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Old 02-19-2013, 03:28 AM
Rainier Lamers Rainier Lamers is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Somerset West
Posts: 1,033

Have not posted for a long time.

My take:
Remote control of VHF COM radios via EFIS is a given. That makes sense and works well. This is regardless if we are talking about a panel mount radio or a remote mount radio. The main advantage is, for some EFIS systems, easy entry of numeric values (frequencies) and for most, sending frequencies directly from navigation databases to the radio.

Transponders - honestly, not sure about this. Yes, we control Sandia and Garrecht transponders from the EFIS and will be supporting both Dynon as well as Trig transponders very soon. So, it's not that we can't do this - it's that I don't see a huge amount of value. Setups you rarely if ever change - so doing that on the transponder itself is just fine. Entering a 4 digit code ? Yes, we have a touch screen on the iEFIS and you can setup a code with just 5 taps (one to "open" the transponder display and 4 taps for the digits) - but still, that is not really sufficient advantage over the more common rotary control on the transponder itself.
The only time I can honestly advise a remote mount transponder is if you have a panel space problem and simply can't fit a head.

BTW, Both Dynon and Trig (as well as Sandia and Garrecht) remote mount transponders **CAN** be controlled by a remote head simultaneously to an EFIS (or even more than one EFIS) thus providing redundancy (from a control point of view). The required head for this is currently in production at MGL and should be released shortly.
The head currently will work only with MGL EFIS systems however the CAN based protocol that MGL uses is in the public domain so anybody can use it if they want to.

CEO MGL Avionics
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:53 AM
mscheuer's Avatar
mscheuer mscheuer is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 182

dynonsupport wrote. "Where the radio and audio panel break down is in the User Interface. I actually think the UI for the transponder is great. You get 8 buttons and can just type in your Mode-A code really quick. No spinning knobs, and the 4 digits are pretty easy to remember when they are assigned in case you need to move across a menu or two to enter it."

Since PS Engineering has the only audio panel that controls a remote mounted radio, I feel compelled to respond to the User Interface (UI) breaks down, since there is no other products that has this combination.

The user interface employed in the PAR100EX works like almost all of GA's radios, GNS430, KX-155, A-210, SL-30, and just about any other radio that I can think of.

The PAR100EX UI was designed with several goals, two were KISS and familiarity.

Nothing wrong with direct entry, but having buttons (or screen) to allow the selection of frequencies takes up real estate.

I have great respect for Dynon and think their support here is outstanding, so I hope Ian respects this post as only as my respond to his comment about the implementing of entering frequencies in communication radios. I don't consider this as a breakdown.

Mark Scheuer
PS Engineering, Inc.

Last edited by mscheuer : 02-19-2013 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:53 AM
dynonsupport's Avatar
dynonsupport dynonsupport is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Woodinville, WA
Posts: 1,499

As this was a thread about integrating radios and other devices into EFIS units, my statement ""Where the radio and audio panel break down is in the User Interface" was referring to when you shove those functions into an EFIS that is already doing PFD, MFS, EMS, WX, AP, Transponder, and does not have any dedicated controls for radio volume or tuning. It was not a statement that you can't build an audio panel that integrates a radio without a terrible UI. In fact, the PAR100EX avoids exactly the issues I was describing by having a dedicated knob for controlling radio frequency.

In a different thought, touch screens change some things for sure, but not everything. I still believe that a radio needs a knob no matter what, and I at least get to find one company that agrees: Garmin. When they designed the new GTN series of certified GPS/NAV/COM, they left three knobs on the box instead of making the screen bigger and lowering their manufacturing price: Radio Volume, Radio MHz, and Radio KHz. You can also tap the frequency and enter it direct with a keypad, but they did determine that you need a knob in a lot of cases.

As I also said before, the market is full of options, and my thoughts are just my own. I'm sure there are plenty of good ways to achieve a the man-machine interfaces that we need in airplanes, and many I've never considered or experienced. I'm just trying to get the original poster some opinions to consider around his question.

Dynon Avionics
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:59 AM
mscheuer's Avatar
mscheuer mscheuer is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 182

My bad Ian, I clearly took that statement out of context, sorry.

I did say (and meant it!) that Dynon's support is great and I know I got that right!!!

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Old 02-19-2013, 10:28 PM
Mike D's Avatar
Mike D Mike D is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 456

Wow, thanks for the great posts!!!!!

