Part needed ASAP

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photoSteveZ
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Part needed ASAP

Post by photoSteveZ »

The left engine started giving ECU failure warnings on both A and B channels in flight today. Shop has determined it’s a faulty oil pressure sensor, part no. E4A-52-100-801. Wouldn’t you know it, I have a trip scheduled at the end of the work week and I’m trying to track down a sensor in time to keep to the plan. Diamond Canada isn’t answering their phones and the US service centers I’ve tried so far don’t have stock.

Anyone here have a lead on one in the lower 48?

If London has one, can they ship overnight or does Customs get in the way?
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Re: Part needed ASAP

Post by mbitran »

Sorry to hear about this experience. You may want to try Brandon Thompson at Absolute Aero in CA. They do a ton of Diamond work and may have the part.

Another contact may be Glenn Lawler at SouthTec.

Did you need to make an emergency landing? Curious how you managed the issue.

Good luck
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Re: Part needed ASAP

Post by photoSteveZ »

mbitran wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 10:49 pm
Sorry to hear about this experience. You may want to try Brandon Thompson at Absolute Aero in CA. They do a ton of Diamond work and may have the part.

Another contact may be Glenn Lawler at SouthTec.

Did you need to make an emergency landing? Curious how you managed the issue.

Good luck
Thanks for the referrals.

There was no emergency: first I got a yellow “L ECU B FAIL” warning and then, a few minutes later a “L ECU A FAIL” warning. The engine continued to run without any outward signs of a problem. During the landing rollout the L oil pressure reading dropped to near zero and generated an audible alarm as well as a red “L OIL PRESSURE” alarm. I advanced the power lever until the pressure stabilized in the yellow at 4% load.

After pulling the engine data, the shop decided to swap the L/R oil pressure sensors: the ECU errors and low oil pressure alarm migrated with the sensor to the right engine, during the subsequent engine run.
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Re: Part needed ASAP

Post by ultraturtle »

Austro engines have dual ECU's but inputs to both are typically from a single sensor. Should a single sensor, or electrical connection to a sensor fail, it is quite common to have both ECU A and B FAIL warnings light up. Sometimes it's a transient message. Not a huge deal if the engine keeps running on any Austro powered Diamond. Also not a big deal if an engine quits on the DA42 or DA62 (has this ever happened?). Pretty big deal if it quits on the DA40NG, but if it does, you've got a pretty sweet glider from a super sweet glider manufacturer to caress you to a safe landing spot.
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Re: Part needed ASAP

Post by CFIDave »

Just remember that an "ECU Fail" annunciation is almost NEVER that the ECU has failed. (When I visited the Austro Engine factory years ago they admitted that this warning is misleading and should have been programmed to say something else.)

Instead, it's almost always the case that a sensor providing input to one or both ECUs is generating a value (voltage converted to digital numerical value by the G1000's GEA71) that is outside of its normal range. The sensor may be faulty or fail completely, or the electrical connection to the sensor might be failing. If both ECUs share the same engine sensor (quite common), you'll see both "ECU A Fail" and "ECU B Fail" annunciations simultaneously. Failure of a single redundant sensor should permit the other ECU to avoid generating an ECU FAIL message, since it's still using a good sensor.

If an engine sensor value is received out of range, the programmers who wrote the Austro Engine software wisely decided to cause the ECU to substitute an "average" in-range value -- which usually causes the engine to keep on operating, but not necessarily with optimal efficiency. This is like getting a "check engine" light on your car -- the engine will still keep running, and will often run smoothly.

Some sensor failures are transient in nature, in which case some ECU Failure messages can be cleared in flight by using the voter switch to select ECU A or ECU B individually.

In my 8 years of owning a Diamond DA42-VI and now a DA62 twin, I've been fortunate enough to never receive ECU FAIL messages on my engines. But while giving a demo flight in a brand new DA40NG, I got dual ECU FAIL messages along with a LO FUEL PRES annunciation that I couldn't clear in flight. The engine kept right on operating normally, but you can be sure we flew back to our home airport ASAP. It was caused by a faulty fuel pressure sensor that was easily replaced.
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Re: Part needed ASAP

Post by mbitran »

Super helpful Dave thanks
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Re: Part needed ASAP

Post by Karl »

CFIDave wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 9:36 pm
Just remember that an "ECU Fail" annunciation is almost NEVER that the ECU has failed. (When I visited the Austro Engine factory years ago they admitted that this warning is misleading and should have been programmed to say something else.)
Agreed Dave.

We have logged over 170,000 flight hours on TAE engines and I only know of one genuine ECU failure. In this case it wouldn't even start the engine so was never a real flight risk.

Most other failures have been sensors or chaffed wiring. It is really important to take care of the harness in the engine bay, though it is less of a problem now than it was 10 years ago.

Yes the "ECU Fail" warning on the G1000 would have been more accurate if presented as "ECU caution" but I am sure there were reasons, such as design limitations.
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Re: Part needed ASAP

Post by Colin »

My left engine had 1,400 hours and the ECU B failed. It was in an annoying way, cycling in and out of being okay and failing, so it too a while to diagnose.

In the start of my ownership of the plane (900 hours on left engine, 50 on right engine) I got a half dozen spurious ECU failures on both engines which claimed the cam sensor was reporting a problem. They happened in flight and it's a sensor that only matters when you are starting (or something like that). They went away with no intervention, which always bothers me.
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Re: Part needed ASAP

Post by mbitran »

Another ECU failure story --- again, little to do with safety:

We had an ECU A fail on a brand new DA40, upon the runup test. We had flown it for about a month. We could not soft clear the error - it was latched.

It turns out the prop had to be adjusted. I think the governor was set to produce slightly too low an RPM, for the prop setting produced by the ECU.

When maintenance looked at ECU A, it also was not logging flight data correctly, so it did need to be replaced (not a safety issue so we were able to wait a month to change it out - it took a while for Austro to send the new one).

This was all done about 4 months ago. The warranty covered the costs.

I have gotten one ECU error since then. I did the runup pointed downwind, on a gusty day. My guess is that a gust hit the prop and increased the RPM during the test, causing the ECU to create an error. I was unable to soft clear it. I shut down and rebooted everything, re-did the runup, and the error cleared.

On takeoff, I see RPM slightly above 2300 (around 2320 RPM). I'm not sure if this is normal - I will address next maintenance cycle.
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Re: Part needed ASAP

Post by Karl »

Colin wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 1:00 pm
My left engine had 1,400 hours and the ECU B failed. It was in an annoying way, cycling in and out of being okay and failing, so it too a while to diagnose.

In the start of my ownership of the plane (900 hours on left engine, 50 on right engine) I got a half dozen spurious ECU failures on both engines which claimed the cam sensor was reporting a problem. They happened in flight and it's a sensor that only matters when you are starting (or something like that). They went away with no intervention, which always bothers me.
Hi Colin,

I can't remember the exact details but the story I got from the factory is that there was a change of sensor manufacturer that ended up with a discrepancy between the tolerance of the sensor and the software settings. Minor but acceptable fluctuations in sensor accuracy were being recorded as a sensor fail by the software. A software update was issued with slightly wider tolerances that allowed it to ignore the small sensor deviations.

That would explain how it fixed itself if you had a software update.

Another possibility is that these types of sensors can be affected by a small piece of magnetic swarfe, that sticks to the sensor but moves around in use affecting the magnetic field and the sensor readings, technicians often wipe the oil off when cleaning them without seeing the swarfe.
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