Stuck starter/MCU failures

I’m concerned about the growing number of stuck starter/MCU failures. I’ve heard many stories from our local mechanic and I’ve not seen them posted (maybe on members site). Almost two weeks ago, a locally (Santa Barbara,CA) based aircraft experienced an starter/MCU failure at about 110 TT. Yesterday, I talked briefly (twr frq) to another SR22 (i think N84PW) that had just landed after experiencing non-essential systems failure. He was based out of Orange County and said he’d experience problems starting one or two flights previous. He was unaware of starter issues so I doubt his failure will get posted otherwise. He also mentioned throttle problems and being unable to “close” throttle and had to use mixture to land. I presume he was just rusty on no flaps landings and carrying too much speed.

I relayed to him the procedure of checking ammeter prior to turning on alternators (for the future). Also, commented that the mechanic will want to replace light-weight starter with full-weight (6lbs heavier) that doesn’t stick.

The factory on delivery in January said that starters were recently improved but I know at least one starter/MCU failure was also a January plane.

The local mechanic has shown me the problem (LW starter has no play to disengage clutch). He’ll almost refuse to replace a LW starter with another LW. When does this become a Service Bulletin or Airworthiness Directive? I think there should be at least a warning through official channels so that all owners/operators can monitor starter more carefully. Perhaps an AD to replace LW starters or install starter engaged warning light?

I’m just a little suprised at what has to be at least the 10th failure I’ve heard about in the two months I’ve been flying an SR22. It seems likely that many more will fail. How many others go unreported?


My starter adapter (lightweight starter, 9/02 delivery) failed without the starter sticking and frying the MCU. According to my mechanic at Top Gun (SCK) it will fail again, it’s just a matter of time. He says it is an inherent incompatibility between the lightweight starter and the adapter. He also said that nobody will replace this except if it fails during warranty, after the warranty if (oops, when) it fails again it will be up to the owner to pay for it.
I am unclear if the lightweight starter & starter adapter failure is a separate issue from the stuck starter frying the electronics, or if it’s the same mechanical problem that causes both.
It does seem like the pilot CAN catch the stuck starter before it fries the MCU by following the ‘alternators off during start’ procedure and watching the ammeter when turning the alternators on.
It also seems like a known mechanical defect shouldn’t be solved by requiring additional pilot diligence to detect it immediately upon failure, but rather by fixing the problem!


My SR20 all electric have been problem free (except for a hunting autopilot). I heard the same thing you said about the MCU getting fried due to a piece of s#*! starter from the Republic of Slovenia. Stratman Aero(SBA) suggested/recommended replacing the starter w/ a heavy duty made in USA. I’m still on the fence whether I’ll go that route.


I own the Santa Barbara based SR22 you reference (110TT) and it was reported on the members site. There have been a lot of posts there about this issue. Those who have experienced this problem don’t seem too shy about discussing it!

BTW, I would not hesitate to replace the lightweight starter with the heavy duty starter. Otherwise you have a good chance of getting stranded somewhere with a dead plane.

Also, I would HIGHLY recommend adding the ammeter to your routine inflight check. With the problems Cirrus has experienced it seems prudent to 1) make sure you fully understand the intricacies of the electrical system and 2) watch it closely for any signs it is going out.

Could you or someone explain this to me so that I know what to look out for and do for the start. Incidentally, my SR22 has always started very easily with only 1-3 seconds of cranking.

Mario, correct me if I am wrong…but does the 20 use the same starter configuration? I haven’t heard of any of the MCU/Starter issues in 20s, only 22s. Are both at risk?

Grats on your new 20. I picked up mine 2 weeks ago and love it. Now if only MI weather would work itself out of this funk!



Honestly, I really dont know. I havent studied the SR22 Starter Config. But according to the Service Center the 20 and 22 both have the same starter and starter drive. He even showed me how difficult it was to turn the starter. He did replace a 22 starter w/ a Heavy duty US made starter and is currently replacing another 22 starter.

Congrats to you too! It feels so good to fly your own plane especially a Cirrus. Hmmmmmm.

Must be a different starter arrangement. My reasoning is that when my starter needed replacing, Cirrus/Continental sent one for the SR20 by mistake. It wouldn’t fit and had to be sent back. The replacement, specific for the SR22 was needed.


Cirrus sent out a POH revision recently that covered starting the aircraft with the alternator switches both turned off but not any real background.

The routine is: (bat 1+2 on, alternators off for start), then immediately after start turn on both alternators and immediately check the ammeter for Alt1, the main battery used for starting. With avionics on, I normally see this go to around 20 amps just after start, then quickly settle down to around 15 amps which is the normal load. Your normal reading may vary depending on installed equipment. If you do this on every single start, you’ll know right where it usually is.

Here’s where it becomes urban folklore. The story is that if the starter does NOT disengage, you will see an abnormal amp reading after start…what it will be I don’t know. Either the starter may be acting as a generator and show an excessive charge or lower than normal drain due to high voltage, or if it’s stuck running it will be creating a huge drain and show a very high charge rate. In any case, if it looks significantly abnormal, SHUT OFF THE ALTERNATOR and check it out.


When did this POH revision come out? I have not seen it yet.


My POH is in the aircraft…as I recall it was 2-3 weeks ago.

I should clarify, I don’t recall if/how muchCirrus got into the ‘check the ammeter after start’ business, they just revised the POH to start with alternators off. Most of what I described is rumor, not official doctrine.