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Old 10-10-2016, 09:38 PM
plehrke's Avatar
plehrke plehrke is online now
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Defiance, MO
Posts: 1,830
Default It's time for Glass

When I started to build my RV-6A back in 1997 I decided that a good 6-pack of steam gauges were relatively inexpensive, reliable, easy to install, and companies had been around since the Wright Brothers. Glass was new, no clear indications the companies would be around for service, and as a aero/mechanical engineer, glass had way too much electrical stuff to learn about (I shy away from electronics like other do fiberglass). My flying is VFR with limited cross country so I have never needed anything fancy. With the advent of the iPad, I added glass on my knee with all the great charts and ADS-B weather and traffic. Now after 8 years of building and 10 years of flying I have seen the light of glass.

Below is a picture of my panel. I still like it and would not even be thinking of changing except items have begun to fail (vacuum pump and flight data recorder) and maybe instead of repairing/replacing, it is finaly time to upgrade.

The only "advanced" item on the panel is the Flight Performance Recorder from Pegasus Technology (just to the left of the breaker sub-panel). I love that thing as is collects (or calculates), displays, and records:
- airspeed (IAS, CAS, TAS, ground speed)
- Altitude (Pressure and density)
- course
- Manifold Pressure
- % Horsepower
- fuel flow, fuel used
- Date and time
- Lat and Long
- Gs
The software that came with it was great to create all my perfomance plots and playback flights. Unfortunately the recorder finally died last week. Pegasus Tech sort of dropped off the experimental scene 3 years before I flew (13 years ago) so no one around to help trouble shoot the unit.
Also, yesterday my vacuum pump quit working so the artificial horizon and directional gyro are in-operative.

What I would want is something that fits into the spot of the Artificial Horizon and directional gyro and provided typical EFIS functions. Not looking at doing an entire new panel, just plug some glass in spots of current instruments. Aspen appears to be the only one I have found that fits that form factor but they are pretty pricey as they only have stuff that is certified. I would like something for the experimental market that is not quit so pricey. The Dynon D10A also would fit where a single gyro was removed.
The other requirement I have is that I would like to have the EFIS record my flight including most of the parameters I listed above. In the online literture I have not found what parameters any of the EFIS may record and are able to download to my computer for plotting.

I would appreciate any recommendation for options to give me some glass and data recording capability without redoing my entire panel.
RV-6A - flying 970+ hours
Based at 1H0 (Creve Coeur)
Paid dues yearly since 2007

Last edited by plehrke : 10-30-2016 at 03:05 AM.
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Old 10-10-2016, 10:01 PM
Jesse's Avatar
Jesse Jesse is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: X35 - Ocala, FL
Posts: 3,711

A G5 is a nice little efis that fits in a 3" hole and is very reasonably priced. A Dyno D-10A EFIS and D-10 Engine Mo it or would also fit the bill nicely. I'm not sure if they log air data, but I'm pretty sure the EMS logs engine data (although it's a little cumbersome to download). I think a pair of Dynons would fit the bill very nicely and you could add a fairly functional auto pilot to the mix very inexpensively.

I wouldn't even consider an Aspen unless you can get a very cheap used one, but that is unlikely. I think the Dynon is more dependable and feature-rich.

Last edited by Jesse : 10-10-2016 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 10-10-2016, 10:03 PM
Jesse's Avatar
Jesse Jesse is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: X35 - Ocala, FL
Posts: 3,711

Another thought is to get a Dynon D-180 and replace the whole mini panel that has your six-pack. That is a nice screen and gives battery backup for the Engine Monitor as well. That would be really easy to do.
Jesse Saint
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Old 10-11-2016, 08:00 AM
RKellogg RKellogg is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Newark, IL
Posts: 287
Arrow glass upgrade - go big!

I realize each situation is different, ASF, but I might replace the entire six-pack sub-panel with as large a screen as possible. There is so much information available from modern glass, most of it benefiting VFR flight. Traffic, NexRad, charts, graphic engine monitoring, HSI, and EFIS.... Lots of stuff to see...

Eventually middle-age eyesight catches up with most of us. A larger display makes it easier/faster to read and understand the info that you need at that second. Last winter I pulled out the last two round instruments and plugged in a second 10 inch SkyView. Maybe not perfect. Maybe not as good as somebody else's, but pretty wonderful for my needs.

As a redundancy back-up to the EFIS, I added a Dynon D2 on a strip of Velcro, covers most failure modes, except loss of satellite constellation. A truly remarkable little ace in the hole.

Let us know how it goes!

