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Engine Pre Heat and other Remote Control Systems

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:48 pm
by LimaBravo
Hey Gang, I'm back with some more tech updates for you. This time on engine pre heat remote control and systems remote control. I know it is late in the "pre heat season" , but here it is for fall :

1. Nighthawk "NH100 Air". I am sure most of you are familiar with this remote power on/off switch for your engine heater or other power needs in the hangar. I recently purchased a unit from Rick at preferred wireless, and it works perfectly. Rick set me up with an unlimited paging plan for $8.00 / mo. The unit gets great reception and can handle more than enough amps for most engine preheaters. In the summer you can plug in anything else in the hangar that needs a charge or etc... before you arrive for your flight. By the way, I got it brand new for almost 1/2 of what all the aviation mags advertise it for, and had it custom programmed for my needs. Contrary to how it is sold out of the magazines, this unit is highly highly customizable.

2. The all new GSM-AUTO. This is a new arrival on the scene, using the guts of a nokia cell phone as the control unit for two heavy duty relays to control two separate circuits you set up as you see fit. I have on circuit controlling the preheater, and the other charging my back up GPS or handheld before I arrive to the airport to fly. This unit requires about a level 5 out of 10 in electronics and cell phone technology to get going. You also have to hard wire a separate "outlet box" to plug in, or you may elect to hard wire an extension cord to the unit to operate. This unit basically inserts a switch in your extension cord between the outlet and the plug on your heater or other powered device. you can see them here:

When you get the GSM set up, it works amazing. The controls and commands are almost limitless. Since it works over the cellular network, you just call it or send an SMS message to control it. With one message or phone call, you can fully control power to all devices you have plugged in. This unit is also relatively cheap at $199, and once set up, it will NEVER answer a call - that way on a prepaid tmobile cell SIM it will cost you little or nothing to operate !! You will only pay for occasional SMS messages to maintain and check in on the unit.

So there is the remote control technology updates. without completely building your own, I believe they are the only two commercial fixes for paging / cellular control of power to heaters and etc....

I have lots of photos of the set up if anyone would want to see, or if Jack says OK to post I can do that too. I like the gsm auto so much, I will be rolling out an iPhone app that will fully mesh with gsm-auto texting commands, that I am testing for myself currently.

Happy flying,


PS: I am in no way affiliated with any company or technology listed above. I am a private pilot end user.

search meta words: heat preheat preheater heaters remote control pre heat heater nh-100

Re: Engine Pre Heat and other Remote Control Systems

Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:49 pm
by LimaBravo
What types of remote pre-heat systems are you guys and gals using this year??? Anything new out there ? ? ?


Re: Engine Pre Heat and other Remote Control Systems

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:41 pm
by murphey
So it's been a few years and I've discovered I need a remote setup. Looked at the GSM-AUTO, probably go that direction unless I can find the OEM hardware someplace else. Anyone have any info about that? As for the iPhone app - did you ever create it? Photos or other remote options would be great.

Re: Engine Pre Heat and other Remote Control Systems

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:25 pm
by Traveler
I just ordered a SwitchBox from Phillip (, its GSM Auto based with a lot of the work done. It should be here Monday. Ill post a PIREP on it next week.