Warning: Declaration of & KBClientAjax::factory($view) should be compatible with & AppAjax::factory($obj_name = false) in /home/mgliders/public_html/kb/client/inc/KBClientAjax.php on line 16

Warning: Declaration of & KBClientAjax::getAjax(&$manager, $debug = false) should be compatible with & AppAjax::getAjax($debug = false) in /home/mgliders/public_html/kb/client/inc/KBClientAjax.php on line 16
Weak Battery - Cold Start - TMGA :: Knowledgebase - Touring MotorGliders
TMGA | KnowledgeBase | Library | Archives
Search:     Advanced search

Weak Battery - Cold Start

Article ID: 311
Last updated: 16 Feb, 2012
Revision: 1
Views: 10343
Posted: 16 Feb, 2012
by Sliwa S.
Updated: 16 Feb, 2012
by Sliwa S.

Abstract:  In the fall I came out and the battery was dead.  I had flown several weeks before and thought for sure all switches were off.  So I bought a float charger and plugged it in.  I recently came out to fly when the weather broke above 40 deg F on a weekend and battery seemed all up.  I tried to start by cranking for 20 to 30 seconds with full choke, cracked throttle.  Didn't start.  But the next time I cranked the battery wound down and it was dead again.  I had less than 50 seconds of cranking.


Thread : Weak Battery - Cold Start

Started at 31st-January-2010 11:01 PM by Steve Sliwa

Visit at http://forum.xopa.org/showthread.php?t=67


[Post 1]

Author : Steve Sliwa

Date : 31st-January-2010 11:01 PM

Thread Title : Weak Battery - Cold Start

In the fall I came out and the battery was dead.  I had flown several weeks before and thought for sure all switches were off.  So I bought a float charger and plugged it in.

I recently came out to fly when the weather broke above 40 deg F on a weekend and battery seemed all up.  I tried to start by cranking for 20 to 30 seconds with full choke, cracked throttle.  Didn't start.  But the next time I cranked the battery wound down and it was dead again.  I had less than 50 seconds of cranking.

So problem #1:  Weak Battery.  Although XUSA put in a new one before I picked it up in May.  It seems that it can't hold the charge.

Question #1:  Advice on a new battery.  I heard that some people replace the Gill with the Concorde RG35 (Recombinant Gas).  I suspect this might not be officially approved, but it could be worth the deviation.

So problem #2:  Cold Starts.

Question #2:  Any advice on getting her started in the cold (below 40 def F)?


[Post 2]

Author : John Lawton

Date : 1st-February-2010 02:01 PM

Thread Title : Cold starting with the Bing carby

Hey Steve,

I just went through an engine seminar on the Jabiru 3300 last November. The Jabiru also uses a Bing carb, although in a single carb configuration with a larger version of what is used on the Rotax 9xx. The seminar covered the Bing diaphragm type carb and their theory of operation in depth, including do's and don'ts of cold weather starting.

Aside from the weak battery, the mistake you made was cracking the throttle. The Bing is a 3 stage carburetor. It has a starting carb,  idle carb and a running carb in one package. If you crack the throttle with a Bing it shuts off the "starting carb" portion of the Bing that initially primes the fuel circuit and the engine won't start no matter what you do because it's starved for fuel in the priming circuit. Of course, this has a lot to do with where you throttle stop is set, but I'd bet that was your problem.

For cold starts, it was recommended that you keep the throttle closed against the stop and use full choke to prime the circuit until the engine catches. Then, you can bring in some throttle after the engine is running and ease the choke off as it warms up. Rotax recommends that you idle above 1800 RPM, too. Apparently, harmonics below 1800 RPM play hell on the redrive. I recall that the Rotax ignition box won't produce sufficient field to cause the plugs to spark until it reaches around 700 RPM, so a weak battery doesn't help much, either. You can try turning off one mag circuit until it catches, too. I've read this helps with cold starts on the Rotax 9xx. Preheating the engine and oil is also a good idea, as is synchronizing the carbs periodically, especially if you notice a rough idle situation on a warm engine.

FWIW, I keep my battery on charge using a "Battery Tender" trickle charger. This charger shuts off when the battery is peaked so you don't boil the electrolyte unnecessarily. I have several of these chargers and have done this for years with batteries in other airplanes, my golf cart, lawn mowers, tractors, etc. Keeping the battery topped seems to make them last longer.

Hope it helps!


John Lawton

Whitwell, TN (TN89)

Ximango #135


[Post 3]

Author : Ron Snedecor

Date : 1st-February-2010 09:32 PM

Thread Title : Cold starts and batteries

Hi Steve,


Looking forward to Minden and Parowan!


I have to agree with John. My 914 absolutely refuses to start cold with the throttle any little bit off the stop. It was interesting to read Johns' explanation as to why this happens.


