Dave & Robbie Sturm (with their Piper Comanche)
Dave is a Avionics Engineer and both are Instrument Rated Pilots.
"I was executing a missed approach in the soup, solid IFR, when my eye caught the red display of the Visual Voltmeter indicating a failed alternator. I was able to shut down unessential electrical equipment and notify ATC while I still had sufficient battery power left to make it to VFR conditions. I will not fly IFR without this meter!"
The problem with traditional ammeters found in most light singles is that they do not provide enough information to diagnose alternator problems. In addition, they are often located far to the right of the primary instrument scan patterns. The Visual Instruments multi-color LED display alerts the pilot and provides the resolution necessary to diagnose electrical problems. It also serves as a reminder to shut off the master switch before leaving the aircraft.
Instrument/Commercial Rated Pilot, A&P , AI
"I departed Eugene on an IFR flight to Portland, Oregon. As I reduced the power climbing through 1,000 feet all engine instruments indicated normal. I entered the clouds at about 1,500 feet, N2555 x-ray cleared on course, climb and maintain 4,000 feet, I leveled off at 4000, set cruise power and scanned the engine instruments again. This time I noticed no green LED’s on the Visual Instruments Voltage Monitor.
I reported: “Cascade departure, I appear to have lost my alternator, request return to Eugene airport”.
ATC responded, “ 55 X-ray, turn right to heading 140, vectors to the ILS runway 17.”
After another scan of the engine instruments, the discharge on the ammeter was barely noticeable but the lack of bright green LED lights on the voltmeter caught my attention immediately. After breaking out at 1500, I landed safely and taxied back to the FBO. I pulled the cowling to find a broken wire on the alternator. With some borrowed tools, I was lucky enough to repair the cable and the reinstall the engine cowling. This time I had green LEDs on my voltage monitor all the way home.
Instrument Rated Private Pilot
"I had just started my engine on my BD-4 homebuilt when I noticed that the Visual Instruments display did not come up into the green where it normally does. It turns out that I had bad connection to my Alternator. The Voltage monitor caught the problem before I ever got off the ground! This is where I prefer to find problems."
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