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  #1  
Old 08-30-2017, 10:25 PM
ansonfogel ansonfogel is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 7
Default ADVICE ON OLDER RV AVIONICS FULL UPGRADE

Oh Wise Wizards of the VAF - I am a recent buyer of Tom Whelen's 1994 built RV4, a wonderful machine, well maintained, low hour, impeccably built - in 1994. All steam, barely useful GPS, etc - and showing signs of wear on the various electrical systems. So. I've been obsessively researching (I am an engineer by training, so get ready for a nerdy post):

I am fairly settled, and have quotes from Stein, for a single 10" G3X based EFIS and mostly garmin parts including full ADSB in/out, etc. My mission is VFR only, but I do fly often cross country for work and personal travel. I fly in mountains a lot - based in Utah, fly over CO Rockies at lot, etc. Space inside is a big limiting factor in RV4's, and I'd love to delete the lower between legs stack altogether. I fly by myself 75% of the time, with a passenger 25%. I do light aerobatics but no competition - I mostly fly to and from places in the west, XC. I cruise often at 12-14K feet, and my airfields are mostly at least 4K feet ASL.

Plan to is install all electric, no more steam. Garmin G3x, w/XM (like the better resolution and reliability over ADSB only), engine monitor, GPS20 adsb complaint GPS, heated pitot/AOA replace, Garmin pitch and roll servos using on board G3X controls (only, plane has no autopilot or electric trim now), GTR20 remote com, integrate existing King Com as Com2, Garmin GTR45 ADBS source/out/transcvr, and G5 backup instrument with its own battery. Update/move analog switching, alternator, battery - but keep those analog breakers and switches, no solid state new control box for that (?) in a new panel.

My debates are a few:

1. GTR45/GPS20 combo for ADSB 2020 in/out compliance vs standalone box (Lynx,etc). It is more expensive that the Lynx or Stratus options, but it fully integrates with the G3. I prefer the XM source over the ADSB for weather, traffic etc - but having both is a good backup. But **** its expensive.

2. iPad/Lynx/Stratus as permanent, always live backup w/iPad on dash, VS. ADSB vs. Garmin Integrated ADSB/GPS2020 with G5 backup. Of course, again, the separate low cost solution for backup is probably not as reliable. But, it gives me another full EFIS style screen via an Ipad on my right next to the G3x screen, for a lot less moola.

3. Keep an integrate my old King Com with the G3X and GPR20 as Com 1/Com2? Or just pull that hunk of metal out, its big, heavy and in the way and not that easy to integrate without a separate audio panel?

4. Audio panel vs. just internal G3X touch? Budget is busted, so hard to argue for it.

5. Autopilot panel vs. just internal G3x touch?

6. Pay Stein to wire (a lot) of it or no? Worry about their wire and harness lengths being pre made and not to fit, etc?

Trying to remember to keep it simple, yet, consider usability, safety and pilot workload.

Last edited by ansonfogel : 08-30-2017 at 10:30 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-30-2017, 11:14 PM
maus92 maus92 is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Annapolis MD
Posts: 457
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I have one radio, the GTR20 with my G3X system. It's fine for VFR - don't forget that the GTR20 / G3X Touch combo allows you to monitor the standby frequency if you like - I usually set it up to listen to AWOS / ASOS. If you really, really want to have a second radio, you *should* get a separate audio panel, although a simple switch *could* work, but I think it's a janky solution. But reusing the King with all your new avionics? Ewwww.....

When I finally add a GTN, I'll put in the remote intercom, but for now, the GTR20's internal audio is just fine - all it lacks is a Bluetooth audio source.

I redid all the wiring in my RV-8A that I purchased 3rd hand. I spent the winter building the wiring harness on my dining room table. It's not hard, you just have to pay attention to the wiring diagrams that Garmin provides in its install manual.

I prefer the separate autopilot control head.
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Last edited by maus92 : 08-30-2017 at 11:23 PM.
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  #3  
Old 08-30-2017, 11:39 PM
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rvisnext rvisnext is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: WA
Posts: 76
Default IMHO

4. Audio panel vs. just internal G3X touch? Budget is busted, so hard to argue for it.

Internal, with monitor function one radio is all you need for VFR. Save that money(and panel space) and use it on the dedicated A/P panel


5. Autopilot panel vs. just internal G3x touch?

I have built 2 planes with the G3X Touch... one with and one without the A/P panel. Believe me when I tell you... you want the stand alone A/P panel

6. Pay Stein to wire (a lot) of it or no? Worry about their wire and harness lengths being pre made and not to fit, etc?

I think it's worth it to pay, unless you can use time when you wouldn't be flying anyway to do the wiring. (and it will take longer than you think I'd bet) It will take longer than you think, and probably more feet of wire than you initially purchase, meaning extra orders shipping and down time waiting for wire/pins, supplies
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  #4  
Old 08-31-2017, 11:00 AM
BHunt BHunt is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 315
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When I had my panel re-done (full remove and replace) by Jesse Saint, the labor was only about 13-14% of the total cost, and I didn't have to do anything. I'd say its worth it.
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  #5  
Old 08-31-2017, 11:21 AM
David Paule David Paule is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ansonfogel View Post
....
1. GTR45/GPS20 combo for ADSB 2020 in/out compliance vs standalone box (Lynx,etc). It is more expensive that the Lynx or Stratus options, but it fully integrates with the G3. I prefer the XM source over the ADSB for weather, traffic etc - but having both is a good backup. But **** its expensive.

2. iPad/Lynx/Stratus as permanent, always live backup w/iPad on dash, VS. ADSB vs. Garmin Integrated ADSB/GPS2020 with G5 backup. Of course, again, the separate low cost solution for backup is probably not as reliable. But, it gives me another full EFIS style screen via an iPad on my right next to the G3x screen, for a lot less moola.

