Toothdok50

CiES Fuel Senders and Existing Resistive Gauges

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Hey guys, I've been getting mixed message about CiES Fuel Senders, and after contacting them, I'm more confused than before.

I'm reading both here and on the CiES website, that these fuel senders can be configured to send information to gauges that read resistance 0-280 Ohms, which is consistent with what our vintage, Mooney gauges do.  CiES says that a gauge map and tank map is required to use them with such.  When I contacted CiES about how I create/obtain such a map (which I assume is just a plot of the resistance and the reading or level), the woman I was communicating with tells me that I'll need to install a new fuel gauge--their FL202D.    $660 plus install.  However, when you read their installation manuals, it appears that this is not necessary.  When I questioned them about this, she replied that they've had a lot of problems getting the senders and vintage gauges to read reliably and consistently and I really need to upgrade the gauge??? 

So I'm reaching out to folks that may have installed CiES fuel senders and have attempted to link them to the vintage resistive gauges Mooney originally place.  Any horror stories?  Any success?  Any ideas?  I'd considered refurbishing my existing senders, but so many guys has said, go with CiES.  Now that I'm ready to bite that bullet, I'm finding out I need to get into the panel and install new fuel gauges.  Like everything...its always more than you bargained for!  UGH!  Are the new gauges a must or a way to sell me more?  And for you JPI guys, no, I don't want a glass engine monitoring system...

Any insight would be appreciated...

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Reliable and accurate fuel information requires two parts, senders and gauges. It sounds like you want the digital state of the art senders but to still use the old, inaccurate and unreliable gauges. It makes sense that it's not gonna work very well.

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Talk to Scott Philibin. @fuellevel visits here from time to time.

FWIW, I don't speak for CiES but I suspect it is both true that the senders can send output resistance but it is also true that the precision of the CiES "deserves" more precise gauges. 

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I was told exactly the same as you so I’m in the same boat. 

I finally decided that IF I upgrade to a modern TSOed engine monitor, I’ll get the CiES. But until then, I’m going to send my existing sending units out for overhaul for 1/5 the cost. 

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So a year ago the Cessna Cardinal group got ahold of us and asked if there was any way to support the existing analog gauges.  

Luck for them we had a Cardinal based on an airport 1/2 mile from our facility.   We made this work to a level I was actually very happy with

however it took quite a bit of effort to get there and a 337 approval.    That solution and 337  now circulates in the Cardinal Club 

this could be done with Mooney C and Mooney F but it takes an organized contingent to get accomplished 

 

the result looks like the tachometer on a new Mustang where the gauge sweeps upon power application and settles on a value in the tank (this eliminated the going up vs going down hysteresis of the analog gauge.     This method cured a lot of issues and was again far better than our earlier attempts.   

The process wasn't for the faint of heart. 

I will publish what they did to see if there are similarly committed people on Mooney space 

 

Scott

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It would seem that as long as you can confirm that your factory gauges are functioning properly, that overhauling the original senders makes the most sense...until you are ready ($$$$)  to upgrade to something like the JPI. 

Whe the time comes to upgrade, there will no doubt be plenty of people willing to buy your old sending units to help offset the cost f the CIES units. Just my .02

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Whe the time comes to upgrade, there will no doubt be plenty of people willing to buy your old sending units to help offset the cost f the CIES units.

Overhaul costs about $175, no one is going to pay near that for a sender of unknown quality when they can just overhaul their own. So maybe you get $75 per sender if lucky, not much of an offset. Don’t forget the labor to replace the senders unless you do it yourself.


Tom

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I have CIES fuel senders and EI CGR30C works great .  Also just got done installing a CGR30P working getting and learning fuel functionality. The biggest problem that I had was the  logistics getting all the fuel out and filling back in an accurate manner. Plus learning another  user interface.  Last but least where most airports (that I have been at.) Don't allow de-fueling in the hangar. Ah political rhetoric you get to deal with when you don't own your own hangar.

Wasn't too bad. Both companies Cies  & EI extremely patient and helpful.

James '67C

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I have a question: What is the benefit of Cies fuel senders over a fuel totalizer? Isn’t the latter much more useful?

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30 minutes ago, PTK said:

I have a question: What is the benefit of Cies fuel senders over a fuel totalizer? Isn’t the latter much more useful?

The CiES senders will give you a pretty accurate estimate of what is in each tank based on the float position (which represents what is actually in the tank).   A totalizer only tells you how much fuel has flowed through the transducer and a computation of total fuel remaining.     It's not a big difference, but it is a useful one.

My left tank has a small leak toward the top.   I don't top it off if it's going to be sitting for a while, and if it does get topped off and sits it'll leak down a bit.   An accurate sender tells me what's actually in that tank, the totalizer can't know.

