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HomeTurbineAircraftHelicopterTurbine Helicopters › glow plug problem with PHT3
12-06-2004 04:03 PM  13 years agoPost 1
longbow

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Westminster, Maryland

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Hey everyone I am stumpped and thought I would ask all of you for help. I have a JETCAT PHT3 mounted in my EC135. Had 139 great starts on it last year with no problems. Got it out yesterday after it was sitting all year and charged her up...Went to start the turbine and I blew 7 glow plugs! I would replace the plug turn the power switch on and get the blinking red light from the ECU. I take the plug out and the element was fried!

I checked the voltage to the plug and it was set to the deafult 2.1V setting. I even lowered it to 0.8V and it still would fry the plugs. My question is does it sound like the ECU is bad? All of the other functions seem to be working fine so it makes me think it might not be? I know the ECU is the heart of the Turbine so what else could it be?

Also I was wondering if the ECU battery goes dead over the winter do you have to run through the complete ECU setup again to calibrate the temp probe and the other items like when you first get the ECU? I noticed there was a warning in the manual about charging the ECU battery while connected to the ECU if you use a neg peak charger. I use a super nova and I am not sure if this is one of those chargers they warn about?

I really dont want to spend another $400 to replace it if it is not bad.

Thanks for the help!!

Jay

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12-06-2004 04:41 PM  13 years agoPost 2
wolfdad

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Southern Maryland

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Jay,
You've got several distinct questions in your post, so let me see if I can give you a possible answer for a couple of them.

1.) Yes, the external ECU battery can be drained down with prolonged storage especially if it is either a Nicd or Nimh battery. Long-term storage on any Nicd or Nimh battery should be preceded by discharging the battery down below .5 volts per cell and long-term storage should be considered for any period of more than 30 days. If left in a partially charged state, the chemical action within the battery will cause it to acquire a memory or "set point" and any subsequent charging/discharging will ocurr around that set-point. The battery, in some cases, may be "re-conditioned" by deep-cycling below the .5 volt point, then recharging at a 1/10 capacity charge rate for 10-16 hours...no guarantees here.

2.) Your glow plug problem sounds like it could be one of a couple of things. First, my guess would be you have a short in the circuit somewhere. Check your glow plug wire between the start box (including connectors) and the plug itself. Somewhere it sounds as if you have another completed circuit, allowing the glow plug to get a higher voltage than it should. Wiring for sensing and voltage is critical on these turbines. Another situation that I've experienced and Jetcat has a service bulletin out on, is the lack of a ground for the glow plug which is almost opposite to what you are describing. The lower left (as you look at it) mounting point for the start box also serves as a ground for the glow plug and if any crud, paint, etc. has built up underneath, the ground will be lost and no power goes to the glow plug at all. Jetcat recommends on their site the installation of a secondary, discreet ground wire to the turbine frame as a cure for this. Also, and you didn't mention this, are you preparing your glow plugs in accordance with the instructions. They stipulate that you should expose one loop of the plug coil, i.e. pull it out of the recess of the plug before installation...this could also potentially be your problem. Also what plug are you using? I use a good old OS A8 plug, prepared as described above and it has worked like a champ.

3.) As I understand the system, once programmed through either the temp calibration or "learn RC modes," the ECU memory is non-volatile, i.e. your settings should be retained, however I would, as a safety factor, check both settings to be sure they are accurate. Your GSU on power-up should give you a display with the approximate ambient temperature and mine normally reads about 27° or so. If the bird has been stored for any length of time at all, I would, for safety sake, check both the temp probe calibration and the "learn RC" functions.

I would check the glow plug items first, then check your ECU cal settings and, as a last resort, pick up the phone and call Jetcat. Don't know how old your ECU is and it may need a software update which isn't all that expensive...just flashing the EPROM to bring it up to date, however, from what you are describing, I think your problem is either wiring or glow plug oriented.

Jay, btw, if all else fails, the ECU is repairable, so even with worst case scenario, Jetcat should be able to help you at considerably less expense than acquiring a new ECU.

wolfdad sends....

"There are those who have...and, those who will" IRCHA #2117, AMA #70068, Turbine Waiver #105

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12-06-2004 04:58 PM  13 years agoPost 3
longbow

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Westminster, Maryland

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Thanks Wolf I am an engineer and fully aware of the battery situation.

I will check the ground situation, those strange thing is that I ran it all last year with no problems at all! I am using the Mcoy #9 plugs as the manual states. I checked all the wiring and it seems fine, I cant seem to find anywhere that is freyed or touching. I simply turn on the power switch and blam the flashing red light blinks and the plug is fried. I am pulling the one coil out like it states as well. Like I said I adjust the voltage down to .8 and .6 volts and it still fried them....

Okay on the ECU. I thought so. All of my settings from last year where in there just as I left it. The only thing I noticed was that my ambient temp outside yesterday was about 14 Deg not the 21 it says.. Do I need to make adjustments for this?

Hmm I would rather get the ECU checked out than purchase a new one, I know it prob should be upgraded as it is a 4.0 version firmware...


Thanks.... Jay

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12-06-2004 06:52 PM  13 years agoPost 4
wolfdad

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Southern Maryland

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Jay,
Just sent you a PM with some other info that might be of help.

wolfdad sends....

"There are those who have...and, those who will" IRCHA #2117, AMA #70068, Turbine Waiver #105

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12-10-2004 03:37 PM  13 years agoPost 5
longbow

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Westminster, Maryland

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Just thought I would post here what I have foudn this past week. Seems the Super Nova is a Negative pulse charger and I think this is where my problem is. I also have switched away from the Mcoy #9's on a few of my friends advise. I ordered a new ECU unit just to be safe..Hopefully will be testing her out early next week... Will post my findings... Thanks... Jay

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12-10-2004 10:13 PM  13 years agoPost 6
longbow

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Westminster, Maryland

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funny great minds alike huh? I am going to have to do that on the BK117 because there is a box that all of the radio gear is in and it will be impossible to get to. On the EC it was very easy to pull it from the ECU but I was silly and didnt..Got the new ECU today, now if it will stop huricaning here I will test her.,.. Good to talk to you again Greg!

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12-16-2004 03:00 AM  13 years agoPost 7
longbow

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Westminster, Maryland

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Woot!!! Well only $400 later problem solved! Put the new ECU in the EC135 and whola! She fired right up tonight, what I nice sound. Moral of the story pay attention to the manual when chargind with Neg. Pulse chargers.......Lesson learned, the hard way again

Jay

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12-16-2004 04:51 PM  13 years agoPost 8
wolfdad

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Southern Maryland

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Glad to see you got it all sorted out, however sorry to see the expense. Sent you a PM.

wolfdad sends.....

"There are those who have...and, those who will" IRCHA #2117, AMA #70068, Turbine Waiver #105

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