I guess I really have several questions.
1. Can everything be remote as shown in the brochures of GRT HXr, Dynon Skyview, MGL iEFIS and the Garmin G900?
2. If so, is this a good setup for IFR?
3. Is there a way to get there from here, without a complete panel redo? Meaning buying all new equipment.

Seems from the responses so far, the real answer to question 1 is no.
I agree with Ian, that well thought out controls are a must. But it seems that GRT, Garmin, and MGL have the correct types of buttons and knobs nessissary to control the radios and transponder without any deep menus. I have not played with a Skyview yet, so it might be there too. But the real issue is compatibility and the functions that can be controlled remotely. (Or that is what I am understanding from the responses)
How to get rid of that 6.25-inch center stack???

Still not sure about the answer to question 2. But as Ian has clearly pointed out, dual EFIS's give good backup and should be adequate. Extra safety measure might be a Dynon D6.

I am still very confused about question 3. Not sure it is possible, but my bank account can't handle the cost of the full upgrade. I have already spent it on my current setup.

But if starting from scratch, there is a lot of functionality for a relatively cheap price available now. So huge congrats to each company. I have got a lot of learning to do, and that is why I am here.
Michael Delpier
RV6A -O-320, fixed pitch, GRT Sport, 496
RV-10 - working on finish kit
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:57 AM
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KatieB KatieB is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Belton, MO
Posts: 1,124

Hi Mike,

Thanks for bringing up such relevant questions. This segment of the industry is changing rapidly these days, and as more airplanes with remote avionics are finished & upgraded, more and more good ideas will emerge. Some of the interfaces currently available will probably prove to be impractical, while others will shine. I think I speak for all EFIS manufacturers when I say we are eager to get this input and further evolve our systems to meet pilots' needs.

For IFR redundancy, a dual display/dual AHRS system is best, especially when combined with an essential bus and secondary power supply. The HXr has the capability to control a single remote transponder from either screen in a dual system, and you'd likely have two radios, one wired to each screen-- so the odds of losing control of your remote devices is slim. In a single-screen setup like my RV-3B, I'll have some choices to make. I'll want an independent backup attitude source if I want to do any IFR flying. How will I accomplish it? There are a few options out there, and the technology is changing fast. The Android interface is promising technology that's still in development, but I think that will play a large role in the supporting instruments I decide to put in my panel.

To answer Question 3: Cost-wise, you will be further ahead to stick with GRT. The introductory price on HXr is good through the end of Sun 'n Fun, and we can take your Sport in for trade/upgrade. If you have panel space available for one or more panel-mount radios for now, you can keep what you currently have and incrementally upgrade your entire radio stack to remote as your budget allows. As the radio/transponder manufacturers finish their hardware, new options are appearing on the market all the time. GRT has an open interface, so you will have the freedom to choose most any ADS-B, nav/com, transponder and GPS option. Of course, only a few of these are remote-capable right now, but your future brand options for these devices will not be limited.

Your installation would be easier as well. The wiring for a Horizon system is more complex because of increased capabilities, but it follows the same logic as the Sport with color-coded wires and serial ports. If you have a GRT EIS engine monitor, it will stay the same as well--and you can blind-mount the same instrument you already have. There are several RV builders who have successfully upgraded from Sport to HXr on this forum. One is a retired airline captain who flies a lot of IFR. I'm sure between those guys and our techs at GRT, we can answer all your questions. Feel free to give us a call! (616) 245-7700, ext. 234
Katie Bosman
EAA Homebuilt Advisory Council
Rebuilt most of SNF tornado victim RV-3B Tony Boy II (had to sell him, but he's flying!)
RV-9 93281 tail kit has arrived... here I go again!
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:26 AM
SteinAir SteinAir is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 2,474

Originally Posted by Mike D View Post
Wow, thanks for the great posts!!!!!

I guess I really have several questions.
1. Can everything be remote as shown in the brochures of GRT HXr, Dynon Skyview, MGL iEFIS and the Garmin G900?
2. If so, is this a good setup for IFR?
3. Is there a way to get there from here, without a complete panel redo? Meaning buying all new equipment.
I have written much on this subject in the past, so I won't rehash pages of details, but will try to answer your questions above directly.

