Alternator failure today.

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Rgbeard, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    But then you're stuck fumbling around, changing batteries in a less-than-optimal situation. Recharging my hand-held is a normal maintenance item noted on the dry-erase board in my hangar. It gets topped off every three months.
     
  2. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    I put fresh batteries in regularly, in addition to having the spares. If your rechargeable battery dies and you can't swap batteries, you're screwed. Best to have as many options as possible.
     
  3. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner En-Route

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    I used to carry an expired 12v ELT battery that I could plug into the instrument panel and power the ship's radios.
     
  4. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    This thread reminded me to charge my handheld. It's usually in the glove box of my car and I use is cruising the airport in my golf cart. Both batteries were dead.

    Thanks for the reminder!
     
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  5. Lantraxco

    Lantraxco Pre-Flight

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    Back in the days of digital pagers, I used to carry a dead battery with me for emergencies....
     
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  6. danhagan

    danhagan Pattern Altitude

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    Have never done it before, but I'll be THAT guy this time. You should have taken the first available field.

    I "lost" an alternator on a night flight a few years ago in the Tiger. Had always "heard" you'd have at least 30 minutes of power after losing it. I was 12 miles from my home field. From the time the alternator was lost, to smoke in the cockpit and TOTAL electrical failure was less than 10 seconds. Sometime at the end of that short span, my battery exploded. I didn't have to make a decision about "pressing on" ... my field was the closest. I had options to set down on I-10 or a 4 lane near my field if necessary. I got a LOT done in that 10 second span (shutdown non-eseential and prep fire extinguisher). Also. the Iphone light worked better than all of the flashlights I had on board in penetrating smoke. I vented after insuring no in-cockpit fire.

    On inspection: the alternator separated into two and rotated 30* ... the smoke was from the belt turning over a non moving pulley, mechanic never gave a reason for the battery letting go, but it was a mess.

    In short, you were lucky it was a simple single point failure and didn't escalate.
     
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  7. Lantraxco

    Lantraxco Pre-Flight

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    Battery exploding *sounds* like a sudden dead short, which is possible if the alternator output stud rotated into something grounded. The spike may have lasted long enough the battery gave it up before the breaker could pop. Just guessing. Would hate to have to clean that mess up!
     
  8. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner En-Route

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    I would agree...an alternator failure can take many forms...in one case I’m aware of, it also cracked the engine case, resulting in substantial oil loss.
     
  9. Lantraxco

    Lantraxco Pre-Flight

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    Wasn't there an AD out way back? The gear driven alternators were having bearing failures which would as you say lead to major problems with the engine, up to and including total failure. Probably thirty years ago now, *sigh*
     
  10. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner En-Route

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    That wasn’t what caused this one.