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  #1  
Old 10-10-2020, 04:18 PM
calpilot calpilot is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Independence
Posts: 89
Default EarthX Battery issue

After 14 months and 200 hours, I had two issues with the 690 battery. After running the master switch and PFD for 12 minutes on a fully charged battery, the next engine start resulted in the starter engaging for about one second, and then everything going blank. I charged the battery with the proper charger, and during flight the next day, the "Warning" light illuminated, and stayed on. EarthX said it was due to one of the parallel circuit monitors was dead, and the battery was running on only one of the monitoring circuits. I asked the tech what would happen if the second one had an issue? The anticipated answer was "the battery would go to zero output, no restoration possible". OK, as a DAR, I get around a lot and talk to owners. There are many out there that have had the same issue. Me? I just installed an Odyssey, yes, 8 pound weight gain, but piece of mind.
Fly Safe!

Gary
  #2  
Old 10-10-2020, 05:22 PM
sailvi767 sailvi767 is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Charlotte NC
Posts: 1,267
Default

I like redundancy but it seems for this to create a safety issue both circuits in the battery and the alternator would need to fail on the same flight. Even if that happened a RV with modern avionics would have anywhere from 30 minutes to a hour to get on the ground if IFR.
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  #3  
Old 10-10-2020, 05:37 PM
togaflyer togaflyer is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Southeast
Posts: 693
Default

Had the same thing occur last November. Went to start and prop moved for a second then everything blacked out. Red warning light activated on the battery. Ended up having to replace the battery. Went back to an Odyssey battery. Decided that the 20 lbs extra in my RV 10 was worth it. The circuit in their battery is just another thing that will leave you AOG.
  #4  
Old 10-10-2020, 07:17 PM
calpilot calpilot is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Independence
Posts: 89
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailvi767 View Post
I like redundancy but it seems for this to create a safety issue both circuits in the battery and the alternator would need to fail on the same flight. Even if that happened a RV with modern avionics would have anywhere from 30 minutes to a hour to get on the ground if IFR.
redundancy does not help you get started when the battery is tango uniform, you are flying IFR, or in a remote area.

Had similar experience in a 727 with low batteries, couldn't start the APU, so couldn't start the engines. If it ain't right, don't fly it!

Also, had a friend recently with an EarthX melt down under his seat in his Cub replica, still no known cause for it!

Fly Safe!
G.
  #5  
Old 10-12-2020, 05:20 PM
calpilot calpilot is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Independence
Posts: 89
Default Earth-x Battery

So, I just had a call from Cathy at Earth-x; she was quite helpful, and is sending me out a replacement battery. She also explained that one of the issues I had heard about with the Earth-x battery becoming hot and deforming was caused by a motorsport battery installed in an experimental Cub. The battery must be matched to the charging system, so please make sure that you understand the charging system of your aircraft and procure the appropriate battery. Earth-x claims that their units are highly reliable when installed properly. Another enlightenment from our conversation was the meaning of the warning LED illuminating and remaining on in a steady state, not flashing. I expect Earth-x may clarify that on future publications. It has always been my policy over the past 25,000 hours or more, that if there is a problem with an aircraft, and I can't determine promptly in a factual manner what is the cause or what to do about it, LAND THE AIRCRAFT AT NEAREST SUITABLE AIRPORT! Todays experimental aircraft are more electrically dependant than ever, and especially when flying IFR.

Fly Safe!

Gary
  #6  
Old 10-12-2020, 06:03 PM
EarthX Lithium EarthX Lithium is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Windsor, CO
Posts: 258
Default What the solid LED light means

Quote:
Originally Posted by calpilot View Post
So, I just had a call from Cathy at Earth-x; she was quite helpful, and is sending me out a replacement battery. She also explained that one of the issues I had heard about with the Earth-x battery becoming hot and deforming was caused by a motorsport battery installed in an experimental Cub. The battery must be matched to the charging system, so please make sure that you understand the charging system of your aircraft and procure the appropriate battery. Earth-x claims that their units are highly reliable when installed properly. Another enlightenment from our conversation was the meaning of the warning LED illuminating and remaining on in a steady state, not flashing. I expect Earth-x may clarify that on future publications. It has always been my policy over the past 25,000 hours or more, that if there is a problem with an aircraft, and I can't determine promptly in a factual manner what is the cause or what to do about it, LAND THE AIRCRAFT AT NEAREST SUITABLE AIRPORT! Todays experimental aircraft are more electrically dependant than ever, and especially when flying IFR.

Fly Safe!

Gary
Dear Gary,

It was a pleasure to talk with you today. Based on our call and your post, we would like to take this opportunity to clarify what a solid LED light means. This is located in the manual which can be found at: www.earthxbatteries.com.

All of the ETX-series batteries' critical electronic components are redundant to ensure that there is no single point of failure. As a DAR, I am sure you are familiar with the FAA regulations for a certified aircraft battery, and it is important to note that the ETX Hundred Series are designed and tested to the following safety regulations as outlined in:
• FAA RTCA DO-311a (excluding the Thermal Runaway Containment Test), RTCA DO-160, DO-254

You state you received a solid LED light warning from the battery while in flight and it stayed on. Per the manual if this happens:

Scenario 1: Solid Light-Any voltage-BMS electronic issue. Discontinue use. If in flight, this is not an immediate issue unless it is in conjunction with a charging system failure.

