Avionics shop in Colorado and Garmin SL30?

Discussion in 'Avionics and Upgrades' started by codeeno, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. codeeno

    codeeno Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I wanted to reach out to the community with 2 questions - semi-related :)

    1) Does anyone know of a good and reasonably priced Avionics shop in or near CO? - I am looking to take my state of the art 1976 panel and move it closer to the 90's LOL -- thinking of an Avidyne or Garmin Nav/Com/GPS-W, another Nav/Com, Audio Panel, transponder and of course ADS-B in and out. I've seen quotes from a few shops and the best I've seen was in CA or FL. I am hopeful there is something closer. Any suggestions?

    2) I am almost sold on the Garmin SL30 for the #2 Nav/Com - any cons that people know of with it? Anyone know of one that's in good shape that needs a good home for a reasonable price? I am scouring eBay and other online sources. There are plenty of scammers out there.

    Thanks for your thoughts/inputs and suggestions

    Dean
     
  2. colojo

    colojo Line Up and Wait

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    You can try Arapahoe Aero Avionics at Denver Centennial. Not sure how they'll compare on price, but they did a complete panel upgrade on my old Mooney a few years ago and I was very happy with their work.
     
  3. Walt

    Walt Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You might try the new radio shop at the flight school at FTG or Depot Avionics in Alamosa. I am not recommending either but know from others that Depot has satisfied many aircraft owners. The FTG shop I have no information.
     
  4. codeeno

    codeeno Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Walt,

    I ran into someone from the flight school the other day he is/was hangared down the row from me at KFTG, I'd forgotten about them. I haven't heard of Depot in Alamosa - I'll see what I can find.

    Thank you

    Dean
     
  5. codeeno

    codeeno Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Joe Z,

    I will check with some folks at KAPA and see what they say.
    Thank you

    Dean
     
  6. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Depot does very good work and stands behind it. Advanced Aero at Greeley is okay but a notch or 2 below Depot in my experience.

    The owner of Depot has commented favorably about the guy at Ft Collins.

    I won't go back to Freedom at Metro but others have had better luck there.

    There were concerns with AOG at FTG. Don't know if it is the same guy at the flight school. Be careful if it is. Check serial numbers very closely.
     
  7. murphey

    murphey Final Approach

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    Depot in Alamosa. Mark's the owner and the second generation working in avionics. They installed my sl30 many years ago. Wonderful radio, proven by a consistent value even in the used market.
     
  8. murphey

    murphey Final Approach

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    F
    Freedom got bought by Legacy, one of the original owners died, it just ain't the same. I won't go back either.
     
  9. Unit74

    Unit74 En-Route

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    I have a new SL30. No complaints, IDs VORs which is cool. crisp audio. In fact, I normally load the SL30 and use it for departure, atis, and arrivals. Use the 650 en route Mostly. No peticular reason, just my flow.

    No complaints from me. I like that it's thin.
     
  10. codeeno

    codeeno Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Unit74 - Thanks - I need it for size too. If I use it and an IFD-540 - I can mount my audio panel and be ok. If I go with the Garmin 750 - I have to remote mount the audio panel. I am planning on remote mountain my transponder - but that skinny sl30 should fit and leave me with an even vertical stack for my avionics. - in theory :)

    Dean
     
  11. ejensen

    ejensen Pattern Altitude

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    I wouldn't use Jerry at FNL unless you have lots of time.
     
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  12. codeeno

    codeeno Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Eric,

    Thanks

    Dean
     
  13. gismo

    gismo Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I have a SL30 and the only downside for me is the need to press the Nav or Com button in order to change the frequency or adjust the volume on one if you've been messing with the other. Not a big deal but different from most of other navcoms.
     
  14. codeeno

    codeeno Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Lance - thank you for the feedback - it's one of those little things that's different - appreciate it

    Dean
     
  15. unsafervguy

    unsafervguy Cleared for Takeoff

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    the only problem with the sl-30 is that it is no longer made. being out of production, it is heading toward non-support, how many years that will take only garmin can tell you that. what is the difference in price between a sl-30 and a 255? ( i really have no idea) .

    bob
     
  16. codeeno

    codeeno Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Bob,

    I don't know the price point difference. I can and will look to see if there is a size difference.

    Being older/unsupported to me for a radio is not too important - I am flying with Collins 251/351 now - they've not been supported for a long while. lol

    Dean
     
  17. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The Collins 251/351 stack in the 'Kota was replaced by a 430w/SL-30. Overall I've been happy with the combo. The Collins were better transmitters and receivers but of course they lacked functions of the Garmin née Apollo stuff. The SL-30 seems like pfm at times. The 430w makes up for it by being a pain in the butt at times.
     
