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Avionics Upgrade advice

BuddyHolly

I'm New Here
I'm modernizing my 2014 RV 10 panel, for sure getting rid of my old Chelton EFIS screens and my unusable standby instruments. Just received estimates for 2 new Garmin G3x screens, G5, & associated hookups.

Also gotten estimates for new autopilot to smoothly interface with the panels.

Might also get the Garmin 750xi & engine display kit.

Any major advice in this decision? I plan to do lots of traveling across the country and want to be as worry-free as possible. Thanks
 
The 750, in my opinion, is overkill. The 650 is fine as you will use the G3X to see the integrated picture.

While I do not fly with the G3X I assume it displays all the engine information you want. Is the engine information kit you mentioned just the EMS box that interfaces with the G3X?

The money saved will by a lot of avgas.

Carl
 
650xi/750xi: Never once heard a custom complain about screens being to large... :D

Ok, but for the extra $5K+ the 750xi costs over the 650XI you can add a third G3X display instead and still have all the 750 functionality in the 650. That and you pocket ~$1K saved.

Carl
 
Some good info so far. Thank you.
I'm looking at a new engine display unit as my current one is old.(2014) My mechanic says it'll go out sooner or later.
He also says they'll quit servicing the 530W soon if not already and it'll save in the long run to go ahead with the 750xi.
He thinks starting "clean" with all new stuff is worth it for resale. No plans to sell, but calls the complete upgrades more an investment than expense.
Does that sound right?
 
I'm modernizing my 2014 RV 10 panel, for sure getting rid of my old Chelton EFIS screens and my unusable standby instruments. Just received estimates for 2 new Garmin G3x screens, G5, & associated hookups.

Also gotten estimates for new autopilot to smoothly interface with the panels.

Might also get the Garmin 750xi & engine display kit.

Any major advice in this decision? I plan to do lots of traveling across the country and want to be as worry-free as possible. Thanks

My first question, is budget the major determining factor in the upgrade? If not then I would recommend the following.

I have a full Garmin panel, and recommend you integrate all garmin components.
The 3X system is as good as it gets when it comes to intuitive ease of use and the information that is displayed to you as a pilot. Situational awareness is phenomenal.

At minimum you will want a dual screen system, the garmin engine instrument system, ads-b in and out, garmin auto pilot and an IFR navigator.
If you want full FMS features, than you will need the GTN series navigator.
If you can go all in, than add the panel autopilot control head, the GTN 650/750,
garmin audio panel, GDL 51R for Sirius radio, and a CO detector.

I know here are other good systems from Grand Rapid, Dynon, and advanced, but i tend to think all things being equal, when it comes to resale, a garmin RV10 will fetch a higher price.
 
I have dual G3X and a 750

I have a 750xi in my 7A and there is no way that I would want to go to a 650. The 750 has a very useable Map and data entry on the 750 is much easier. Pairings a 650 with a third G3X is not equivalent to a 750.

If you have an iPad you can download the GTN simulator, it has both the 650 & 750. If you play with the sim, you can get a bit of a perspective on the difference. However, the simulator is harder to use than the real units.

I shared a hangar with Walt for many years and I know that he started with 650 in his plane. He has installed many 650’s and 750’s. The fact that he decided to replace his 650 with a 750 should tell you a little something.
 
Old Garmin stuff

Some good info so far. Thank you.
I'm looking at a new engine display unit as my current one is old.(2014) My mechanic says it'll go out sooner or later.
He also says they'll quit servicing the 530W soon if not already and it'll save in the long run to go ahead with the 750xi.
He thinks starting "clean" with all new stuff is worth it for resale. No plans to sell, but calls the complete upgrades more an investment than expense.
Does that sound right?

Not necessarily. :)

Three observations -

1. 2014 is not old. I have bad attitudes older than that. If you want a new engine display, then by all means get one, but ditching a working one solely because it will "go out sooner or later" seems silly to me. By that logic, I guess I should be looking for donor kidneys. :)

2. Owners generally can't pass on all of the cost of avionics upgrades to later buyers. And you aren't really planning to sell anyway, so the material question isn't whether it's an investment or expense, it's really whether the Cadillac solution is worth it to you. Which it may well be!! Don't get me wrong, new stuff is awesome!!! But only you can answer that.

3. As your mechanic absolutely should already know, they haven't stopped servicing the 530W "already." Meanwhile, here's what Garmin actually says about doing it "soon":

https://support.garmin.com/en-US/?faq=F2IAklfED49SmSnkfqpnV9

Hardly a death knell, even from the company that would dearly love to sell you something new.

