Avionics Report

March 2011 Issue

Avionics Cooling Fans: Don’t Fly Without One

All brands get the job done, but Sandia excels. The important part is having a working system. Call it cheap insurance against roasting expensive gear.

What whirring sound coming from the depths of your instrument panel is the sound of your checkbook being spared expensive repair bills. Donít hear the soothing hum of an avionics blower motor? You might think of installing one. Todayís avionics live in a harsh environment where high-end temperature is the destructive enemy. Part of the TSO process includes temperature threshold testing. Garminís popular GNS430 navigator and G1000 GDU displays reveal a published high-end operating temperature of 55 degrees C. These units meet the TSO spec without external cooling, yet Garminís technical advice is that reducing the operating temperature by 15-20 degrees C doubles the mean time between failures (MTBF). And thatís for new avionics that produce less heat than some old gear.

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