Autopilot upgrade costs

Discussion in 'Avionics and Upgrades' started by Ignacio Allende, Sep 30, 2019.

  1. Ignacio Allende

    Ignacio Allende Pre-Flight

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    Will the installation of the new a/p be cheaper when you already have an older one installed? Seems so, just wanted to make sure why/how.
     
  2. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Is that your 206 on whips?

    Per your question, with the way some of this new stuff is coming out, might end up easier to just get a basic panel and dynon it.
     
  3. Ignacio Allende

    Ignacio Allende Pre-Flight

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    Hey James, it is indeed, Whips 4000
     
  4. chartbundle

    chartbundle Cleared for Takeoff

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    No, usually it will be more as you'll have to pay for the old autopilot to be removed. Unless you're doing an upgrade within the family like an STEC to a 3100 or King to the AeroCruze 230.
     
  5. Bob Weber

    Bob Weber Pre-Flight

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    What autopilot do you have now?
     
  6. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 Pattern Altitude

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    No, you’ll have to remove the servos, brackets, etc of the old AP. Unless you upgrade (like STEC 50 to 3100), then you can keep the old servos and just pay for the control unit. The problem is STEC wants more than the entire 4 servo GFC 500 package for then just the 3100 control head, and you still have old servos.


    Tom
     
  7. Ignacio Allende

    Ignacio Allende Pre-Flight

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    Thanks for the help. Bob, it is a Kap150, been inop since I bought the plane a year ago and it seems to have been inop for some years now. I don't want to just discard a good a/p, but it appears that keeping it working would be as expensive as switching to a simpler one. Would love to just have mine working, but I have to send the computer and servos to the states only for diagnosis, and that's when money starts to fly into the blue.
    Don't think going the AeroCruze way is going to be convenient neither...
     
  8. Bob Weber

    Bob Weber Pre-Flight

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    By inop, what is it doing or not doing?
     
  9. Ignacio Allende

    Ignacio Allende Pre-Flight

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    It is labeled inop and won't power up, I assume it is disconnected as per Chilean regulations regarding un-checked or non-maintained equipment. I'm seriously considering removing it and gaining some useful load, or upgrade to a new simpler one, but there's this itch telling me I may have a good working (or almost working) autopilot worth keeping.


    IMG_4064.PNG
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
  10. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    No matter how you cut it, an autopilot is going to be very, very spendy.
     
  11. Bob Weber

    Bob Weber Pre-Flight

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    An educated approach can save thousands in unnecessary costs, making it at least somewhat feasible. I would look into what was done to disable it and perhaps why, then start there.
     
  12. NordicDave

    NordicDave Line Up and Wait

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    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
  13. Doug Tellef

    Doug Tellef Filing Flight Plan

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    Good Afternoon,

    As others have mentioned, if you stay within the same manufacturer there is a posibility to upgrade your system while using some of the existing parts. Every manufacturer uses different parts and controls them differently, due to this you cant just change out a couple of parts and make it work, nor would you want to, as an autopilot is a complete system designed to work with known parts tested for a specific airframe.

    If you had a legacy S-TEC system then we have upgrade paths for you as you can retain the existing servos to help save you money. For example if you are upgrading from a S-TEC 55X to a 3100 you can save about $10,000, with the price being $9,995 if you have electric trim already or $11,495 if you need to add trim! Although it is not as simple as swapping out a control head and fly away, there are some re-wiring changes and inspections that are performed, and possible removing or changing of hardware. As part of our upgrade path the servos will be inspected to ensure that the part numbers, clutch settings, cable tensions, and servo start up voltage are the same as required for the new system. Sometimes over the years part numbers will change and the part numbers reflect the specific settings of the servos/controllers/etc. Since each aircraft and variant of aircraft flies differently they need specific part numbers, gains, settings, etc. This is why pulling a used system out of one aircraft and installing it in a different aircraft rarely makes financial sense, a 55X for one airframe is not the same as a 55X for another, it is a collection of parts specifically designed for that type of aircraft. If during these checks a servo is found to be out of spec, needing service, or need a part number changed then that will be done under the warranty process. Upon completion of the upgrade you will also get a fresh warranty on the existing servos, regardless of how old they are!

    One thing I would caution everyone on, regardless of if they go with one of our systems or someone else, is to talk to an installing dealer to get a quote on a full complete functional system before making any decisions. Our pricing reflects all the necessary components like the controller, servos, hardware kits, cables, install kits, STC and paperwork package, etc. You may find that some of these cheaper systems can quickly get up in price as you start adding in those items that may not be included in the price. Another factor to consider is current and future avionics upgrades. For example the S-TEC 3100 is designed to work with either traditional steam gauges or a variety or modern EFIS PFD's. This gives you flexibility of choices instead of being tied to one system or another.