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Don't neglect the option of adding wing sight gauges.  Did a while ago and they provide some reliable backup for the vintage gauges and the totalizer.

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7 minutes ago, 65eTurbo said:

Don't neglect the option of adding wing sight gauges.  Did a while ago and they provide some reliable backup for the vintage gauges and the totalizer.

The wing sight gauges are only "accurate" on the ground. The factory gauges are only "accurate" in the air.

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Peter,

Each tool has its own strength...

1) Old fuel float based fuel level sensors and gauges did the job at a minimalist level... just barely, and not very good...

2) FF and totalizer with its K factor calibrated is a great way to know how much fuel you have burned... but doesn’t have a high quality back-up... to compare to in flight...

3) Wing gauges are a great way to know how much fuel you have before you leave... 2.5 gallon accuracy

4) Calibrated Ceis gauges supply an accurate back-up to a calibrated Fuel totalizer...

5) other benefits... leak detection in flight, forgotten totalizer reset before flight... using most of the fuel and not sure how much is left in the tank as you go into your reserves...

Just another cool tool to have... because it works and is available...

Similar to having a GPS linked to the JPI and FF sensor...

 

PP thoughts only, my plane is not that well equipped...

Best regards,

-a-

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12 hours ago, ArtVandelay said:


Overhaul costs about $175, no one is going to pay near that for a sender of unknown quality when they can just overhaul their own. So maybe you get $75 per sender if lucky, not much of an offset. Don’t forget the labor to replace the senders unless you do it yourself.


Tom

Yes, I wouldn't expect to get a lot for them, but I would expect to get more than I would for a set that hadn't been overhauled... So he would get something back, as opposed to throwing the overhaul money away.

I was confronted with the same choice months ago, but since I already had a couple of EI gauges for fuel flow and temps, upgrading to a full primary gauge replacement system with elec senders didn't really make sense to me.

Every owner has a different situation, I think. I'd love to have a new JPI, but it just isn't in the cards right now... I'm too busy fixing $$ the bones in my plane:)

 

 

Edited by PilotCoyote

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2 hours ago, LANCECASPER said:

The wing sight gauges are only "accurate" on the ground. The factory gauges are only "accurate" in the air.

 I think of it like indicated air speed versus calibrated air speed. Plus, with my Monroy tanks, I need a calibration and cant read the first 10 gallons anyway.

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6 hours ago, 65eTurbo said:

 I think of it like indicated air speed versus calibrated air speed. Plus, with my Monroy tanks, I need a calibration and cant read the first 10 gallons anyway.

The Monroy tanks feed into the main tanks so once the fuel in the Monroy tanks is burned off then the gauges become accurate - no chance of running out of fuel because of this fuel gauge discrepancy since it's at the top end of the gauge.

However the POH says that, "An optional visual fuel quantity gauge is installed on top of each tank and is to be used as a reference for refueling tanks only." In other words don't count on the last few gallons being accurate. Its purpose is if you'd like to run with partial tanks full and gives you a reference for re-fueling only.

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On 7/15/2019 at 2:44 PM, gsxrpilot said:

Reliable and accurate fuel information requires two parts, senders and gauges. It sounds like you want the digital state of the art senders but to still use the old, inaccurate and unreliable gauges. It makes sense that it's not gonna work very well.

Inaccurate and unreliable because they are analog? Or because they are old? Or both?  Digital readout can be inaccurate and unreliable as well.  But you’re right- you need a working sensor, and a usable, readable display, in order for the system to work.

 My stock analog senders and gauges in my missile read to within a gallon or two of the totalizer and sight gauges... and after running tanks dry 2-3 times to confirm the instrument readings, I’ve found that my totalizer is good to within a gallon of the actual fuel remaining (based on what I put in and what’s displayed on my stock analog gauges).  That’s about a 3 gallon potential margin of error per side, which is an acceptable amount of risk to me as it’s easily mitigated by adding 5 gallons to my minimum reserve levels.  Of course, if I don’t reset the totalizer after filling up... then I monitor the analog fuel gauges and reset the totalizer when the needles read an appropriate lb value, then continue to monitor.  But I’d venture to say all of us on the board probably monitor their fuel levels closely.

Someone above said they don’t see much difference between a totalizer and a fuel gauge.  A major difference between fuel quantity indicators and a totalizer is this: a totalizer will become less accurate over time from the point at which it was reset, whereas fuel quantity indicators should provide the same level of fidelity continuously. The rate at which the totalizer “precesses” is relative to the accuracy of the calibration we’ve all performed on our engine monitors.  (We’ve all calibrated the k-factors on our fuel flows on our EI and JPI instruments, right?)

Edited by M016576
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11 minutes ago, M016576 said:

Inaccurate and unreliable because they are analog? Or because they are old? Or both?  Digital readout can be inaccurate and unreliable as well.  But you’re right- you need a working sensor, and a usable, readable display, in order for the system to work.

