SkyBeacon ADS-B - Quick and Easy

HomeBuiltAirplanes.com

Help Support HomeBuiltAirplanes.com:

Victor Bravo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2014
Messages
7,061
Location
KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
Sky Beacon has wingtip and tail mounted ADS-B units, the one for the tail position light looks like a really neat option. Joe Fisher, you may not need the ADS-B for your aircraft or your location, but a lot of us will be affected by the year 2020 mandate, and many of our aircraft already have Mode C. The Sky Beacon and iLevil "Bomb" (and whatever else is coming) look like good options compared to having an avionics shop charge you hundreds or thousands of dollars... to install a five thousand dollar Garmin whiz-bang black box, running wires and co-ax all over hell and back. I have a friend who is restoring a Twin Comanche and he's spent more on Garmin big screen TV gadgets than he bought the airplane for.
 

wsimpso1

Super Moderator
Staff member
Log Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2003
Messages
6,518
Location
Saline Michigan
Having participated in two skyBeacon installs, one experimental, one certified, I can tell you the one hour install is a nice thought, but has not worked out so well. For one thing, the strobe requires 12 volt switched power, not whatever comes out of the strobe wire at the tip. The instructions also indicate that the local ground may not be adequate. The experience so far:

While uAvionix started telling us that PA28's would be simple three wire installs, the Approved Model List covered PA28's with suffices ending in 0, not those ending in 1, like our PA28-181. Well, instead of putting the thing on the airplane and doing the flight, you file a 337 by mail and move on. Oh, and skyBeacons for certified birds have to be installed by an AI. OK, that is doable, but we were to find out why.

RANS S-12 Experimental operating under LSA rules, had a standard Whelen position light and strobe, owner bought the position and strobe version. Owner is my wife's hangar mate and is unfamiliar with wiring and the like. I looked the diagram, checked with uAvionix, and checked the wiring. He had a switched 12 VDC wire for position lights, a too short ground wire pop riveted to the wing spar, and intermittently fired strobe input. skyBeacon requires a switched position light wire that is continuously on to run the position light and all of the avionics, a switched steady wire to run the strobe, and a ground. The strobe wire in the airplane will not work. We snaked a 22 AWG wire from the 12V connection of the Whelen box and setup a new ground wire to the existing ground point at the end of the wing. The device came on once, did not come on again... My next move was to run a new ground wire, but the owner was COLD and said he would trust our local FBO.

I had already been in communication with our local FBO for our Archer II. They have 18 airplanes and are planning to install skyBeacons on all of them. I told them what happened with us on the RANS S12, they ran a ground, extended the new strobe wire to the strobe switch, and it seems to work, but has not been flown yet.

For our Archer II, we had a similar issue of replacing a position light and strobe that is run by a fuselage mounted Whelen box. Under the AI's direction, we ran 2x22AWG shielded cable with the bundle of other wiring through the wing, tied it to the existing bundle, bundled up the end connectors of the old system, fabricated a little bracket from aluminum with three 6-32 threaded holes per the instructions, mounted it to the wingtip. Programming was simple and per the instructions. First post-maintenance flights have indicated a transponder issue that is being looked into. We shall see how things pan out.

One thing that I am concerned about is that the instructions say to use nutplates for the install. Both of these were installed with a small fabricated aluminum plate. While small, they are less than an inch from the antennas and close to the size of the antennas. I wonder if the plate is too large a piece of metal too close to the antenna, thus interfering with it. I will chat with uAvionix today and see if the aluminum plate should be swapped out for a fiberglass plate and 6-32 floating nutplates for proper antenna function.

So, not as simple as advertised, but still looks better than the other more conventional boxes. More as we know it.

Billski
 
Last edited:

Victor Bravo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2014
Messages
7,061
Location
KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
Thank you for that. Please keep the group posted, because I'm sure it is an attractive-looking solution to many of us. My antique 172 does not have wingtip strobes, so I am guessing that I have "?switched 12 volts" going out to the existitng antique incandescent light fixtures?
 

proppastie

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2012
Messages
4,436
Location
NJ
I had no problems, unplugged the strobe wire from the fuselage strobe power box and piggybacked wired power for the strobe light onto the power-in for the strobe power supply. Used the ground for the strobe lite for a good ground to the fuselage. Attached the position light wire to the red. I even use the existing strobe connector at the tip having cut it off the strobe bulb. I added a small placard out at the tip "PASSWORD PROTECTED"....

