View Full Version : Garmin install-only policy.

John Courte
11-02-2006, 01:23 PM
What's up with Garmin's policy of only selling equipment if it's installed by a professional? I understand the liability angle, thin though it is, but does this seriously mean I'm going to need professional installation of the SL30? How do they expect this to happen if the airplane is under construction in a garage? And does having a GNS430 or SL30 installed professionally also chip away at the amateur-built percentage?

Buying used obviates this, but I'm having a difficult time finding a used SL30 on Barnstormers or anywhere else on the net.

So far, the only workaround I can see is to buy one from some other country where the policy isn't in effect. I'll bet shipping is cheaper than installation.

This is academic anyway, I won't need avionics for a while, but I like to know the options.


Scott Will
11-02-2006, 01:27 PM
Most avionics shops will sell to homebuilders. Tell them you are building and it's not going in a store bought airplane. Got my SL-30 from a major avionics house that ends in "Coast Aero" and installed it myself.

Call around, you'd be surprised. I'd try Stark or Stein if I did it again (which I might!)

11-02-2006, 01:38 PM
John, you need to call Stark.. :) Garmin, IIRC, allows sale of equipment either professionally installed OR if it includes wiring harness.. So Stark will have you buy his harness. If you find a better price than his, let us all know :)

11-02-2006, 01:40 PM
Bought my Garmin stuff from Stark. From talking to him, Garmin requires them to sell you at least a basic wiring harness for most of their units.

(edit. Also, Stark's cost, even after buying the harness, was cheaper than anyplace else I could find.)

RV-10 #40032

11-02-2006, 01:41 PM
Hi John:

I am just about to purchase a GTX327 & SL30 from Stark avionics. Excellent service and special pricing for the experimental crowd. I am also having them build up the harnesses.

SteinAir is not a Garmin dealer, they buy their stuff from Stark.


Good luck.

Mike Draper
Just hung the engine

11-02-2006, 02:03 PM
Oh man, someone help Stark with their web page! :) That red lettering almost sent me into an epileptic seizure. :) :)

Rene Bubberman
11-02-2006, 02:14 PM
I wanted to buy Garmin stuff at Stark's, but he does not sell outside the USA....
So I did some shopping and quoting around and guess what: Van's was a good second. Plus they did a very good job on the wiring harnesses.

John Courte
11-02-2006, 02:39 PM
Wow, OK.. This is great info, thanks everyone. I had already started spooling contingency plans of taking my panel to a shop or bribing a certified installer to spend a week in my garage.

I'll definitely check out Stark and Something Coast Aero.

11-02-2006, 04:11 PM
Dealer-built harnesses satisfies Garmin's requirement for "dealer installation".

Garmin wants the sale but also recognizes many warranty claims and arguements can be avoided by requiring dealer installation.


11-02-2006, 07:33 PM
Garmin make some great stuff, but their policies REALLY irritate me :mad:

I got all my Garmin stuff from Stark, but I wish he would just add the cost of the mandatory wiring harness into the unit to make it less painful. My transponder wiring harness cost $55 if I recall correctly, and there are only 3 wires with the serial encoder output from the Dynon. Did I mention I'm an electronics tech? Yeah, I just LOVE spending that much for 3 stinkin wires :(

Rusty (DAR inspection schedule for next weekend)

jeff beckley
11-03-2006, 04:14 PM
John stark only makes about 5% markup on garmin stuff and they have always been there to help me when I screw things up installing the equipment. Their pre wire harneses may seem a little high but after shopping around I found I could buy everything including the wireing for less than others were charging just for the equipment. I would go back to them in a heartbeat.

11-07-2006, 04:52 PM
Did I mention I'm an electronics tech? Yeah, I just LOVE spending that much for 3 stinkin wires :(

Rusty (DAR inspection schedule for next weekend)

You are the exception... Like Jekyll said, Garmin avoids a lot of warranty work with this policy. Having the knowlege, skill and tools to do it right is a bit more likely with their dealers than the average Joe. This is not a new idea, just look at what King has been doing for decades! There's also the added benefit of word of mouth. Fewer will complain about the install hassle for a short time than opperation difficulties over extended periods. It just makes sense for them.