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View Full Version : 2 axis autopilots EZ Pilot verses trutrak


axel howzen
04-19-2005, 03:58 PM
If you have a choice between an EZ Pilot or a Tru Trak 2 Axis Autopilot which would you buy and why?

SteinAir
04-19-2005, 04:28 PM
Well...considering that Trio does not have a 2 axis autopilot, I'd probalby go with the TruTrak at the moment.

That being said, it's not to say Trio won't introduce one later.

If you're referring to purchasing two separate single axis AP's (such as the wing and altitude), then it's about a wash. Basically the two companies offer the same functionality in a different package. Each has their benenfits.

Last but not least, if you want an upgradeable 2 axis autopilot, your only choice is trutrak. You can buy the basic 2 axis AP, then upgrade it to GPSS, Vertical Speed, and soon to be GPS Vertical Speed.

Lot's of choices, but not matter which one you choose you'll be happy. I'm not particularly biased towards either, as we produce harnesses for both companies.

Cheers,
Stein.

Davepar
04-20-2005, 08:40 AM
If you're referring to purchasing two separate single axis AP's (such as the wing and altitude), then it's about a wash. Basically the two companies offer the same functionality in a different package. Each has their benenfits.

From reading Trio's web site, it sounds like their wing leveler has many more features than the Trutrak:

# Selectable Track Offset Position
# Speed Controlled Bank Angle
# Adjustable Bank Angle Limit
# Emergency Course Reversal
# Automatic Trim Compensation
# Auto Servo Disconnect on Takeoff
# Fully Configurable Data Windows
# GPS Data Scan Function
# Flight Time and Distance Recorder

Maybe Trutrak has some of these, but they don't make it obvious on their web site. I like Trutrak's upgrade policy and reputation, but some of these features sound useful.

Dave

L.Adamson
04-20-2005, 09:15 AM
From reading Trio's web site, it sounds like their wing leveler has many more features than the Trutrak:

# Selectable Track Offset Position
# Speed Controlled Bank Angle
# Adjustable Bank Angle Limit
# Emergency Course Reversal
# Automatic Trim Compensation
# Auto Servo Disconnect on Takeoff
# Fully Configurable Data Windows
# GPS Data Scan Function
# Flight Time and Distance Recorder



Thanks to all those features, and "too much" thought, I went with the Trio. Trio is also flight testing an altitude hold auto-pilot which should be available in June. It too, has many included features.

http://www.trioavionics.com/

On the other hand, I was able to get 25+ hours of flight time in an RV9A with a Tru-Trak "Digitrak & Altrak" auto-pilot system. This system did an excellent job of maintaining the GPS heading and altitude. The stand alone Digitrak is also a few hundred dollars cheaper at the moment.

My RV6A and Trio is close to completion, but not yet flying. The Trio will be connected to my Garmin 296 GPS.
No firm decision on which altitude hold --- yet.

Larry Adamson

SteinAir
04-20-2005, 05:04 PM
Good points. Like I said, both AP's are a good invenstment and you'll be happy with either.

Just like to make one point though....extra "features" don't necessarily mean extra usability. Each person really needs to sort through the stuff that is fluff and the stuff that is actually something that you'll use.

Same story in any avionics purchase (radios, EFIS's, Transponders, etc..). Some things are just eye candy, put there to make it look better and hence make you think you need it. Other things are indeed nice additions and worth it. A good example is some of the small inexpensive standalone COMM radios that market an "interanl intercom". For the most part they are useless, and the reality is it's a good marketing hype, not a usable "feature", but when put on marketing material it looks good. Other things like "monitor of standby frequency" are indeed super features that make life better. Big difference between the extra features, but both will be listed with equal importance on a products "feature list".

Overall, both companies are offering a great product! It kind of comes down to personal choice...kind of like tip up/slider, taildragger/nosewheel, etc...

Cheers,
Stein.

Sam Buchanan
04-20-2005, 08:16 PM
Dave wrote:
From reading Trio's web site, it sounds like their wing leveler has many more features than the Trutrak:

# Selectable Track Offset Position
# Speed Controlled Bank Angle
# Adjustable Bank Angle Limit
# Emergency Course Reversal
# Automatic Trim Compensation
# Auto Servo Disconnect on Takeoff
# Fully Configurable Data Windows
# GPS Data Scan Function
# Flight Time and Distance Recorder



Stein observed:
Just like to make one point though....extra "features" don't necessarily mean extra usability. Each person really needs to sort through the stuff that is fluff and the stuff that is actually something that you'll use.


After spending 150 or so hours with the EZ-Pilot, (and having flown a Navaid for about 450 hrs) here are my observations on the usefulness of the above features.

