It was a few years ago that I installed my CiES senders in my Cardinal and quite often brag about their accuracy. And, when I was working on the installation around 10 o’clock at night, I dialed the number for CiES with the idea that I’d leave a message and you answered. You answered not only my questions, but also the questions I didn’t know I should ask. Thanks.
Cessna 177 Cardinal
I had wanted the CGR as a fancy fuel gauge at first, with some bonus round dials ditched and extra logging. The lead time killed that plan when the fuel gauge unexpectedly died on me. I needed something NOW. Having done it this way, I realize that is the better option anyway, since it frees up two primary instruments on the CGR. Expensive, but it worked out.
And I love the CiES senders. They rock. The Aerospace Logic gauge is fine. Does what it says on the can.
Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP
Just got the upgrade done. I test flew it for 2 hours yesterday putting it through its paces and fortunately came out squawk free.
I will be providing some PIREPs in the future after I get some more time flying behind the new setup. For now I figured I would post some snapshots of the conversion. Garmin G500 and JPI EDM 930 were replaced with the Garmin G500 TXi and the new integrated Engine Information System (EIS). Also had CiES Fuel Senders installed for increased accuracy since one negative of the Garmin EIS on the single 10.6" screen is that it does not show remaining fuel based on the fuel flow transducer, but rather what the fuel senders show in the tanks. So I wanted to have good accurate instrumentation with this setup. The remaining fuel flow based on the fuel flow transducer data is available, but you have to bring up the Engine page on the MFD screen to see it. I had Terry Heim @N6758N install the senders for me since he had did it on his plane and @Marauder's plane. So I figured it would be good to have someone that just did them twice already to do mine!
I will say that the CiES integration with the Garmin EIS was pretty seamless and Garmin's interface for calibrating the senders was superb. I took video of that so I will upload at a later date. One nice thing about the Garmin EIS is that every sensor and gauge is setup by the installer, so no need to send it to the OEM to setup for your aircraft. If you had different senders, you just select what they are in the EIS setup page. Original OEM resistive senders, you select that. New Digital senders, you select that, etc.
I have installed CIES fuel senders on my Twin Comanche in conjunction with a JPI960. I am very pleased. They work great. I am confident in my fuel gauges for the first time since I have owned the plane. (1991).
I put in the JPI 930 and went ahead and bit the bullet on the CIES sender. When you a looking at spending a fair bit on money on the panel, it's really not that expensive. It's very reassuring to have the totalizer and the gauge agree within a couple of gallons.
You can get yourself in trouble with total reliance on the totalizer. It's a garbage in, garbage out device and you can get it out of sync with reality. I have personal experience with this which is probably why I didn't balk at the price.
My old gauges were terrible. The JPI with the CIES senders always agrees with the totalizer within a couple of gallons and it's within a gallon when the total fuel in the mains gets below around 30 gallons.
Is it an absolutely must have? No. But the new technology is clearly better and it's certainly an upgrade that I'm happy is available for my old plane.
I have the CiES frequency senders, with matching Aerospace Logic gauges. Working with Aerospace Logic requires patience, but in the end, the result is really spectacular.
The cost to retrofit CiES senders to a pre-74 B55 is around $3200 (plus installation). That may seem "outrageous," but it's only about 50% more than what it costs to have the eight (2 per tank * 4 tanks) senders "overhauled" – and my experience with overhauled senders is not very good. At best, the overhauled senders will perform as good as when new for a few years – which is to say they're accurate to within about +/- 5 gallons.
Properly calibrated the CiES senders appear to be within one gallon. In a Bonanza with two 40 gallon tanks, or a post 1973 Baron, there are only four senders so that cost is cut in half.
IIRC the last time I checked, new (1940s technology based) senders from Beech were around $1,600 each or over four times what CiES charges.
CiES senders can work by resistance, voltage or frequency. I would choose at a minimum voltage if you can. Frequency is even better.
I see the fuel gauges being as important as the other components of the engine monitor. I believe the EGT/CHT/Oil temp/pressure, etc. all work to protect the investment in my engine. I see accurate fuel gauges along with accurate senders and accurate totalizer/flow data, as critical to allowing me to fly far with confidence in my fuel situation. Which is a safety factor. We hear regularly of accidents because of fuel miscalculation or misinformation or just carelessness. I'm trying to hedge against that happening to me. But at the same time be able to use the complete range of my airplane.
In my mind, my engine monitor with the fuel gauges, is right up there with the most important safety equipment in my airplane. Obviously I've invested heavily in my panel, but the only item that for me was a "must upgrade" when I purchased the plane, was the engine monitor and CiES fuel senders.
I installed a JPI EMD900 in my 1972 177B last year when I put the overhauled engine in, and was not able to make the original Cessna fuel senders work with it. I ordered a set of CiES senders and finally got them installed in February. I have put a few tanks of fuel through since, and they have indicated within a liter or two of both the fuel consumption (as measured by the JPI) and the amount needed to refill the tanks. I am very pleased with the result, and it is a huge sense of peace of mind when flying in places where fuel sources are several flying hours apart.
Recently installed CiES fuel senders in my Mooney M20E. Accuracy is great even though I have 4 bladders cells and only one CiES sender per wing.
Yesterday, at 8500 AGL, I ran both R&L Auxiliary tanks down to 0.0 gals, at 47:35 on the clock, precisely as expected... A few seconds later... Fuel pressure begins to fall, immediately switched back to left main.
Accuracy... It's a totally new experience. I have two fuel totalizers. One Shadin and one in my G4. Maybe having accurate fuel gauges is overkill... But it's an overkill that I like.
I was the first sender/gauge install for my shop. Charged 40 hrs. labor for install. (They said it was very simple and straight forward).
I asked every member of the shop to watch the YouTube video from Aerospace Logic for the calibration process. It's actually easy to do. As with everything, garbage in = garbage out.
One of my most valuable installs. Nothing better than knowing, DOWN TO THE 1/10th gallon, how much gas you have.
As far as Aerospace Logic goes... Outstanding product. Aerospace Logic service is interesting. Overall, no regrets.
I've flown 30 hours with the new units and they're awesome. I am much more confident stretching my flights to 5 hours knowing the fuel on board accurately and partial fueling is much more precise.
Installation, in the end, was not overly problematic, but it did take the guys a long time to figure out where and how to run the wires. Charged labor was 76 hours. No hiccups once calibrated, but that process also was poorly outlined. Overall installation was not straightforward, but I suspect it will be with practice…
Maybe I am an oddball. I just cannot imagine why any pilot would not want super accurate fuel gages. Putting dollars aside, that seems like a no-brainer to me. My brother, Kurt and I met with Scott and got the pitch at Oshkosh last summer. I think he has done a tremendous service to GA with the development of CIES fuel senders and have put them on my list of "to-dos" for my Baron. Kurt has already put them in his Bonanza and is very happy with the result.
If your airplane is down for an upgrade, I would send your old fuel senders to CiES. This will insure that the senders are appropriately set up the first time. Beech, in all their wisdom, made numerous different senders, inverting the bolt patterns on some, etc.
Great news Scott (and Shane)! The Aerospace Logic 'FL20xD' gauges and CiES sender combo is a superior and accurate solution to fuel level monitoring. Very happy with my install!
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