I then ordered tamper-proof screws and the only issue is they do not answer me as regards replacing one of the buggered up o-rings when I replaced the screws. I packed it with thread tape and when it gets warm if they still have not got back to me I will have to measure and order the o-ring myself.

Took about 2 hours to install, and 6 hours for the study/paperwork/logbooks etc. and qualification flight, .....still waiting for my check.
 

pwood66889

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
1,575
Location
Sopchoppy, Florida, USA
Ercoupe Owners Club went on a group buy. They seem to be installing the muAvionics wing tip beacons ok/no issues. Many are waiting for the "Tail Beacon" to keep the original Grimes wing tip lights.
 

wsimpso1

Super Moderator
Staff member
Log Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2003
Messages
6,518
Location
Saline Michigan
Forget to get back with you guys. Sorry. Both installs are working fine, acceptable performance flights, and we got our rebates before the money ran out too.
 

pfarber

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Feb 21, 2019
Messages
486
Location
Pennsylvania
Or the status of the lawsuit by Garmin alleging patent infringement?


BJC
I think the two systems are different enough to survive a patent fight.

One is plumbed directly into the antenna wire, the other is a simple repeater that never touches the antenna cable (basically a repeater).

If they argue the that the trigger method is the core of the patent (ie getting the ADS-B unit to get the transponder to ident) that is a very weak position and there is plenty of prior art available.
 

BJC

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
10,823
Location
97FL, Florida, USA
For those who missed it, here is the statement from uAvionix:

uAvionix Statement on Garmin Lawsuit
On June 19, 2018 Garmin International Inc. and Garmin USA Inc. sued uAvionix for patent infringement. Garmin alleges the uAvionix echoUAT and skyBeacon’s method of obtaining an installed transponder’s Mode 3/A code and altitude infringes their U.S. Patent No. 8,102,301 (“the 301 Patent”).

We do not infringe the 301 Patent. uAvionix has our own patent-pending method for using Mode 3/A and altitude information that differs from the method in the 301 Patent. We invite you to see for yourself.

Ultimately the court and industry will decide whether we are innovators or infringers.

We are disappointed and frustrated we have to go through the expense, distraction, and effort of defending ourselves, but also recognize that disruptive products often attract unwanted attention from incumbents.

We won’t be able to comment on the proceedings, and it will likely take some time to resolve. We just want the world to know that we take Intellectual Property rights seriously. We are innovators with integrity, and we are defending that integrity. As pilots, we will fight hard and stand our ground to deliver groundbreaking and innovative products to this market.

We also want to make a clear statement that this suit in no way impacts our ability to certify and ship any of our products – including skyBeacon and tailBeacon.

Thank you for your support and confidence.

The uAvionix Team

P.S. Our legal team deleted our usual levity from this statement.

BJC
 

TFF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
12,581
Location
Memphis, TN
What is interesting is the unit sends its signal through the power wires. Has to have common power wires to the transponder or it will not work.
 

Hot Wings

Grumpy Cynic
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2009
Messages
6,913
Location
Rocky Mountains
What is interesting is the unit sends its signal through the power wires. Has to have common power wires to the transponder or it will not work.
If that is the basis of the suit they both need to fire their legal teams and collectively sue the lawyers. There is more than enough prior art in this area to invalidate.

I didn't read the whole patent - it looks like it was purposefully made verbose to introduce ambiguity. It appears that there may some room to argue about the software used to transmit and store the data? Even then the basic principles are old and well known.
 

proppastie

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2012
Messages
4,436
Location
NJ
What is interesting is the unit sends its signal through the power wires. Has to have common power wires to the transponder or it will not work.
Mine ultimately connected to buss.....same as transponder.
 

TFF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
12,581
Location
Memphis, TN
There was someone on another forum that was having tons of problems. FAA sending him letters of signal drop out. The units were on different busses that were not tied, and that was his problem.
 

proppastie

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2012
Messages
4,436
Location
NJ
There was someone on another forum that was having tons of problems. FAA sending him letters of signal drop out. The units were on different busses that were not tied, and that was his problem.
Absolutely nothing in the instructions about that requirement but it doesn't surprise me.
 
2
Top