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Old 05-04-2013, 05:04 PM
RV-4 RV-4 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: St-Jerome,Quebec,Canada
Posts: 1,241
Question Stand BY Alternator

Hello Listers

I'm considering installing a Plane Power FS1-14 Std By alternator on my RV-4 and would like to know if anyone on VAF has installed one on the vacuum pump housing in an RV-4 and if you had any issues with cowling clearances or with any accessories.

BTW, I have so far an oil screen vs a spin on filter on my -4 so it shouldn't be an issue for the time being.

Thank you for your imputs.

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Old 05-04-2013, 05:24 PM
Mike S's Avatar
Mike S Mike S is offline
Senior Curmudgeon
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dayton Airpark, NV A34
Posts: 16,442

I would be more concerned about the lack of an oil filter, than the standby alternator.
Mike Starkey
VAF 909

Rv-10, N210LM.

Flying as of 12/4/2010

Phase 1 done, 2/4/2011

Sold after 240+ wonderful hours of flight.

"Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding or doing anything about it."
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Old 05-04-2013, 08:35 PM
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N941WR N941WR is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: SC
Posts: 12,883

It all depends on what type of flying you do and how the plane is equipped. If you fly IFR, then it might be worth the effort. Airplanes fly very well without a radios and a transponder.

As for the oil filter thing, a lot of planes are flying with just an oil screen. The down side is you have to change the oil every 25 hours. You can look at my website to see what is involved with changing the screen to a filter. It is not that difficult to do.

The standby alternator typically requires a number of changes to the electrical system. Then the question is, why not a back up battery? Or if you put a backup battery in, why do you need a backup alternator?

Of course, then you will want to change the backup battery every year (or two) as part of your condition inspection.

My -9 is day night VFR equipped but my Dynon SkyView has a backup battery in it and I have a Garmin 496 in the panel. Between the two, I should be able to get the plane down within a half hour if my electrical system goes out.
Bill R.
RV-9 (Yes, it's a dragon tail)
O-360 w/ dual P-mags
Build the plane you want, not the plane others want you to build!
SC86 - Easley, SC
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:17 AM
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blackbeard10 blackbeard10 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: OH
Posts: 212
Default Backup battery

I second 941wr's advice. In my 4 I originally planned on a two alternator setup
But went with a single in the end. Why? The firewall forward is super cramped as is and second, the switching necessary to handle dual alt. is messy. If you don't already have the knuckles book or cd, get it and I think you will agree. Now, after flying for a while, and observing the low amp usage of my efis and gps I am glad I stayed with single alt. a backup battery that would fit in your hand and setup to back feed into you cigarette lighter would be much simpler and with careful amperage management after an alt loss could give plenty of time to land. I am currently running with a Honda civic 30 amp alt (Lester no. 14184
B windings externally regulated) with the 12 dollar Ford regulator ( all working just fine). But for increased reliability i will soon install a 40 amp b&c alt kit and b&c regulator. On long trips though, I will carry the mounting brackets for the Honda alt and the ford regulator in my tool kit. The Honda alt is available nationwide at most auto parts stores ( even on Sunday $ 26 no core). Easy backup.
Mark Wyss
Madison WI
0 360 A1A Ellison throttle body
Trutrak Efis
Catto 3 Blade
Dues Paid for 2021
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Old 05-05-2013, 06:27 AM
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Walt Walt is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Dallas/Ft Worth, TX
Posts: 6,716

Check out the B&C SD-8, small package that fits on the vacuum pad and will supply enough current to keep you flying all day.

I use the B&C 40 amp unit backed up with the SD-8 for my all electric airplane (dual EI), perfect combo IMO. Last thing I want to do on a trip is to change an alternator and carrying a spare, well that just seems silly to me.
Walt Aronow, DFW, TX (52F)

EXP Aircraft Services LLC
Specializing in RV Condition Inspections, Maintenance, Avionics Upgrades
Dynamic Prop Balancing, Pitot-Static Altmeter/Transponder Certification
FAA Certified Repair Station, AP/IA/FCC GROL, EAA Technical Counselor
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RV7A built 2004, 2000+ hrs, New Titan IO-370, Bendix Mags, MTV-9 prop
Website:, Email:, Cell: 972-746-5154
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:26 AM
Stewie Stewie is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Santa Paula CA
Posts: 185
Default No clearance issue

I have the FS1-14 on my vacuum pad. It is my primary alternator, but I designed a relatively low-draw electrical system around it. I have a Challenger reusable filter adjacent (horizontal mount), with no interference although it looks like the Challenger may be smaller diameter than a regular spin on (?). That said, my right mag has been replaced with a Lightspeed Plasma, so there is just a plate there, although even with a mag I think clearance would be OK. So in my setup at least there are no firewall or cowl clearance issues. I have not yet run the engine or flown the plane.
Good luck-
Eric Stewart
=VAF= dues paid 2016
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:13 AM
TRAllen TRAllen is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 13

I have the Plane Power FS1-14 on my RV-6 and it works well. It's voltage is set slightly lower than the main alternator so it does nothing unless the main fails. It's designed to fit next to the spin on oil filter, but it is very close. The -4 has more room than the 6 so you shouldn't have any problems. This little 30A alternator will carry the entire load of my IFR -6 with no problem. You have to turn the main off to test that it is working, but it requires no modification of the electrical system. Nice product.
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Old 05-05-2013, 09:08 PM
RV-4 RV-4 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: St-Jerome,Quebec,Canada
Posts: 1,241
Thumbs up Std By Alternator.

Hello Gents

Well first, thanks a lot for all the good feedbacks, they are all really appreciated.

Now, I should have been more specific about the capabilities of the a/c and the intended mission.

My RV-4 is fully IFR ( Skyview, IFR GPS,SL-30 )with dual E.I with a back up battery.
I also have a new Plane Power 60 Amps Alternator installed .
I plan on flying this thing IFR and being used to triple back up in my working job, I'm of the type that doesn't want to shed equipement unless I really have to..

Looking at the installation of the FSI-4, it seems to be strait forward without much if any modification to the electrical system.

Walt # I'm also considering the SD-8 mainly due to its small size and as you say, it will supply enough juice to keep me flying but if just looking at the price difference I might be better off with the big one right away...I also don't plan on carrying a spare one, I want enough juice to make it home without worrying about it..

Mike # Regarding the spin on filter vs the screen, I do my oil changes every 25 hours so it hasn't been a problem yet. I thought about installing a spin on ( actually tried one on but had clearances issues with my cabin heat inlet ) and will eventually install one once I find out which spacer and proper adapter I need to clear the engine mount.Have an 0-320 E2D on my -4, any idea which one I need anyone???

Eric & TRAllen : If you have any pictures of your installation you wouldn't mind sharing, I will appreciate seeing them.

Thanks again everyone

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