KT-76 Transponder bad?

KT-76 Transponder bad?

Hey y'all,

I took my wife up for her first flight in our new airplane and was unable to get flight following due to them not seeing my 'squawk'. Approach did work with me a little bit and said he had someone squawking 7777 in my reported area, turned off my KT-76 and he said the squawk went away.

Sounds like my transponder needs some magic mallet work.  Are they expensive to repair or should i just opt for the Narco digital slide in replacment transponder?  I believe the Narco AT-165/ka is the one I am talking about.

Thanks in advance.
Dav

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Re: KT-76 Transponder bad?

Hello Dav;

I had a KT76A that had been installed in 1978.  It was working OK when I bought the plane 2 years ago, but then failed the 24 month transponder/encoder test.  Paid $800 for a replacement cavity tube. Less than a year later, my son was flying the plane and ATC reported that they couldn't see his transponder.  It was turned on but not operating.  He turned it off and on, and it worked for 10 minutes and then shut down.  I then decided to buy the Narco slide-in unit, which was $1500 from Aircraft Spruce. I wish I had done that first.  I don't know what it would have cost to have the unit repaired, but it would still be a 30 year old unit.

Jon

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Re: KT-76 Transponder bad?

HI DAV,
I just replaced a KT 76A the other day. The cavity was bad, $950.00 for repair only. I bought an exchange unit for $700.00. King is old but good radios I expect there won't be anymore problems for some time.

Regards,
Randy Wilson
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Re: KT-76 Transponder bad?

Dav,

The KT 76 is about 30 years old.  The 76A is still in production.  Unfortunately it is not a slide in replacement. 

I would not suggest a Narco.  The field support is zero.  I have had good luck with most of the Garmin transponders.  The 320A is reasonably priced, and does not have the cavity tube issues the KT76A units do. 

Assuming nothing has been changed with the antenna system since the original installation, I would suggest replacing the antenna and coax.  A degraded antenna system can shorten the life of the transmitter conciderably.  With a transponder that has a cavity tube, it will pull it off frequency and change the pulse width of the signal.

Before you do anything, have your 76 bench tested. I wouldn't spend a lot of time trying to fix it, but it may be something that could be repaired. 

Happy wiring,

Bob

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Re: KT-76 Transponder bad?

Bob,

I have for years noted your feelings of Narco's lack of field support.  However I think they may be changing.  I was pleasantly surprised when working with an airplane a few months ago that developed transponder problems in flight.  A call by a non Narco avionics shop to the Narco company netted a simple fix.  The support staff spoke to the technician and told him how to fix the unit. 

I am not saying anything but you may want to call Narco and perhaps re-evaluate your opinion.  And it seems like King is going the other way.  A friend just purchased a King Transponder and was shocked to find out that the install manual had to be ordered separately for over a hundred bucks. 

I do not know what King is thinking, but they are beginning to lose my business loyalty.

I would be interested in your checking in on this to see if you get similar results.  Maby it was just a fluke or maby it is a signal that Narco is changing it’s ways. 

Oh and the Altitude warning feature on the Narco transponder it awesome! 

Jeff


Bob Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Dav,
>
> The KT 76 is about 30 years old.  The 76A is still
> in production.  Unfortunately it is not a slide in
> replacement. 
>
> I would not suggest a Narco.  The field support is
> zero.  I have had good luck with most of the
> Garmin transponders.  The 320A is reasonably
> priced, and does not have the cavity tube issues
> the KT76A units do. 
>
> Assuming nothing has been changed with the antenna
> system since the original installation, I would
> suggest replacing the antenna and coax.  A
> degraded antenna system can shorten the life of
> the transmitter conciderably.  With a transponder
> that has a cavity tube, it will pull it off
> frequency and change the pulse width of the
> signal.
>
> Before you do anything, have your 76 bench tested.
> I wouldn't spend a lot of time trying to fix it,
> but it may be something that could be repaired. 
>
> Happy wiring,
>
> Bob

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Re: KT-76 Transponder bad?

I have a GTX 327 transponder in my C-182. After the annual now it does not transmit altimeter. The tech says is the encoder. That the one it has is old. Put a new one in , no luck. Any recomendations as to what  should be the best encoder?

Last year same thing happened, was send to Garmin were they updated the software. Came back ok after $ 600.00

Thanks

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Re: KT-76 Transponder bad?

I did a research on encoders. The best priced for the money is an ACK.It came with a garantee to repair it for $65. if it ever go's bad. Its been in use for about 2 years with no problems.

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Re: KT-76 Transponder bad?

Jeff,

I do deal with Narco several times a year.  They have installation manuals and information online that anyone can download.  Their telephone support is fairly good.  However, they want everything sent to them for repair.  Field support for repair is practically zero. 

On the other hand, King has better support for field repairs.  They are now owned by Honeywell.  They had moved towards off shore telephone support that was just terrible.  But, they have corrected that problem and have moved back to making the Olathe service center the main support center.  For Bendix/King dealers, all manuals and service bulletins are available online.  Parts ordering is also online. 

The KT 76 and 76A units have been in service for years.  While the technology inside has changed, the quality has remained.  I have found that the older units tend to have the same kinds of problems.  Usually adjustments are all that are needed to have the unit servicable.  It takes less than an hour to test and do minor adjustments on a KT 76A.  If the resonant cavity is bad, the cost to replace it should be considered beyond economical repair.

Garmin also has great technical support for their products.  They also have fixed repair rates for their products, so you know going in what the cost will be.

With that said, everyone should know that as technology moves forward, the days of field repair are numbered.  With surface mount technology, and the move towards processor based equipment, the level of expertise and specialized test equipment required to service these products will exceed the capabilities of all but the largest avionics shops. 

Bob

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Re: KT-76 Transponder bad?

Bob,

Thanks for the good email.  I agree.  Well said. 

Jeff

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