BPE-14 Turbo Alternator

Aircraft electrical systems. Generators, both engine and wind driven. Other electrical systems, wiring, fuses, lighting and so on.
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BPE-14 Turbo Alternator

Post by stknrdr » Wed Sep 05, 2007 13:49

Does anyone have any experience with this item - positive, negative or otherwise? I realize, now, that I should have asked this question prior to purchase and installation, but I figured (dumb me) that if it was STC'd for my 7AC, it would work.

It's supposed to put out ~7 amps @ 80 mph, but after about 6 months of messing with it, the best my avionics guy and my A&P/IA can get out of it is ~+.5a with the Garmin SL40 on and neg .5 with the add'l load of the King xpndr turned on.

The manufacturer has been less than helpful.

Any ideas?

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Post by joea » Wed Sep 05, 2007 14:57

Is this being checked on the airplane or also putting out the same values on a bench check?

Surprised that the maker is not helping.

Did you pay for it with a credit card? If so and it does not work I might contact the credit card company and advise them that it does not work and start to file a claim against them.

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Post by B PANCAKE » Wed Sep 05, 2007 15:10

If the alternator is mounted under the fuselage on the axel strut fittings, the deflector ( pn 4-730) on the lower engine cowl will deflect the air flow away from the alternator and you will not get full output. The best place to mount the alternator or a wind generator is on the left landing gear oleo case frame near the grease fitting. If you trim off the deflector, up goes the engine temp.

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Post by stknrdr » Wed Sep 05, 2007 18:06

Thanks for the prompt replies.

Joe:

It has been bench checked, static checked installed on the aircraft and test flown several times. Using compressed air and leaf blower (unknown velocities) gives advertised results. On the aircraft it performs as I reported (the TSO'd volt/amp meter was almost 1/2 of the cost of the alternator). The voltage regulator has been re-bench checked by the mfr.

The mfr's attitude has been pretty indifferent when he has been contacted. "Oh well, sometimes they'll do that." Gee, thanks!

I'm not worried about getting my purchase price back (ordered it thru Spruce). The big expense was the radio, xpnder purchase, labor installation and wiring of everything, 337 preparation etc, etc and the continued labor expenses to try to get the thing to work as advertised.

What I WANT is for the thing to WORK. It has been STC'd for 17 years.

From what I can see this particular product is the only game in town for wind driven electricity. Cont A-75-8F (200 since zero-timed), so engine driven is not an option.

Bill:

The STC calls for installation between the gear struts. I don't know how one would get around that. Field approval maybe?

Re: Deflector (pn 4-730) STC "recommends" the attachment of a 6" wide by 4" long alum extension to the deflector to moderate the turbulence coming out of the engine compartment (per mfr this will add 1 whole amp to the output - without it, it's supposed to be 6 amps @ 80mph). We have done this. It was the only way we were able to get any positive charging at all. (no increase in oil temp, BTW). We have bent it, put vanes on it - about 6 different permutations. If I could just squeeze another amp out of this thing, I'd be happy. Just enough for the radio and transponder - no lights, day VFR only. I feel like I need both as there are VR's and MOA's everywhere where I am, plus I want the student pilot wife to get as much of her Private done in the Champ as is possible. Although Comm/Inst/MEL, I'm flying Sport Pilot and this will be the last aircraft I'll ever own.

I think I've been really patient and have a personal policy of trying not to be an #@!&^%$?! over things like this, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to get the mfr's attention this time. Will the Atlanta GADO or Certification Office who issued the STC on this thing take action to revoke the STC if the mfr can't or won't make it work? I really don't want to involve the Feds if this mfr will live up to it's (his) obligations.

Are there alternatives to this product of which I am not aware?

Thanks again for your responses.

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Post by stknrdr » Wed Sep 05, 2007 18:13

Post Script:

Does anyone on the forum know of an installation of a BPE-14 on a Champ or Chief that has actually worked? If so, I'd like to know the secret. Thanks.

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Post by Nathan K. Hammond » Thu Sep 06, 2007 00:12

I'm with Bill Pancake; sounds like it's not getting clean air. Temporarily mount it on the gear leg or maybe on the strut and see if it makes a difference. If the A/P doesn't like that idea, have a passenger hold it out the window while flying around and see if it makes rated power. There is some leeway with how it can be mounted on the airplane. It's up too the A/P, or IA in this case, too realize it's placement is unacceptable, and establish a new mounting location using his best knowledge and references such as AC43.13, and note it in the log....maybe. :wink:

Envolving the local FSDO/GADO won't accomplish anything good for you or the manufacture. They would only step in if the STC presented a safety hazzard.
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Post by stknrdr » Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:44

Nathan:

Thanks. I'll talk to the IA about moving it this weekend when I see him. I'd still like to know if anyone knows of a successful installation of this product.