# Selectable Track Offset Position; Works very nicely, but I usually just switch from "Track" mode to "Course" mode when I need to vector around something (powerplant, etc).

# Speed Controlled Bank Angle: This is a GREAT feature in planes as speedy as an RV. You can program a "speed threshold" for either a standard-rate turn or half standard-rate. A standard-rate turn at 170 kts involves more bank angle than you would probably want in clouds, or even VFR if a passenger is squeamish. So you set a point, say 100 kts, where turns are 1/2 rate above the threshold, but standard rate below as you might need while maneuvering during an approach. Very Cool!

# Adjustable Bank Angle Limit: works in conjuction with the above feature.

# Emergency Course Reversal: hope I never have to use this one, but it is very clever and a nice feature to have onboard. At any time, even if the servo is not engaged (Autopilot has to be receiving a GPS data feed, however) engaging this function will automatically execute a 180 turn at the bank angles you have programmed according to the funtions mentioned previously.

# Automatic Trim Compensation: I guess this means the unit keeps your plane's wings level. All the units will do this.

# Auto Servo Disconnect on Takeoff: this is a safety feature to make sure it is impossible for you to take off with the servo engaged. I've yet to need this......but..........

# Fully Configurable Data Windows: This is a biggie. You can configure the data fields in the EX-Pilot display to show several combinations of stuff...ground speed, ETE, distance to waypoint, waypoint ID, etc. I have not seem this comprehensive a display in any other unit, AND I LIKE IT A LOT!!!!

# GPS Data Scan Function: In conjuction with the above, you can set the display to "scroll" through a complete set of data. I use this on nearly every flight.

# Flight Time and Distance Recorder: I never use this feature since there are several other timers on my panel.

Maybe that will provide some real-world feedback on the usefulness of some of the features of the EZ-Pilot.

Sam Buchanan
http://thervjournal.com

Davepar
04-22-2005, 10:59 AM
Thanks Sam. That was very helpful.

Steve Sampson
06-28-2006, 02:02 AM
I thought I would revive this thread since it seemed the most relevent.

It appears the current choice is Truetrack or EZ. EZ appears to have more features and lower cost. Having said that I think they both have enough features for me.

However, I am concerned by one thing and that is the EZ servo. Are they using the same servo that was used on the Navaid. I had a Navaid in a -9, and always felt it was a bit fragile. I find it quite off putting. If it is the same servo who makes it? Anyone care to comment on the respective servos?

Any other thoughts on these two products today or tomorrow?

Thanks

Kahuna
06-28-2006, 06:05 AM
They have their own servo for pitch and roll and it is of very high quality. You can interface with the navaid on the roll servo. The pitch servo is their design.

The pitch unit is working very well with VS and Aspd select options for climb and decent. Pretty cool stuff. The Pitch unit is rolling off Beta now and I believe they are shipping production pitch units now for very shortly.

Best,

Jconard
06-28-2006, 06:18 AM
I thought alot about which way to go before I purchased, and have held bolt servos in my hand.

My observation was that the EX-Pilot servo had horrible workmanship. It may be nice inside but the things I noticed:

1. Plastic gears, and an ocerall servo which felt way too light (Not scientific I know)

2. The casing literally looked like a Radio Shack Hobby box, that I used to buy for home electronics projects as a boy.

3. The servo arm was roughly stamped or cut from plate, had sharp burred endges, and dubious threads.

4. Mounting tabs seemed cheap, thin, and to be an afterthought.

These were just my observations, I know they both have their supporters, but I advise that you go to your local dealer, and hold both servos in your hand, and look at them.

Ben Beaird
06-28-2006, 07:14 AM
Will the Trio continue to function after loss of GPS signal? The Trutrak does but it doesn't hold a heading very well.

Ben Beaird
-6A

Kahuna
06-28-2006, 08:00 AM
Trio works the same way. Will keep your wings level but without reference to ground track, Heading will deviate.

Best

DB1033
06-28-2006, 08:44 AM
I'm curious how functional either of the systems are just as pure wing levelers? I've read that the trio is able to be "trimmed" manually to compensate for the natural drifting that slowly occurs when the GPS signal is not present. How well does this work and how often does it need adjustment?....every 5 or 10 minutes, 30 minutes?? Does the trutrak have this ability too?

I guess my reason for wondering....

If my main GPS dies I will have a backup GPS to complete my flight. However, the backup GPS will not be set up to talk to the A/P. Is it even worth trying to use the A/P as a wing leveler for the rest of the flight or would I be better off just turning it off and hand flying the rest of the way?

