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  • Red Top Batteries and heater options.

    I'm thinking of investing in a 'Red Top battery' in order to save enough weight to allow me to fit the SKR heater option (this winter has had one cold day too many!). I've heard talk of Red Top batteries, but cannot find any SKR related info even after doing searches of the SKR forum. The standard SKR battery is 10AH, and the nearest Red Top is 7AH (identified as Varley Red Top 8!). Has anyone any useful info on this battery, for instance 'cranking power' and it's ability to hold a useful charge over cold winter months? I notice that this battery is somewhat smaller than the standard SKR battery, and there doesn't appear to be a direct equivalent. I reckon to save about 1.5kgs on this swop.

    Perhaps Paul D () has some useful experience he could pass on as he is sure to have a viable light weight option on his competition SKR.

    On the subject of heaters, I hear that the SKR heater option in it's original form is a very effective shoe melter, and wondered if anyone has fitted the heater option using a Naca duct as air source ie without the complication of ducting warm air from the water radiator? If you have, your results would be of interest to me and no doubt, others.

    thanks in anticipation

    Alan Batchelor

  • #2
    Red Top Batteries and heater options.

    I have a Red Top 8 in my new Swift G-HMCB and ran with one of these for hundreds of hours in the previous 80 hp G-SKRG.

    They are only 7 - 8 amps but the cranking power is awesome and they easily spin over a 912S engine. Weight saving against the stock Varta supplied with the kit is about 1.7 kg. I have never had an issue in cold weather (UK levels of cold, that is)

    Don't let them completely discharge, though, as they will not recover.

    Rgds Rick

    Alan Batchelor wrote:
    I'm thinking of investing in a 'Red Top battery' in order to save enough weight to allow me to fit the SKR heater option (this winter has had one cold day too many!). I've heard talk of Red Top batteries, but cannot find any SKR related info even after doing searches of the SKR forum. The standard SKR battery is 10AH, and the nearest Red Top is 7AH (identified as Varley Red Top 8!). Has anyone any useful info on this battery, for instance 'cranking power' and it's ability to hold a useful charge over cold winter months? I notice that this battery is somewhat smaller than the standard SKR battery, and there doesn't appear to be a direct equivalent. I reckon to save about 1.5kgs on this swop.

    Perhaps Paul D () has some useful experience he could pass on as he is sure to have a viable light weight option on his competition SKR.

    On the subject of heaters, I hear that the SKR heater option in it's original form is a very effective shoe melter, and wondered if anyone has fitted the heater option using a Naca duct as air source ie without the complication of ducting warm air from the water radiator? If you have, your results would be of interest to me and no doubt, others.

    thanks in anticipation

    Alan Batchelor

    Comment


    • #3
      Red Top Batteries and heater options.

      Rick

      Thanks for that. I built my Swift a year ago and can remember thinking how frail the battery connections were on the Varta battery. The Varley Red Top spec says that the connectors are M4 thread. Did you have any issues with these, and how are the connections physically arranged? Are they a bolt with a 'retained sloppy' nut like the VARTA, or are the M4 threads blind into the posts?

      I note that you are a hardy guy who doesn't feel the cold, but I'm still looking for thoughts from others about feeding an exhaust wrap from a Naca duct - or is the radiator fit so simple that I'm worrying about nothing?

      I converted recently from Flex-wing to the Swift, and really should have gone for the heater option from the start. I suppose it's a natural progression with age - from Flex-Wing to 3 Axis, from 3 Axis to heated 3 Axis!

      regards

      Alan

      Comment


      • #4
        Red Top Batteries and heater options.

        Alan Batchelor wrote:

        Rick

        Thanks for that. I built my Swift a year ago and can remember thinking how frail the battery connections were on the Varta battery. The Varley Red Top spec says that the connectors are M4 thread. Did you have any issues with these, and how are the connections physically arranged? Are they a bolt with a 'retained sloppy' nut like the VARTA, or are the M4 threads blind into the posts?

        I note that you are a hardy guy who doesn't feel the cold, but I'm still looking for thoughts from others about feeding an exhaust wrap from a Naca duct - or is the radiator fit so simple that I'm worrying about nothing?

        I converted recently from Flex-wing to the Swift, and really should have gone for the heater option from the start. I suppose it's a natural progression with age - from Flex-Wing to 3 Axis, from 3 Axis to heated 3 Axis!

        regards

        Alan

        Hi Alan,

        Like you I moved from Flex to 3-Axis building my swift last year. I went for the 912s with the CKT exhaust and its heater option. As you correctly state, it is something of a flawed design as standard unless you have a real desire to cook one of your feet in flight.

        I addressed this after a few flights by making a simple cowling / diffuser that fits over the flap where the heat enters the cabin area. Rather than that heat going straight onto my foot it is now deflected left and right through the open ends of the cowling and upwards through the holes in the top.

        It is a simple sheet of ally that bolts in place using the bolts that retain the flap valve so is almost no weight penalty.
        Attached files

        Comment


        • #5
          Red Top Batteries and heater options.