- Roger
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Old 10-11-2016, 09:59 AM
Canadian_JOY Canadian_JOY is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 2,474

The GRT Mini-X with engine monitor option would fill the bill nicely, although it's hard to tell if it will fit between your steam gauges. This would necessitate the installation of a GRT EIS4000 and probes, but would give you all the recorded data you're looking for, plus a very bright, easy to use EFIS that will give you magnetic heading information (the Garmin G5 won't give you that magnetic heading info unless you purchase a significant stack of additional equipment).

I would agree with the recommendation to replace your 6-pack sub panel with bigger glass. When I started out with my "flying" airplane I had the same mission as you have so I installed a Dynon D100 along with "steam" ASI, ALT, VSI and T&B. Were I to do it all over again, I would ditch the steam gauges entirely and go for bigger glass. Or stick with similar size of glass and install a second EFIS. I really like the panel in our new airplane that has both a big EFIS and a small one. The small one can stay configured as a Primary Flight Display while the big one can do all the fancy mapping functions on a screen that's big enough to allow aging eyes to actually see the info being presented. It's a complete win-win, with nary a steam gauge in sight. Experimental glass seems to have reached a point of demonstrated reliability that is well above the vacuum/steam gauges you are replacing. Or at least this has been my experience. There's no EFIS that fails every 400 or 500 hours like a vacuum pump does!
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Old 10-11-2016, 10:11 AM
Raymo's Avatar
Raymo Raymo is offline
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Richmond Hill, GA (KLHW)
Posts: 2,340

Great points made above. Once you get something like a D180 installed and flying, you likely wish you'd gone with a larger screen, auto-pilot, etc. It is difficult to stop once you choose the EFIS direction. Budget is the primary limiting factor, IMO.

ADS-B for the 2020 mandate should also be part of the decision making process.
RV-7A - Slider - N495KL - First flt 27 Jan 17
O-360-A4M w/ AFP FM-150 FI, Dual PMags, Vetterman Trombone Exh, SkyTech starter, BandC Alt (PP failed after 226 hrs)
Catto 3 blade NLE, FlightLines Interior, James cowl, plenum & intake, Anti-Splat -14 seat mod and nose gear support
All lines by TSFlightLines (aka Hoser)

Last edited by Raymo : 10-11-2016 at 10:13 AM.
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Old 10-11-2016, 10:36 AM
KatieB's Avatar
KatieB KatieB is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Belton, MO
Posts: 1,144

You can try a small EFIS for a while, then when you're ready for a project, you can go with a clean-sheet panel design and a big EFIS of your favorite brand. Whatever mini EFIS you go with now can be used as a backup in your final panel design-- it doesn't even have to be the same brand as the big one.

Don't forget GRT's Mini-GA, which clips into a 3-1/8" round hole and has many more features than the little Dynon.
Katie Bosman
EAA Homebuilt Aircraft Council
Rebuilt most of SNF tornado victim RV-3B Tony Boy II (had to sell him, but he's flying!)
VAF Dues Paid 2021!
Thoughts & opinions expressed here are my own, and not those of my employer.
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:47 AM
rolivi's Avatar
rolivi rolivi is offline
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Fort Worth
Posts: 560

I guess I'm a half-glass guy. (please don't overlook the G and L)

In your setup I would do the Dynon D-10A where your Attitude Indicator is and move on with life. You'll have a very nicely backed up EFIS and for a little more (two servos, some wire, and some time) you can have two-axis autopilot.

It's a plug in way to give you some more of what you want with no impact on what you've bought!
RV-6A (Purchased)
2021 Dues Paid, of course
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Old 10-11-2016, 07:46 PM
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koupster koupster is offline
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: SLC, UT (KBTF)
Posts: 306
Default Dynon D10A & D10

I put a D10A in place of the attitude indicator and a D10 EMS on the right side - it could go in your Pegasus hole. You can then put either display on whichever screen you like. I monitor engine instruments on taxi with the EMS display an the left screen - works well for CHT monitoring on climbout also. The D10 can function as an EFIS for the person in the right seat. You'll get everything you got from the Pegasus except Lat and Long. The data is downloadable for review and can be analysed by Savvy Analysis if you like. These units are often available used. I'm quite happy with this setup, and my aging eyes still have the big needles on the airspeed, altimeter, and vertical speed instruments. Can send a panel picture by email if you like.

Cheers, David
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Old 10-12-2016, 11:30 AM
flytoboat's Avatar
flytoboat flytoboat is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Collinsville, IL
Posts: 621

Phil, I'm kind of doing the same as you as an interim panel until I complete my full panel upgrade. When my vacuum pump died I removed the vacuum system and installed my GRT Mini AP with magnetometer, GPS module, and roll & pitch servos. I already had the GRT EIS. I am just across the river from you at ALN and would be happy to let you observe this setup in flight if you want. Just PM me and we'll get it done. I am amazed at the capability of this system. It may not be the cheapest alternative but it is great bang for the buck.
VAF #1100, EAA864
-6A bought flying
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