Saturday, February 5, 2011

Uhm, Did You Say Minimum Fuel? Show me a sign.

A fellow PPG pilot designed a fuel low warning indicator and was kind enough to post the “how-to” instruction sheet out on the internet.  I’ve made the mistake of running out of fuel (while flying my PPG) before trying to get just one-more touch and go in before landing for the evening.  Unlike my plane, my PPG has no fuel status indicator so I had to rely on guestimating my quantity based on how hard I’d been running the motor.  Obviously, I’d not been correct in at least one calculation based on the fact that I had to walk back to the the launch area carrying 75 pounds of gear that I should have been able to fly over with.  That’s all going to change now cuz I’m going visual!

Those that know me also know that I can screw up the moving parts of a bowling ball when it comes to building, modifying, assembling, or fixing something; I’m real good at taking stuff apart however.  Anyway, with Tom’s “how-to” sheet in hand, I went online to order the parts and pieces that I’d need to build my very own low fuel indicator LED. Oh yeah, I was going up town with a blinking red LED.  I’m hoping that I don’t blow myself up the first time it activates after I install the sensor inside the fuel tank.  I assembled the entire unit and created the circuit using a butter knife, duct tape, a wire tie off of a bread bag, an elastic band from a burned out pair of boxer shorts, and a piece of Velcro that I found under the couch cushion.  Surprisingly, it worked!  As long as the sensor (tan-ish part in my right hand) is closed (laying flat) on the white tray, the red LED light blinks, but if the tan bit is “floating” in the fuel (meaning the volume of fuel is above the sensor causing the floatie bit to float), the red LED light will not come on.  I went to mount the sensor down low on the fuel tank only to discover that I’d ordered the wrong style of this sensor and will have to order the correct one.  In the mean time, I’ll work on my next little upgrade to “BERTHA”, my PPG.  Perhaps I’ll install add a camera mount or strobe light to her.  Gotta run but I’ll be back. 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.


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