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Post by stknrdr » Tue Jan 15, 2008 15:56

Status report:

I've been doing cross countries with the navigationally-challenged Wife in prep for her PPL. At "high" cruise (2200rpm A-75-8F) I'm indicating ~90mph and the BPE-14 is putting out enough amps to run the Garmin SL40, King KT76A xpndr and the Lowrance Airmap GPS and the ICS. I notice that if I slow down to the low 80's it has trouble keeping up with the load. We left it on the centerline and increased the size of the fairing under the lower cowl to further smooth out the airflow. That was the ticket. Even with the oil cooler intake cover on, I'm getting max 175 deg. oil temp.

I am now happy with the product, but don't think it would carry the load for anything additional like an electric T&B.

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Re: BPE-14 Turbo Alternator

Post by Classicaero » Sun Dec 07, 2008 13:40

stknrdr wrote:Does anyone have any experience with this item - positive, negative or otherwise? I realize, now, that I should have asked this question prior to purchase and installation, but I figured (dumb me) that if it was STC'd for my 7AC, it would work.

It's supposed to put out ~7 amps @ 80 mph, but after about 6 months of messing with it, the best my avionics guy and my A&P/IA can get out of it is ~+.5a with the Garmin SL40 on and neg .5 with the add'l load of the King xpndr turned on.

The manufacturer has been less than helpful.

Any ideas?
If the output indications in the ammeter change with radios on/of & transponder on/off, then the ammeter is measuring only the residual load going to the battery, NOT the full load coming out of the alternator. I.E. the ammeter is in between the buss and battery, showing only the charge status of the battery from the output remainder after the buss supplies all other appliances.

If the ammeter were in the feeder output line BEFORE the the buss, then you would get the indication of ALL ammeter output, but there would be no means to determine whether the battery were discharging or charging.

From your description, I would guess that the alternator is really working, but that some 6.5 to 8.5 amps is being consumed by the intercom /radio/transponder/encoder when they are activated and/or transmitting. FWIW, the continuous load should be no more than 75-80% of the ammeters rated output, so that there is always some juice left to charge the battery. Try putting an ammeter into the am meter feeder line to see what operational output is.
Doug Combs, for Classic Aero LLC.
Purveyors of lightweight alternators for vintage aircraft, parts for Cleveland and Goodyear Mechanical brakes, Ball bearing pulleys for Luscombe, Aeronca, and Taylorcraft,
support for Luscombe aircraft.

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Post by stknrdr » Mon Dec 08, 2008 13:47

Doug:

Thanks! I'll run this past my avionics guy, since I barely know an ohm from an amp.

Tim

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Post by MikeB » Mon Dec 08, 2008 15:06

Why not install a voltmeter across the battery posts and see if it will maintain battery voltage over the long haul? With a normal system (I assume 12 volts) it should maintain battery voltage somewhere around 14 volts in the charging cycle. Not familiar with this type of system but if battery voltage keeps going down with everything on the system is not keeping up.

Mike Berg
"If God had intended man to fly He would have given us more money"

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Post by joea » Mon Dec 08, 2008 16:20

Mike,

I am real big on having a digital volt meter on my systems. Have used them for years on cars and bikes and like you said, you can tell when things are going downhill by keeping an eye on the voltage.

Joe

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Post by stknrdr » Tue Dec 09, 2008 13:12

The STC for the BPE-14 required the installation of a volt/amp meter. My IA insisted on a TSO'd digital one that set me back nearly $400. Ouch! It appears that the KT76A xpnder is the real culprit as far as drawing amps. The SL-40 does not seem to require near as much. The ICS and handheld GPS are neglible in that respect.

Tim

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Post by joea » Tue Dec 09, 2008 13:29

Tim,

Can you pls do me a favor and the next time you fly try to see if the X-ponder draws as much power with the altitude reporting on as when its just on with no mode "C?"

I have the same transponder and am curious as to what is sucking the most power in flight and always thought that it was the radio when I transmitted and never guessed the transponder.

Thx,

Joe

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Post by stknrdr » Wed Dec 10, 2008 12:34

Will do, but it may be awhile.

Tim

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