As for battery have you checked for any power draw on the battery with everything off? I know you have a lot of beautiful electronics in your new ship. Do they draw power for some reason with all switches off (memory):confused: I have been looking into the drycell type batteries, but haven't put one in yet. They were recommended by Dave Norwood the owner of the Parowan FBO. He says he's had good experiences with them. Aircraft Spruce sells the Odyssey Drycell in their catalog. They claim their battery will maintain up to a 50% state of charge after two years of storage and that it has double to triple the cranking power of conventional batteries even to temperatures as low as -40 degrees F. They also claim an 8 year design life.  They're so much smaller and lighter I've even considered the idea of putting two in.  Of course legalities :cool:?


I wonder if anyone else out there has had experience with drycell batteries?


Ron Snedecor


[Post 4]

Author : John Lawton

Date : 2nd-February-2010 12:10 AM

Hey Ron,

I'll second the commentary about the Odyssey batteries. I have one in my Europa and it spins the crap out of my Jabiru 3300. I've heard of guys getting 6-7 years of of them, too. Not sure how the FAA would like you using one in a certified airplane, though. My Odyssey is a personal watercraft battery. I could stand to lose a few pounds off the nose of mine so it'll thermal better in light lift. A lighter battery would help. I'm a little nose heavy of where I'd like for it to be for soaring. We have a set of digital scales we use for weighing gliders and was about to do a weight and balance on my Ximango with the idea of adding some counterweight in the tail to move the CG back some. As is, the nose falls through fairly easily in uneven lift. If I have a heavy passenger, it's worse.


John Lawton

Whitwell, TN (TN89

Ximango #135


[Post 5]

Author : Ron Snedecor

Date : 3rd-February-2010 03:33 AM

Thread Title : Self fulfilling prophecy

:eek:Well it might be sooner rather than later that I put a dry cell battery in my plane. I'm getting tired of dealing with the leaking and constant maintenance having to do with an open lead acid battery. The battery in an AMT-300 is in a molded fiberglass box built into the floor of the baggage compartment hard to get at. 


Our discussion got me interested in checking on my two year old Gill G-35 that I have neglected for a few months and guess what, it won't take a charge. I haven't been keeping it on a charge and when I put my smart charger on the battery it told me that the battery needs to be reconditioned. If a lead acid battery is allowed to sit discharging slowly over time lead sulfate begins to build up on the battery's internal plates. This reduces the batteries ability to hold a full charge. If a battery remains in a discharged condition over a longer period of time, the lead sulfate changes to a hard crystalline form, making a full charge or sometimes any amount of charge difficult to achieve. This may be your problem Steve. By the time you got your float charger there might have been to much of a sulfate build up to allow your battery to take much of a charge. I have mine on the smart charger (Vector) in the reconditioning mode now which takes 24 to 48 hours to complete. I'll let you know if it works. Also Gill makes a sealed recombinant battery the G-35S that is an exact replacement for the G-35 battery. Legal:cool:?


Ron Snedecor


[Post 6]

Author : Steve Sliwa

Date : 4th-February-2010 04:05 PM

Thread Title : Battery Update

My paperwork shows that I have the Gill G35S installed and signed off by XUSA.  But I bet you are right about the re-conditioning part.  Let me know how it works.


[Post 7]

Author : Horst31

Date : 4th-February-2010 09:47 PM

I also have battery problems,too. I have my ship now for 10 years and replaced the battery 10 times. They worked fine for several months and than did not hold a charge and dropped quickly below 12 V. I always put them on a charger after each flight. I use the BatteryMinder from VDC Electronic which was recommended to me by Gill. I had 8 35S and 2 regular flooded 35. The regular ones lasted the longest. I had various discussions with Gill and they indicated that the regular would do better. My current one is a 35S and is only 11 month old. When I disconnetc the charger is shows 12.9 V, I take off and the alternator is charging at 13.5 V. Within 5 minutes after engine shut-off the voltage drops to 11.9 V. At that level it stabilizes and after 3 hours soaring it shows 11.6 V. Beside my electric vario I have only the transponder on and after landing I have no problem to start the engine. I was thinking replacing again, but will watch it for a while longer.


[Post 8]

Author : Ron Snedecor

Date : 5th-February-2010 12:23 AM

Well guys, the old grey mare just ain't what she used to be, in fact she's dead:(. But she isn't so old, only two years. However I sort of blame myself for not keeping her on a proper diet.


My Gill battery that is. Tried reconditioning for a total of 45 hours and it still won't take a charge. I'm theorizing that this is primarily due to my not keeping it on a trickle charger and that the way we operate our type of aircraft with usually short periods engine on and long periods engine off it never gets back to a full charge. Horst, I'm surprised that if you kept your batteries always on a trickle charge that this didn't keep them in serviceable shape.  Perhaps they needed a full charge first and then a trickle charge?  Or even reconditioning, a full charge, and then a trickle charge? I'd be intersted in hearing a little more detail about what the Gill people have been telling you. It seems to me some place back in the XOG archives there was a discussion having to do with the thought that the Rotax alternator doesn't have enough poop to bring the battery back to full charge. I'm going to research this.


I did a brief survey around my airport about the dry cell battery. Not many people had experience with them but those that have love them. I put a link to Odyssey Dry Cell Batteries below. Apparently they are basically an AGM type battery but instead of using cylindrical mats they use flat mats making more usable charge space in the battery. They can be mounted in any position except inverted. One thing to be aware of is that although their low temperature operating range is -40 degrees F/C the upper limit is 113 degrees F for the battery without a metal jacket and 176 degrees F for the battery with a metal jacket (MJ). This might make a difference when mounting the battery in the engine compartment. My battery is below the baggage area floor.