Scenario 2: Solid Light that turns off after 3 minutes-Any voltage-Short Circuit protection was activated. Nothing needs to be done.

The solid light that remains on means something on the BMS board is not working as designed. It does not mean it is “dead.” If the redundant critical components also had an issue, (we have no documented case of this) there would be no protection to the battery in the event of a charging system failure. The battery is still functional. You would be relying on your over voltage protection to save your electronics in your aircraft (including your battery). If this also failed, you would be relying on you as a pilot to manually turn your charging system off. The battery does not go to “zero output” in the event both redundant circuits fail, it is the same as using a lithium battery with no BMS. The LED alert is designed to “alert” you to a potential problem. Lead acid batteries can not do this. Having no alert of a potential problem does not mean one does not exist.

We hope this helps clarify.
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Kathy
  #7  
Old 10-12-2020, 06:21 PM
calpilot calpilot is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Independence
Posts: 89
Default

Might be useful to include in the manual that depending on the regime of flight (IFR, etc.) consideration should be made to exit IFR conditions and/or land at nearest suitable airport.

Regards,

Gary
  #8  
Old 10-12-2020, 06:28 PM
scrollF4's Avatar
scrollF4 scrollF4 is offline
Moderator, Asst. Line Boy
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Flower Mound, TX
Posts: 1,543
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by calpilot View Post
Earth-x claims that their units are highly reliable when installed properly. Another enlightenment from our conversation was the meaning of the warning LED illuminating and remaining on in a steady state, not flashing. I expect Earth-x may clarify that on future publications. It has always been my policy over the past 25,000 hours or more, that if there is a problem with an aircraft, and I can't determine promptly in a factual manner what is the cause or what to do about it, LAND THE AIRCRAFT AT NEAREST SUITABLE AIRPORT!
You know, EarthX ETX batteries ARE indeed highly reliable when installed properly. And charged properly with proper chargers. And the proper battery mated to a compatible alternator. And managed periodically with the PROPER EarthX battery minder/charger. Problems crop up when folks don't read and heed the product manual...which is true for any battery. A motorsport LiFePO battery in a Super Cub is not a match made in heaven.

Regarding the meaning of the warning LED, I'm not sure exactly what EarthX needs to clarify. The meaning is printed right in the manual, and it looks like the image below.

I have that chart printed and posted on the back cover of my POH for quick and "factual" reference. I also study it (like the rest of my POH) so I know when not to over-react over a red solid or blinking LED. There just aren't any real barn-burners here involving the battery..."unless it is in conjunction with a charging system failure," malfunction or over-voltage. Hopefully you also installed reliable overvoltage protection (which is ALSO stressed by EarthX in their manual). Simply put, EarthX is pretty transparent about their product, their manual is complete, and they're always willing to help. It's our job as builder/owner/pilots to read and understand.

Having said all that, yes, I agree: If there's a problem with any aircraft system and you can't resolve it with the available time and brain bytes, definitely land the aircraft as soon as conditions permit.
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  #9  
Old 10-13-2020, 07:54 AM
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airguy airguy is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Garden City, Tx
Posts: 5,318
Default

The only problem I've ever encountered with my ETX900 was also related to a solid red warning light - which I actually tracked down to a wiring fault and had nothing to do with the battery at all.

Almost 3 years and 495 hours on it so far.
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  #10  
Old 10-13-2020, 09:15 AM
calpilot calpilot is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Independence
Posts: 89
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by scrollF4 View Post
You know, EarthX ETX batteries ARE indeed highly reliable when installed properly. And charged properly with proper chargers. And the proper battery mated to a compatible alternator. And managed periodically with the PROPER EarthX battery minder/charger. Problems crop up when folks don't read and heed the product manual...which is true for any battery. A motorsport LiFePO battery in a Super Cub is not a match made in heaven.

Regarding the meaning of the warning LED, I'm not sure exactly what EarthX needs to clarify. The meaning is printed right in the manual, and it looks like the image below.

I have that chart printed and posted on the back cover of my POH for quick and "factual" reference. I also study it (like the rest of my POH) so I know when not to over-react over a red solid or blinking LED. There just aren't any real barn-burners here involving the battery..."unless it is in conjunction with a charging system failure," malfunction or over-voltage. Hopefully you also installed reliable overvoltage protection (which is ALSO stressed by EarthX in their manual). Simply put, EarthX is pretty transparent about their product, their manual is complete, and they're always willing to help. It's our job as builder/owner/pilots to read and understand.

Having said all that, yes, I agree: If there's a problem with any aircraft system and you can't resolve it with the available time and brain bytes, definitely land the aircraft as soon as conditions permit.
Been doing this over 45 years, including designing many small and large aircraft electrical systems. In the stated case, there was a fault, indicating the battery was not totally well, and an additional fault may render the battery totally unable to supply power. I fly IFR a lot, yes, I do have an essential buss powered by standby battery, however that battery can not start the motor. Therefore, and without the aid of the main battery, essential buss life is limited, therefore, I will choose to exit IFR if possible, land at nearest suitable airport.

I've flown over 1 million passengers safely to their destination, don't plan to sully that record.
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