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Thread: EarthX Battery Cautions

  1. #1
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    Default EarthX Battery Cautions

    Cub Crafters Engineering has been in contact with EarthX and is reviewing the possibility of future use and applicability of EarthX batteries on Carbon Cubs. While the lower battery weight and starting performance is very attractive, it is important that the owner/operator understand that this is not a certified battery and there are specific interface concerns that need to be considered and addressed. Simply swapping the current lead-acid battery with an EarthX on a Carbon Cub could result in loss of engine ignition (if the battery goes into a self protect disconnect) and other significant problems. CubCrafters' Engineering does not recommend the installation of EarthX batteries at this time, unless system design and installation concerns have been addressed including:

    • From the EarthX website: A common question is can you wire the batteries in series or parallel with a lead acid battery? NO, you cannot do this. The voltage of the lead acid is lower than the lithium so it will drain the lithium battery." The Carbon Cub ignition backup battery is a lead acid battery. Interaction between main battery and backup battery of differing chemistries has not been analyzed.
    • According to the EarthX downloadable manual: The battery will disconnect from the system to save the cells when the battery reaches 11.5V discharge or if a low impedance load (starter) instantaneously draws the battery to dip below 6V.
    • EarthX operational voltage is 13.4V if fully charged and 12.8V fully discharged, versus a lead-acid battery that is fully charged (resting) at 12V and discharged at 10V. This means the Carbon Cub voltage indication color ranges are not applicable to the EarthX and would need to be re-evaluated and programmed.
    • Fault monitoring must be incorporated into either the Engine Monitoring System or an added discrete LED on the instrument panel. This way if voltage is above 15.2V and the light is flashing continuously the pilot can know to shut down the charging system before smoke and fire. Other situations may require pilot action or attention if signaled.
    • Installation warning directly from the EarthX manual: “Installation of the battery in the cockpit is not recommended, unless the battery is properly vented over-board.” The current lead acid main battery (mounted under the pilot seat) is sealed and therefore not vented overboard. Engineering and fabrication would need to be incorporated to seal off the cabin and vent the main battery overboard.
    Last edited by Pat Horgan; 12-06-2016 at 09:48 AM.
    Patrick Horgan
    President
    CubCrafters | Yakima WA

  2. #2
    Member DRL's Avatar
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    Default Re: EarthX Battery Cautions

    We were earlier adopters of the EarthX battery and have not had any issues with it, but Pat raises some valid issues. The first is the interaction with the standby ignition battery. We have not seen a discharge of the lithium battery by the standby lead acid battery. In any case, with the alternator operating normally this should not happen and the diode should prevent the opposite, the lithium discharging the lead acid. While the engine is not running and the field breaker disconnected, we see minus 3 amps on the Dynon. When the engine has not been run, over a month, we have not seen a noticeable discharge. So it is certainly possible, but so far, it has not been a problem.

    The 11.5 volt disconnect may seem high but EarthX claims it is 95% discharged at that point, so it would be time to switch to the standby ignition system anyway. We lost the alternator once and it took about 35 minutes to reach the shut off protection with all the electrical items on. Monitoring the volts and amps with an EFIS is worth while. After we saw how it operates, we set the Dynon ranges to give us both caution and warning messages . It is probably not a good idea to use just the LED that comes with the battery to see what's happening. As far as an over voltage causing smoke and fire, well that should be prevented by the crow bar system and the internal battery protections if it wasn't already caught on the EMS alerting system.

    When we bought it, EarthX was not recommending a sealed box and vent system, so that is a new development. If sitting on a potential safety concern is a problem then maybe it is not a good choice for some, but the trade off for the performance, weight and not having to modify the airplane's old battery box, it seemed reasonable in our view.

    We have an EX so certification is not a factor as is the case with the LSA's. Time will tell, it is still an experiment.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: EarthX Battery Cautions

    Quote Originally Posted by DRL View Post
    We were earlier adopters of the EarthX battery and have not had any issues with it, but Pat raises some valid issues...We have an EX so certification is not a factor as is the case with the LSA's. Time will tell, it is still an experiment.
    DRL, thanks very much for the great feedback. We appreciate hearing about the technical pro-con lessons learned from those using these batteries. We understand how popular EarthX is becoming with E-SLA & E-AB aircraft and fully recognize some of the great advantages. We hope to be able to implement these and other technology advancements. Our caution post serves to compare EarthX's own installation requirements with the current electrical system architecture, so folks understand compatibility. It sounds like you are having good success with your LSA. Thanks again.
    Last edited by Pat Horgan; 12-07-2016 at 09:58 AM.
    Patrick Horgan
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    CubCrafters | Yakima WA

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    Default Re: EarthX Battery Cautions

    I thought the ignition just needed juice to energize it at startup and once running made its own current to keep operating?

    Glenn

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    Default Re: EarthX Battery Cautions

    Quote Originally Posted by Cubdriver2 View Post
    I thought the ignition just needed juice to energize it at startup and once running made its own current to keep operating?
    Glenn, While it does not need much "juice" to operate, the dual electronic ignition system requires a supply of at least 5V at all times (alternator or battery supplied). Light Speed Engineering, the ignition maker, mentions in the operating information, "Should an electrical failure occur, your ignition systems will continue to run until the supply voltage drops below 5V, well past the point of all other electrical instruments. At this point the ignition systems will stop operating and the pilot can turn on the designated back-up battery (if installed as recommended). Using the prescribed wiring, only one ignition system (normally right side on Carbon Cubs) will receive power from the aux battery to maximize your "electrical range". All electrical systems must have over-voltage protection."
    Patrick Horgan
    President
    CubCrafters | Yakima WA

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    Default Re: EarthX Battery Cautions

    Thanks for explaining

    Glenn

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    Default Battery choice

    Just wondering what most of you builders and owners of EX's or EX 2's are choosing for batteries now. What battery is the factory using in CC's?

    Thanks, Tom

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    Default Re: Battery choice

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom R View Post
    Just wondering what most of you builders and owners of EX's or EX 2's are choosing for batteries now. What battery is the factory using in CC's?

    Thanks, Tom
    Hi Tom, the factory is using the Odessy PC680 (at least they were a few months ago when I got mine). They still felt uncomfortable with the Lithiun Ion batts I guess.

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    Default Re: EarthX Battery Cautions

    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Horgan View Post
    DRL, thanks very much for the great feedback. We appreciate hearing about the technical pro-con lessons learned from those using these batteries. We understand how popular EarthX is becoming with E-SLA & E-AB aircraft and fully recognize some of the great advantages. We hope to be able to implement these and other technology advancements. Our caution post serves to compare EarthX's own installation requirements with the current electrical system architecture, so folks understand compatibility. It sounds like you are having good success with your LSA. Thanks again.
    Hi Pat,
    Great to have you guys looking out for us pilots. I'm currently running the EarthX with great success so far and very interested in making the EarthX work for the long term. There's so many benefits for this battery to not have you factory guys look into a good solution. Sure adds value to the whole Cub Crafters family when you guys solve these details.
    We look forward to the details. I'm hoping it'll be simple like programing my Dynon FlightDek D180 for the proper limits and maybe a modification to the starting check list to make sure the system is working before each takeoff.
    After seeing your first post I watch the voltages much closer.

    Thanks!

    Peter

  10. #10
    Senior Member stede52's Avatar
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    Default Re: EarthX Battery Cautions

    DRL, with your EarthX battery experience, could you recommend the value ranges and colors we should setup on our EFIS to monitor the EarthX?
    Steve Dentz
    N419LD
    Carnation, WA

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