helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by recmob View Post
    Dana,

    Key West Controls, Inc.
    440-275-3191

    This is a division (as I've been told) of Titan Aircraft.

    Jim Ratte
    Recreational Mobility Pilot Supply Store
    Brian Meyette, Cornish, NH
    1995 RV-6A - N16RK (Ralph Koger)
    RV-7A - incomplete, supercharged Subaru STi - N432MM - SOLD
    2001 Quad City Challenger II LW - N28RT
    www.meyette.us/RV-7Ahome.htm

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