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  #1  
Old 02-18-2019, 07:39 PM
Tankerpilot75's Avatar
Tankerpilot75 Tankerpilot75 is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Posts: 586
Default ELT upgrade

I currently have the EDMO E-01 121.5 ELT installed in my RV7A. I read where the FCC no longer allows the sale or support of these ELT units therefore I?m thinking it?s time to upgrade to a 406 MHz unit on my next condition inspection. I understand the unit, antenna and remote switch must be replaced when upgraded.

From what I read it appears there are two units that are comparably priced (under $550) and are direct replacements for my current unit. One is the ACK 406/121.5 MHz E04 ELT; and the other is the ARTEX 345 gps 406/121.5 MHz ELT. Both units appear to meet FAA requirements without a gps input but obviously work better with a RS232 feed from a Garmin 430 (non-WAAS) unit. According to Aircraft Spruce customer reviews both units have their pros and cons.

The ACK unit requires three different types of batteries with different replacement schedules. However it has a twenty degree sweep back antenna with a molded plastic base. The ARTEX unit uses one 6 year lithium battery to power everything but has a straight black whip antenna that some customer reviews didn?t like. My questions:

1. If you?ve installed or replaced your ELT recently which unit did you use and why?

2. If you ran a wire from a 430 gps unit to the ELT which ?pin? did you use for the gps feed on the 430?

3. Overall, how difficult was the swap out?

Thanks in advance for your input.
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Jim Harris, ATP, T38, EC/KC-135A/E/R, 2008 RV7A, 2nd owner, N523RM (2015)
Superior XPIO-360, Hartzel CS prop, Aerotronics panel with Dual GRT Horizon WS, EIS, Garmin 340, 335 w/WAAS gps, Dual 430s (non-WAAS), TruTrak 385 A/P with auto-level, Electric trim, Tosten 6 button Military Grips, FlightBox wired to WS, Dynon D10A w/battery backup, 406 MHz ELT. Custom Interior, New TS Flightline hoses, Great POH!
Retired - Living the dream - going broke!
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  #2  
Old 02-18-2019, 08:40 PM
MConner MConner is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Snead Island, Florida
Posts: 205
Default

Went ACK a few months back, no issues so far.
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  #3  
Old 02-19-2019, 03:53 PM
kaweeka kaweeka is offline
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Roseville
Posts: 411
Default

1) Went with the ACK-04

2) I'm using a GTN 625 for the GPS data so I can't help with that one
3) Very easy upgrade. Took about 1 1/2 hours and that was a very leisurely pace.
I hope that helps some, at least.
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  #4  
Old 02-19-2019, 04:07 PM
BobTurner BobTurner is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Livermore, CA
Posts: 7,176
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Check your Garmin manual. IIRC there are about 4 RS232 outputs from your GPS; any unused one should work.
I recently had to install an RS232 output from my G420W for an ADSB source. Getting into that backshell connector, on my back, under the panel, was not fun.
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  #5  
Old 02-19-2019, 06:38 PM
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Tankerpilot75 Tankerpilot75 is offline
 
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Location: Oklahoma City, OK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobTurner View Post
Getting into that backshell connector, on my back, under the panel, was not fun.
No it?s not fun getting on one?s back to access to the back of the Garmin rack. I had to get back there once before and that was why I was hoping that someone could easily identify the correct pin. Oh well, if nothing else works ?RTFM.?

From what I?m seeing the ACK-04 is the ELT of choice so far.
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Jim Harris, ATP, T38, EC/KC-135A/E/R, 2008 RV7A, 2nd owner, N523RM (2015)
Superior XPIO-360, Hartzel CS prop, Aerotronics panel with Dual GRT Horizon WS, EIS, Garmin 340, 335 w/WAAS gps, Dual 430s (non-WAAS), TruTrak 385 A/P with auto-level, Electric trim, Tosten 6 button Military Grips, FlightBox wired to WS, Dynon D10A w/battery backup, 406 MHz ELT. Custom Interior, New TS Flightline hoses, Great POH!
Retired - Living the dream - going broke!
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  #6  
Old 02-19-2019, 06:59 PM
BobTurner BobTurner is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Livermore, CA
Posts: 7,176
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Here you go:
Connector P4001:
pin 41 RS232 out#3
pin 54 RS232 out #4
pin 56 RS232 out#1
pin 58 RS232 out #2

These are "high density" pins. Pick one that's not currently being used. (Or, if you're lucky, find one already wired to the connector but not being used. I sure wish I had told Stein to wire all of them, and I'd just tie up the unused ones.)
Edit: don't forget a ground return, if not there already.
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  #7  
Old 02-20-2019, 04:15 PM
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Tankerpilot75 Tankerpilot75 is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Posts: 586
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobTurner View Post
Here you go:
Connector P4001:
pin 41 RS232 out#3
pin 54 RS232 out #4
pin 56 RS232 out#1
pin 58 RS232 out #2