          Alan: They are blind into the posts. A little bit on the small size (not in length) so careful use of washers is needed to engage and secure the cables to the terminals. The connections on the standard Varta are meatier, but it can be difficult, as you probably know, to engage the terminal bolt with the floating nut when there are leads on the terminal bolts effectively shortening their length, possibly to a point where they won't reach the captive nuts without some assistance.

          I have a standard CKT stainless exhaust/heater system on the new Swift and the same on the previous - except the previous had a butterfly valve through the firewall instead of the standard Flylight sprung flap. Retro fitting the CKT system can give problems with clearances. The CKT exhaust can is wider than the standard ROTAX silencer and requires that the oil tank be positioned on the firewall as far to the right as possible. It's obviously easier to do this when you are building as moving the oil tank later is a bit of a hassle.

          The radiator fit is very simple, just a very light glass fibre scoop which is riveted onto the back of the radiator, and a short piece of SCAT pipe to the entry pipe on the front of the heater wrap.I don't think that much heat is secured from the radiator though. On my previous Skr I experimented with a home made heater which just took its air from the radiator - no exhaust involvement - and it was hopeless.

          I don't entirely follow what you're proposing with a Naca (what is that please?) duct. Mods to the exhaust system and the installation of non-standard heaters will I think be a major mod.

          Just to amuse our readers I will recount a story about my home made air conditioning. For cross channel trips I wear a Crewsaver dry suit. This can be a bit warm although it is a breathable version, so I installed an airscoop outside the aircraft to feed cooling air through a tube into the left hand wrist of the suit, with a vent pipe stuck alongside my neck at the top. I think you will already deduce that there was a distinct lack of comfort in these arrangements. The worst thing about it though was that the external scoop (made out of the top of a lemonade bottle, and some clear tubing) delivered a blast of air which had the effect of inflating (mainly) the lower half of the suit, so that in a ditching you would have a lot of unwanted buoyancy and would float like a fishing float, but with your feet out of the water. Now a museum piece in my workshop!

          best rgds Rick

          Alan Batchelor wrote:

          Rick

          Thanks for that. I built my Swift a year ago and can remember thinking how frail the battery connections were on the Varta battery. The Varley Red Top spec says that the connectors are M4 thread. Did you have any issues with these, and how are the connections physically arranged? Are they a bolt with a 'retained sloppy' nut like the VARTA, or are the M4 threads blind into the posts?

          I note that you are a hardy guy who doesn't feel the cold, but I'm still looking for thoughts from others about feeding an exhaust wrap from a Naca duct - or is the radiator fit so simple that I'm worrying about nothing?

          I converted recently from Flex-wing to the Swift, and really should have gone for the heater option from the start. I suppose it's a natural progression with age - from Flex-Wing to 3 Axis, from 3 Axis to heated 3 Axis!

          regards

          Alan

          Comment


          • #6
            Red Top Batteries and heater options.

            Rick

            Thanks for your amusing reply - don't you have any amusing pictures of you as an inflated Michelin man you could post?

            Regarding the exhaust - I have actually fitted the CKT stainless exhaust as part of the original build, so retrofitting the heater wrap and other bits wouldn't even be a minor mod as it's part of the original aircraft option list. The only issue is a slight weight increase, hence the interest in a Red Top battery.

            A Naca duct is simply a graduated slot in an aircraft skin which has the effect of allowing outside air into an inside fitting or pipe under some pressure, without incuring any significant skin drag. I wondered if anyone had tried a Flylight heater using 'cold air' via a duct rather than piping warmed radiator air.

            Mark Sweet reports that he had to modify the hot air distribution inside the cabin - did you have 'hot feet' issues which required some ingenuity over and above the Flylight solution?

            Your battery info is interesting - I have some slight reservations about bolting terminations into a blind drilling in a lead post. If you've survived several years with the same solution though, it must be ok.

            thanks again

            regards

            Alan

            Comment


            • #7
              Red Top Batteries and heater options.

              Alan, regarding heat distribution the butterfly valve in the pipe through the firewall ended in a nozzle which was ground adjustable. I still had to wear cycle clips in G-SKRG to stop the hot air going up my trousers, especially my left leg. The Flylight flap on G-HMCB alters the direction of the blast depending on the degree opened.

              I do think that something is needed (in either installation) to diffuse the hot air, possbly something as simple as a baffle in front of the outlet. Not sure that I would bother with slotted SCAT tubes as on the Ikarus C42.

              Re the battery, I'm pretty sure there is a (steel/brass?) insert in the top of each post into which the steel M4 machine screw fastens, so not engaging directly into the lead. You could ask a supplier to confirm this, I can't see it now that it's installed.

              No photos of the suit, I'm afraid. I had to disconnect it in the air after just a few minutes as I could feel the whole thing inflating! Obviously I did not pay enough attention to the air flow patterns within the garment.

              rgds Rick

              Alan Batchelor wrote:

              Rick

              Thanks for your amusing reply - don't you have any amusing pictures of you as an inflated Michelin man you could post?