Now eventually the 530W and 430W will no doubt go the way of the Walkman, the tube TV, and the KLN 89B. But people have by now been predicting the imminent demise of 430/530 units for many years. I boldly think they still have a lot of life left in them. Garmin is a victim of its own success -- 430s and 530s are rugged and capable gadgets, there are a ZILLION of them out there, and large installed market bases tend to resist being orphaned. Judging by the prices for used 430Ws and 530Ws, at least somebody out there agrees with me. :)

Note also that when my 430W finally breaks AND Garmin actually declines to work on it (instead of just vaguely warning me of that possibility), I'll likely go with a slide-in replacement from Avidyne. As will others, presumably. At that point, Garmin will see no more of our 430/530 repair or data subscription dollars. Note this lost business for Garmin is probably very high margin -- lord knows they are proud of their 1990s technology !#$!# data cards, and the minimum repair charges on 430s and 530s can best be described as "extortionate." Anyway, I have to believe the profits they make from loyal 430/530 users are reflected somewhere on Garmin's "when do we actually orphan the 430/530" PowerPoint. :)
 
...3. As your mechanic absolutely should already know, they haven't stopped servicing the 530W "already." Meanwhile, here's what Garmin actually says about doing it "soon":

https://support.garmin.com/en-US/?faq=F2IAklfED49SmSnkfqpnV9

Hardly a death knell, even from the company that would dearly love to sell you something new....

I sat through the Garmin GNS sunsetting presentation at Sun 'n Fun. At that time, they said they have every repair part they're ever going to have.

They said they have enough parts to provide six months to six years of repair support, dependent on the volume of units received needing repair and the parts consumed on those repairs.
 
Yup

I sat through the Garmin GNS sunsetting presentation at Sun 'n Fun. At that time, they said they have every repair part they're ever going to have.

They said they have enough parts to provide six months to six years of repair support, dependent on the volume of units received needing repair and the parts consumed on those repairs.

Interesting that they don't make any more specific predictions, given that they already have decades of data on repair rates, parts usage, etc..

In any event, I've got $5 that says that somebody (and probably Garmin) will still be repairing 430Ws and 530Ws 7 months from now. :)
 
650xi/750xi: Never once heard a custom complain about screens being to large... :D

Agreed. Get the biggest badass Garmin you can afford. You won’t be sorry. I have 2 G3X’s, GTN 750 (wish I had had the xi), G5, and 507 AP head. Not having to scroll to see the contents of a screen is priceless with the GTN 750.
 

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Just for the heck of it, give Advanced a call and have them work you up a panel price. Their ACM is a game changer if you have to rewire a bunch of stuff. Dual AFS5600, IFD540, remote com2, transponder and audio panel, backup AV30, dynon autopilot. I don't see how Garmin's tech support / customer service could top AFS.... those guys are awesome.
 

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I'm modernizing my 2014 RV 10 panel, for sure getting rid of my old Chelton EFIS screens and my unusable standby instruments. Just received estimates for 2 new Garmin G3x screens, G5, & associated hookups.

Also gotten estimates for new autopilot to smoothly interface with the panels.

Might also get the Garmin 750xi & engine display kit.

Any major advice in this decision? I plan to do lots of traveling across the country and want to be as worry-free as possible. Thanks

I've got 600+ hours on dual screen G3X with GTN650. Here's my infinite wisdom -- or something like that.

I run both G3X screens in split mode: engine instruments on the outside, flight instrument in the middle of the screen, and "MFD" tpwards the center of the airplane. This means that in the left seat, I essentially have two MFD screens. There's no point in running the right side screen full size, because most of the information is in the middle of the screen, and running the display full screen only moves the useful information farther away.

The parameter bars above the screens are real handy for all kinds of flight data! The Garmin ads show lots of frequencies and such up there, but that's suboptimal on two counts: dedicated knobs are faster; and too many frequencies etc reduce the number of parameter you can show.

GTN650 or 750? I'd go for the 750 in a heartbeat. It gives you another display screen; it makes flight plan editing easier; and it gives you ILS frequency displays, along with the Morse ID and the database ID without taking up any of the parameter bar. Yes, you can get by with just a 650, and I've done it for years, but if an upgrade was feasible in my plane...

Engine display? Not needed. On the G3X, all the engine information comes up just by touching the engine display column, and summary information is plenty good. Worse, a dedicated engine display will just move the right side MFD farther away.

The G5 doubles as a standby AHARS, a nice feature.