These are "high density" pins. Pick one that's not currently being used. (Or, if you're lucky, find one already wired to the connector but not being used. I sure wish I had told Stein to wire all of them, and I'd just tie up the unused ones.)
Edit: don't forget a ground return, if not there already.
Thanks Bob.
__________________
Jim Harris, ATP, T38, EC/KC-135A/E/R, 2008 RV7A, 2nd owner, N523RM (2015)
Superior XPIO-360, Hartzel CS prop, Aerotronics panel with Dual GRT Horizon WS, EIS, Garmin 340, 335 w/WAAS gps, Dual 430s (non-WAAS), TruTrak 385 A/P with auto-level, Electric trim, Tosten 6 button Military Grips, FlightBox wired to WS, Dynon D10A w/battery backup, 406 MHz ELT. Custom Interior, New TS Flightline hoses, Great POH!
Retired - Living the dream - going broke!
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  #8  
Old 03-10-2019, 10:01 AM
Rallylancer122 Rallylancer122 is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Oconto, WI
Posts: 192
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Hi Jim,

Might be too late for you, but I figured I'd answer anyway. I installed the Artex and am happy with it. The only issue was the antenna, which as mentioned is kind of big and not universally liked. We have a -8, and with the long sliding canopy there really isn't a good place to mount it. Ultimately I mounted it on the backseat armrest, right by the rear bulkhead. The antenna sticks up into the canopy space, and I fitted a piece of clear tubing over it. Surprisingly this worked pretty well. It doesn't interfere with the passenger or the baggage box access, doesn't scratch the canopy, and gives the antenna a good bit of clear area to transmit in.

I did not hook up the GPS position. A couple years ago I had the misfortune of a 406 ELT going off in my garage. When the Canadian Coast Guard called (apparently they take turns with the US Air Force covering North America) they narrowed it's position down to my home address. I figured in a real emergency that was close enough. If you do want to hook up the GPS, apparently you have to buy a slightly different version of the Artex ELT. At least that's what they said when I bought mine. Price was the same, so I don't know what was different.

I've seen the 406 ELT system in action a few times over the years, and it is impressive how quick and how well it works. There just isn't any comparison to the old 121.5 passive system. I know it seems like every time we turn around the Feds are nickel and diming us with another requirement, and it can be tough to justify spending money on something you will most likely never need. However both Artex and ACK have a done a good job getting the price down and I think you are getting your money's worth.

DEM
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  #9  
Old 03-10-2019, 10:50 AM
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snopercod snopercod is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Asheville, NC
Posts: 2,122
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tankerpilot75 View Post
The ACK unit requires three different types of batteries with different replacement schedules.
True, but the lithium batteries in the remote and the audible alarm have something like ten year lifetimes. The main battery is supposedly good for five years but I had to change mine after three after it failed the load test. The reason I performed the load test was because I was getting a VSWR Fail on the quarterly self test. A low battery can also cause that failure. The main battery pack is temperature sensitive and doesn't perform well in the cold. I've had to heat mine up with a heat gun in order to pass the battery test.
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Last edited by snopercod : 03-10-2019 at 10:52 AM.
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  #10  
Old 03-10-2019, 06:59 PM
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Tankerpilot75 Tankerpilot75 is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Posts: 586
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Dennis and John,
Thanks for your input. Since I posted my initial thread the weather and my own schedule these last few weeks has kept me away from the airport. I went ahead and ordered the ACK-04 and hopefully will be installing it this week.

Right now my thinking is that I?ll install the new antenna as prescribed by the installation instructions and not under the rear fiberglass fairing on the horizontal stabilizer where the existing 121.5 MHz ELT antenna is located. While it was suggested that using the prior antenna?s location would work if an aircraft accident occurred, because the nose of the aircraft would likely be nose down placing the ELT antenna on a near vertical plane, I decided to go ahead and mount it vertical to start with. I do have (just barely) the required minimum three feet between the new antenna?s location and my comm antenna. I?m connecting gps input to the ELT because it doesn?t make sense to not utilize gps location otherwise why change!

Unfortunately this location will require using a 2? square doubler and drilling some holes on the top of the fuselage just behind the rear cargo panel. I?m not real excited about this because the aircraft is nicely painted. I thinking if I secure the doubler using four stainless steel #6 screws with locking nuts and the antenna through the middle, it will both look okay and meet sufficient strength mounting requirements. I?ve already ran a new four wire shielded cable from behind the cargo area underneath the seats to the panel supporting gps and powe connections. The test switch will use the existing set of wires.

ADS-B out and 406 MHz ELT, I wonder what the next FAA change is around the corner?
__________________
Jim Harris, ATP, T38, EC/KC-135A/E/R, 2008 RV7A, 2nd owner, N523RM (2015)
Superior XPIO-360, Hartzel CS prop, Aerotronics panel with Dual GRT Horizon WS, EIS, Garmin 340, 335 w/WAAS gps, Dual 430s (non-WAAS), TruTrak 385 A/P with auto-level, Electric trim, Tosten 6 button Military Grips, FlightBox wired to WS, Dynon D10A w/battery backup, 406 MHz ELT. Custom Interior, New TS Flightline hoses, Great POH!
Retired - Living the dream - going broke!
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