SkyBeacon ADS-B - Quick and Easy

Discussion in 'General Experimental Aviation Questions' started by smittysrv, Mar 7, 2019.

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  1. Mar 7, 2019 #1

    smittysrv

    smittysrv

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  2. Mar 7, 2019 #2

    Joe Fisher

    Joe Fisher

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    But you still have to have a transponder and encoder pretty useless.
     
  3. Mar 7, 2019 #3

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

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    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.
     
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  4. Mar 8, 2019 #4

    pwood66889

    pwood66889

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    Ercoupe Owners Club (ercope.org) did a group buy of both Beacon kinds. So far, so good...
     
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  5. Mar 8, 2019 #5

    blane.c

    blane.c

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    This certainly looks cool
     
  6. Mar 8, 2019 #6

    wsimpso1

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    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: Mar 8, 2019
  7. Mar 8, 2019 #7

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

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    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?
     
  8. Mar 8, 2019 #8

    proppastie

    proppastie

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    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.
     
  9. May 16, 2019 #9

    blane.c

    blane.c

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    Does anyone have anymore information on the success or failure of these?
     
  10. May 16, 2019 #10

    BJC

    BJC

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    Or the status of the lawsuit by Garmin alleging patent infringement?


    BJC
     
  11. May 16, 2019 #11

    TFF

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    Selling like hot cakes. I bet the lawsuit will be years in the settling.
     
  12. May 16, 2019 #12

    pwood66889

    pwood66889

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    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.
     
  13. May 16, 2019 #13

    wsimpso1

    wsimpso1

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    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.
     
  14. May 16, 2019 #14

    pfarber

    pfarber

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    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.
     
  15. May 16, 2019 #15

    BJC

    BJC

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    For those who missed it, here is the statement from uAvionix:


    BJC
     
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  16. May 16, 2019 #16

    TFF

    TFF

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    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.
     
  17. May 16, 2019 #17

    Hot Wings

    Hot Wings

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    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.
     
  18. May 16, 2019 #18

    proppastie

    proppastie

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    Mine ultimately connected to buss.....same as transponder.
     
  19. May 16, 2019 #19

    TFF

    TFF

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    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.
     
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  20. May 17, 2019 #20

    proppastie

    proppastie

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    Absolutely nothing in the instructions about that requirement but it doesn't surprise me.
     

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