Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fuel Sender Installation in Plastic Tank

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Here's a quick way to get a fuel sender into any ultralight aircraft.  We've done this with aluminum tanks, by welding a 'platform' onto the tank for the fuel sender, but it's quick and easy with an inexpensive 5 gallon tank from Walmart.

Here's how.  Start with a fuel sender, which you can purchase from us or from Aircraft Spruce, which looks like this:

Fuel Sender

The fuel sender has three connections:  power, ground (+12v), and fuel sender output (provides 0 to 5v to fuel gauge.)

Of course, you'll need a fuel gauge.  Many different companies sell them.  Ours features brilliant adjustable daylight readable LEDs, and minimal power consumption, and absolute lowest weight (less than one ounce).  It looks like this:

fuel gauge from Belite

and it fits in any standard 2 1/4 inch instrument hole.  All you need to do is attach ground, power, and attach the input to the fuel sender.  (Use a 1 amp fuse when running power to the fuel gauge and the fuel sender.)

We also use a classic red 5 gallon tank from Walmart, and we drill a hole in the top for the fuel sender.  (We also drill a hole for the fuel line 'bobber' to feed through.)  The tank must be vented, and the 'slop' around the fuel line hole provides this venting.

It looks like this:

Fuel tank for ultralight with fuel sender hole drilled out.

We then place the fuel sender through the hole below the handle, and secure using five ordinary wood or deck screws.  We don't use nuts/bolts, because they are way too hard to get the nuts into the tank.  The gray material is a fuel tank sealer, which merely provides a gasket around the hole, to prevent fuel from sloshing out.  You can get it at your hardware store.

One of the neat things about using this kind of tank is that if you use a quick release fitting on the fuel hose, you can swap one fuel tank for another in your ultralight airplane.

After installation, follow instructions with the fuel probe for setting the empty and full positions on the gauge.

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