AERA 660 issues

CaptJim

Filing Flight Plan
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CaptJim
My plane came with a panel mounted AERA660... Lately I noticed the info it was showing was all wrong. Talked to Garmin support about it. They said it sounds like a software issue and offered a replacement.
Well, replacement arrived but does the same thing. I leave the ground the other day and before I climb 50 ft my AERA660 says I am @ 850AGL... My airport elevation is 120' MSL and I was not even at 50' AGL...
On my way to the destination airport it says I am 26 miles away while actually I am at 10 miles up to my ForeFlight...
So, all the info on the screen is wrong. My altitude whether AGL or MSL, or my speed IAS or TAS or my distance to the destination is ALL WRONG again!
What does cause this?

Database information was expired 5 months ago just before I purchased the plane and I don't want to renew the database plan for a faulty device that gives wrong information. I rather use my ForeFlight Performance Plus subscription where I get the 100% correct info...
Plus I've never heard a GPS constantly giving all the wrong information at everything it supposed to provide!
Does anybody else have or ever had this issue ?
 
For the broader audience, Jim and I have been exchanging PMs based on a post I made in a similar thread. I suspect an external antenna would help a lot and noted the Garmin GA 25 is available from Spruce for $30 and Amazon has a compatible one for $9. Any of the generic GPS antennas with an MCX male plug will likely work.

I just have the antenna laying on the glare shield out of view and threaded the cable to the right edge of the panel, through to the back, and to the device.

 
I always do and all bars were lit. Full strength GPS signal reception

What are you connecting the Aero to? GPS navigator?

I’m linked to the G3X and it works fine, I wonder if its a protocol issue.
 
yes. I just ordered an external antenna for attaching to it and see if it will make any difference.

Just to be clear, you are at the latest firmware version (4.00)?

The Aera 660 firmware is slow to be updated, last update was in 2023, so it’s due.

I would try clearing the active track, and then checking it afterwards, does it show a bunch of disjointed tracks?
 
Maybe too simple a question: if you remove it from the aircraft and power it up so it has to search for satellites, does it give you a better location?
 
Database and firmware shouldn’t matter, those things are pretty accurate. I’m guessing you have some interference with the internal gps signal. I did try an external antenna once and I didn’t notice any differences. Have you considered linking to a GDL50 adsb in? That I believe will pull gps as well.
 
A couple of things to note. A hand held GPS such as an Aera won't show indicated airspeed or true airspeed. It will display ground speed, which can be significantly different depending on winds aloft. It also will not show altitude in MSL or AGL. It will likely be close to MSL but probably not the same. You also didn’t mention it, but it is worth mentioning, the GPS will not show you heading, it will show you ground track which can be significantly different than heading in some cases.

So, my question is, do you really have a problem or is it just a matter of interpreting what the display is giving you? Especially when two navigators give the same results.
 
A couple of things to note. A hand held GPS such as an Aera won't show indicated airspeed or true airspeed. It will display ground speed, which can be significantly different depending on winds aloft. It also will not show altitude in MSL or AGL. It will likely be close to MSL but probably not the same. You also didn’t mention it, but it is worth mentioning, the GPS will not show you heading, it will show you ground track which can be significantly different than heading in some cases.

So, my question is, do you really have a problem or is it just a matter of interpreting what the display is giving you? Especially when two navigators give the same results.

That's interesting to hear!

Maybe you need to talk to Garmin and ask them why they are putting information fields on their GPS displays with titles like Altitude, AGL, Distance to Destination, Height Above Ground Level, Minimum Safe Altitude, while their devices like Aera 660 are not able to show that kind of information!

I am a USCG Master Mariner Captain since 42 years and I know how a GPS supposed to work and I know when the supplied information is not accurate!

What a "Distance to Destination" information got anything to do with a GPS being a handheld or plane being in the air or on the ground?

At those circumstances my iPhone and iPad running their own flimsy GPS chip and ForeFlight software, despite being handheld devices showing everything exceptionally accurate while Garmin's Aviation Specific GPS not showing any field of info accurate other than Local Time and Zulu Time? Oh and Sunrise and Sunset times... They are accurate too! Yay!