I would consider somehow mounting an aera 660 or some other Garmin device on the panel, or easily mounted. That can be a standby GPS in case of total electrical failure, or alternator failure when you need to load shed. Don't know how feasible this is, though.

The Garmin autopilot is nice. And you can get a yaw damper that the back seaters will appreciate.

I'd offer you a ride to check things out, but the shop still hasn't written up an estimate for Smokey, and there's a whole continent between the two of us.

I've got lots more ideas to share if you're interested.

Be well!

Ed
 
Dont know the means of any of the posters in this thread but it is feasible to add 50% to 100% to the cost of building your airplane simply through the choice of what is in the panel. Many such airplanes have better avionics capability than half of the certified air transport airplanes actively being operated while at the same time having zero means to deice control surfaces or wing or potentially even defrost the windshield.

People earn their money and get to choose how they want to spend it and many building RVs are precisely the people flying the air transports in the first place.

I have a non vans 2 seater with a current VFR panel and my wife is doing her PPL. After she gets her basic ticket she will be doing her instrument rating and then commercial and working her way to the required 1500 hour mark that it takes to be hired into most "serious" aviation jobs. We can probably update the VFR panel to an IFR capable one for $10k + install. Of course we are on the more cash strapped side of the equation... Garmin is to me viewed in a similar way that many Americans view Porsche, Audi and other European cars. Nice to get as a lease vehicle and drive using the company credit card and then when its 2-3 years old and the free servicing is over, turn it in as soon as possible before one actually has to pay full price for the dealer service charges.

Im in the category that buys them used when the resale value has taken a 75% hit and no one will touch them and then do all the repairs myself, sometimes buying the german language repair manual to facilitate that.

For me Grand Rapids seems to be the value point, they have an extensive system and their products seem to play nice with most others and one does not feel nickeled and dimed to death (death by a thousand cuts). If the cost is not a big factor then I'm sure one can make several other choices, including going certified.
 
For me Grand Rapids seems to be the value point, they have an extensive system and their products seem to play nice with most others and one does not feel nickeled and dimed to death (death by a thousand cuts). If the cost is not a big factor then I'm sure one can make several other choices, including going certified.

+1. You aren’t the only one with this point of view.
I was thinking, earlier today, that even with my non-Garmin (except for a 420W) panel, I can guide the plane down the runway, rotate, then push some buttons and/or knobs. Make a few adjustments to the throttle/prop/mixture, then do nothing but talk on the radio, and push buttons until it was time to flare for landing. Quite some time ago I read an article by, iirc, airline pilot Barry Schiff. He was in charge of simulator training at his airline, and he noticed a stark difference between older and newer pilots. When he threw a problem at the old guys, they grabbed the yoke, turned off all the automation, and hand flew. Then they turned the automation back on, one thing at a time, looking for the issue. When he threw the same problem at the younger guys, the first thing they did was to reach for the keyboard and start typing. I wonder, am I still a pilot? Or, an automaton?
 
Quite some time ago I read an article by, iirc, airline pilot Barry Schiff. He was in charge of simulator training at his airline, and he noticed a stark difference between older and newer pilots. When he threw a problem at the old guys, they grabbed the yoke, turned off all the automation, and hand flew. Then they turned the automation back on, one thing at a time, looking for the issue. When he threw the same problem at the younger guys, the first thing they did was to reach for the keyboard and start typing. I wonder, am I still a pilot? Or, an automaton?

Early in my military/airline career - the automation was either non-existent, unreliable or was often the source of the problem. So kicking it off might be one of the first steps. Later on, the digital or digital/analog autopilots were much more reliable and intuitive - so we were taught that "automation can be your friend". Especially so when you become the pilot flying, communicating with ATC, company, flight attendants and passengers during a non-normal when the other pilot is handling the non-normal checklist. The training philosophy during non-normal events changed quite a bit over the 40 years I was in the military and airlines. Early on, the Captain always took control of the airplane and hand flew. They would bark out orders to the rest of the crew. Later on, that changed to transfer control (if needed) to the type-rated First Officer, provide direction as needed and "manage" the situation from the left seat. This was not done in all cases, but often led to a better, less hectic flight deck during a non-normal.

Back to the OP - I had a 650 in our RV-7A and now a 750xi in the RV-10. I love the bigger screen, easier data entry and additional capabilities of the 750. If you can afford it and the panel space, I highly recommend it. The argument becomes less compelling if/when Garmin gets approval for GDU to GTN flight plan/approach transfer.
 
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