I believe my next move is going to be a call to Odyssey and maybe 'not' give one a try:cool:.

Odyssey Batteries (http://www.odysseybatteries.com/index.htm)


Ron Snedecor


[Post 9]

Author : Steve Sliwa

Date : 5th-February-2010 06:31 PM

Thread Title : Concorde Replacements for Gill

I have heard that some people have swapped out Gill batteries with Concorde batteries.  They even list the Gill part number they replace in the Aircraft Spruce catalog  CONCORDE AIRCRAFT BATTERIES from Aircraft Spruce (http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/elpages/concordebatt.php)

They list their STCs they cover at their website:

Concorde Battery - AGM Aircraft Batteries (http://www.concordebattery.com/batterytsoexplained.php)


Looks like the route will be with a 337 form.


[Post 10]

Author : Cliff Goldman

Date : 7th-February-2010 05:53 PM

Thread Title : Batteries

Just to throw my 2 cents worth in --

I've had only Concorde batteries in both RV 's over the years and as long as I kept them charged up, I got good service out of them.  I did kill a couple by leaving the master on & totally draining the battery.  Even though they're AGM, apparently the plates will buckle & kill the battery.  When the wet Gill #160 came with gives out, I'll probably replace it with either the Gill 35S or Concorde 35X, if for no other reason than eliminating the corrosion & off-gassing you get with a wet battery. I don't have any experience with the Odessey (sp?) battery, though Van offers them as an option on RV's.

As a practical matter, I really doubt any FAA inspector doing a (now rare) ramp check is going to dig into the battery compartment to see what you've got in there.  Soo -- as long as your IA isn't too fussy and you do the battery check during your annual, I'm not sure I'd even mess with a 337 :rolleyes:. 

Cliff Goldman



[Post 11]

Author : Ron Snedecor

Date : 7th-February-2010 08:19 PM

Thread Title : Two more cents,

Hey Cliff,


Thanks for the info including about the aircraft jacks.


Years ago I used to manage an FBO flight school with about 15 leaseback airplanes. We were trying to find ways to save the leaseback owners some expenses and had learned that a battery manufacturer made both aircraft and marine batteries that were identical. We talked to their company engineers and learned that the only difference between the two were the labels and their FAA paperwork. The marine type was less than half of what the FAA approved type cost. We made verbal agreements with the plane owners that they could choose to put in the marine battery if they did it themselves and if anybody asked neither one of us or our mechanics knew where they came from. We did this for over 10 years without anybody asking including the Feds that would occasionally inspect us.


Going to put in a call to the Odyssey engineers in the next couple of days.


Ron Snedecor


[Post 12]

Author : Horst31

Date : 24th-April-2010 08:06 PM

My current Gill 35s is at 12.9 V when I disconnect from the charger. About 5 minutes after I shut the engine off my red voltage light comes on and the voltmeter shows 11.9 V. It stays at that level  and even slightly increases and than very slowly drops. After 1 hour it is still at 11.6 or above. So I tested it by switching every available consumer on, stroblights etc and left the master in power mode. It took over 2 hours to drop below 10.5 V. I than started the engine with the starter, I was still flying, and it started, a little slower than normal, but it started. This tells me that it is still ok if the voltage drops that low.


[Post 13]

Author : mwestphal

Date : 18th-October-2010 06:50 PM

Was wondering if anyone has tried the Odyssey batteries in their Ximango.  My battery will need to be replace for next season.

I emailed the guys at Aircraft Spruce and they said I could use the Odyssey SBS J-16.  They said that I could install in a certified aircraft (in Canada) with a field STD.


Thanks - Mark



[Post 14]

Author : chuck

Date : 2nd-November-2010 04:13 PM

Thread Title : Approved Batteries

Four batteries are currently approved for the Ximango:

Gill G-35 (27 lb at -0.24 ft)

Gill G-35S (29 lb at -0.24 ft)

Gill G-25 (21 lb at -0.24 ft)

PowerSonic PS-12180 (13 lb at -0.16ft)

The battery box is sized for the Gill 35/35S, which are the largest of these.  To change to a different battery from that which was delivered with the aircraft, spacer blocks MUST be used to prevent the battery from moving up/down or sideways in the battery box.  The factory blocks are of hard rubber or, on early Ximangos, wood.  We can obtain blocks from the factory for you if required.


Ximango USA


[Post 15]

Author : chuck

Date : 2nd-November-2010 04:16 PM

Thread Title : Approved Batteries II

The citation to use for the approved batteries is:

Flight Handbook AFM - 200-24 - FAA

Table 6.4

Page 6.6

July 17, 2007 - Rev. 13 


Ximango USA


Downloaded from XOPA Forums (http://forum.xopa.org) at 16th-February-2012 08:39 PM.

Prev   Next
Online Weather Resources Recommendations     Trim System Problem