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ET: Engine (Twin) Electric start, Rapide

Phil Arundel

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VOC Member
Has anyone had any experience of fitting electric start to a Rapide? The engine I am working on is on the bench being rebuilt.
Any advice on where to purchase and fitting advice would be most welcome.
Thanks
Phil
 

Peter Holmes

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I can’t see that you have too many options, on a twin engine the Francois Grosset electric is just about the only one out there, that is unless Alton have entered the fray. I have been using the Grosset electric start for a few years now without any problems. In pre Covid 19 times you could go over to Brittany in France and have Francois supply and fit the starter kit for you at an approximate cost of £2k, it could be more now, or fit it all yourself if you have the skills, I think the kit alone was around £1.7K, but again that might be more now. I think comprehensive fitting instructions have been loaded up on this forum in the past.
 
Last edited:

vibrac

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Yes its a bit of a short list. The obvious solution is a short chain via the LH kickstart tunnel to a chainwheel on the clutch this has been done quite a few times but not yet commercially as far as I can find out
 

BigEd

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VOC Member
VOC Forum Moderator
Depends on your skill levels and thickness of your wallet. :)
If you have the engine on is on the bench being rebuilt then you are obviously comfortable with spanners. While it is on the bench is the easiest time to fit an electric start.
Unless you want to devise your own the Grosset starter is the only way to go. The gear cover alterations can be done with hand tools, i.e. hacksaw, drill, grinder/sander. You will need a bit of machining doing to alter the ratchet gears. It is not a huge job and if you don't have a lathe you should be able to find someone to do that bit for you as it is a fairly simple mod.
 

stu spalding

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Hi Phil, I've mentioned this before but here goes anyway. If you fit a Grosset starter you must make sure that the motor is totally waterproof. The brush springs have no plating to prevent corrosion and will rust and eventually break. I would like to think that this problem has been rectified but I'm not sure. Cheers, Stu.
 

oexing

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Maybe they could come up with brushless motors, unbelievable power from these today. Needs a little bit of electronics but cheap enough to get. Most model aircraft owners operate these in their high performance planes and helicopters.

Vic
 

craig

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VOC Member

Peter Holmes

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
This post will not help Phil, but I think I am right in saying that Colin Jenner, ex of Conway Motors was in the process of developing an electric starter for the twin engine, but if you will pardon the pun, the project stalled, but it would be interesting to know how far the project got, and what was proposed, I think it was around the same time as the Southwell/Grosset starter appeared, so perhaps as has happened previously with VHS and Betamax, there was only room for one in the marketplace.
 

Peter Holmes

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Re: Post 8, how much use had that sprag had, what configuration of engine was it starting, was there a backfire, or was the conclusion simply that something was wrong with the manufacture of the sprag gear, and lastly what is the cost of a replacement part, I believe it is pretty costly when compared to the cost of the entire kit.
 

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