Sam Buchanan
06-28-2006, 08:45 AM
It certainly is not my intention to cast stones at the opinions expressed in the quotes below. I offer my opinions only as an additional data point for those who may be considering an autopilot for their plane.

I thought alot about which way to go before I purchased, and have held bolt servos in my hand.

My observation was that the EX-Pilot servo had horrible workmanship. It may be nice inside but the things I noticed:

1. Plastic gears, and an ocerall servo which felt way too light (Not scientific I know)

If weight is an indication of quality, wait until you hold the EZ-Pilot control head. It weighs practically nothing! :)

Of course, weight is not an indication of how well a device will perform in the field. The gear set in the Trio servo is similar to that in the Navaid servo which has hundreds and hundreds of hours of field history and has an excellent service record. In both the Navaid and Trio servo, the gears are very adequate for the loads and service life required. The Trio solonoid latch, motor and circuitry are a considerable upgrade from the Navaid in both materials and design.

2. The casing literally looked like a Radio Shack Hobby box, that I used to buy for home electronics projects as a boy.

True, but all the lighweight cover has to do is keep critters from crawling into the inner workings. :)

3. The servo arm was roughly stamped or cut from plate, had sharp burred endges, and dubious threads.

This is not the case on the EZ-Pilot servos I have seen or installed in my plane.

4. Mounting tabs seemed cheap, thin, and to be an afterthought.

Guess it depends on what you are using for a point of reference. Once again, the mounting tabs are of a design that has been proved during years of service.

If someone is accustomed to seeing S-Tec or other certificated servos, then the Navaid-type servo may very well seem light and under-designed. But this is a case where looks can be deceiving. My impression when initially holding the TruTrak servo was "Man, this thing is heavy!". However, the servo in my AlTrak worked perfectly in spite of my opinion of its weight. I am now flying the EZ-2, Trio's new vertical autopilot with their new Gold Standard servo, and it also works perfectly. The Trio servos have features that are not found in any other autopilot servo. The logic and safety features of the system's firmware is impressive and it's obvious the designers went to great lengths to make the servo one of the safest available.

These were just my observations, I know they both have their supporters, but I advise that you go to your local dealer, and hold both servos in your hand, and look at them.

Comparison shopping is definitely in the best interest for anyone considering an autopilot. Fortunately, we have some excellent choices. A careful look at the features of the available systems along with the observations of those flying the devices will help us select the device that is best for our situation.

KPmarc
06-28-2006, 09:11 AM
I'm curious how functional either of the systems are just as pure wing levelers? I've read that the trio is able to be "trimmed" manually to compensate for the natural drifting that slowly occurs when the GPS signal is not present. How well does this work and how often does it need adjustment?....every 5 or 10 minutes, 30 minutes?? Does the trutrak have this ability too?

The TruTrak DigiFlight series has an internal magnetometer and will revert to a "heading hold" mode when you lose the GPS signal. Select the heading you want on the front, and the AP does its best to track it. I've used this mode with a secondary GPS and while it takes a bit of mental math to select the heading on the AP that will get you the track you want, it's not hard at all. In fact, that's exactly the way I used to fly the old S-Tec in my Bonanza way back when. (I'm reformed now...)

--Marc

mrreddick
06-29-2006, 06:46 AM
Sam,

Thanks for the insight! I'm in the process of installing the EZ-1 in my 6A and have to agree, none of the parts in my kit look inferior or of poor quality.

In the near future I hope to pull out my NavAid head and install the Trio Autopilot.

As far as the quality(?) of a NavAid servo goes, I know of a 6A at my home field that has been flying since 1993 with the original servo. So, yes, looks and weight may be deceiving!

Kahuna
06-29-2006, 07:42 AM
Also agree with Sams assessment and analysis.
I have to tell you that the Navaid servo 'seems cheesy' when you look at it. But quite frankly I can not ever recall hearing or knowing of one that failed. These servos are all over the place in the experimental market.
Just my observation.

I remember installing the altrak alt hold in my 6 and when I took the servo out of the box, I almost returned it. It looked awsome. Rugged, built like a tank. And as heavy as one. The weight was outrageous given my experience with the Navaid servo. I almost returned it on weight alone. Frankly I should have done a new weight and balance with that monster servo in my tail after installation. But I didnt.

It was the ONLY solution at the time for us. This new Trio pitch solution is awesome. I have done a full approach to wheels on pavement with the Trio units, hands off the stick, following the HITS on the GRT, VS guided decent constant power. Its quite amazing. You can even make it flare with the knob when you are ready to settle down to pavement. :eek: Neat.

Best,