ECU Failure Errors in Flight

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mbitran
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ECU Failure Errors in Flight

Post by mbitran »

I have a 2020 DA40 NG and today got an ECU A fail message in flight. It then cleared itself, and a few seconds late I got an ECU B fail, following by both ECU A and ECU B fail. Power and engine sound was unchanged. I landed and was able to clear the errors on the ground - so they were unlatched.

We took off again and stayed close to the airport. We got the errors again. They seem to happen on a power reduction. I spoke with my sales guy, and he thinks it may be the prop governor/setting. I'm going to have the shop download the data next week to see the error code, send to Austro, start to debug, etc.

Has anyone seen this type of error? Is it still considered legal/safe to fly if we are able to clear the errors (unlatched) before takeoff?

Thank you
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chili4way
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Re: ECU Failure Errors in Flight

Post by chili4way »

This kind of scenario may point to something in the turbocharging and boost pressure control loop. Make sure the shop downloads all three files, including the largest one that captures engine parameters (not just events). This engine data file takes about 1 minute per hour of operation to download (and you can control how many flight hours you download), so it's wise to connect the plane to external power.

If it's a boost pressure issue, the likely suspects are a) bad sensor or electrical connection, b) waste-gate actuator/diaphragm failure, c) boost pressure accumulator, d) waste-gate "flap" closure issue, or e) air leak in the charged air path.

You may be able to guess why it is I know this. ;)
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mbitran
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Re: ECU Failure Errors in Flight

Post by mbitran »

Thanks Paul - super helpful. I will pass this on to the shop.

I went for a short test flight today to see if the problem would re-occur. I got the ECU error immediately after clearing the runway (first A then B). Power was reduced by the system (uncommanded) to about 80%. I flew a tight pattern and landed. I'll let you know what we learn !
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Colin
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Re: ECU Failure Errors in Flight

Post by Colin »

I had similar symptoms and it was a bad ECU A board.
Colin Summers, PP Multi-Engine IFR, ~3,000hrs
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UTMark
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Re: ECU Failure Errors in Flight

Post by UTMark »

I’ve run into ECU Failures on takeoff now multiple times. They all ended up being non-latched, but I noticed that it typically has occurred for us on takeoff roll in really hot OATs (last one was last week out of St. George at 41C). I need to get my log files and send them in… which is a challenge because I don’t have a local mechanic with the cables/laptop to do that. Our errors cleared by switching over to the suspected back ECU.
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mbitran
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Re: ECU Failure Errors in Flight

Post by mbitran »

This is similar to what we were getting on a few flights (unlatched errors we could clear on the ground on each ECU). However on the last flight power dropped by about 25% uncommanded. That got my attention!

The shop sent the data to Diamond -- Diamond looked at the data and they are suggesting an adjustment of the waste gate actuator. If it's out of travel or broken, they will replace the part.

After that, we get to replace the Fuel Pump Gear, although parts are out of stock for a few weeks.

Will keep you posted!

Thanks
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Re: ECU Failure Errors in Flight

Post by Boatguy »

I've also had this problem in the last three weeks. Both times I was climbing through 9,000', got the ECU A/B fail message and power dropped to about 70% (from 92%). The first time I declared an emergency and landed at KLVK. The error cleared while I was descending and full power was again available. Absolute Aviation worked with Diamond and the logs said low boost pressure. Diamond advised them to replace the pressure sensor. That whole cycle took about 10 days. Then I went back up and had the exact same problem so obviously it was not the sensor. This time I knew what was happening and diverted to KHWD.

I have previously replaced the wastegate controller and per the MSB had the restrictor installed. There is clearly something happening in the turbocharger system that they do not understand. Again waiting for Diamond to respond to Absolute and feeling like we are all paying to be test pilots for Austro. AOG 16 days and counting.
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Re: ECU Failure Errors in Flight

Post by mbitran »

Wow that's frustrating ... I agree. I will keep everyone updated on what we learn next week.
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Boatguy
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Re: ECU Failure Errors in Flight

Post by Boatguy »

Correction. Apparently what was changed was the change over valve, not the sensor. In any event, it did not solve the problem. Then Diamond told them to change out the wastegate controller. They did that and I as test pilot, when up again and it failed at 7,000'. Not only did it not fix the problem, it made it worse. Not sure why that would be.

Home to KHWD is about a 6hr round trip drive, though I got another Diamond owner to shuttle me last time. Still a horrendous waste of time and money, and plane AOG, while Diamond guesses at the fix.

The good news is that the problem disappears as soon as I descend, basically a naturally aspirated 168hp engine on plane that is heavier than a DA40-180. And I've gotten quite comfortable telling ATC I have to divert due to loss of power, but not declaring an emergency. They give me priority routing, but no fire truck!
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Re: ECU Failure Errors in Flight

Post by Mdm0515 »

This happened to me in a 2019 DA 40 NG. My A&P checked and confirmed the failure of the waste gate controller which he replaced and it solved the issue going forward. He expects these failures on all Austro engines because of the poor design of the waste gate. He takes care of over a dozen NG's for a flight school and sees it regularly in the 200 hr timeframe and beyond
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