If Ducati made an airplane...

Discussion in 'Home Builders and Sport Pilots' started by FastEddieB, Jan 15, 2017.

  1. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Fast Eddie B
    ...would you fly it?

    My Sky Arrow has had recurring problems with charging over 10 years and about 470 hours. It was hard to tell whether it was due to bad/loose connections in the multi-pin connector feeding the Ducati regulator or actual problems with the regulator itself.

    The plane would often go for years with no problem, but it reared its ugly head again a few weeks ago - I started the plane up and the GEN light stayed on solid. Suspecting the plug, I found this:

    [​IMG]

    Cleaning up the spades and applying some Stabilant-22 worked, but the other day I saw the GEN light flicker on base, which it never does normally.

    I knew RV owners have had their issues with the Ducati regulator, often blamed on it not cooling properly in its original location on RV12's. Some relocated the regulator to a cooler location, and some had converted to a John Deere part to good effect.

    In any case, I installed a John Deere ($23.10 from Amazon*) today with the help of a friend. Here it is in place:

    [​IMG]

    Moving away from the multi-pin connector should make it easier to check connections - one theory on the Vans forum was that the multi-pin connection did not allow the terminals to seat fully, leading to overheating.

    We held out breaths but on startup everything looked good - no GEN light and good voltage:

    [​IMG]

    Note: My plane's voltmeter has always read about 1 volt high (1), but I tend to trust the bus voltage shown on my Garmin (2).

    The complete story here if you're interested: http://www.vansairforce.com/community/showthread.php?p=1141868

    Of course, only an option if one is Experimental. Still, something to consider if you are and are having issues.

    Now, we just have to source a "Power by John Deere" decal! In John Deere green, of course!


    *Price now up to $24.20. I just ordered two more to carry along as spares.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MWOQWP4/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
     
    AKBill and StevieTimes like this.
  2. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Have you poked around with a multimeter?

    John deer does sound a lot more reliable than duke parts.
     
  3. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser!

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    How about a tiebreaker; put the VOM on it.

    Liking the price on that part.
     
  4. Acrodustertoo

    Acrodustertoo Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Well done! And to fund anything with the John Deere name for under a thousand dollars is almost unheard of.
     
  5. scottfromboston

    scottfromboston Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The Ducatis commonly have actual regulator failure; many owners have gone to MOSFET units that are more efficient and generate less heat, and are considered to be more reliable. VR connector issues are pretty common on bikes, mainly due to heat. Relocating is the first step, and replacing any cheap connectors is smart, but requires some wiring savvy and good-quality tools.
     
  6. mscard88

    mscard88 Final Approach

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    Eddie that is one sweet looking panel. That thing must be fun to fly.
     
  7. zaitcev

    zaitcev Pattern Altitude

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    AFAIK Sky Arrow has a tip-up panel, which allows an easy access. On my Carlson one has to lay on his back and then slither under the panel around the control stick, taking care not to puncture the fuselage fabric.
     
  8. coloradobluesky

    coloradobluesky Pattern Altitude

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    Owning a Ducati is like having a gorgeous, neurotic Italian supermodel for a girlfriend that overspends her credit card. But you keep her 'cause she lets you ride her.
    Ducati. Looks like a supermodel, pulls like Peterbuilt, goes like a batoutahell.
    There is an Italian airplane, a SAIA Marchetti 260, that is pretty Italian cool. Big engine, aerobatic, fast.
     
    rtk11, mulligan and Ravioli like this.
  9. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Close, but not quite - at least on mine.

    Basically two 10mm nuts under the panel, and after disconnecting all the wire bundles and cables, I can have it off and on the bench in under 10 minutes:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I pull it as part of the annual to more easily access the rudder pedal hardware, and to just look around.
     
  10. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Well, that makes two!
     
  11. Joshuajayg

    Joshuajayg Line Up and Wait

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    Now that is just cool.
     
  12. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    I think I have before, but will again. Probably get to the hangar tomorrow and will report back.

    I think the Garmin is right, because even with the engine off and the master on the plane's voltmeter shows about a volt above the 12.7v or so you'd expect.
     
  13. GRG55

    GRG55 Pattern Altitude

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    Another typically gorgeous bit of Italian aeronautics -the F.8L Falco. Looks fast standing still. All wood!

    IMG_0195.JPG
     

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  14. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Pattern Altitude

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    If Ducati made an aircraft I envision looking like this ;
     

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  15. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Pattern Altitude

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    Yeah, but what a ride !
    Pretty accurate description of Mrs. VanDelay BTW.
     
  16. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    I had a 1992 (I think) 900SS:

    [​IMG]

    As an aside, I think this photo was taken with my second digital camera - a Sony Mavica that stored photos on floppy disks!
     
  17. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Got to the hangar and made a short flight yesterday.

    Voltage readings (engine off):

    Battery (Aerovoltz lithium iron) with Master Off: 13.25v
    Battery with Master On: 13.11v
    Garmin: 12.7v
    Panel 12v outlet: 12.97v
    Panel voltmeter: about 13.8v (a little parallax error in photo below)

    Engine off:

    [​IMG]


    Went flying, and with just the strobes and landing light on, saw the voltage gradually go from about 13.7v to 14v where it seemed to level off:

    [​IMG]

    This is I think about .3v higher than the Ducati.

    I was a little surprised at the high resting voltage - I'm used to seeing about 12.7v on most lead-acid batteries. But the Aerovoltz data sheet says that higher voltage is typical, and the 14v charging rate is in the acceptable range:

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, so far, so good. If anything changes, I'll report back.
     
  18. Unit74

    Unit74 En-Route

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    So any time you need me to fly that thing, Jes let me know.....