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Thread: Tale of two batteries

  1. #1
    Senior Member Dave S's Avatar
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    Default Tale of two batteries

    Good morning,

    Our kitfox, series 7, W/912ULS, is set up with two separate electrical systems with a cross tie. (Two alternators, two busses, two batteries). The primary system feeds the radios, the aux system feeds the high draw stuff - we have the standard strobes/position lights and halogen landing/taxi lights so it pulls amps.

    Since the system permits running anything electrical, including the starter, on either or both systems, I decided to use the traditional Odyssey PC680 for the primary side because of its recognized reliability; and, try a low cost equivalent gel cell for the aux system - since, if it pooped - it would not be an operational problem anyway.

    The Odyssey PC680 on the primary side has worked out perfectly (currently it is 2 years old).

    The bargain battery I installed on the aux system, a bit over a year old now, sold under the brand "Werker" model WKA12-18NB at "Batteries minus", gradually lost its ability to take and hold a charge at all. FYI - the system was constantly checked and monitored to know that the remainder of the system, other than the battery, was operating correctly.

    As it worked out - I installed a new Odyssey PC680 after removing the brand X unit for the aux system. The brand X unit was pretty much a waste of time and money,

    The brand X unit, of course, was handcrafted in the far east by skilled artisans in china. I think it is also a fair statement that the little "ISO 9001" logo on the side of the battery is a step beyond meaningless - it is misleading, but, then, I may be unfairly judging the significance of the "ISO 9001" notation - it may only apply to the box the battery came in - not the guts of the battery itself. (don't get me going on quality systems that companies brag about but don't apply in practice - I deal with that in my day job all the time).

    Anyway - if there is a contest between these two batteries, it is no contest - the Odyssey wins - costs a bit more, but then, sometimes the other guys who sell for less might know know what their stuff is worth.....

    Sincerely,

    Dave S
    Kitfox & Trigear
    912ULS/Warp
    St Paul, Minnesnowta

  2. #2
    Administrator RandyL's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tale of two batteries

    Good info Dave, thanks. That's consistent with my experience with batteries also. I'm installing an Odyssey PC680 in my Super Sport also, though only one. I don't know how much lighter it is than the Kitfox supplied battery but it looks to be a coule of pounds. I'm then using a battery box/bracket sized for the PC680 from Van's rather than the Kitfox supplied plastic box which is considerably larger.
    Randy Lervold
    TeamKitfox.com Admin Emeritus
    Day job: www.dynonavionics.com

  3. #3
    Senior Member Dave S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tale of two batteries

    Randy,

    I also did not care for the plastic battery box & fabricated an aluminum box that exactly fit the Odyssey battery. The attached photo shows what the aluminum box looks like & where it fits - also the aux alternator location. FYI - the second battery is behind the pilots seat, accessible through a hinged door on the back of the seat pan - that also has a fabricated aluminum box; and, now a new PC680.

    Sincerely,

    Dave
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Tale of two batteries

    I have used the odyssey pc680 in two aircraft and have had great results. Joe

  5. #5
    Senior Member Slyfox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tale of two batteries

    Just out of curiosity, I know it killed the cat. But why do you have two electrical systems? Are you flying IFR? I also love the Odyssey.
    steve
    slyfox
    model IV 1200-flying
    912uls
    IVO medium in-flight
    RV7A-flying
    IO-360
    constant speed prop

  6. #6
    Senior Member Dave S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tale of two batteries

    Hi Steve,

    Fortunately, we are not cats.....curiosity is a good thing for our species. My decision to go with a dual electrical system had its genesis when I was pondering the practical continuous output from the integral Rotax alternator in the context of what I wanted to have on the plane to start with (day-night VFR); and, what I might add to the electrical demand later. Then other considerations started seeping into the decision; such as, a) just about every system failure I have had on an airplane has had to do with the electrical system, b) the 912ULS, I am told, isn't very easy to flip-start, c) we plan on a lot of extended cross country and back country airports (where electrons are harder to come by than in a metro 'port if you really need them). d) a little extra battery capacity is a good thing in Minnesnowta and Buuurmidji. On the other hand, considered the extra weight and $; but, I already jeopardized my children's inheritance during the build; and, I am kinda on the back side of the bell shaped curve for body weight anyway so I put the pounds in the airplane rather than changing my eating habits.

    Sincerely,

    Dave S
    St Paul, MN
    Kitfox 7

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Default Re: Tale of two batteries

    I have a PC680, which holds a charge forever, but with the long battery
    runs makes hard starting with the IO-240 in the winter. I sometimes
    resort to a second battery on the passenger side floor hooked in with
    jumper cables for really cold weather starting (I remove it before flight)

    Next year I'll upgrade to a mobile ground support power unit, just like
    we had in the Navy ...

    Jeff

  8. #8
    Administrator RandyL's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tale of two batteries

    I noticed my engine cranking becoming a bit more sluggish when I moved the PC680 in my RV-3 back behind the seat. I'm using 4 ga welding cable, how about you? I was wondering if going to 2 ga would help it.
    Randy Lervold
    TeamKitfox.com Admin Emeritus
    Day job: www.dynonavionics.com

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Tale of two batteries

    If I may join in here. I also use the Odyseey battery and found it to be very good. The cold cranking amps do the job for me. I have it mounted behind the seat. I used a aluminum battery box and attached it to the cross member behind the seat using adel clamps. I used #6 copper then went to the #4 welding lead. Good move and it starts much better.

    I have been interested in your discussion as I brought this up on the Matronics list. I got the hell kicked out of me for using such a huge battery. Try starting your plane when its 0 and you find out why. I guess we all don't live in Florida ha.

    Dee

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Tale of two batteries

    I forgot to mention I use the Odyseey 925

    Dee

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