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FredMagare
02-14-2008, 08:21 AM
Is anyone flying any of the Blue Mountain EFIS's with their autopilot? If so, what is your opinion of the autopilot function? If you could start from scratch, would you go with another product?

I have an S-Tec 30 System (with install kit for an RV-8) but think that it may be somewhat of a challenge to adapt it to an RV-9A (although it looks do-able). I'm considering selling the whole system and going with BMA's set-up but need some honest input!

David Clifford
02-14-2008, 09:05 AM
We got the BM EFIS 1 with a BM EFIS Lite as a back up in a Cozy MKIV nearing completion. Also using their power board and auto pilot servos. Installation was pretty straight forward following their installation guide books and tech support is good. They are sloooooow shipping product however. Waited about 4 months for the efis lite after it was ordered and paid for. The still seem to be a good value $$$$$ wise compared to some of the other's out there.

FredMagare
02-14-2008, 09:11 AM
I would steer clear of BMA.

Why do you say that?

Clifford: Besides slow service, were there any problems? Is it flying? What's your opinion of it?

Sid Lambert
02-14-2008, 09:29 AM
I've not heard a bad word about TruTrak or Trio autopilots.

I can't say the same for BMA.

mark manda
02-14-2008, 09:43 AM
"verified customer problem-- replaced bad yaw servo." 100hrs.

I miss my EFIS one with autopilot. although I miss the ability of simple autopilots with an instant altitude hold.

FredMagare
02-14-2008, 09:55 AM
"verified customer problem-- replaced bad yaw servo." 100hrs.

I miss my EFIS one with autopilot. although I miss the ability of simple autopilots with an instant altitude hold.

Mark - What is your overall opinion of the autopilot? Good? Problematic?

I'm not discounting any other auto pilot, just looking specifically for feed-back on the abilities of BMA's autopilot.

sf3543
02-14-2008, 10:54 AM
I used the G3 lite from BMA with their AP and liked it just fine. There was some initial tweaking, but once that was done I liked it a lot.
I used it quite a bit for altitude hold during flights, which was really nice since you can hand steer it around clouds, etc., while it holds alt.
It also tracked the GPS courses really well and would do a complete 180* turn to capture the course on initial set up.
Descending to a given altitude was less perfect. It seemed to fly through the chosen alt by 50' to 100' or so, so I always watched that, but it was pretty good at capturing the alt in an ascent. The FPM rate setting for ascents and descents always worked great.
One thing I learned was that you had to make sure the "gyro" in the unit was always "set level" or the AP didn't work right. Once I understood how everything worked together, it was a piece of cake.
Overall, I believe that BMA is a great deal for the price, considering everything it gives you in one package.

Note: I know others disagree with the above because they have had an initial bad experience with BMA, but the above is my impression of the BMA product from my use in my RV8.

ferret
02-14-2008, 11:20 AM
I had a G3 lite with autopilot. The setup is just fine for a VFR autopilot, but unacceptable for IFR flight in my opinion because of the difficulty in rapidly selecting altitude changes which occur in IFR flight. I eventually removed the autopilot and replaced it with a TruTrak Sorcerer. Much better for IFR flight. The primary reason I removed the autopilot was a result of a VFR flight in which I encountered about a 4.5G+ followed by a 2.0-G episode while engaged. I had commanded a descent to an altitude, it started a descent and then went nuts. The EFIS attitude started to tumble and roll without notice. Any EFIS with a coupled autopilot must be able to fail gracefully. I immediately replaced the BMA autopilot with the Sorscerer and placed an order for an ASPEN Pro EFIS. I will sell my BMA G3 lite and autopilot to anyone for 75% of cost or best offer.

penguin
02-14-2008, 12:02 PM
I have an S-Tec 30 System (with install kit for an RV-8) but think that it may be somewhat of a challenge to adapt it to an RV-9A (although it looks do-able). I'm considering selling the whole system and going with BMA's set-up but need some honest input!

Be aware that an autopilot that is designed for an RV-8 may not fly an RV-9 so well. The autopilot must be built with a specific target aircraft in mind if it is to perform well. As the RV-9's has a different wing and tailplane to the 8, the S-Tec may not work as well as it would in an 8.

Experimental autopilot makeers, such as TruTrak, have a series of maneuvers that must be flown so that an autopilot can calibrate its self, does S-Tec use that technique? It may be worth a call to S-Tec to find out.

Pete

David Clifford
02-14-2008, 12:08 PM
Why do you say that?

Clifford: Besides slow service, were there any problems? Is it flying? What's your opinion of it?

No other problems so far,,,,,just slooooow shipping after order. They (b/M) have gone far and above as far as customer service goes. The EFIS one was the first version and they replaced it free of charge when they came out with the newer version about a year later. We also recently accidently "fried " the first power board, don't ask,,,,long story, and shipped it back for repair. It was non repairable as we expected but they replaced it with the new and improved board they just came out with for almost no cost,,,about 40% of the cost of the new one. The plane is not flying yet so I can't report on the A/P system,,,,but everything worked really nice on the bench! I will give them serious consideration when it come time for me to equip the RV-10.

JonJay
02-14-2008, 12:31 PM
I have been flying my G3 with AP for about 90 hours. It has a boat load of features, many of which I have not really tapped into much. While I have been satisfied with it for VFR flights and the "fun" of having what, at the time I purchased it, was the most full featured product out there for anywhere near the money, it every once in a while does its own thing.
This has not proved a problem but I would not trust it as a primary IFR instrument as it is installed in my aircraft. I emphasize "in my aircraft" as I have not taken the time or done the due dilligence to chase the issue down with BMA and given them a chance to help me.
The other products mentioned are much simpler, but do not do nearly as much as the BMA does. So, if all you are after is an AP, I would not choose the BMA. Features not needed or not used are a liability. However, if you want a full featured unit to play with, I think for the money it was, by far, the best deal out there.
I have no regrets, but I also did not have the expectations some people had of the unit.

FredMagare
02-14-2008, 03:46 PM
Be aware that an autopilot that is designed for an RV-8 may not fly an RV-9 so well. The autopilot must be built with a specific target aircraft in mind if it is to perform well. As the RV-9's has a different wing and tailplane to the 8, the S-Tec may not work as well as it would in an 8.

Experimental autopilot makeers, such as TruTrak, have a series of maneuvers that must be flown so that an autopilot can calibrate its self, does S-Tec use that technique? It may be worth a call to S-Tec to find out.

Pete

Not a problem. The system is the same designed to fit in certified aircraft. The installation kit is for the RV-8. (Also had parts for the RV-6 install kit but the aileron actuator has been upgraded to a capstain so will no longer work out in the wing.) The turn coordinator (head) sends the signals to the servo's to either maintain wings level or standard rate turn. The elevator servo will fit and operate no problem! The avionics technicians I've spoken to have also indicated that S-Tec is a very versatile system and should prove no problem so long as it's installed in a manner conducive to it's operation.

The more I look at the installation drawings, the more it seems I can install an "actuator" tube to make it function exactly as it's supposed to. On with the "experimentation" part of home airplane building. If it works, I'll be certain to post the results. If not, I'm sure I'll be selling it at a bargain. ;)

Thanks for the replies (both on and off line).