Forget about Ground Track, Bearing, Course to Steer, Minimum Safe Altitude etc... but how in the world when I am 10 miles away from my home airport my beloved(!) Garmin shows I need to fly 26.3 miles away from my destination?

Or, on a Calm to 5 knot wind day at 1500' AGL and 1700' MSL how come my Garmin shows I am doing 138mph in an 85HP Ercoupe while every other gauge and GPS chip ran device says I am doing 88-89 GS while my analog ASI says 85?
Does Garmin calculates information in a different unknown scale ?

Like I said before, when I receive this Sunday I will install this external antenna to see if this thing begins to provide accurate information. If not, I'll try to figure out if some sort of interference causing this abnormal and random inaccurate information...

I'll update the thread here for people to be aware of the issue & solution (hopefully) !
 
Database and firmware shouldn’t matter, those things are pretty accurate. I’m guessing you have some interference with the internal gps signal. I did try an external antenna once and I didn’t notice any differences. Have you considered linking to a GDL50 adsb in? That I believe will pull gps as well.
Exactly...
I am wondering if it will make any difference or not too because even when it is on its panel mounted cradle all GPS information indicator bars are lit showing me full connection with all available satellites.
So GPS signal receiving shouldn't be a problem. I wonder if any other device causing an interference to Aera 660 to lose its mind?
Oh the mystery! :rolleyes:
 
Does Garmin calculates information in a different unknown scale ?
The distances and speed you’re off by are close enough to what I’d expect to see if kilometers that I’d suggest checking what unit of measure you have selected.

As far as altitude goes, anyone that has been messing with GPS for a while should know that it won’t exactly match what you think it should show.

 
The distances and speed you’re off by are close enough to what I’d expect to see if kilometers that I’d suggest checking what unit of measure you have selected.

As far as altitude goes, anyone that has been messing with GPS for a while should know that it won’t exactly match what you think it should show.


Thank you for trying but nothing you said make any sense.
First of all, 10 miles is not 26.3 km. That's one! 10 miles is 16.093 km not 26.3... Plus, I know how to set the values whether mph or kts or sm or km.
Point two; KLSN to KCVH which I fly often since my A&P is located there is two airports 28 miles apart and it takes 22-24 minutes for me to fly. When I began to descent to land at either one of them I know I am past 90% of the distance between the two airports and there is no way I am 26 or 18 miles away from my destination.

I am not expecting this GPS to guess and show what I am thinking.
You seem to be the GPS expert and how about focusing on the issue of "what may be causing this interference to messing up the device" while stop focusing on what I may be doing wrong...
Yes GPS power is ON, yes I am in a plane and not in a bathtub, yes it is a Garmin Aera 660 display I am looking at and not to a frozen TV screen, etc. etc. :)
Software and Firmware is the most recent version and up to date. Database is current...
So all checkmarks are good to go except the information displayed is random and inaccurate.

Garmin Tech Support told me they will contact me within an hr. after they will research their troubleshoot database.
 
On my way to the destination airport it says I am 26 miles away while actually I am at 10 miles up to my ForeFlight...
...
Point two; KLSN to KCVH which I fly often since my A&P is located there is two airports 28 miles apart and it takes 22-24 minutes for me to fly. When I began to descent to land
Sounds to me like you've got KLSN to KCVH as your flight plan, but it never activated the leg, or thought you never left.
I would try clearing the active track, and then checking it afterwards, does it show a bunch of disjointed tracks?
:yeahthat: Are the breadcrumb trails on?

When I was getting GPS glitches from my GDL39, they were pretty obvious and nonsensical. I switched to using my phone's gps as the position source and the issue went away.

Panel mounted consumer electronics? KISS principle says the problem goes away when you add an external antenna.

Either that or it's a celestial event, unannounced GPS testing, HAARP, or you flew over a FEMA concentration camp and/or space laser ground support facility.
 
You seem to be the GPS expert and how about focusing on the issue of "what may be causing this interference to messing up the device" while stop focusing on what I may be doing wrong...

The reason I have suggested what I have is because I think there is a configuration error, not anything wrong with the device itself. But since you've concluded that the configuration can't be wrong on two separate units manifesting the same problem with no external connections except for power, hopefully Garmin can help.

