Avionics Report

December 1998 Issue

Ya Wanna Recyle?

Thatís what ATC says when your $200 encoder craps out. Hereís some advice on care and feeding of altitude encoding gear.

One often misunderstood, overlooked and sometimes cursed bit of electronic gear is the humble encoder. With pseudonyms like digitizer, encoding altimeter or encoder and always hidden somewhere from sight, itís difficult for many pilots to comprehend this fellowís place in the avionics pecking order.

When itís working, you donít know it. When it fails, its symptoms quietly manifest themselves in other systems with irritating results. An ailing encoder can cause your otherwise successful flight to deteriorate into a nightmare of hostile controllers and even force you to remain grounded at a busy airport until you get it fixed. Thatís pretty powerful for a box that costs less than $200.

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