 My stock analog senders and gauges in my missile read to within a gallon or two of the totalizer and sight gauges... and after running tanks dry 2-3 times to confirm the instrument readings, I’ve found that my totalizer is good to within a gallon of the actual fuel remaining (based on what I put in and what’s displayed on my stock analog gauges).  That’s about a 3 gallon potential margin of error per side, which is an acceptable amount of risk to me as it’s easily mitigated by adding 5 gallons to my minimum reserve levels.  Of course, if I don’t reset the totalizer after filling up... then I monitor the analog fuel gauges and reset the totalizer when the needles read an appropriate lb value, then continue to monitor.  But I’d venture to say all of us on the board probably monitor their fuel levels closely.

Someone above said they don’t see much difference between a totalizer and a fuel gauge.  A major difference between fuel quantity indicators and a totalizer is this: a totalizer will become less accurate over time from the point at which it was reset, whereas fuel quantity indicators should provide the same level of fidelity continuously. The rate at which the totalizer “precesses” is relative to the accuracy of the calibration we’ve all performed on our engine monitors.  (We’ve all calibrated the k-factors on our fuel flows on our EI and JPI instruments, right?)

I really like this post. You make some excellent points.

I say "inaccurate and unreliable because of both analog and old. The needles are about 3 gallons wide so not very good fidelity in the reading of them. And typically after 50+ years of service in a typical M20C, they are sticky and jumpy.

If you're serious about knowing how accurate your gauges and/or totalizer is, you have to run each tank dry a few times. Don't be afraid, it's a safety thing. Know your tanks and your engine. 

I think your method here is spot on. I'd just say that with say, EDM900 gauges and the CiES senders, you'd be accurate to +/- 0.5 gal per side. And while its not required, it is achievable. And for our airplanes that are truly champions when it comes to range, I like to maximize that capability and have the best fuel information possible.

Regarding the differences between a totalizer and fuel gauge... I couldn't say it any better. This is a great explanation. Thanks.

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The JPI EDM 930 displays the CiES informed fuel qty remaining for each side and the FF totalizer informed fuel remaining (combined tanks) side by side. If there's a discrepancy an alert displays. Makes for a warm, fussy feeling on long trips.

(I maintain a spreadsheet comparing FF fuel used to actual fuel pumped in order to make sure the K factor remains correct. The comparison over the most recent ~200-300 gallons is less than 0.8% - for my 64 gallon bladders that's about 0.5 gallon. By using a running total the apparent differences caused by the fact that "full" is not well defined is mitigated.) 

I suppose we're all to a great extent the product of our past experiences. In my case I fly with an ingrained distrust of fuel gauges. Almost 50 years ago I (nearly) ran out of fuel in a rented M20G. I was only 20 minutes from my destination, Wilgrove, Charlotte, and flying on a tank that read 1/4 full when it coughed dry. I switch to the other tank that read "E" and landed at Newberry SC which fortunately right below me. Pumped 50.2 gallows into a 52 usable system. Color me "Never Again".  

 

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5 hours ago, Bob_Belville said:

The JPI EDM 930 displays the CiES informed fuel qty remaining for each side and the FF totalizer informed fuel remaining (combined tanks) side by side. If there's a discrepancy an alert displays. Makes for a warm, fussy feeling on long trips.

(I maintain a spreadsheet comparing FF fuel used to actual fuel pumped in order to make sure the K factor remains correct. The comparison over the most recent ~200-300 gallons is less than 0.8% - for my 64 gallon bladders that's about 0.5 gallon. By using a running total the apparent differences caused by the fact that "full" is not well defined is mitigated.) 

I suppose we're all to a great extent the product of our past experiences. In my case I fly with an ingrained distrust of fuel gauges. Almost 50 years ago I (nearly) ran out of fuel in a rented M20G. I was only 20 minutes from my destination, Wilgrove, Charlotte, and flying on a tank that read 1/4 full when it coughed dry. I switch to the other tank that read "E" and landed at Newberry SC which fortunately right below me. Pumped 50.2 gallows into a 52 usable system. Color me "Never Again".  

