Budget Experimental IFR Panel Upgrade

Discussion in 'Avionics and Upgrades' started by porttack, Nov 21, 2020.

  1. porttack

    porttack Pre-Flight

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    Considering buying a Glasair II that currently has a vacuum 6 pack, a single king VOR nav/com and an old transponder. I would be planning an upgrade to more modern panel and trying to figure out the best value.

    Wish list is:
    • ADSB
    • Second com
    • IFR GPS
    • Removal of the vacuum system
    Thinking of trying to cheapskate it this way:
    • Used audio panel of some sort - $1k
    • echoUAT - ADSB out/in -$1.5k
    • Used Garmin 300XL - LNAV and com - ~$2k
    • 2 G5s - covers 6 pack and HSI - $3k
    Later on wish list:
    • Garmin 175 for WAAS approaches. - 4k
    • Garmin autopilot ~2k

    A few questions I have been having a hard time finding answers to:
    • Will a standard mode S transponder and echoUAT cover me for travel to Canada, Europe, and central/South America or should I get a better transponder initially?
    • Is it reasonable to expect to get a good few years of service out of a 300XL?
    • Are there major complications to avionics installs? I have done installs of electronics on boats and it looks to be a similar process.
     
  2. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    300XL might not be wise. Better to find a 430W.

    hold on you to your hat for all of the GTN or nuttin' comments to follow.

    Also, you didn't mention audio panel. How are you going to support both Nav/Comms?
     
  3. Jesse Saint

    Jesse Saint Line Up and Wait

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    That's not a bad plan. The 300XL is a great radio and is an IFR certified GPS, even though it won't do any of the WAAS approaches, it is still an approach certified GPS, and should display on the G5 just fine. They should also be pretty easy to find. I have one on the shelf myself (that I'll let you have for under $2k). Even if the 300XL fails after a few years, it will be easy to find a replacement.

    The EchoUAT is also a solid ADS-B option, even though it is only UAT, it is definitely a budget option for the experimental. I can't speak much to what you will need internationally. Canada would probably be the only one where it may matter. A US registered airplane hasn't seemed to make much difference on transponder or ADS-B in my experience in Mexico and the Bahamas.

    Of course, for a budget panel, the G5's are a no-brainer in my opinion.

    Later on you can't go wrong with both of your options.

    As for wiring, the main thing you have to be really careful with is the audio. It is easy to get noise in the audio wiring if you don't use shielded wire and good termination technique. I would recommend thinking about calling someone like Tim at Approach Fast Stack for an audio harness and audio panel.
     
  4. porttack

    porttack Pre-Flight

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    From a features or reliably/support standpoint? The prices of the 430w seems a bit nuts, 6k or you can have a new gtn 355 for 7k.
    And thanks, edited in an audio panel!
     
  5. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    GNC355 is gps/comm only. If you want second nav... anyway, do some searches and you'll find oodles of posters slamming the GNS series because of age, price, non-waas is out of support. The only thing that is never challenged is the fact that they work quite well. But who cares about that?
     
  6. Jesse Saint

    Jesse Saint Line Up and Wait

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    Regarding a Nav Radio like the 430 or similar. If you have a Nav antenna that is easy. If not, in a Glasair it will triple the project or more over going with a 300XL.
     
  7. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    OP indicated his existing radio is a king nav/com, so it SHOULD be an easy diplexer. (I think that's what they're called)
     
  8. porttack

    porttack Pre-Flight

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    Thanks for the advice guys!
     
  9. MarkH

    MarkH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I’m having trouble finding it, but one of the RV sites used to have instructions on how to make an audio panel for less than a hundred dollars.

    A Dynon D10A or MGL Mini-x instead of one of the G5’s would have an autopilot built in you just need to add servos.
     
  10. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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  11. flyer770

    flyer770 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you’re seriously looking at Europe, they require 8.33 KHZ spacing on their comms for aircraft in European airspace. This means either GTN or GNC 355A. International ADS-B is 1090 Out, and Canada will require duality in a couple years. Upside is Uavionix will have reasonably priced options to cover that requirement.

    in your situation, I’d keep the King nav comm if it still works, upgrade the audio panel if possible with a PS Engineering one (if you have a panel that can be easily swapped with what you’ve already got). If you don’t already have an audio panel, still would look at PSE.

    The 300XL is a gamble. You might get one that lasts 30 days, you might get one that lasts ten years. At least if you get a 30 day wonder replacements are available cheap. I’m assuming you’re doing it yourself?
     
  12. FORANE

    FORANE Pattern Altitude

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    As an experimental owner with a G5 in the panel, I would suggest considering a used larger EFIS. Search VAF classified for someone moving to the latest generation offering, and buy a gently used Dynon, AFS, GRT or Garmin with larger screen and more functionality.
     
  13. unsafervguy

    unsafervguy Pattern Altitude

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    after flying with a full skyview for the past few years, i would spend the extra bucks and get the skyview or the g3x.
     
  14. Peter Anderson

    Peter Anderson Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I just updated my panel. I had the 650 and a gtx345 but picked up these two screens plus dual adhrs brand new from GRT for 5k. They can control an autopilot and do pretty much everything you could want. They are the horizon ex models. GRT makes some of the best affordable stuff in the experimental world. [​IMG][​IMG]


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
     
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