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Old 12-15-2015, 06:44 AM
Canadian_JOY Canadian_JOY is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 2,517

Thanks for providing those details, Andrew. I don't know anything about R/C servos but I do know I like my TruTrak Vizion 385.

I'm very curious to know how much cycle testing has been done on these servos in this application. As I'm sure you can guess, I'm concerned about a servo failure resulting in a high control force or, worse yet, a flapping A/P tab.

BTW, in a previous thread from the days when the ECO was first announced I mentioned something that I'll reiterate here. TruTrak is to be commended for bringing this high level of functionality and safety enhancement to the Experimental market at such an affordable price. Anybody who is building an airplane, even a basic VFR airplane, no longer has an excuse for going without an autopilot. Most Chief Financial Officers (typically a spouse) can be "sold" on the autopilot expenditure based solely on the argument of safety enhancements coming from the ECO's Envelope Protection feature.

Well done, TruTrak!

Last edited by Canadian_JOY : 12-15-2015 at 12:58 PM. Reason: I can't spell!!!!
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Old 12-15-2015, 10:06 AM
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TruTrakAndrew TruTrakAndrew is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Fayetteville, AR
Posts: 210
Default testing

Thanks for the kind words. We really do appreciate it!

We are working on cycle testing. We stepped up to the larger servos from our original slightly smaller ones because of this. We found that the small ones didn't survive long enough for us. Hitec has told us that, how we are using the servos, they expect us to see about 250 hours out of the larger servo. We are working with them on ways to extend that, although when one can be replaced for less than a $100 hamburger it isn't that big of a deal.

As to the failure modes of the servos. Typically these servos don't run to a stop without being told to do so, although it's possible. This is why we don't advocate replacing any existing trim the aircraft has in place, especially in pitch. If a servo did happen to run away to a stop, then you can simply re-trim the aircraft and the forces are gone.

The failure mode we have experience more than anything else is the internal potentiometer or motor wearing. This causes the servo to "hunt" slightly, which you can certainly feel in the aircraft. The servo gets replaced / overhauled and away you go.

An autopilot master is ALWAYS a must. You must be able to remove power from both the control head and the servos should there be a malfunction.

We are currently looking at the servos as wear items, because they are so easy to replace and so low cost.

The entire idea behind Eco is to offer the safety of an autopilot to a segment of the market that hasn't been able to afford one before. Price, weight, and complexity are the leading reasons that autopilots are not installed. We aim to drastically lower all three with Eco.

thanks again!
Andrew Barker

RV-4 214NY "Carrie Ann"
RV-10 989TS - undergoing complete overhaul!!!
Always flying someone else's airplane too
EAA - 309420
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Old 12-15-2015, 01:07 PM
Canadian_JOY Canadian_JOY is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 2,517

Thanks for sharing this info, Andrew. If the service life is expected to be ~250 hours then servos should last something on the order of 5 years for most casual flyers (the target market for this autopilot). That's not a bad deal, especially if the most common failure modes produce warning signs like hunting, signs that won't be missed by the pilot.
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Old 12-15-2015, 07:47 PM
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Neal@F14 Neal@F14 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 2,182

Any idea when the ECO will be shipping?
My airport's owner was one of the first to place an early order for his RV4 (Andrew, you met John at Petit Jean a couple years ago). I'll be the one wiring it up for him... looking forward to seeing it in action.
Neal Howard
Airplaneless once again...
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Old 03-01-2016, 10:39 PM
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celstar celstar is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Two Rivers, WI
Posts: 279
Default Eco Pilot Availability

So is the Eco pilot shipping?
David Herrmann
RV-7 N174DH built and sold
RV-8A N369DP purchased and flying/ Sold
RV-8 N3170L purchased and flying/ Sold
RV-3B N313RV purchased and flying Sold
RV-4 N488TW Flying Sold
1946 J3Cub all stock and original flying Sold
1943 Meyers OTW-160 sold
1997 RV-4.5 N221TM wow, sold ��
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Old 03-04-2016, 09:49 AM
TrutrakTech TrutrakTech is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Springdale, AR
Posts: 547

Originally Posted by celstar View Post
So is the Eco pilot shipping?
Unfortunately, no. We're struggling to get suppliers to make some parts for us. It's pretty time consuming to hand make the kits and takes away from other duties. At last check, we're about 5 weeks out from having parts.
Trutrak Tech Support
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