Belite Electronics Introduces Water Detection TechnologyBy Marino Boric, for EAA.org
April 4, 2011 - Belite Electronics rolled out a new, patent-pending technology during Sun ’n Fun last week that is capable of detecting water in the fuel tank or fuel line. The sensor can detect water in fluid form, and is about the size of a quarter. Through the use of a small probe attached to a PC board filled with processors, the new technology discriminates between water and fuel and triggers an alarm signal to the aircraft operator/instrument when water is detected.
"The presence of water in fuel has caused many significant accidents in aviation history," Belite’s James Wiebe said, "and the use of auto fuel with ethanol content continues to exacerbate this problem because water will precipitate (settle) out of ethanol blended fuel as temperature drops, for instance, overnight.”
It can be used to detect water in drop form in all fuels. Wiebe is looking for installations in aircraft and the automotive field. The final price has not been set, but according Wiebe, it will be “really reasonable, probably cheaply priced like other Belite products.” The final product will be shown at AirVenture 2011, where they expect to have determined the pricing.
Belite's new technology provides a warning signal, which may be used in simple applications to trigger an alarm on the instrument panel. In more sophisticated applications, Wiebe noted that the warning signal might be used to drive automatic tank switching so that water is not fed to the engine.
"We believe this technology can be integrated into aircraft systems by aircraft manufacturers to provide pilots with warnings that water is present in the fuel system,” Wiebe said. “Water detection probes may be placed, for example, at low points in fuel tanks, or inline (between the fuel tank and the fuel selector or in the engine compartment).”
Belite is licensing this technology to OEMS, and will also offer simple water detection probes and warning displays for experimental aircraft.
Belite’s New Compact Digital Instrument Panel With Air Computer
See video from EAA Multimedia Journalist Brady Lane below