  18. gkainz

    gkainz Final Approach

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    we do our bigger avionics work at Depot as well - for all 3 airplanes
     
  19. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    I've heard nothing but good about Depot in Alamosa.

    Freedom is under new management as of a couple years ago at BJC. They didn't impress me a number of years ago. They were helpful this year in digging up some old paperwork that eventually we didn't need anyway. They attempted a sales pitch to come in and talk ADS-B over the phone which was fine.

    Arapahoe Aero's thing is a separate business from the main shop. They had our dead DME, claimed they could repair it, and didn't give it back for months. We weren't pushing, but again, not impressed. Don't think that's a fair one, since many electronics kids can't troubleshoot discreet stuff to component level anymore anyway.

    No experience with GXY or FTG.

    Overall I'd try Alamosa first. And I doubt we would take the airplane back to either Freedom or Arapahoe, but never know... pricing talks... I can put up with some flakey do-over stuff on a "fun" airplane that I couldn't on a commercial aircraft.

    Oh. There's also Duncan on APA. I don't think they see much business from light GA but some of the clubs and schools use them for things. Usually more the biz crowd.
     
  20. Unit74

    Unit74 En-Route

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    Second this. If I couldn't talk to or hear center on my 430W, I'd Switch over to the 251 and I was in there.
     
  21. murphey

    murphey Final Approach

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    An update on logistics for Depot in Alamosa. Boutique Air flies KALS - KDEN for about $60 each way if you need to leave the airplane down there for a few days. I can usually give you a lift between DIA and FTG. Beats driving the 4 hours back to Denver.
     
  22. codeeno

    codeeno Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks Murphey - I hadn't looked into logistics yet - but - that's nice to know.

    Dean
     
  23. NLPinson

    NLPinson Filing Flight Plan

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    DNT Avionics at Grand Junction Regional Airport is a great avionics shop. Danny has 40 years experience in the industry. Reliable, honest, good quality work at fair prices and good turn around times. Has had to clean up work on my plane for me in the past done by shops like Depot Avionics and Freedom Avionics.
     
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  24. murphey

    murphey Final Approach

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    The used SL30s are holding value incredibly well, anywhere between $3000-$3400 from reputation source with 30 day warranty. The 255 new (with warranty) from various dealers start at $3800. Install is about the same for either. For a few hundred, you get a new product. I've got an SL30, wish I had a second one. If I could find one for under $2500, I'd go for it. Otherwise it's just not economically practical - I'll spend the money on a GPS someday, far away in the future.
     
  25. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach

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    Only reason I can think of to avoid the SL30 is no ARINC 429 interfaces. That just happens to be the only interface Garmin has shown us to work with a dual G5 w/ new HSI displaying dual nav radios. If I was you I'd hold out for a while longer.
     
  26. GLMS_NC

    GLMS_NC Pre-takeoff checklist

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    SL30's rock. This is my com2 and I love it.

    Can't go wrong with it.
     
  27. bradg33

    bradg33 Cleared for Takeoff

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    The G5 HSI literature explicitly says it works with the SL30.
     
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  28. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach

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    You are correct but if you want the HSI to track dual navigation radios you better look harder.

    There is no STC approval for dual navigation radios connected to the G5 HSI yet. The only hint is what's found in the experimental installation manual and the SL30 can't be part of a dual nav to HSI setup with dual G5.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2017
  29. murphey

    murphey Final Approach

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    Just curious....why does just about everyone here assume that everyone installing a G5 to replace the DG will want it to be an HSI and drive an autopilot? I've got an SL30, and a CDI it drives. All I want is to get rid of the vacuum system.
     
  30. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Because most people would assume and want the HSI functionality. And if they hooked it up as an HSI they would expect to be able to switch between two nav sources like any other HSI can do with a physical switch and a relay.

    I see nothing about autopilots in his statement. Just that dual nav source to dual G5 with One of them acting as an HSI, doesn’t have an approved configuration in any documents Garmin has yet published for the SL30.

    Most people usually want to shed the mechanical CDI if they’re putting out G5 money, no point in keeping it if the G5 is an HSI. But there’s odd limitations on the G5.
     
  31. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach

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    If you don't look at the big picture it's very easy to buy into something that won't get you there. The more integrated aircraft avionics get the more important it is keep looking ahead. Those decisions will likely affect aircraft value when owners sell.

    The G5 HSI can be a great tool freeing up an extra hole where CDIs are located. Since the HSI option is only about another $600 (GAD adapter is all it is) in equipment it may even pay off or break even to remove the CDI and sell them while installing the HSI option.
     
  32. codeeno

    codeeno Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks for the feedback and info. The SL-30 fits and I don't think I'd have room for anything thicker. So we will see how it works out - time will tell (as usual).
     
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