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Tech-Aero Designs Ultra IBEC
Ignition kill the light way
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 12-30-2015
The Tech-Aero Ultra IBEC (ignition battery eliminator circuit) is a surprisingly compact and overly simple looking bit of electronics that has all of the capabilities reasonable folks need in an ignition kill system. A weight-reducing bonus is that it eliminates the need for a separate ignition battery and ignition switch. Anytime I can leave the weight of a battery pack on the ground I am interested.
The Tech-Aero Ultra IBEC is compatible with single and multi-cylinder CDI ignition modules that run on 5V, 5.3V, 6.1V and 6.6V voltage. A simple jumper lets you select the correct voltage for your system and allows one Tech-Aero Ultra IBEC model to cover a huge range of engines. The Tech-Aero Ultra IBEC works with input voltages from 4.8V to 10V.
My initial concern with this system was the possibility of delivering interference to the receiver since the Tech-Aero Ultra IBEC connects to the ignition module on one end and the receiver on the other. Not so many years ago this kind of wiring would be tantamount to poking the RC crash gods with a broken wing spar. The folks at Tech-Aero knew this of course and built an exclusive 4 stage filtering system into the Ultra IBEC that removes/prevents such interference so we can use modern radio systems without ignition-induced glitches. Their web site and the instructions list the four stages of filtering but to me that is geek-speak that I am in no danger of understanding. More relevant to me was knowing several pilots that I consider to be skilled and sane at the same time have used the Tech-Aero Ultra IBEC extensively and none of them have had an issue in lots of plane over lots of hours.
The Tech-Aero Ultra IBEC weighs in at a who-cares 0.6 oz and has physical dimensions of 1” x 1 ¾”. Even I can put this thing in without swearing. Remember that it eliminates an ignition switch, ignition battery and some related wiring so the Tech-Aero Ultra IBEC is considerably lighter as well.
You plug the Tech-Aero Ultra IBEC into a spare channel on the receiver that you can assign to a toggle on the transmitter. I usually use the Gear switch and set that to turn the ignition on when that toggle is pulled towards me as that is harder to shut off by accident. You get a surprisingly bright 5mm LED on a length of wire that indicates when the ignition is armed. You even get to choose from several LED colors when ordering but I always forget and get whatever color is first on that list. I don’t have any other LED’s so I know what this one indicates regardless of color.
Installation is ridiculously simple. Determine what voltage your ignition module needs and set the jumper on the Tech-Aero Ultra IBEC according to the real pictures in the instruction sheet you download from their site. Plug the end marked “Receiver” into the channel you want (needs a two position toggle switch) and then plug the “Ignition” end into the ignition battery plug. You then have the choice of whether to hang the LED someplace you can see through the canopy or drill a hole in the fuse where you can see the LED from outside of the plane so you know when the ignition is armed. I use shrink tubing on the Ignition side connection for a little extra security and that turned out to be the most technically challenging part of the installation.
In the Air
Using the Tech-Aero Ultra IBEC is almost as difficult as working a bathroom light. You turn it on when you need it and shut it off when you are done with it. After that everything is automatic and handled by the circuitry on the little board in the plane.
I am sure that there has to be an additional draw on the flight batteries but I have not noticed an amount. When I recharge the on-board batteries they seem to accept around the same number of mAh as before the Tech-Aero Ultra IBEC was installed.
What is noticeable is the reliable, simple way to control my ignition. I appreciate being able to drive the plane up to myself after a flight and being able to shut the motor off from the transmitter. This is way safer than having to go onto the runway to move a mechanical switch to stop the motor. And should I ever experience a throttle servo expiring in flight I can shut the motor off on short final rather than flying around for half an hour with everybody wondering why I didn’t have a remote engine kill.
I love simple and my planes appreciate light so the Tech-Aero Ultra IBEC epitomizes both of those “wants” in a simple, sensible package. I like an electronic gadget that doesn’t require any technical expertise to operate and again the Tech-Aero Ultra IBEC fits the bill. All that is left is ease of operation – one toggle switch. If that concerns you never, ever fly an RC plane again!
OK, the big catch with this Tech-Aero Ultra IBEC must be the price. Nope. The Tech-Aero Ultra IBEC sells for $39.99 (12-9-2015) and barring a major league impact with something solid this bit of electronic wizardry lasts forever.
If you think you do not need the capability of shutting off your gas engine remotely, go wait in the bus. You simply do not understand the problem. The remaining populace that understands the issue should get the Tech-Aero Ultra IBEC, install it and join the ranks of RC pilots with one less thing to worry about while flying their gas engine planes.
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