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Old 09-03-2018, 07:31 PM
amaris amaris is offline
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Santa Ynez, CA
Posts: 283
Default Which Manufacturer??

This seems like I could be opening the primer wars here, but I'm curious why people go with Garmin vs Dynon vs MGL, GRT, etc.

I'd love to hear specifics as to why or why not one system over the other.

Thanks for the input!
Allen Maris - 2020 Dues paid
7A - 544RV In Progress
Santa Ynez, CA
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Old 09-03-2018, 07:43 PM
roadrunner20's Avatar
roadrunner20 roadrunner20 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Bay Pines, FL, building in Andrews, NC (new base @ KRHP)
Posts: 1,957

My only experience with Dynon is the 10A in 2006.
My 10A is my current backup to the GRT Sport SX. I've used the GRT EIS4000 since 2006.

My experience has been is that the smaller manufacturers are more responsive to customers. For example, when the Stratux ADS-B IN became available, GRT was quick to enable a hard wire to my EFIS as it had no WiFi capability. The same when Navworx released their product. I can call tech support and discuss issues & potential enhancements with the engineers. I'm treated as an important customer.

With Garmin, they are more proprietary with their data stream and less responsive due to their incredible market share.
Danny "RoadRunner" Landry
Morphed RV7(formally 7A), N20DL, PnP Pilot
1200+ hours

Last edited by roadrunner20 : 09-03-2018 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 09-03-2018, 08:03 PM
N661DJ N661DJ is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Winter Haven
Posts: 339

I have built, owned, several RV's, equipped with Garmin, GRT, Dynon, King, Narco, and other mfg. avionics. IMHO, for what it is worth, Garmin's market share is what it is because of the quality of the product and its customer support.
We have seen a number of avionics mfg. come and go. In the long run, I feel, Garmin will be the "Last one standing".
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Old 09-03-2018, 08:07 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 4,651

I read the different operating manuals and to me, they ranked differently based on my own desire to fly day VFR. If I were an IFR pilot, I might have made a different decision. In fact, an airline pilot that I know made his choice based on nothing more than compatibility of the user interface with the systems his airline uses.

Also some of the installation manuals were difficult to figure out for some specific operations, such as setting up the engine sensors, while others were very clear. Look at it with regard to the particular engine you're going to install. Which reminds me that the consensus on VAF is that the EFIS systems change rapidly so do the engine first. For me, that was easy - a year into my project, Santa brought me an engine, so that was on hand.

Yeah, that's a lot of downloading and reading but it's an expensive decision and I didn't want to mess it up. To me, it was necessary due diligence.

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Old 09-03-2018, 08:33 PM
BobTurner BobTurner is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Livermore, CA
Posts: 7,173

My two cents:
If you?re strictly vfr, shop by price. Probably Dynon wins.
For IFR: GRT is the winner here, if you shop by performance and price. But if you shop by looks and feel (and it is amazing how many do) then Garmin wins. Also, GRT is almost for ?hobbyists?. They expect you to be able to read schematics, and follow instruction manuals written by engineers. I personally rate Dynon as unacceptable for IFR, due to its dependence on pitot data (and/or fault detecting software to switch to GPS data - which has been reported here on VAF to sometimes fail in certain situations). Ymmv.
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Old 09-03-2018, 10:16 PM
Carl Froehlich's Avatar
Carl Froehlich Carl Froehlich is online now
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Dogwood Airpark (VA42)
Posts: 2,806

Dynon SkyView - period. The performance is as advertised and the after the sale service sets the bar for the industry. I have a lot of hard IFR hours with this system and find it superb for situational awareness.

I have just purchased another overpriced $9000 Garmin GTN-650 to go with the dual SkyView install on the new project - only because the alternative GPS navigator sufferers from all the things wrong with the TSO side of Garmin.

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Old 09-03-2018, 10:22 PM
Bavafa Bavafa is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 3,488

Plus 1 for Bob comment. I loved my GRT and how far ahead of other manufacturers have been in terms of feature sets.
N825SM RV7A - IO360M1B - SOLD
N825MS RV14A - IO390 - Flying
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Old 09-04-2018, 06:48 AM
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Jesse Jesse is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: X35 - Ocala, FL
Posts: 3,683

Allen, give me a call at your convenience and I?ll talk you through my thought process on picking a system.

- Feature sets are a big marketing push, many of the features of which you may never use. Most of them are very nice to have during IFR flight, however, for situational awareness.
- Ease of installation is another difference, which mainly depends on whether you want to wire it yourself or have it wired for you.
- Customer support. This is a two-fold issue or more. One, how easy is it to get support on the phone when you need them (huge differences between manufacturers). Two, how responsive they are about possible component failures and how many hoops you have to jump through to troubleshoot before they send you a replacement.
- Reliability and system architecture. How robust are the components and how robust is the communication link between components.
- Price should really be one of the last considerations. At least 3 of the manufacturers are within 5% or each other on system pricing.
Jesse Saint
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Old 09-04-2018, 07:59 AM
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JPalese JPalese is offline
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: KHXF
Posts: 143
Default Whish System

Your intended use is the first question you must answer.

If VFR only then the decision about the equipment is not critical.

IF IFR, then IMHO, any system that must have pitot-static input for the AHARS to function properly is unsatisfactory.

Murphy rules and while possible to fly across the great lakes in a single engine airplane, one must ask if the idea is sound?

Good Luck
John Palese
1) AAL Captain & Check Airman (ret)
2) USAF LtCol & Command Pilot (ret)

2) Adjunct Professor-Aviation Science
3) MKE FSDO FAAST Lead Rep & Remedial Trainer.

RV-12 Transition Training, Rental & Instruction.
RV-6/6A, RV-7/7A, RV-9/9A transition training
RV-7 Transition Training LODA.
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Old 09-04-2018, 08:41 AM
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Brantel Brantel is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Newport, TN
Posts: 7,509

There are at least a bazillion threads in the archives on this subject. Any over say 4-5 years old are probably declining in value since much has changed in that time. Many of the features have normalized across manufacturers.

There are some significant differences in user interface, presentation styles, menu depth, buttonology, color standards, communication bus types, connector robustness, etc.

As for support, Garmin basically has 2 business units we experimentals deal with. The certified group for the certified products and the experimental group for the experimental products. These 2 groups are handled very differently within Garmin. The experimental group is second to none at supporting the experimental products. Not that the certified support is bad, it is just different and geared to a different customer base. The others have great support as well however you will find examples of poor support from all of the manufacturers in the archives. I would say that at this time, those would be exceptions to the norm we all have come to expect.

Bottom line is you have to understand your mission, budget, and do your own research. Most people advocate what they have chosen so you have to be careful with opinions.

There are some that have real experience with multiple brands. Those folk’s opinions hold more weight in my mind. There are some good non biased articles out there that do a great job helping folks come to a conclusion. I suggest checking those out. Get to a show and put your hands on the ones you are considering and play around with them to be sure.

Also be mindful of avionics vendors...understand that those that are not an authorized distributor of a particular brand may be less than enthusiastic to recommend them.
Brantel (Brian Chesteen),
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Last edited by Brantel : 09-04-2018 at 08:52 AM.
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