1) Comparing those 5 EFIS systems in one sentence is impossible because they are so entirely different in so many different ways. Without getting into a huge amount of details, the G900X is pretty much composed of certified components (including dual real TSO146 GPSes, etc..) and it's on the exterme end of one spectrum and the price reflects that. Also note that marketing rhetoric can sometimes be stretched just a little. Remember "remote radios" at the moment in most of the systems discussed do not include NAV radios or real certified TSO146 IFR GPSes. Also note that with the exception of Garmin and Dynon, everyone else is using different branded radios than their own (not saying it's good or bad, just a fact) and also some of the aformationed companies require small unadvertised 'modules' to be installed in between the radio and/or transponder and the EFIS screen to control the product. For example, those who have/and or are adopting the Dynon and/or Garmin transponder protocols have no such modules in between the transponder and EFIS. Not a big deal, but just a detail that sometimes gets left out from the sales guys. There have been some very good posts with very good information so far, but also some information sharing has been somewhat selective in details (using the interfaces on things as an example). Just like a GTN-750 can control a REMOTE (not internal) audio panel and/or transponder, it can just as easily be hooked up to run them panel mounted at the same time (we often do just that).

Also note that in my opinion 2 AHRS are not necessarily better than one for IFR (and in some cases could be worse) without a 3rd Tie Breaker. I wouldn't consider the D6/Gemini to be a "might" type of an extra safety measure, for IFR I'd consider it a "must".

2) You are well on the way with having a 480 in there already, and even with your current setup it's likely you are technically IFR legal, though probably not comfortbly IFR functional (depending on what type of flying you do). It's impossible to say exactly what is a "good" setup because it's all relative and about perspective. What is good for one person might be bad for another.

3) Honestly I haven't had the time to study your current configuration in detail, and the answer will depend on a whole lot of variables...but the reality is that if you want to go full boat IFR then at least some new equipment will be in the cards for you. Also some panel surgery will also likely be required. That doesn't mean you have to redo everything, but also keep in mind that sometimes it is just as easy to start from zero reusing some of your existing components as it is to kludge things together. I'm not saying that's the case here, but sometimes it is.

To get some clear and concise answers to your questions would depend on a variety of factors (budget, time, desired functionality, ability, what you like to look at, etc..).

I guess in the end I'd say the integrated stuff can be a double edged sword. There are some very well executed example, but there have been some very poorly executed examples in the past (Blue Mountain, OP Technologies, etc..) and sorting through things is getting more and more difficult for folks, so I understand your desire to figure it all out! I wish I had a solid answer for you, but at this time I just don't. It's also hard to judge integration of various systems (regardless of what you read from mfgr's) if the actual integration isn't done, or isn't flying, or has some production level (not beta test or bench flying time) customer fleet time. That leaves us as customers only using a rather subjective bits of data to go from! I would urge a little bit of caution and restraint on making a decision based on "upcoming functionality"; sometimes thing don't always work as advertised.

Something like the PAR100EX can get confused in this discussion because it can be integrated with some EFISes, yet can also be a stand alone product. That actual unit installed as stand alone is very easy to use and the integration between it and the radio is well done. That said, I do not have any personal flight time with the GRT version of that pacakge running remotely so I can't comment on it either way.

That's just my quick 2 cents on a subject that can get quite complicated quite fast!


Last edited by SteinAir : 02-20-2013 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:57 AM
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sduford sduford is offline
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Panama
Posts: 8

Very interesting discussion!

Has anyone ever attempted to do a run down of the differences and advantages/disadvantages of the main EFIS systems that are currently available?
Sylvain Duford

RV-8A kit sold in 2000, now contemplating building an RV-10.
Moderator of the Experimental Aviation Community on Google+
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:56 PM
BobTurner BobTurner is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Livermore, CA
Posts: 7,290

Sure. After spending lots of money, everyone thinks that they made the best choice! Me too!! It's just human nature.
As Stein said, it really gets down to personal preferrences.
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:04 PM
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Bill_H Bill_H is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Marshall TX (KASL)
Posts: 1,787

Ian - what are the dimensions of the radio HMI device? And how much room will it need behind the panel? I have a friend with an RV4 looking to convert and squeeze in a 10 inch Skyview, with Dynon transponder, and hoping soon for the com radio as well because it will all take up less panel space. Thought the comm hmi would be all in the EFIS, now realize that is not so. And will the comm all live on the Skyview network or take up a serial port?
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