The High Price of Fuel Level Sensors

I had started to re-energize our New Years marketing effort and wrote a few blog posts about delivering magneto resistive fuel senders to, new to us, European Aircraft and Helicopter customers. We seem to be popular over there, we may owe many thanks to COPA member Thomas Borchert

To check on our progress on our google search listing, I ran across a G1000 Cessna Fuel Sender for Sale on Ebay and thought I’d share it.

This is a Meggitt TDR (Time Domain Reflectometry) Used Ebay Price is $1,800 each - New Price from large Cessna Parts Jobber is $3,100 - Cessna List Price is $3,864. The Meggitt Fuel Level Sensors do look well made and come with a nice calibration sheet for your Cessna 172, 182 or 206.

Replacement Cost for 4 of these sensors on a Cirrus would be as much as a Parachute Repack Kit - If you added the TKS sensors - You are looking at a heart stopping bill of $18,600 at the preferred cost - And just for parts and not the labor. Installed cost would be well over $20,000 - This for a retrofit fuel level system on a Cessna 172 for heavens sake. It is painfully obvious why there isn’t a retrofit STC.

Maybe John Ylinen is exactly right, Aviation is getting expensive - part prices contributing greatly. But with a bit of creativity, it doesn’t have to be.

The caveat is, that our Fuel Level Sensors met all the FAA TSO requirements that this fuel sensor has met - and we do it for far less money. I was told early on, engineering is not building the best without regard to cost, it is providing the same performance at a price that is attractive to your consumer and the FAA.

While I have heard that our FAA TSO fuel level sensors are expensive compared to legacy commercial grade resistance fuel senders, i.e. the kind of sensor they used in aircraft of the past. I agree to a point on John’s arguement, but I truly feel we hit the target of providing improved aviation technology and performance at a competitive price.

Just for fun COPA members, when you come in contact with a G1000 Cessna owner - Let them know they have “friggin” Class 3 lasers in their fuel tank.

All apologies for “friggin” as I too have Irish heritage.

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Can you give us a summary of the cost and installation time/cost for your system? I went on your website and saw the nice looking gauges for $840, but the website said one also needs the senders. I could not tell which ones or where they were on the site. If this is clear on the website–which would be somewhere other than where I looked–perhaps include a link to it?

My 2003 SR22 fuel gauges have been wandering a little, which might be part of a broader electrical grounding intermittent problem, but if I need new ones I would be interested. The fact that you also make homebuilt products increases my confidence in the likelihood they are of good quality!


What I have observed from looking at fuel sending units sent to us or we have purchased off of the used market, is that resistive fuel senders seem to last 10 to 12 years of aviation use - the resistance wiper and surface tend to get corroded due in part to the moist air entering the fuel tank vent system (un-avoidable) and this rougher surface tends to wear the surfaces of both the wiper and the resistance trace or wires. An ultrasonic cleaning will give a 30% increase in usable life (another 3 to 4 yrs) and then they need to be replaced. Ground connections are important, (which is why we chose a frequency output). If you monitor the other forums (Mooney, Beeech, Cessna) the senders can only be repaired or refurbished at most two times and then they should be retired from aviation use and scrapped.

We have a temporary self imposed moratorium on Cirrus G1/G2 sensors - while I have a few perfectly functioning units out of 6 that were installed, the others have not gone as well - whether this was due to fuel line connections, check valves, venting, electrical issues, the senders or ??? we were not quite sure, but we are committed to finding out.

The dynamics of the G1 / G2 fuel system throw a bit of a wrench in the works. We are actively working the issue as it regards (two senders in two separated tanks (Collector and Main) measuring just one fuel volume. In fact I was preparing the early SR22 wing tank for a observation window as your post came in. Here is a Link to our Website

Note: The G3 & G5 have two senders in a single tank (Main) measuring the total fuel volume - no issues with these aircraft or with any other non-Cirrus aircraft, Just the early Cirrus SR22 - early SR20’s are fine

Got it, thanks, I will wait! It sounds like you will have a pretty good market, assuming even half the early ones failed on that schedule.