    As always if anyone has any questions or if I can be of assistance please feel free to reach out to me. Thank you and have a great day!
     
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  14. Ignacio Allende

    Ignacio Allende Pre-Flight

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    That's what I am afraid of. I want to make a calm and educated decision. Maybe even unistall the a/p if its going to keep leaking bucks from me. I do fly on autopilot all day at work, so some real hands on is somehow welcome. On the other hand, at least a simple alt/hdg help is valuable in long flights. Again, I have it already installed. I will let you know when I do get access to the airplane and some basic troubleshooting and investigation.
    Are these old autopilots reliable? Can I keep the trim servo when unistalling the a/p?

    That looks good indeed, even though I have doubt of it being compatible to my Kap150, hope it is of course. I think the Kfc150 is very similar but not the same to mine, beyond Flight Director I mean. Maybe the reason for my a/p being inop is just servo(s), then the head replacement will not be that necessary, yet. Anyway, very interesting to have a light in upgrade path, installation costs are a killer for everything it seems. We also need to know what the compability is regarding G5s, Aspens, etc.
    If BK would just make the Vizion compatible with their legacy autopilots would be a killer, and would justify the entire engineering department behind their rebranding approach.

    Thanks for the detailed info Doug, I've been in contact with Al regarding a good offer I have locally for a 55X, and he explained pretty much the same as you just did. In this case I'd have to convert the computer to 28v and buy new servos (they are 14v, how much do they cost new?), plus all those checks and installation you mention. I do like the 55x, but I don't really need to spend a luxury car in a helping hand when flying (though I'd like to!). At this stage I am basically looking at dumping, keeping/repairing/maintaining or upgrading to a real basic and inexpensive two axis a/p.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
  15. Doug Tellef

    Doug Tellef Filing Flight Plan

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    Good Afternoon,

    That is one of the reasons I wanted address the idea of swapping an AP from one aircraft to another. I get this question multiple times a day, and have priced it out for numerous customers, in 99% of the cases it can end up costing near or more than a new system, as it is not as simple as swapping a radio where you are just wiring up a power, ground, antenna, and some speakers. I hate hearing from someone who thought they got a screaming deal on a system and bought it only to later learn that all the servos and controller are wrong for their aircraft, they still need a hardware kit, cables, documentation, etc. I am all about helping you save money where ever possible when ever I can, but I want to ensure that you have all the information going forward to help you make the best decision.
     
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  16. Bob Weber

    Bob Weber Pre-Flight

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    Depending on how hard of life it has had, the 150 systems were reasonably reliable. Do you know if you have the 200 series servos, or the 100 series servos? You can tell alot from the logbooks about the repair history.
     
  17. NordicDave

    NordicDave Line Up and Wait

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  18. Ignacio Allende

    Ignacio Allende Pre-Flight

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    By equipment list it's stated:
    Ks 177 Pitch
    Ks 178 Roll
    Ks 179 Trim

    Can't recall seeing anything about servicing the servos in the logbooks, but could check again in the future.
    Did not know that 200 series could be used, I've seen many of them for sale. Don't know anything about overhauling and pricing either. Thanks again Bob, you are the guide I need.

    Then I'm afraid it will not be compatible with mine, otherwise it would be publicized accordingly for sure. If I remember correctly it is possible to upgrade from Kap150 to Kfc150 but again, that's if the problem is in the computer and then maybe I can get a working used unit. It's still interesting though, but BK has been too silent about this product lately.
     
  19. Bob Weber

    Bob Weber Pre-Flight

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    Regretfully, the 100 series servos can be a problem, and are very difficult to work with. I do have multiple clients that are flying them successfully, so they may not be the issue
     
  20. Ignacio Allende

    Ignacio Allende Pre-Flight

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    Worst case scenario, are the 200 series servos an easy swap?
     
  21. Bob Weber

    Bob Weber Pre-Flight

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    There is no avenue to swap them. Oddly enough I was just called about a KFC 150 in a 206 with engage issues, it has the 100 series servos as well. I can help you revive this system, or at least assist in the best attempt at it. There is a path to follow to verify the necessary components for the system to power up, then getting thru preflight test will be next. Pictures of the panel help me visualize, my email is on my website.