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Old 06-21-2012, 09:47 AM
Brantel's Avatar
Brantel Brantel is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Newport, TN
Posts: 7,513
Default TruTrak Gemini PFD Pirep / Feedback

This will be the first post of a series of Pireps on the new TT Gemini PFD.

First will come the desktop review and later once installed I will do an in flight review.

Here is the package and the unit as shipped:

The cost to my door was $1320.00 direct from TT.

Included in the box is the Gemini PFD, a DB9 connector kit (solder type, not machined pins), the manual, and a micro fiber cleaning cloth. The unit is packed well with a film covering the screen. The packing media is cardboard, not foam.

Here is the unit out of the box and powered up. I have tricked it into thinking there is airspeed in order for the screen to display all the indications it can provide. It fits a standard 3.125" instrument hole. The unit looks to be about 3 3/8" square.

Turned on its side this unit is very slim. The connector will stick out further than the unit will. It is only 5/8" deep less the connector and fittings. There is a raised round area that sticks thru the panel that is about 1/8" tall.

The user connections are pretty simple. One DB9 connector for power, dimmer, GPS and TT proprietary communications. 2ea 1/8" NPT ports for static and pitot lines.

First impressions are "This thing is light!".

The unit appears to be well made and the housing looks and feels like it is aluminum with a tough black finish that is textured so it does not show finger prints.

The pneumatic ports are part of the housing so there should not be any reason they would crack like some of the past products.

On the desk the screen powered up is very readable and the colors are nice with good contrast and color depth. The pics above look a little washed out due to the crappy camera in the Iphone. The real unit has better color than the images above suggest.

While the screen is small at a little shy of 3" dia, the information being presented is easy to see. I sat mine on the desk at three times my normal eye to panel distance for my plane and I could still read all the information well. The resolution appears to be quite high for this type of device.

As shipped the unit provides the following information:

Airspeed Indicator
Velocity Vector Display
Bank Angle Display
Vertical Speed Display
Track DG
Slip / Skid Indicator
Standard Rate Turn Indicator
Low Airspeed Warning
GPS signal status Indications
GPS Ground Speed Display

It is my understanding that a future firmware revision will also include the ability to switch from a Velocity Vector Display to a Pitch Attitude Display. As shipped this unit works much like the existing older TT ADI and EFIS products in that the instantaneous pitch indication is gyro based but over time it becomes vertical speed.

The manual is easy to read and since the unit is pretty simple, there is not much issue with getting it setup and running in no time. The entire user interface is thru the capacitive touch screen. The touchscreen works just like an Iphone or Ipad.

It is easy to adjust the altimeter setting, V-speeds, low-airspeed warning and they provide you the ability to adjust the DG in case of GPS failure.

Currently the only unit's available are KNOTS, FPM, and FEET. My understanding is that a future firmware upgrade will enable more units.

In the lower left corner, the unit displays airspeed or ground speed depending on the status of the GPS signal.

Along the bottom center the unit displays the DG reading or ground track depending on the status of the GPS signal.

The attitude indicator shows a standard rate turn indication that shrinks and grows depending on the airspeed. At zero airspeed this indication disappears. The vertical speed indications also change range depending on the airspeed indication. The faster you go, the more sensitive the indication appears.

The display brightness is great inside on the desk so I took it outside in direct sunlight and the unit performs very well due to the fact that it uses a transflective screen. While the touchscreen works like the Iphone/Ipad, the screen brightness in the sun blows the Iphone/Ipad out of the water. It does however suffer what all of the slick glass capacitive screens suffer from and that is reflections. This is easy to work around however since the screen is nice and bright in the sun. The off axis performance of the screen is where the screen starts to fall short. TT only recommends a maximum of 20° off axis viewing. The real world unit does start to get dimmer off to the side of center. It is hard to quantify this so take my word for it. Don't plan on mounting this way off center of the pilot and expect it to work very well.

Trutrak offers a backup battery (TCW Unit) for $200 or you can roll your own.
Trutrak also offers user firmware updates but it requires another one of their products to enable this feature @ around $150 otherwise you have to ship it back for updates. I would have preferred a simple boot-loader/updater that worked on the RS232 port but oh well....