3. Keep an integrate my old King Com with the G3X and GPR20 as Com 1/Com2? Or just pull that hunk of metal out, its big, heavy and in the way and not that easy to integrate without a separate audio panel?

4. Audio panel vs. just internal G3X touch? Budget is busted, so hard to argue for it.

(Skip #5).

6. Pay Stein to wire (a lot) of it or no? Worry about their wire and harness lengths being pre made and not to fit, etc?
....
I'm basing my suggestions on very similar goals. The major difference is that my RV-3B is single seat.

1. I vote for the Garmin integrated system. However, on my RV-3B (using Dynon) I'm planning on using a pingBuddy for ADS-B in, although it won't talk to the EFIS.

2. On mine, I'll be using the iPad/pingBuddy as the primary nav display, with the EFIS as backup to that for that purpose.

3. Ditch the King and go with an integrated system from Garmin.

4. Use the internal one.
......

6. I've seen Steinair wiring and it's very nice. You'll still have to hook it up to the airframe and route the cables hither and yon. On the other hand, DIY is merely a time and money choice since the job is totally doable.

Dave
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  #6  
Old 08-31-2017, 11:41 AM
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RVbySDI RVbySDI is offline
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Tuttle, Oklahoma
Posts: 2,642
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Not exactly the same situation as you, but I am doing re-wiring now in my 9. I had an old 695 GPS panel mounted that I am replacing with a Garmin GDU470. I am also replacing a PM3000 (the PM3000 is for sale if anyone is interested) with a new GMA245 Audio Panel.

I have been talking with SteinAir almost every day for two weeks now. After talking with them I decided to do my own wiring. As Dave said:
Quote:
I've seen Steinair wiring and it's very nice. You'll still have to hook it up to the airframe and route the cables hither and yon. On the other hand, DIY is merely a time and money choice since the job is totally doable.
This is spot on. Wiring is not difficult. It just takes a lot of brain power to make sure every end of any given wire has the other end connected to its appropriate place. Even if you have Stein, or anyone else, build the harness, you still will have to route it appropriately behind the panel. There is still a lot of labor after receiving the prebuilt harness.

The other side of the decision to build yourself or not is the tools. It does take specialty tools to do a good job. Don't skimp on quality to save a buck when it comes to wiring tools. Then there is the issue of having to order multiple times stretching the time out. Definitely experienced with that part of things.

I am with the others concerning using older equipment. If you are going to go down this road you will not save any time trying to wire the older equipment so it communicates with the new stuff.

If budget is a primary concern your choice for ADS-B compliance is pretty expensive for sure. There are other less expensive options available to meet your goals. Of course, that kind of decision is a personal one. You might think about some of the new ADS-B equipment coming out. One example is the Garmin GDL-82 that will be an easy install with existing Mode C transponders. For anyone with existing equipment this is going to be a contender. There is also the Uavionics Echo out there too. Those are just two other options you may, or may not, have considered that may be worth thinking about.

Whatever you decide, know the wiring is quite an undertaking in terms of time to complete. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
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  #7  
Old 08-31-2017, 12:42 PM
DRMA DRMA is offline
 
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Location: Sugar Land, TX
Posts: 501
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Regarding the audio panel and re-use of the King Com radio: I think you will need the audio panel to integrate the King radio. Instead, you might consider going with the single Garmin GPR 20 remote radio and purchase a hand held radio as a back-up. Certainly lower cost, and the hand held is not reliant on any of the aircraft systems/power to operate.

Just a thought.
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  #8  
Old 08-31-2017, 12:47 PM
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Walt Walt is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Dallas/Ft Worth, TX
Posts: 6,346
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Perfect VFR panel IMO with dual screen redundancy, the only change I would make to this would be to install the new 470 touch screens
Garmin G3X, GTR200 Com, GMC305 A/P control Panel, GTX23ES Xpdr tied to GPS-20A GPS position source, GDL39R ADS-B In. (Full ADS-B in/out)

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EXP Aircraft Services LLC
Specializing in RV Condition Inspections, Maintenance, Avionics Upgrades
Dynamic Prop Balancing, Pitot-Static Altmeter/Transponder Certification
FAA Certified Repair Station, AP/IA/FCC GROL, EAA Technical Counselor
Authorized Garmin G3X Dealer/Installer
RV7A built 2004, 2000+ hrs, New Titan IO-370, Bendix Mags
Website: ExpAircraft.com, Email: walt@expaircraft.com, Cell: 972-746-5154

Last edited by Walt : 08-31-2017 at 06:22 PM.
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  #9  
Old 08-31-2017, 04:24 PM
ansonfogel ansonfogel is offline
 
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Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 7
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Walt, could you describe in more detail that panel/install out to the system level?
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  #10  
Old 08-31-2017, 06:25 PM
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Walt Walt is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ansonfogel View Post
Walt, could you describe in more detail that panel/install out to the system level?
More info added to original panel post. More panel pics and equipment info can be found on my website or feel free to call me.
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EXP Aircraft Services LLC
Specializing in RV Condition Inspections, Maintenance, Avionics Upgrades
Dynamic Prop Balancing, Pitot-Static Altmeter/Transponder Certification
FAA Certified Repair Station, AP/IA/FCC GROL, EAA Technical Counselor
Authorized Garmin G3X Dealer/Installer
RV7A built 2004, 2000+ hrs, New Titan IO-370, Bendix Mags
Website: ExpAircraft.com, Email: walt@expaircraft.com, Cell: 972-746-5154
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