We've tested it at KITPLANES (see Marc Cook's story in the May issue), so we know it works. But now we can say that you, too, can purchase and get immediate delivery on TCW Technologies' Integrated Back-up Battery System (IBBS). For $375 you get a nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack, battery charger and automatic back-up power switching hardware that is a simple fix, installation-wise, for either a new or retrofit instrument panel. The integrated system weighs just 2.5 pounds, putting it at less than half the weight of a similar-sized lead-acid battery, and can provide 4 amperes at 12 volts for just under an hour, according to Bob Newman, Jr., co-founder of TCW. Newman has been in on the design of some other TCW safety-oriented products including Safety-Trim, Intelligent Flap-Controller and Intelligent Power Stabilizer.
We asked Newman, why NiMH, when the even lighter and more energy-dense lithium-ion technology exists? "The aviation consumer marketplace is still quite wary of the lithium-ion batteries, because of issues that were widely publicized with laptop batteries," he said. "From an engineer's perspective, it is a good technology, with perhaps some weak points around its performance in cold-weather situations. We'd consider it, when the market is ready for it. Meanwhile, the NiMH technology is far better than the old lead-acid batteries, and we have proven it to be stable enough to be extremely safe for use behind the typical instrument panel or in a remote-mount situation."
For more information, visit www.tcwtech.com/IBBS.htm.