The overall impression of this unit is that it will make a great backup EFIS for my panel. That is exactly how I intend to use it. More to come once I get it installed and fly behind it.....
Brantel (Brian Chesteen),
Check out my RV-10 builder's BLOG
RV-10, #41942, N?????, Project Sold
RV-7/TU, #72823, N159SB
Lyc. O-360 carbed, HARTZELL BA CS Prop, Dual P-MAGs, Dual Garmin G3X Touch
Track N159SB (KK4LIF)
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Last edited by Brantel : 06-22-2012 at 07:03 AM.
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Old 06-21-2012, 11:40 AM
rleffler's Avatar
rleffler rleffler is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Delaware, OH (KDLZ)
Posts: 4,286

I'm envious......

My unit is currently on a tour of the US (no fault of Trutrak) and probably won't get it to mid week next week.

Bob Leffler
N410BL - RV10 Flying
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Old 06-21-2012, 12:01 PM
Don's Avatar
Don Don is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 696

Thanks for the pirep Brantel. I've been eyeing the Gemini PFD as a backup for my EFIS...but first I want to get my 9A flying.
Don Alexander
RV-9A 257SW Purchase Flying - O-320, Dynon D100
RV-9A 702DA (reserved) Finish Kit IOX-340
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Old 06-21-2012, 03:01 PM
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n981ms n981ms is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Dublin, GA
Posts: 256
Default Thank you

This kind of PIREP is what I love most about VAF.
Maxwell Duke
Kitfox S6/TD/IO240/SteamIFR Built it
RV10 IO540/AFS5600x3 Bought it
CH750 O200/AFS5500. Built it with 7 friends. DAR-Vic Syracuse
Maule M7-235C Sold it(kind of miss it)
VAF paid 5/2017
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Old 06-21-2012, 03:12 PM
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panhandler1956 panhandler1956 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,686

Great 'unboxing' report! Apple folks will know what I mean!

I love the looks of that unit!
Brent Owens
EAA Chapter 9 Tech Counselor/Flight Advisor
Columbus, OH
RV-8 'Contrary Mary' flying
N784DE S/N #82614
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Old 06-21-2012, 04:30 PM
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rleffler rleffler is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Delaware, OH (KDLZ)
Posts: 4,286

Originally Posted by panhandler1956 View Post
Great 'unboxing' report! Apple folks will know what I mean!

I love the looks of that unit!

I know where you can see one in person..

Btw, are you in the office tomorrow?

Bob Leffler
N410BL - RV10 Flying
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Old 06-23-2012, 08:26 AM
777Dave's Avatar
777Dave 777Dave is offline
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Location: Picton, Ont., Ft. Myers, Fl
Posts: 312
Default Gemini

Great review! I will follow this thread with interest.

Dave Main

Membership due Oct., 2022
RV-4 0-360-188 Catto 3-blade C-FTDQ...
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Old 06-23-2012, 09:20 AM
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Stu McCurdy Stu McCurdy is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Round Rock, TX
Posts: 211
Default Gemini ADI

Back in early March while re-doing my panel to install my AFS5500, I installed a TT Gemini ADI as a backup attitude reference. I installed it between my backup altimeter and airspeed, so I did not need the PFD version.

The Gemini is everything I needed as a backup ADI and is as advertised. It is quite sensitive in pitch but serves as a good IFR platform. The small pitch lines do not present themselves until you have groundspeed and serve as a VVI in that one line up or down will deliver 500 ft/min climb/descent. It's heading reference along the bottom is actually GPS track and must have GPS input to work. While doing aggressive maneuvering or aerobatics it lags actual attitude and takes 3-4 seconds to catch up once maneuvering stops. It is an electrical instrument so you must have a battery backup in the system in case main battery/alternator/master switch is out.
Stu McCurdy (Falcon)
RV-8, 78TX, Flying
Formation Flying, Inc (FFI)
Falcon Flight
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Old 06-23-2012, 09:55 AM
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kevinh kevinh is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 1,419

Really cool - I've been waiting for a review like this. Do they have a PDF of the manual up somewhere?
-kevinh, Track my RV-7A, flying, alas, sold in 2013 after 450ish hours. (I'm now building something different)
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Old 06-23-2012, 10:11 AM
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rleffler rleffler is offline
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Location: Delaware, OH (KDLZ)
Posts: 4,286

Originally Posted by kevinh View Post
Really cool - I've been waiting for a review like this. Do they have a PDF of the manual up somewhere?
Document library on Trutrak's site. It was posted a couple days ago.
Bob Leffler
N410BL - RV10 Flying
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