Engine monitor choices

I'm thinking of a few possible upgrades for my 1970 Cherokee 180. An auto pilot would be cool, but might rank behind a good engine monitor, so, what do you like to use? I am becoming something of a fan of Mike Busch and his methods after just reading his new book called ENGINES. My 0-360 A4A carbureted engine runs great and has 1650 or so hours SMOH. Considering the regular use it has always had. It got two new cylinders a year ago including a peek at the still very good cam. Per logs it has had a steady diet of 25 hr oil changes with cam guard, I think I can go WAY past TBO on this engine. My theory is that a good engine monitor can help me do that.

What do you have and like for engine monitors that I should know about? I assume I will want the recording data ability. Fuel flow, percent power, and a few other features look like fun, but I'm not sure I need that. A whole primary replacement system that eliminate the factory gauges is likely more money than I would be willing to spend unless there is a REAL good reason and a sale price. Current thinking has me hovering around the JPI 730-830 types of units, but I am not married to any particular unit.

Your thoughts?

Jim

Comments

  • Hi Jim, I've spent 55 years flying with old, analog gauges that came with our 1970's era airplanes. Even my 3 Seneca's had the old gauges. When I got my Turbo Arrow this year in March, it came with a JPI-830. I like couple of things about it. 1. It is certainly nice to have colorful digital representations high in my panel that I can trust are accurate. 2. I like that fuel flow is incorporated into the box and that it couples with my Avidyne FMS (GPS). This feature produces range rings on my FMS display, which are fabulous in addition to other fuel info. The prior owner didn't get oil temp and oil pressure on it but it's an option and I'll be installing that this winter. All in all, I like it and I think I would always get one on any plane that may show up in my future. What don't I like? It's a secondary gauge only and so I can't remove the original gauges. Oh well, I guess that's an okay compromise considering the price paid for value received. All in all, I'd give it 5 stars. Good luck and let us know what your decision is.

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • I have had a JPI FS 450, fuel flow monitor in my Arrow for a long time. I then added a JPI EDM 700 with oil pressure sensor and external low pressure/temp warning light. I elected to NOT incorporate the fuel scan function in the EDM because I already had the FS 450 and I like to see the continuous fuel measurements rather than share with the other sequential EDM 700 displays. I routinely download the EDM 700 engine parameters to my computer to provide for trend analysis. That is a GOOD thing to have as part of your engine monitoring.

    Jim Torley
    CFI-A/I/G
    1969 Arrow 200
    Based at KFLY (Colorado Springs, CO)

  • I have installed a EI CGR combo in my Turbo Arrow and I am very happy with it. Also considered JPI, but I wanted the engine monitor to be the primary instrument and CGR fit into my panel much better (both CGR instruments fit into a standard panel hole). I consider the user interface of EI to be much better than JPI (no weird button combinations to memorize). EI drawback is there more modules behind the panel and they simply require more space than it is the case with JPI, so it is very important to find a shop that is experienced with EI installation AND looks behind your panel , before they give you a quote
  • Good insight, thanks so much for sharing.

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • I have had an Insight G2 for years now. It is great and the color display very visible. I wish I had gotten the G3 model now with its additional functions. Regardless, my engine monitor and Mike Busch has changed how I fly. CHT readouts are way more important now ( below 400 ) And the Insight fuel flow readings are very near perfect. Yes we spent time installing the flow meter properly Take a look for yourself

  • Good to know about the G2 and G3. Thanks for your comments.

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • All good info. Decisions decisions. I expect I will pick one out at this coming air venture.

    Jim

  • Hi Jim,
    Get the one that's on sale, lol. They all do the job perfectly.

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • I'm going for the JPI EDM 730 on my Archer and was initially only going to monitor EGT and fuel flow. But now I feel I need to add oil pressure and oil temperature. How strongly is CHT recommended? If it comes down to dollars and cents (and when does it not?) what parameters would you eliminate if something like CHT was deemed more important. I already have a new primary EGT that I had to replace, thanks to the FAAs infinite wisdom.

    Since Mike Busch was mentioned, I know that he believes that monitoring EGT is wasted money and effort. For some reason he must not feel that saving money is a worthwhile endeavor or that, perhaps, a simple EGT is sufficient for that objective.

    Any comments would be much appreciated.

  • I have an 830 on my turbo Arrow. I've gone 50 years of flying on 7 other airplanes without an engine analyzer. I have to say that I love the 830 and I monitor the EGT, TIT (it's a turbo) and CHT constantly. The unit supports oil pressure and temperature but the probes aren't installed on the 830. I'm going to add them later this year as I'm not sure the 40 year old gauges are correct on this. In all, I think it's a good value and I like having it, especially on a single engine airplane.

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • Saying that EGT monitoring is worthless is oversimplification of what Mike Busch is teaching and simply not true. He doesn’t care for leaning the engine based on specific EGT values, but EGT monitoring helps in many ways, and he covers this in his talks and books, for example:

    1. To ensure that spark plugs and magnetos work properly (during run-up)
    2. To ensure that mixture is set correctly, esp for high-power operation
    3. It enables several ways of testing the health of ignition system in-flight

    (there’s probably more examples that I forgot)

    Bottom line, if you have means, per-cylinder EGT and CHT probes are great investment that allow you to operate the plane better and safer
  • Detecting symptoms of a developing exhaust valve failure is another example of a thing that per-cylinder EGT probes enable
  • Just my TCW..my A&P always stressed CHT over EGT....he states CHT more critical parameter than EGT.

  • Ok, I understand why. But both have max operating temps and optimal ranges, along with TIT (I have a turbo), oil temp and oil pressure. It's important to keep them all within their optimal ranges. It's a balancing act but a color digital screen makes it a lot easier than the old analog gauges. :) Thanks for your comments.

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • That was on my Turbo Saratoga. For sure, all parameters provide valuable info regarding engine health.

  • I will be having a JPI 700 installed in my Arrow while we are away in Hawaii for 2 1/2 weeks in February. Going to do EGT, CHT, fuel flow, oil temp and oil pressure.

    I love to defy gravity!
    1979 Arrow IV

  • Good things occur in “two’s”! Ie...Hawaii/new avionics...
    I’m utilizing my second JPI analyzer. Both have been trouble free.

  • I have the same JPI in my Arrow...oil temp and pressure were added after the basic install. I download the data to my netbook on a monthly basis to look for trends in cylinder performance. Also implemented is a warning light for low oil temp/pressure.

    Jim Torley
    CFI-A/I/G
    1969 Arrow 200
    Based at KFLY (Colorado Springs, CO)

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