              Regarding the exhaust - I have actually fitted the CKT stainless exhaust as part of the original build, so retrofitting the heater wrap and other bits wouldn't even be a minor mod as it's part of the original aircraft option list. The only issue is a slight weight increase, hence the interest in a Red Top battery.

              A Naca duct is simply a graduated slot in an aircraft skin which has the effect of allowing outside air into an inside fitting or pipe under some pressure, without incuring any significant skin drag. I wondered if anyone had tried a Flylight heater using 'cold air' via a duct rather than piping warmed radiator air.

              Mark Sweet reports that he had to modify the hot air distribution inside the cabin - did you have 'hot feet' issues which required some ingenuity over and above the Flylight solution?

              Your battery info is interesting - I have some slight reservations about bolting terminations into a blind drilling in a lead post. If you've survived several years with the same solution though, it must be ok.

              thanks again

              regards

              Alan

              Comment


              • #8
                Red Top Batteries and heater options.

                Trick with the heater flap is never to open it more than 30-40 degrees. Some people have it open to almost 90 - then you get no more heat but a big blast on your foot! A simple diffuser plate like Mark has made is also a good idea. A buttefly swithcing box would give greater ducting opportunity, but they cost around £100 for metal ones.

                As for getting the air, the rad duct is very light, simple and results in a very short scat hose, and good flow. It also helps a littel bit with cabin heat in a descent where the exhaust cools almsot immediately the throttle is reduced.

                Redtop batts (oddessy) work well with good cranking power despite the low Ah rating.

                Paul

                Comment


                • #9
                  Red Top Batteries and heater options.

                  Thanks guys for all of your helpful replies. All I have to do now is ensure I can save enough weight to install the heater option, and have a close look at my toy budget. I have asked Flylight to weigh the heater upgrade for me (just the bits as the CKT exhaust is already installed) , and that will determine how to proceed.

                  Thanks again

                  Alan

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Red Top Batteries and heater options.

                    Just an update now that winter approaches. I have recently fitted the standard Flylight heater option and do get significant quantities of hot air now in the cabin - although with the simple flap valve it's a little bit of a juggling act to prevent either the passenger or pilot from ending up with boiled feet. As to the weight issue, whilst Dave Price was still around he weighed the kit for me before I purchased it, and it came to just 1.2Kgs (excluding the CKT exhaust which was already a standard aeroplane fit). If like me you are close to the Zero Fuel Weight limit, then a simple way around this is to remove the baggage bag, which weighs 1.3Kgs, from permanent fitment. If you then want to replace the baggage bag, it can be counted as part of the passenger and fuel payload, provided it is appropriately placarded close to the aircraft weight and fuel placard.
                    One tip on improving the warm airflow around the occupants is to fit some foam pipe lagging to the underside cross-tube at the front of each seat - this prevents the warm air escaping rear-wards underneath the seats.

                    I'm looking forward to my first frosty flight of the winter to give the installation a good try-out.

                    Alan

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Red Top Batteries and heater options.

                      As Paul says, only open it 30/40 deg. I've a pair of Timberland deck shoes that now have a melted furrow in the sole of one of them due to opening the heater flap fully, which in turn warmed up the rudder pedal and conducted through to my shoes.
                      Ade

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Red Top Batteries and heater options.

                        Rick, with your immersion suit system, did it look anything like this..... :smilewinkgrin:

                        Attached files

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Red Top Batteries and heater options.

                          My wife says that I look like that most of the time......seriously, though, I was very surprised at how quickly the suit inflated :smilewinkgrin:

                          The Crewsaver Breathable Dry Suit is quite comfortable to wear. I have worn it for a three hour flight from Dieppe back home to Whitehill Farm and it felt entirely OK. What I do though was to stuff a small piece of cloth in the neck seal which could be quickly taken out in a ditching. This improved the comfort considerably as you don't then have the rubber or neoprene neck seal in close contact with your neck.

                          All the best Rick

                          Adrien Kentzer (6333) wrote:

                          Rick, with your immersion suit system, did it look anything like this..... :smilewinkgrin:

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Red Top Batteries and heater options.

                            Gents,

                            would like to upgrade the battery in my Skyranger Swift, to a lightweight unit, which is cranking a 912UL. However, i am a little lost to what size and type to buy.

                            Questions i have:

                            1. What Type & Model is Best

                            2. Will i have to change the conntections.

                            3. Will i have to make the housing bigger where the battey is stowed

                            4. Can the lightwieght units be left on a optimeter (trickle Charger)

                            Look forward to your replies

                            Regards
                            GT
                            Itís often best to keep one's mouth shut, and let everyone think you are a twit, than open it, and remove all bloody doubt....

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Red Top Batteries and heater options.

                              Hi Gary
                              There is a draft TIL No 117 that deals with the replacement of lead acid batteries with lithium. It's not on the BMAA web site but I could email you a copy if you're interested I used it to fit a tiny lithium battery when I built my Nynja last year. It has now done 50 hours and cranks over the 912s better than any larger lead acid battery.
                              Andy Aiken
                              BMAA 5417

                              G-CITG

                              Comment

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