 

I had a similar equipment quality experience which is why I gave renting years ago and quit flying until I could afford to maintain and be familiar with my own bird.  This thread begs a discussion of legal versus safe, accuracy vs precision vs repeatability, and the creeping scope of standards of safety.  Thirty years ago, as a matter of practice, many pilots used stick, power, and time to manage fuel  while dealing with totally unreliable gauges and used planning, fss and ATC for weather clearance, and used needle, ball, and compass for AI failure.  Now, adding the relatively accurate and precise fuel totalizer to an approximately accurate fuel gauge and think it insufficiently safe and we can use in cockpit weather maps with 15 minute delays but stay far far away from the storm cells we can vividly see and we are unsafe unless we have 3 redundant synthetic vision attitude displays.  If you own your plane and the gauge repeatably and reliably shoes a specific mark when a tank hits empty, I'd call that a good gauge.  If it teliably reflects consistent mappable quantity for a few points on the gauge, I'd call it a great gauge, even if the scale doesn't read perfectly accurately.  If a good gauge plus a totalizer isn't sufficient fuel level knowledge for you, would you have even flown in the era of stick, power, and time?  Walk me through the emergency scenario in which a good gauge plus totalizer would leave you in an accident, such that you need to know precisely how much went through your totalizer and precisely how much is left in both tanks above zero.  Atlantic crossing perhaps, although it would only help if you knew of a fuel leak before the point of no return.  I just want to suggest that maybe, just maybe, it's not reckless to use an understood legacy fuel gauge plus a totalizer to monitor fuel remaining.

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I had a similar equipment quality experience which is why I gave renting years ago and quit flying until I could afford to maintain and be familiar with my own bird.  This thread begs a discussion of legal versus safe, accuracy vs precision vs repeatability, and the creeping scope of standards of safety.  Thirty years ago, as a matter of practice, many pilots used stick, power, and time to manage fuel  while dealing with totally unreliable gauges and used planning, fss and ATC for weather clearance, and used needle, ball, and compass for AI failure.  Now, adding the relatively accurate and precise fuel totalizer to an approximately accurate fuel gauge and think it insufficiently safe and we can use in cockpit weather maps with 15 minute delays but stay far far away from the storm cells we can vividly see and we are unsafe unless we have 3 redundant synthetic vision attitude displays.  If you own your plane and the gauge repeatably and reliably shoes a specific mark when a tank hits empty, I'd call that a good gauge.  If it teliably reflects consistent mappable quantity for a few points on the gauge, I'd call it a great gauge, even if the scale doesn't read perfectly accurately.  If a good gauge plus a totalizer isn't sufficient fuel level knowledge for you, would you have even flown in the era of stick, power, and time?  Walk me through the emergency scenario in which a good gauge plus totalizer would leave you in an accident, such that you need to know precisely how much went through your totalizer and precisely how much is left in both tanks above zero.  Atlantic crossing perhaps, although it would only help if you knew of a fuel leak before the point of no return.  I just want to suggest that maybe, just maybe, it's not reckless to use an understood legacy fuel gauge plus a totalizer to monitor fuel remaining.

You're right, we don't need all these fancy gadgets. 

But for some reason I think it is a lot more fun to fly long cross country flights in my current Mooney than the much newer one I flew in 1969. I do not miss NDB approaches. I'm pretty sure I would have had some advanced warning of an impending exhaust valve failure if that Mooney had had a modern EDM instead of a single EGT gauge and a single needle representing CHTs. The shop that rented me that G model with the bad fuel gauge may have been one of your relatives. When I told him my experience with the fuel gauge he told me that everyone knows you can’t trust an airplane fuel gauge. 

 

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The whole argument of "we've been flying these airplanes this way for years" seems to be misplaced with Mooneys. I can understand if you're flying a rag and tube tail dragger around the pattern on sunny days. But most of us fly Mooneys because they get us across the country and are excellent traveling airplanes. Can you fly your Mooney across the country with a dip stick and a stopwatch? Sure you can. And I can drive the '57 Chevy from here to Chicago as well. But why?

In the grand scheme of things, upgrading the fuel management system in a Mooney is relatively inexpensive. A good engine monitor (which pays so many dividends is so many other areas) and modern fuel senders. I flew my first Mooney all over the country with a dip stick, watch, and spreadsheet to note gallons used at regular intervals. With the second Mooney I knew the mission was cross country travel and so the first upgrades were an EDM900 and CiES senders. The result was an increase in range and decrease in stress equalling an overall increase in enjoyment... and speed. After all, the best speed mod is the ability to skip a fuel stop.

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I agree that more data sources is better, assuming they are free.  I also think modern tech allows us to expand the range envelope by knowing more accurately the fuel consumption and fuel remaining.  Engine analyzers are great as well.  However,  if they are not free, are vintage gauges  and a well calibrated totalizer get about 5 nines of the benefits of a digital fuel tank measurement.  Also, I'm just fine knowing what my wing sight gauges really mean as a backup.   I'd also rather have a non certified engine analyzer where I can set the limits for alarms then a certified system with the regulatory set limits.   What level of redundancy is enough for you? One of the half back ups works for me.

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The JPI 900 allows you to see lower warning limits than book redline, I have CHT limit set to 395° for example.


Tom

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22 hours ago, ArtVandelay said:

The JPI 900 allows you to see lower warning limits than book redline, I have CHT limit set to 395° for example.


Tom

Huh, then I was misinformed.

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