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  #1  
Old 08-24-2021, 11:33 AM
Davea320's Avatar
Davea320 Davea320 is offline
 
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Default Avionics decision

I'm at the point in the build where i need to decide on an avionics package. i realize I'm going to open up a can of worms and the issue has probably been discussed ad nauseam, but I'm looking for opinions from those that have been here before how and why they chose their particular set up. Im looking for "light ifr" without vhf nav. Im not planning on hard ifr so the gps only route is what I'm looking at. I visited the main vendors at Oshkosh and Im leaning toward the Advanced avionics package. I like the advanced control module, electronic circuit breakers and checklists. I also like that they are a small company in comparison to Garmin with good personal customer service.

That said, i also like the garmin panels i saw and all the features they contain. However i am concerned a little about the Garmin install without the advanced control module. Any and all opinions/experience are welcome as I know pilots are very passionate about their reasons for their choice. I would especially like to hear from anyone that has flown/installed both set ups.

thanks in advance for your input

dave
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  #2  
Old 08-24-2021, 11:57 AM
penguin penguin is offline
 
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Wait another 6 months, things will change and you will make a different decision!
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  #3  
Old 08-24-2021, 12:01 PM
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Carl Froehlich Carl Froehlich is offline
 
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The same issue we all have, or will face.

I suggest you get a lot of opinions and decide what is important to you. Some thoughts:
- I would ignore the various things like advance control modules and electronic circuit breakers (these are just add ons that may or may not be of value - I don’t use them). First decide on what system you want (Garmin, SkyView, Advanced, GRT). They all have check lists as well. I’m a SkyView guy and have built four dual screen installs to date - point being you can build this yourself.
- The harder part is the TSO GPS navigator. All four SkyView panels use the GTN-650 as I considered it the least bad of all the overpriced TSO GPS options - until now. The new plane will have the Garmin GNC-355 GPS/COM. All the function of the GTN-650 other than VOR/LOC/GS.
- I suggest that getting the larger screen GPS navigators (like the GTN-750) is a waste of money. Even with the larger screen the SkyView (or whatever) display is what you will always use - other than fat fingering in the multiple flight plan changes from ATC. For that the I find the GTN-650 size display is just fine.
- I recommend getting a COMM #2. For the panels I installed I used three Dynon remote mounted radios and one Garmin GTR-200. I found the GTR-200 was not the best option.
- For the new plane I’m hoping the TRIG TS56 NAV/COM will be out. For a few dollars more than just a second COM you get VOR/LOC/GS as well. You never know, the “light IFR” trip you do may not turn out as planned.

Carl
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  #4  
Old 08-24-2021, 12:20 PM
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  #5  
Old 08-24-2021, 01:04 PM
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akschu akschu is offline
 
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I just went through this.

My research seems to indicate that the only one you don't want is a GRT for the following reasons:

Their documentation is significantly lacking.
They don't have a canbus or network cabling system. This means everything must be directly connected to everything else it communicates with. The other systems use a system where you connect everything in a chain or hub configuration and all displays can talk to every other box. For example, if you have a garmin g3x and a g5, both can talk to the AP servos over the can bus, and if the G3X dies, your g5 takes over.

When at OSH this year, I picked up the following:

The advanced flight systems seems to have a lot of options/features and lots of buttons. Think of it like the Nikon or Windows compared to the Dynon which is more the canon or mac which tends to be simpler but polished.

The garmin is kind of like running one of their handheld GPS units but in a 10" display with lots more features.

I was able to find what I was looking for with all three pretty quickly without training.

If you are planning to run a garmin navigator then I suppose it makes sense to run all garmin, but if you go with dynon or advanced flight, I think they can sell you an avidyne navigator at a discount.

Honestly, I don't think you can go wrong between the three of them. I'm installing garmin because I plan to use a garmin navigator and because I like their documentation and prefer their dc motor/clutch AP servos over the stepper motor setup of dynon.

Price wise, garmin is the most expensive, but not by a lot.
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  #6  
Old 08-24-2021, 01:22 PM
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BlackhawkSP BlackhawkSP is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davea320 View Post
I'm at the point in the build where i need to decide on an avionics package. i realize I'm going to open up a can of worms and the issue has probably been discussed ad nauseam, but I'm looking for opinions from those that have been here before how and why they chose their particular set up. Im looking for "light ifr" without vhf nav. Im not planning on hard ifr so the gps only route is what I'm looking at. I visited the main vendors at Oshkosh and Im leaning toward the Advanced avionics package. I like the advanced control module, electronic circuit breakers and checklists. I also like that they are a small company in comparison to Garmin with good personal customer service.

That said, i also like the garmin panels i saw and all the features they contain. However i am concerned a little about the Garmin install without the advanced control module. Any and all opinions/experience are welcome as I know pilots are very passionate about their reasons for their choice. I would especially like to hear from anyone that has flown/installed both set ups.

thanks in advance for your input

dave

I did a 3 screen G3X touch, GTN 650 (since upgraded to the GTN 650Xi), VPX Pro electronic CB's, and had Approach Fast Stack make the Harnesses. No regrets at all , and love the capabilities that an all Garmin panel provides:-).......
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  #7  
Old 08-24-2021, 02:06 PM
PilotjohnS PilotjohnS is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Froehlich View Post
The same issue we all have, or will face.