You mentioned that you're showing "88" of some unit of measure (that you're keeping a secret) on one display and 138 on the Garmin. That is almost exactly the correct conversion from mph to kph. I'd consider that a sign that the configuration might have your speed indication in a metric unit. But perhaps not, and maybe there is really something wrong with two devices that you've received from Garmin.

I've installed and configured at least a dozen Aeras, most of which have had more complex installations than what you're dealing with and haven't had the problem you describe.
 
I! think! you! need! more! exclamation! points! in! your! posts!!!!!!
 
The reason I have suggested what I have is because I think there is a configuration error, not anything wrong with the device itself. But since you've concluded that the configuration can't be wrong on two separate units manifesting the same problem with no external connections except for power, hopefully Garmin can help.

You mentioned that you're showing "88" of some unit of measure (that you're keeping a secret) on one display and 138 on the Garmin. That is almost exactly the correct conversion from mph to kph. I'd consider that a sign that the configuration might have your speed indication in a metric unit. But perhaps not, and maybe there is really something wrong with two devices that you've received from Garmin.

I've installed and configured at least a dozen Aeras, most of which have had more complex installations than what you're dealing with and haven't had the problem you describe.
As FYI, Garmin Tech Support went over the phone each and every step of the setup to make sure it was correctly done.
We confirmed Firmware and Software all good up to date and also the database of Aera 660 is current.

They agreed there was no problem there yet they befuddled what may be causing it!

They asked me to give them a couple of days to search what may be causing these random weird information to popup.
I also agreed to let them know if I see any improvement after installing the external antenna I am expecting to receive in a few days.
 
I! think! you! need! more! exclamation! points! in! your! posts!!!!!!
Your contribution to this thread is undeniably substantial.
Thank God people like you, otherwise how these forums survive?
C'mon, you're getting close to 4000 posts to be proud of yourself!!!!!!!!!!!!! (These are specially for you) ;)
 
Sounds to me like you've got KLSN to KCVH as your flight plan, but it never activated the leg, or thought you never left.

:yeahthat: Are the breadcrumb trails on?

When I was getting GPS glitches from my GDL39, they were pretty obvious and nonsensical. I switched to using my phone's gps as the position source and the issue went away.

Panel mounted consumer electronics? KISS principle says the problem goes away when you add an external antenna.

Either that or it's a celestial event, unannounced GPS testing, HAARP, or you flew over a FEMA concentration camp and/or space laser ground support facility.
Good points.
I always activate it and it is funny that those numbers keep changing according to the distances I cover. But than out of nowhere values change to a completely different number while I am in the same position.
For example I am flying leveled at 3500' and GPS says I am 3600' which is acceptable but a few minutes later I glance again and it says I am now at 4900' while nothing is changed in my flight attitude... Everything else like AV30C, Analog altimeter, ForeFligh on iPad and iPhone all still shows 3500'.
I am flying over flat land over the coastline of CA.. Two minutes later Aera 660 showing I am at 2800'.
The other funny thing is if I begin to descent at anytime while those weird randomly wrong numbers displayed the values are dropping accordingly and correctly.

For example, Correct altitude 3500' and Aera shows 4900'...
then I begin to descent 3400-3300-3200-3100-3000 Aera drops to 4800-4700-4600-4500-4400...
then I fly a few minutes at 3000' and when I glance to Aera next time instead of 4400' now it shows 1900'.
It is strange as heck.
May be my plane is possessed... :eek:
I hope my solution with addition of external antenna will be the end of this weird issue.
 
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If I had to guess, due to poor reception, it misses too many measurements and keeps resetting its track filter, so the displayed values bounce around. I just fired up ForeFlight in my kitchen (no clear view of the sky, lousy gps reception) and observed similar- groundspeed and vertical speed were all over the place. Step out onto the deck, the filter settles down and the numbers drop to zero and stay there.
 
If I had to guess, due to poor reception, it misses too many measurements and keeps resetting its track filter, so the displayed values bounce around. I just fired up ForeFlight in my kitchen (no clear view of the sky, lousy gps reception) and observed similar- groundspeed and vertical speed were all over the place. Step out onto the deck, the filter settles down and the numbers drop to zero and stay there.
That’s what I am hoping happening and external antenna solve that issue even though satellite reception bars all lot up green when aera is in cradle on the panel. We’ll find out soon!
 
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