With Wings As Eagles: Tech/Computer/Electronics Entries

238 days ago

2013 July 01 08:23

Busy spring, behind on blogging, etc etc. Things are looking up, though.

One quick really awesome thing that I did yesterday, and then a general status update. I airplane that we bought has an engine monitor and a data recorder, so it keeps track of engine temperatures while you fly. The resulting data gives a rought history of the flying history of the airplane. Until yesterday, I knew the data recorder was there, but I didn't know if it worked, or if it was recording data, or what.

I hooked it up and I pulled data out, which is intelligible. I haven't put together scripts to really analyze it yet, I was able to establish that it is recording data, the data seems reasonable. The data goes up to the present time. It goes back to the first flight I took in it about 238 days ago at the beginning of November 2012, and it goes back something like 5 years! This will be a treasure trove of historical information.

I'll cover more details of this in a future post, but the short story is first I hooked up the data download cable that EI Engineering sent me (for free) to the download port on the panel

From that cable, went to a Belkin USB-serial converter

I figured up gkterm, attached it to the USB serial port /dev/ttyUSB0 and configured the baud rate, data bits, parity bits, stop bits (first time I've done that in years)

Then I powered up the airplane's electrical system and turned on the avionics, and immediately the serial port showed diagnostic information and sensible looking numbers. Holy crap--it worked the first time!

Like I said, more later, but I'm totally jazzed that this worked.

Lots of airplane news. The oil consumption problem was a bad ring on cylinder #2. Removed and replaced, oil consumption is way way down. I flew it almost 2 hours on Saturday, it's ready for cross-country flying. I think I figured out the problem we were having with the GPS. I don't think it was seated correctly in the tray, and I think it's better now. We'll have to see, but I'm going to cancel the appointment we had at the avionics shop.

I have a new fuel pump in the vintage beetle, so that's running. I still need to change the oil again to get the last of the gasoline out. I drove it around town; the suspension is still sloppy. I'm going to have to do a top-end rebuild. I'll try to work on that in August.