I suggest you get a lot of opinions and decide what is important to you. Some thoughts:
- The harder part is the TSO GPS navigator. All four SkyView panels use the GTN-650 as I considered it the least bad of all the overpriced TSO GPS options - until now. The new plane will have the Garmin GNC-355 GPS/COM. All the function of the GTN-650 other than VOR/LOC/GS.
- I suggest that getting the larger screen GPS navigators (like the GTN-750) is a waste of money. Even with the larger screen the SkyView (or whatever) display is what you will always use - other than fat fingering in the multiple flight plan changes from ATC. For that the I find the GTN-650 size display is just fine.
- For the new plane I’m hoping the TRIG TS56 NAV/COM will be out. For a few dollars more than just a second COM you get VOR/LOC/GS as well. You never know, the “light IFR” trip you do may not turn out as planned.

Carl
OK the GPS navigator must be the primary GPS source for IFR flight. so flight plan chnages must be done in the GPS navigator if IFR. So plan accordingly.
I could not afford a GTN650, so i went with the GNX375. For VOR/LOC I used a GNC255 as comm, and VOR receiver. I think it was the best option in my price range. JMHO
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  #8  
Old 08-24-2021, 02:25 PM
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rmartingt rmartingt is offline
 
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My experience/opinion, worth what you're paying for it:

I just purchased a dual-screen 10" Dynon HDX system and a GPS-175 (they delivered last week).

One of the big factors in choosing Dynon was that I had experience with their equipment already--my dad put a Skyview in his RV-6 eight years ago and I've been flying with it on and off since then. I remember my first flight with it after he upgraded and there were two things that struck me: first, visually it really resembled the big jet avionics package I had a little experience with at work (I'm an aircraft systems engineer), and second, I found it really intuitive and easy to figure out--so much so, that I was showing him how to do things with it and I hadn't even read the manual yet.

At Oshkosh a few days later, I tried out a couple other vendors' systems, and none of them seemed as intuitive as the Skyview (especially the non-touch G3X that I couldn't make heads or tails of). I repeated the experiment in 2016 and came to the same conclusion.

As the time came close to making my decision and placing an order, I started taking a hard look at the documentation (both for installation, and use) from Garmin, Dynon, AFS, and GRT, priced out some options, and started playing with rough panel layouts for each of them. I didn't use a clean weighted-average score sheet like the one my wife used when she decided whether to marry me (seriously! she showed it to me one day), but it was more of a general qualitative evaluation. Some vendors offered some really neat features that I liked; others were lacking certain functions I really desired. Some had good documentation, others really poor. Some answered lots of my questions; others... well, didn't answer anything.

In the end, beyond familiarity and "intuitiveness", I felt that Dynon offered the best overall combination of features I wanted/needed, very good overall documentation, and good ease of installation (including the availability of a special "hub" board provided by another VAF member to make the wiring easier). Fitting things on the panel was a little more challenging with the Dynon (the autopilot and knob modules take up some space but based on experience in Dad's airplane I felt they would be really helpful with the "expert" autopilot compared to trying to drive it all via the screen). My runner-up was GRT; I liked the feature set and capabilities, and the ability to integrate with more third-party equipment, but in the end they were missing one or two things I really wanted, and the documentation was challenging to get my head around.

As far as the IFR GPS, I went with the GPS-175 in large part because it was the most affordable option, and it would fit in the space I have left on the panel (see the Dynon module comment earlier, plus I have an SDS programmer in the center stack). It's not as deep behind the panel and it's a really light unit--first time I picked it up, it felt like an empty case. That said, I'm not yet instrument rated--my plan is to work on the rating after Phase I is complete and I'm comfortable enough with the airplane. Hopefully I can manage that with GPS only, though I did leave room for an MGL N16 if needed.

Beyond the wiring hub though, I didn't really look at any pre-made options. My aircraft is different enough from standard it would have made things challenging, plus I like wiring. Some guys really get into fit-and-finish; I like to sit and make harnesses.

One thing that was neat (at least with Dynon) was that they make 3D models of their equipment available for download. I simplified them and printed out dummy units for most of the components, and was able to lay components in place and start running a lot of the harnesses and tubing for things even though I didn't have the actual units yet. In fact I'm still leaving many of them in place for now to prevent FOD and/or shop rash.

Edit: In general, wait as long as you reasonably can. Like other electronics, this stuff is getting upgraded frequently. I went ahead and pulled the trigger on my avionics order when I saw the Lycoming price increase, figuring it was only a matter of time before avionics prices went up too.



Disclaimer: I'm a low-time pilot and my airplane isn't done yet. YMMV, terms and conditions may apply, views expressed do not necessarily represent those of anyone here, no warranty express or implied, no substitutions exchanges or refunds.
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Last edited by rmartingt : 08-24-2021 at 02:28 PM.
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  #9  
Old 08-24-2021, 02:26 PM
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MacCool MacCool is offline
 
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If I was starting from scratch, I would certainly go with the Advanced Panel and ACM as a place to start. I'm not sure if the actual EFIS's would end up being Dynon or Advanced but either way, the ACM in conjunction with a Skyview network would offer a superior modularity and flexibility.

My plane uses a couple of Advanced Flight EFIS's and I've been very pleased. The interfaces of Garmin vs Dynon vs Advanced are a horse apiece IMHO. One can get used to anything.
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Last edited by MacCool : 08-24-2021 at 02:30 PM.
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  #10  
Old 08-24-2021, 03:15 PM
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GalinHdz GalinHdz is offline
 
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1. Define YOUR ultimate mission. Don't kid yourself with "light IFR". That does not exist.
2. Talk to different manufacurers and get their advice
3. Plan for everything YOUR mission eventually requires even if you don't need everything to start flying.
4. Wait until you have nothing at all left do do on your build except the avionics.
5. Re-evaluate everything before you buy.
THE LAST THING: Select a manufacturer based on YOUR ultimate mission requirements and open you wallet.

Good luck.
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Last edited by GalinHdz : 08-24-2021 at 03:35 PM.
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